Dembele, my first friend in Djenne, and now my bogolan assistant, has been losing weight lately. I only noticed it today- he is not well. I have also discovered the cause of his affliction- it is unhappy love for Nana, his first and only love, who got married to someone else last Saturday.
For an insight into the beginning of this tragic love affair, please look up the very first blog entry, under July 21st 2006.
I told him, in a grown-up boring old way that he would meet someone else and that all would be well. But then I thought- would it?
Nana's wedding was not the sort of wedding we understand in the West. Dembele was invited, there were big celebrations, Nana wore a lovely boubou and lots of amber in her hair and big gold earrings. She smiled and danced to the flutes and the drums that went on for three days. There was something missing however: the bride groom was not there. He emigrated to The US many years ago, and has not been back since. Nana is his cousin, and the last time they saw each other Nana was twelve years old.
An old man represented Nana'a husband. It was in fact his father, a former member of parliament for Djenne, who had decided twenty years ago with Nana's father that their children would wed. He were to take her to the States to meet her husband, but unfortunatelty he passed away yesterday.
There are rumours about Nana's husband: some say he refused to come back to Mali to pick up his bride- he is in a well established relationship with a girl from New York who will presumably not take kindly to a young bride turning up from Mali...