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Easter in Mali

Yesu Kunnuna! (He is risen!)

Easter here in Mali was very lively and very busy!
Friday evening, we had a Good Friday service at 8 o’clock (for which we arrived at 6, thinking we were right on time!). Coming from a church whose Good Friday service is a very dark, somber affair, it was very interesting to experience a service that was actually quite lively and upbeat (Jesus died to save us! What a reason to celebrate with dancing!).

Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early for a sunrise service on the roof of our guesthouse. There were about 20 people there and we enjoyed the smaller, more intimate time of singing and a short talk, followed by a nice time of fellowship together over a potluck breakfast.

Next, we headed off to our regular Sunday morning church service. While the church normally holds two services, the first in Bambara and the second in French, the Easter service was a joint one, with everything translated into the other language. As a result, the church was very full and lively with both choirs present and extra seating set up outside. In addition, the Christian women’s association always puts out a specific Easter cloth for the churches around Bamako that people can buy and have clothes tailored. So, many people in the church on Sunday morning, including us, were all matching. It was quite interesting to see the wide variety of styles that had been created. All in all, it made for a very lively, joyful, colourful service with lots of music, dancing, clapping, and singing; a great celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus!

After spending a relaxing afternoon at home, we got right back at it with an English service with a lot of other expats, followed by a potluck dinner (and communion! Which we haven’t had a chance to participate in since we left, so that was a treat!).

Easter Monday was also a great time, as we went to an Easter party with lots of good food and a fun Easter egg hunt for the kids that were there. We later went to a concert at our church, which consisted of several church choirs and lots of dancing!

Although very busy, our Easter was a great time of communion with other believers as we worshiped together and celebrated Christ’s resurrection.

As we have just completed some translations for the year-end reports, we got to learn a lot about some of the agricultural work that World Renew is doing in different parts of the country.
One very interesting agricultural program that World Renew is working on, and for which we translated reports, is called bocage. They have taken a plot of land that is surrounded by four villages, and worked with the villages to create an agreement to work together to reclaim that land by implementing sustainable agricultural practices to create fertile soil where crops can flourish, increasing yields and improving food security. Practices that are implemented include:
- Using compost instead of chemical fertilizers (which are expensive and must be bought each year)
- Mulching: laying down straw so the sun doesn’t dry out the soil
- Implementing crop rotation to give the soil different nutrients
- Creating retaining walls to fight against erosion

Now we are looking forward to a Spiritual Retreat next week and some World Renew West Africa Team meetings the week after that, all in Senegal. It will be nice to meet the rest of the West Africa staff, see a bit of WR’s work in Senegal, and learn about the culture in a different part of West Africa!