Bra Mali….

The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population number between 400,000 to 800,000[3] The Dogon are best known for their mythology, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organization, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali’s major tourist attractions.

The principal Dogon area is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment, a sandstone cliff of up to 1,640 ft high, stretching for about 150 km almost 100 miles. To the southeast of the cliff, the sandy Séno-Gondo Plains are found, and northwest of the cliff are the Bandiagara Highlands.The current population is between 400,000 to 800,000.

Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people’s collective refusal to convert to Islam a thousand years ago. Dogon insecurity in the face of these historical pressures caused them to locate their villages in defensible positions along the walls of the escarpment. The other factor influencing their choice of settlement location is water. The Niger River is nearby and in the sandstone rock, a rivulet runs at the foot of the cliff at the lowest point of the area during the wet season.

The majority of Dogon practice an animist religion, including the ancestral spirit Nommo, with its festivals and a mythology in which Sirius plays an important part. A significant minority of the Dogon practice Islam, and some have been converted by missionaries to Christianity.

Most men, however, have only one wife, and it is rare for a man to have more than two wives. Formally, wives only join their husband’s household after the birth of their first child. Women may leave their husbands early in their marriage, before the birth of their first child. (All of this was taken off the internet)

I went on a 5 day 4 night hiking trip. We started in one campgroundand throughout the 5 days, we walked up the side of a mountain, along the top, then back down again where we stayed the last night on sand dunes. The view from the top is AMAZING!
Our guide was really good, he works 99% with Peace Corps volunteers. Dogon is really big, and we only saw a very small portion of it. It takes over a month to see it all.
Overall the trip was really great.

I have added pictures(with captions!)

For a more detailed blog on our actual trip go to http://www.erikspeacecorpsexperience.blogspot.com/
His is better!

Mail Received:
Kristen Wilson
Carolyn Shaw
Aaron Kidwell
Mrs. Ripples Class

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