Posted by: Diema Village Ventures | March 22, 2015

A Day in the life of a Nomad in Mali

Village life in Africa is not an easy life,but for the Nomadic Tribes such as Fulani and Bedioun its even tougher..
Everyone is awake around 5.30 am everyday..Mothers boil hot water by making a fire of wood whilst children go out searching for twigs and branches to stoke up fires.
Once hot water is ready, its used for making a porridge of fine millet which they get from trading milk from their goats..they like to drink tea but its too expensive for most, so normally its just porridge washed down with water afterwards..
Now water has to be can be more than 2 kilometres away from their dwelling place.. Containers used are also highly prized and difficult to find and mostly they are old 20 litre plastic cooking oil bottles. These are carried on the heads of women and girls..a long walk..some maybe lucky and have a donkey to carry they’re load..but either way its a life we would not wish on anyone in the West.
Its traditional that women and children go and collect water from a nearby well or river as well as wood for the fires..
After breakfast the menfolk as well as some of they’re children go out as shepherds taking their goats and sheep to graze..But unlike the West there are few places to find food for the animals..A massive problem has been created over time because the Fulani tribal people’s have cut down any tasty trees and its branches to keep their animals alive..thus changing the topography of our area.
Once in the 1980s there were lions in Diema and its surrounding villages but but now its become Sahel..almost a desert..
While the men and boys are away tending their animals, the real work of both women and young girls begin..after water and wood has been gathered ready for the rest if the day..Yogurt of goats milk is made, this is done by pouring the fresh milk in a calabash and is shaken for maybe an hour thus curdling the milk.
The women take this to market (which can be 5/6 kilomtrese walk from were they live) to sell to Malian village people.
In the meantime the young girls will be home, looking after the younger children and pounding millet in the large wooden pestle and mortar for the days meal.
There is a simple sauce made from an onion gravy…if there’s chance of buying or bartering for other condiments and vegetables they will add tomatoes, may be some ground peanuts which give a small amount of nutrition (certainly not enough for they’re labour is really tough on a daily basis)
The highlight in life are normally wedding’s when an animal is killed for all around to come and share.
Even then so many will come that its only a morsel of meat that any one person will usually eat. The heart of any bird or animal is the delicacy and is given to the most honoured individual at the function.
If and when time avails women and children will gather dried grasses and weave them into baskets or plates.
These are mainly for the use of the family or for wedding gifts If they have excess they will try and sell them in the market.
By 6pm the daylight disappears and whatever hasn’t been achieved has to be done either by moon light or by the light of the evening fires..
Both Bedioun and Fulani people sleep together on one bench- like bed made from bamboo.
We really have little idea how different and difficult life is..when I shake hands with any man or women from these areas I can feel the pain the work that’s fine unto keeping themselves and their families alive.


  1. thanks Pan for the interesting insight of the real everyday-life in Afrika

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