In the summer of 2010, I had the chance to work with a small group and go over to Mali, Africa where we helped build a school.
We were there for about two and half weeks. It was my first time going on a trip like this one.
We stayed in Bamako, the capitol Mali. Our mode of transportation was a van with wooden boards along the insides.
There were scooters, people and cars everywhere. And yes, I saw lots of people walking around carrying baskets on their heads; most of them were selling whatever it was they carried.
Work started early in the day and lasted until it got too hot, usually ending before 3 p.m.
There was a group of up to 15 guys helping us every day. Most of whom were teachers that worked at the school, or friends of the head of the school, Jean Pierre, who helped arrange our trip and activities while we were there.
Once our load of sand arrived we had to move it from behind the school to the front, where we had a pulley system to transport the sand. The sand was mixed with bags of cement and used for spackling the classrooms that had walls and a ceiling, and for making bricks for the other.
It was interesting watching them make the bricks. They had a mold, and three guys would mix the sand and cement, pack it into the mold and then take the mold off and move onto the next one. You could tell they had been doing it for awhile.
One day, I was able to go out with a missionary, to a local village and help with medical treatment.
I took everyone’s blood pressure, including the chief of the village. It was a great experience for me because I want to go into the medical field, and hopefully go on medical trips around the world. To see that a change for the better can be made was very encouraging.
The trip was a great experience for me. To experience a different culture and to see how similar we all are. I will never forget the people I met and the kids that came by everyday to watch us work.