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… …to give shade to livestock, and keep a house front cool. Door and window detail: And stenciling, just for the sake of beauty (or so I was told)…. 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.