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Day 1 – by Brendan O’Connell

(Our bloggers on the Peace Engineering J-term trip are having some problems accessing the internet to post directly on our blog site so I will be posting for them via their blog posts which the group will e-mail to me).

This blog post was written by Brendan O’Connell.

The team arrived in Mali January 9th around 11:45pm. Out hotel, called The Sleeping Camel is home base for the weeklong stay. Landing in Bamako was an experience in itself. As soon as we walked off the plane, the smell of burning charcoal filled the air and it was quite hazy. The wait time to get our bags and pass through Mali customs took a good amount of time. Our professor, Dr. Greg Mowry described it best as “organized chaos”.  We settled in and all passed out after the long journey.

The very next morning we drove to meet our sponsoring company ICRISAT about 25 minutes from our hotel. We met all the people who we were to be working with during the duration of our stay. Dr. Fred Rattunde is our leader, organizer, and translator for the trip. He showed the team around the ICRISAT research facility and introduced us to other employees.

After the introductions were over, the team did it’s own harvest, crush, and concentrate of sweet sorghum while gaining valuable insight from another ICRISAT employee named Baloua Nebiie. He showed us how they made the syrup and gave us information about the growing in Mali. We finished the production of syrup, had lunch and left back to the hotel for the rest of the day.

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