When Dany and I were in Mali in 2011, we stayed at the Hotel Mande, located on the banks of the Niger River.
On one of our afternoons, Dany got to speaking with a fisherman - Goussou - and his son. We noticed that they had an outboard motor and came to learn that they had a farm on the other side of the river. Next thing I knew, I was on the boat, attempting not to overturn the boat and crossing the Niger River.
The outboard worked well and the roughly 1/4 mile trip tool us less than 10 minutes. (I imagine this would have taken triple this time with oars).
We were immediately greeted by a large mango tree at the riverbank. As we walked further, we saw banana, papaya, lemon and date palm trees lining beds lush beds of Citronella, Woussou Greens, Bissop & Niambi Roots. We also saw several chickens, Guinea fowl, ducks, and goats.
Goussou also owns a 3.5 horsepower gas engine that he uses to pump water from the river to his fields seems to be thriving; his crops seem well irrigated, his animals are happy. from the river to irrigate his crops. He also uses a small engine to propel his
In the short time that we spent with Gousou, it was clear that his motorized pump was significantly more efficient at irrigating his field than a watering can. In addition, his outboard motor was much faster than a paddle making it possible for him to fish a larger area and more quickly transport goods and himself across the river to sell them. He could also make some extra cash giving tourists the experience of a lifetime.
That night, as Dany and I listened to the recording that Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate's made at the hotel Mande we were affirmed and excited by the promise of improved lives and livelihoods through mechanism.