Expat Living, Mali
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on village design

I’m in rural villages south of Bamako 1-2 times/week, where agriculture is king, extended families keep mud-brick homes in welcoming enclosures, and aged chiefs rule the roost. Of all the things to appreciate about these villages,* I get the biggest thrill from the fantastic design–of homes, shared spaces, meeting places, etc.–that abounds, sometimes running a common thread through the region, and other times rendering unique a particular locale. The materials are relatively standard, but creativity is not lacking; function and form are perfectly served. Here’s a start:

Working arbors and trellises: To train gourds, grape vines, and other edibles…

Mali rural village garden trellis design gourd plant farm agriculture

Mali rural village garden trellis design grape vine farm agriculture

…to give shade to livestock, and keep a house front cool.

Mali rural village shelter home weave traditional hut

Door and window detail:

Mali village rural traditional hut design detail door wood carving


And stenciling, just for the sake of beauty (or so I was told)….

DSCN5740 tounoufouStenciling
More to come–there’s always more.

*The second-best aspect might be the village names, mouthy, ping-ponging, and overflowing with vowels: Ouelessebougou, Tinkele, Bananzole, Marako, Tounoufou, Bagayokobougou, and on and on.

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