|Most Malians, whether in the city or
in the countryside, live in households with three generations -- grandparents,
parents, and children. Larger households include brothers and their
wives and children, as well as visiting relatives and friends. Family
life revolves around the courtyard; people there are always working,
chatting, listening to music, or just relaxing.
While different family groups usually have their own private quarters
within the household, mealtimes bring them together. In many large
households all the men eat in one group, the women and children
in another. Visitors who come at mealtime are always invited to
share the food. People sit on the ground and eat the meal - which
traditionally consists of only one dish -- with their fingers from
a common plate. But nowadays in more prosperous and/or "Westernized"
settings, people sit at a table, use individual plates and utensils,
and meals consist of a variety of dishes.