Old 07-09-2010, 22:53   #16
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Many thanks to all who have provided information and assistance thus far. Current status is that I had a phone conversation/interview with a woman from our international programs office. Kinda threw me for a loop when she asked if I would mind continuing the conversation in French for a few minutes...tried to explain, in my best residual French, that I haven't tried to use that for nearly 15 years, but I did manage to struggle along for the next few minutes. I guess it was more about vetting than proficiency, just to be sure I wasn't totally bullshitting, because she told me aftwards that I did just fine. It was also pretty comical to see all the people in the office stop what they were doing and look over their desks trying to figure out what the hell kind of phone conversation I was having. I guess Forest Service employees in Minnesota aren't used to eavesdropping on conversations in French.

Should learn in the next week or two if I am selected for this detail; not sure at this point what my anwer might be if I have to make that decision. Thanks again for all your help and any additional assitance anyone might still provide.

BTW- since I'm here: vetting...can anyone help square me away please. My circle of knowledge was pretty much limited to Aco 2/3, '93-96, and a few 2nd Bn staff from '97. Many thanks.
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Old 07-11-2010, 14:52   #17
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Mali 2007 here. Be very carefully. Lot's of people there will want to keep yuou from returning stateside with any of your money. I've worked with their Military though and most of them will try and keep their noses clean but even then, not many can be 100 percent trustworthy. You can throwaway your watch and start learning what "African-time" is. If you have any pointed questions, ask away.
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Old 07-11-2010, 19:25   #18
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Mali 2007 here. Be very carefully. Lot's of people there will want to keep yuou from returning stateside with any of your money. I've worked with their Military though and most of them will try and keep their noses clean but even then, not many can be 100 percent trustworthy. You can throwaway your watch and start learning what "African-time" is. If you have any pointed questions, ask away.

Not many worries about the money, I don't personally have much to start with- I will be TDY with most, if not all, expenses already covered...pretty much, the only $$ I would have with me in-country would be Uncle Sugar's. The people I would be working with or otherwise interacting with would be local guides who have already been screened to some extent and pre-selected villagers. Presumably, I won't have any problems with our NGO partners who will be setting up the travel, lodging, meals, etc. as our project would be a follow-on to several others that have already taken place.
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:16   #19
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I worked for a man from Mali. He had an MBA from Columbia University. Very nice guy, very bright. BUT- He believed with all his heart and soul that the CIA had made the AIDS virus in a lab and released it in Africa to kill all the Africans. The only reason I related this story is to remind you that even though you probably will be dealing with intelligent, educated individuals, they were raised in a culture with a different mind-set and priorities. Be aware that what you consider the "Right Thing to Do" may not be relevant to your counterpart's beliefs...
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:25   #20
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I worked for a man from Mali. He had an MBA from Columbia University. Very nice guy, very bright. BUT- He believed with all his heart and soul that the CIA had made the AIDS virus in a lab and released it in Africa to kill all the Africans. The only reason I related this story is to remind you that even though you probably will be dealing with intelligent, educated individuals, they were raised in a culture with a different mind-set and priorities. Be aware that what you consider the "Right Thing to Do" may not be relevant to your counterpart's beliefs...
And the chopping off of your head will please the gods.

Watch your back!!!
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Old 07-12-2010, 16:01   #21
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I worked for a man from Mali. He had an MBA from Columbia University. Very nice guy, very bright. BUT- He believed with all his heart and soul that the CIA had made the AIDS virus in a lab and released it in Africa to kill all the Africans. The only reason I related this story is to remind you that even though you probably will be dealing with intelligent, educated individuals, they were raised in a culture with a different mind-set and priorities. Be aware that what you consider the "Right Thing to Do" may not be relevant to your counterpart's beliefs...
Since leaving the military, I have worked for the Census Bureau (briefly), the National Park Service, and currently the US Forest Service. Day in and day out, I am reminded that everyone believes what they wanna believe, and for many there is nothing you can say or do that will convince them that there is not an evil agenda behind what you are doing. Best bet I've found is to build that one on one rapport and convince them that you are the "exception"; and discreetly hide a can o' whoopass in your offside hand just in case.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:48   #22
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Follow up

As a follow up to close this thread out, I got word this morning that I did not get selected for the detail. My thanks for the information and assitance provided. Take care, be safe, continue doing great and wonderful things.

BTAR
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Old 07-31-2010, 18:02   #23
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have been there recently,
2nd poorest country in africa people are nicer in the smaller towns compared to Bamako which is the capital, country is overrun with corruption, only to classes of people, the rich and the poor. and there is a presence of Al-Qaeda
but most of it is north of the Niger river, mostly kidnap for ransom. Oh and forget about any normal driving standard, everyone drives like a nut.

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Old 08-04-2010, 08:17   #24
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Strange how things work out. About an hour after I got the phone message that I wasn't selected for the detail, I started seeing the news bits about the raid in the northern portion of the country. I suppose I should probably be grateful that some other unarmed American fed employee was selected for the project.

Could be that other opportunities come along in the future- thanks again to everyone who helped and provided input.

Prayers out to Captain Holbrook and SSG Warren, their family, their friends, and their brothers. RIP warrriors.
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Old 08-25-2010, 17:20   #25
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I suppose I should probably be grateful that some other unarmed American fed employee was selected for the project.
Splendid. At least I'll get to have some "cool" dreams at USG expense.

Signed,

The Unarmed Employee

Note: I was "selected" for another job over there and wasn't competing for BM's spot.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:00   #26
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Just returned from Mali

I got back from a short trip over to Mali. I was "confined" to Bamako so if anyone is heading over soon, feel free to PM.
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Old 02-21-2011, 19:14   #27
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Mali stampede in Bamako 'kills dozens'

So much for the religion of peace. Sounds like a midnight madness sale at Wal-Mart.

From the BBC:

21 February 2011 Last updated at 19:06 ET

Mali stampede in Bamako 'kills dozens'


At least 30 people have been killed in a stampede at a stadium in the Malian capital of Bamako, officials say.

Seventy others were injured in the incident, which occurred at the end of a sermon given by imam Osman Madani Haidara.

The stampede happened at the Modibo Keita Stadium, which seats 25,000.

The crowd reportedly wanted to be blessed by the imam after the speech, made on the festival of Maouloud, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.

Most of the dead were crushed against metal fencing as they waited, Mali's minister of interior security and civil protection said.

Relatives gathered at the Gabriel Toure Hospital, trying to find out information about the dead and wounded.

"I've already had it confirmed that my aunt died," Sidiki Coulibaly told the Associated Press news agency.

"We are now trying to find out what happened to her daughter. She's just 10 years old. They go to this event together every year."
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