on a plane towards Dakar [then Douala, "direct"] from Bamako. a day late and ~$80 dollars short. that's how much changing the departure date cost... but c'est la vie!
saying goodbye was somehow easier this time. i'm very happy with what i saw/experienced/learned in Mali. happy i came here. questions, yes. those will come to pass... will be answered. no regrets.
people in Mali have this custom. if you think you'll not be seeing the person you're saying goodbye to again you shake hands with your left. you do it "wrong" so that, one day, you'll be forced to meet again and do it "right." there's wisdom in Africa.