Saturday, 14 February 2009
Trip to Bamako, The Capital of Mali
Ed Bonvillain and I had the privilege of taking the Billings to Bamako to catch their flight back to the U.S. While we were in Bamako, we had some errands to run and also pick up a German doctor to bring back to Koutiala with us. Ed and I first and foremost had to buy medications for the hospital pharmacy. We went to different supply houses and bought what we needed ( with cash!). Everything is bought with cash here. We were carrying some serious cash with us and I was praying that we wouldn't be robbed. We then went shopping for food. Here in Koutiala, we can only get the necessities because we do not have a grocery store. Most of our food bought here is from the central market or small shops. So we bought all the goodies like ham, hamburger, chips, cheese, ketchup, cookies, etc. Next, we went looking for a refrigerator and a freezer. We walked into a store by the downtown masque and Ed found a TV that he was looking for. He haggled with the guy and ended up buying the TV. By now it was noon time prayer for the 98% Muslim population in Bamako. They took the TV outside and set it on the sidewalk while Ed went to go get the truck and I was to wait with it so that someone wouldn't steal it. Right after Ed left for the truck, the police started closing off the streets around the Masque and men started filing in laying down their prayer mats. I was quickly surrounded by hundreds of black Muslim men. I was not sure what to do, so I continued to wait for Ed. By this time, all the men were facing Mecca and starting their songs and chants. I was facing 90 degrees to their right but I was NOT going to face Mecca. With my sick sense of humor, I had a thought cross my mind to stand up and shout "You are all facing the wrong way. Mecca is 180 deg. behind you! Your prayers won't be answered!" but I didn't. All the prayers and chants lasted about an hour. I was praying pretty hard myself by this time. I could just imagine them looking for the little white boy that they needed for a sacrifice sitting helplessly by himself. The cool thing was that I was able to see and experience something that most people don't get to experience. It was definitely quite an eye opener. I made it out alive with a Muslim friend name Abraham. He came up to me after all this and we started talking in my limited french. He went and bought us some ice cold flower and fruit drink which tasted good since it was in the low 100's. All in all, it was cool but scary. I really felt sad for these men in that they are "doing religion" and not knowing the true God. Pray that God will show Himself to the Muslim people. He is moving here and it is exciting to watch and participate with Him.