Sunday, September 14, 2014
Monday, September 08, 2014
The Sleeping Camel
I have spent nearly a week in Bamako doing useful things, beginning last Thursday morning with my voting for the Swedish Parliamentary elections at the Swedish Embassy. I then stayed on to photograph the new MaliMali collection and to put it up on the MaliMali website: a task I could not have achieved in Djenne because of the bad internet connection. None of my customary friends and hosts were in Bamako, so I had to cast around for somewhere to stay. I could not quite face the Catholic hostel by the cathedral and its spartan cells so I decided to go up one notch and to stay at a hostel called The Sleeping Camel, still good value, and well known to the back packer variety of travellers. A very friendly sort of place where people spread out their Michelin West Africa maps over the tables, drink beer from the bottle and discuss travel plans, mainly in English, since the place is owned by Matt, an Australian and now run by Phil Pauletta, a young American. It turned out to be a very useful place to stay: I was able to use Djenneba (above) the chef as one of my models and Hawa the waitress as the other one, and John an English biker on a trip around the world lent us his bike as a prop!
Tomorrow back to Djenne again...
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
(And just by the bye: the Donkey Girl without name is pregnant again. Birgit will be pleased: there may be a new little donkey foal by Christmas for her to brush? Boubakar is now quite a grown up!)
Trouble at the library
"How to be loved" is the matter dealt with in these manuscripts dealing with magic . Maybe I need to consult them?
There is not only trouble at the hotel, but the contagion has spread to the manuscript library... The staff is back from their holiday and work has resumed this week. I have been finishing off an article about the Djenné Manuscript Library’s collection and the digitization project for a jubilee publication for the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme. I needed certain informations from Garba, one of the archivists. I asked him to work with Mohammed, the young man who translates from Arabic into English to gather this data for me. And Garba refused! My request once more concerned that old bone of contention: manuscripts written in a local African language but using Arabic script. I have had habitual run-ins about this subject over the last few years: I want it entered into the database what language is used, but Garba and Yelpha have been trained in Timbuktu where they were told to write just ‘local language’. After many fights I finally had my way and these manuscripts are now listed as witten in ‘Fulfulde’ Songhai’ ‘Bozo ‘ or ‘Bambara’ etc.
Friday, August 22, 2014
An Ordinary African Day...
Back to Diabolo
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
A protest and some bona fide hotel guests
We operated Under the name mali Yaara Adventure Tours and our website was/is
When I read your latest blog entry I was shocked that a "tour guide" from mali Ad
venture Tours stood you up- after receiving money from you!
I don't know who that person was an I assure you that he has nothing to do with us!
Sending you greetings from Switzerland,
Of course, I thought at the time that the swindlers might well have just used the name of an agency they may have worked for in the past. Anyway I thought I should publish Haike's indignant message, to wipe the name of the agency quite clean and ready for future use!
And this last Sunday we did have a bona fide group with us who did not let us down: 17 intrepid Italians had travelled here through morocco and mauritania in their 4X4s, just like in the old days! God bless the Italians and their total distrust and
Friday, August 15, 2014
Sunset and A Malian Scam.
This event arrives a couple of days earlier every year. If I had been any good at science this might make me contemplate the reasons for what seems like an interesting yearly discrepancy in the movement of the earth and the sun. As it is, I am content simply to enjoy the pleasant spectacle from my sunset terrace, sipping my whisky and water.
As far as the hotel goes, there was some rare guests expected last week end. A reservation had been made three weeks ago by telephone from a Malian travel agency called Mali Aventure, with which we have had dealings in the past. The reservation was for three rooms for two nights. This is a good reservation for us now, since there is hardly ever anyone here. So Baba and I spent plenty of time in the rooms to make sure everything was in good shape the day before the arrival of the group. On the morning they were supposed to arrive, I phoned the tour leader and asked if the guests were going to have dinner and if so, if there were any special instructions re: vegetarians etc. The tour leader said he would ask.