Segou, Mali, November 7, 2007
Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
85Trip End Jan 05, 2008
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Now I'm not really sure if the widely held assumption that a democratic form of government leads to good governance and less corruption is necessarily true, but our experience is reasonably democratic Mali would provide some supporting evidence. In Mali we experienced little official corruption, no bribes to be paid, and no encounters with police or other figures of authority on the make
We found one such example of friendliness and lack of corruption as we left Segou. Halfway down a crowded street we all realized the crowds were signaling to the drivers they were going the wrong way down the one way street. However, there was no way for the truck to back up or turn around on the busy market street so Dave continued forward to the traffic circle at the main road where the policed summoned Daphne to the side and Dave got out to explain. Whereas in many places corrupt gendarmes would pull White drivers over to fine them for fabricated infractions, here where the driver could have been fined for a legitimate traffic transgression our punishment was that we had to drive back down the street in the right direction and leave the city (via the same traffic circle) by the correct route out of town.
We camped that night a short distance east of town in a well-populated agricultural area where we were visited by Bambara locals in both evening and morning. Every so often a donkey cart hauling wood would pass through our campsite, tents spread near the truck along both sides of a dirt trek through the fields, and I could also see the eerie sight of convoys of dozens of such carts traveling through the night along the main road a short distance away.