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Developed by: Cindy Hoagland, Liz Nicastro, and Mary Scafe


Objective: To further international understanding, gain an appreciation for diversity, and have a greater awareness of differences. (This study unit can be modified to fit any curriculum).


A Day at Kombre

  1. Using the attached chart, write a timeline of a typical day in your life (e.g. what time you got up, what your daily routine consists of, what you eat for meals and how they are prepared, school time activities, after school activities, bedtime routine). After completing the chart, be sure to include a few sentences describing where you live and all the conveniences you enjoy from living there.
  2. Before reading Mali, complete a few sentences describing what you think a typical day consists of in Mali.
  3. Read Mali.
  4. Using the attached venn diagram, compare and contrast your day with what you have learned about Mali.
  5. Discuss with your classmates the most interesting thing you learned about Mali.


4:00 a.m.

5:30 a.m.

5:50 a.m.

9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

10:00 p.m.


4:00 a.m.         Sitan, the newest wife awakens to begin her chores.

  • Heat water for husband’s bath
  • Cook for husband & family
  • Builds fires

5:30 a.m.         The rest of the family village awakens and work begins on the pounding of grain.

5:50 a.m.         Sitan tells her husband that his hot water is ready.

  • Baths and prayers begin – women are not to be seen praying.
  • Women take turns washing all the clothes.
  • Women and children fetch wood.
  • Women and children fetch water too.
  • All tend the fields.

9:30 a.m.         Sitan returns from gathering dry branches for the fire

  • Sitan distributes the millet tộ (porridge)
  • Children have no eating tools – therefore the little ones need to be washed from head to toe before and after the meal.

10:30   a.m.    Male children are herding the sheep.

11:00 a.m.       Radio is playing in courtyard – a Muslim religious program explaining the ritual of washing. They live by the Koran.

12:00 p.m.       Sitan and the other woman gather around a traveling salesman – because they have little cash, they cannot buy anything.

  • Husband gives her $10 and three bags of millet, sorghum and rice each harvest (year).
  • If husband goes to the city, Sitan cannot go out of the yard without his permission.
  • Husband admits he beats his wife for things such as not having his hot water ready in time for prayers, if food is not ready when he is hungry, or if she does not welcome him warmly.

2:00 p.m.         Sitan tends to Alassane, because his mother is tending to her dying child Abassou.

  • Sitan and other women are often sent to get more water.
  • Family leader does not know numbers, ages of family members or even how many in the family.
  • Age has no importance.
  • Women fetch water for the men.

3:00 p.m.         Two male children are registered for school – enrollment is every two years for three classes with two teachers – however the family leader does not like to send too many to school as it would take away manpower from the fields.

  • Girls do not go to school, at age 14 they are ready for marriage.
  • Females crush karate nuts and rolls them into balls that will be used for cooking oil.
  • Millet pounding is also going on.

3:30 p.m.         Male children come home with a partridge that they shot.

  • The village has four divisions and one has hired “Griots” to sing and play music so they can dance.
  • Griots pass on oral history in their songs.

6:00 p.m.         Women bathe the young ones.

  • Fires are burning and water is warming for evening porridge.
  • On special occasions the generator comes out and videos are watched on a television.
  • Men talk politics – however most politicians cannot be trusted.

10:00 p.m.       All go to bed as night is the time for spirits.