On my first day in Bamako, I went for a walk up around the bluffs that look down upon the town. I was mainly just going for a stroll as it looked like a nice place for a view over this infinitely sprawling town of two million inhabitants. It also happens that in the caves that are splattered heavily across these bluffs there are apparently cave paintings from the earliest humans to live in the area that Bamako now occupies.
After a couple of failed attempts to scale some rugged paths in sandals, I finally came to an easy way to get up to the top. With the caves in the distance, I came to the top of a ledge and found sprawling before me new home construction that was being partially built from the rocks quarried out of the bluffs by hand. I was thankful that it was by hand to this point because if it had been mechanized, the whole top of the plateau would probably be gone.
It’s sad that this chunk of history is being removed just to make room for yet more one story homes in Hippodrome Deux. I believe that the caves below the Presidential Palace a bit to the West are still intact, but still, while I realize that this must appear as “just some rocks”, they’re not replaceable rocks that are being transformed in to homes that will likely be razed in the coming decades as they’re being built quite fast and cheaply.
This type of thing annoys me as I’m constantly seeing it everywhere in the world as we convert more of the planet in to more human beings and more space for human beings. From the coasts of Spain and Croatia to the Sacramento Valley where I grew up in Northern California, it’s everywhere and really, it has to stop. We have to learn how to contain our sprawl and the impact of said sprawl. Anyways, Eco-Geek rant over. On to finer things in Mali.
See the Bamako Plateau before it's gone