Sunday, February 25, 2007

My entire staff went and bought themselves mobile phones with their first salary. (From the left Fatou the sou-chef, Baba the waiter, Beigna the barman, Papa the chef and Ali the 'chambermaid'.) Mobiles are the essential status symbol here. People spend hours fidgeting with their mobile phones and having long conversations about them, such as when recently one of the two Malian mobile networks Ikatel was bought up by Orange. This was a national event, and people actually talked about it. I nearly died of boredom, and when asked what I thought about it, I said that I could not contribute in any useful way to the debate.
I gave certain members of the staff credit on their phones so that they would be able to phone me in case of need. So Beigna took to phoning me in the morning, asking me if I had slept well, about quarter of an hour before he was due to turn up at the hotel anyway! Posted by Picasa


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