1. Cultural atmosphere and local geography (languages, ethnicities, unique characteristics)
Oradara is capital to the Siamo tribe ( for lack of a better word ) – but other ethnic groups that live in the area include the Tousianne, and the more distant Sambla ( further along the road to Bobo ) the Turka and Samogo, and the Senafou. The languages that I am used to hearing spoken are French, and Jula, and Siamou, Senafou, and Tousian. Oradara has lots of fruits and veggies in most all seasons (due to old fruit tree projects, and the general greenness of the area ). The region is rolling/hilly, and there are a few barrages. One barrage is in Diere as you head towards Mali border, but it's small. There is a giant lake 7 KM behind Mussodougou worth a camping trip to see, fish in? Swim in?
2. How to get there and away
There are various transportation options coming from Mali like Yi HOUCHEE and Sogebaf – but my recommendation is to avoid them if you can, and get on TCV or Rakieta once in Oradara ( both on the main road RN8 that runs through Oradara ) Either of them will get you to Bobo in about one hour and 15 minutes from Oradara. During holiday seasons it is WISE to book ahead, or go directly into Oradara to get your ticket – as they don’t have room always to stop for passengers to latch on. Also note that the Marche day is Saturday – so if you are coming from Bobo on Sat. AM or leaving Oradara on Sat. PM you will run into difficulty getting on the bus.
3. Places to stay
Hotel Prestiege is nice but a little pricey. Their cheapest room is 7000 cfa and includes a bathroom and shower. Air-conditioned rooms are also available. Reportedly – if you are a PCV Health – you may be able to crash at the Distric Office in what I imagine is a bungalow quarters type situation with the most maggoty toilets ever.
4. Post Office –
There’s a Poste right next to the mosque on the road to Tin/Diguera. Hours of operation 7:30AM-Noon, and 3:00PM – 5:00PM. Christian and Gaston work there – along with someone’s adorable Post office cat. They are super helpful and friendly, as is the post office guard. You can get money out of this post as well.
5. Marche –
Is always up and running (you can’t miss it off the RN8 – on the right hand side if you are coming in from Bobo ) You can get most anything in the Boutiques embedded in the Marche and the Marche itself. Saturday is Marche day – and all sorts of other goods like used clothes and chinese faux brand sneakers, radios, the works come in barrels.
6. Boutiques –
Lots, as well as libraries for paper and small office supplies – just wander on the outskirts of the Marche.
There is one that is favored by locals right in front of the Cinema (movie theater). There are several Buvettes and Restaurants just around the Medicine District Office (including one watering hole that literally backs right up to it where all the IDEs, AISs Accuchoses, and all District Personnel go to have cold ones). They always have a pig roasting in that buvette as well – so cold beers, sodas, and pork. The Prestige is also a good option but is a bit pricey. Festin also comes recommended and can be found next to the Shell Station. Rumor has it they’ve got excellent sauce arachide.
8. Street food and snacks –
A favorite is always the achekeh (manioc with fish, onions, tomatoes, sauce, and pima) Rice and sauce are available everywhere. Also a nice place to get fresh bread is the bakery (just on the other side of the Cinema on the same RN8 road). If you time it right – you get a hot baguette or a delicious braided bread. Also, a little buvette next to Rakieta sells good yogurt. Coconut Popsicles are also available at the school for delinquent boys just past the Catholic church.
10. Internet –
Neant… but rumored to be coming. There is access to computers at Prestige and rumor has it you can hook up your laptop at the Catholic mission.
11. Tailor - ??
12. Recreational Activities…
Though there is a Cinema, I have never seen it working. There are places to dance during the evening (I am imagining most of them are all around the Marche area and not out in the neighborhoods – which quickly become very brousse-like if you ever explore them).
13. Tourist Activities…
There are barrages in Diere and Mussodougou (bike riding back there is very pretty). The bike ride out to Tin is also very pretty and there is a hill in Tin that you can hike up.