Yelfa is a marabout who lives next door. An islamic holy man, well versed in the mysteries of the Koran. That doesn't prevent him from getting involved in business however, and he runs a little shop where one buys the articles of day-to-day existance: soap powder, sardines and mosquito repellent coils. It is a humble establishment measuring no more than 2x2m, but it does have a fridge/freezer ; the same type as the ones I have bought for the hotel as a matter of fact, of Algerian manufacture and no doubt spiritred across the border by some enterprising tuareg.
And what do I find nestling on the bottom shelf of this fridge? FRENCH BUTTER if you please!
And not out of date, nor damaged. Real French butter at 500 FCFA a packet! (cheaper than England at just over 50p) That is 300 francs cheaper than the butter sold by that fat Lebanese trader in Mopti who sells to all the toubab hotels.
I have now made a deal with Yelfa, who will be my purveyor of finest pasteurised toubab butter. God only knows how he gets hold of it...Have ordered 50 packets which will be delivered on Sunday. And do not fear, dear potential visitors. I have eaten this butter for three weeks and I am well and flourishing.