Rebuilding Livelihoods in Mali: Back to Normal

By Alinta Geling

Amadou owns a small shop in the town of Douentza in the central region of Mopti. He mostly sells milk, soap, rice, and tea, but customers also stop by for oil and sweets, or just to chat. In addition to being a shopkeeper, Amadou farms a field just outside of town during the rainy season. It is not easy handling both jobs, but his family is supportive and helps whenever possible.

Although Amadou works hard to make a living, the past year has been rough. In 2012, he and his family were living in Douentza when the jihadists entered the city and took over power by force. He wanted to leave, but couldn’t find the means to move his whole family. Amadou recalls that everyone was afraid, and there wasn’t anyone on the street, let alone in his shop. “Life was difficult, and I was not able to feed my wife and three kids a meal every day,” he says. “If we had a meal one day, we wouldn’t eat the next day—that is how we managed.”

Recently, Amadou received four sacks of millet from NEF as part of the RECAPE II project. He is extremely grateful that now his family can enjoy a proper meal every day. And with the end of the crisis and a little help, slowly but surely life is getting back to normal for Amadou and others like him. His business is improving, and with the rainy season just around the corner, he expects to be able to provide for his family again very soon. “I hope my children will grow up in safety,” he says. “I want them to go to school and take care of me later in life—that’s all I wish for.”

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