Friday Film! The Masons of Djenné

From the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibit on the architecture of Mali, meet five master masons of Mali in this series of short videos. Click through to watch a set of interviews (in Bambara, with English subtitles). I learned a lot about this ancient craft, and was struck by the incredible amount of pride these men take in their work. Plus, I learned a new proverb:

Kɔgɔ t’a fɔ a yɛrɛ ka di. –Salt shouldn’t brag that it’s tasty.

Weekend Bambara Lesson

In honor of this past week’s Mardi Gras festivities, how do you say “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” or “Let the good times roll” in Bambara?

A y’a to kodumanw k’u tile kɛ u fɛrɛ ma!


A ye waati dumanw to u ka tɛmɛn u fɛrɛ ma!

Note: In Bambara you would add fɛrɛ ma meaning “librement” or “freely.”

Thanks for this translation go to Djibril Coulibaly, our fantastic editor. Djibril was one of my Bambara teachers when I was a Peace Corps trainee 15 years ago, and now teaches French in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

How about you? Would you like to see more Bambara lessons on the blog?

March Volunteer Hackathon!

Hello all Dokotoro friends,

Next weekend, on Sunday March 9th, we will be having our next Dokotoro Project Hackathon, or volunteer party. And we need YOUR help! No special language or technical skills necessary (although if you speak French or Bambara, that’s a plus).

Please let us know if you can join us, either in person in downtown Oakland, California or virtually (for example, one of our volunteers will be working from her own computer that afternoon).

If you are joining in person, please bring a laptop if you have one. Afterwards, we’ll have food and drinks and plenty of time to hang out and socialize.

Dokotoro Project Hackathon
Sunday, March 9, 2014, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
RSVP to Matt for details