Friday, September 04, 2009


The Constant Flux of Things.
When everything is difficult one can take a philosophical comfort in the absolute fact that Things Always Change.*
Whether they change for the better of for the worse one doesn’t know, of course. But they will change. And after the change one might not really know whether the change is for the better or for the worse until a long time afterwards. And even then, it will depend on one’s perspective…
Take yesterday for instance. I think I had reached somewhere near absolute nadir. The electricity once more broken down, Keita still languishing in Bamako nearly three months after our return from Casablanca. Noone at the hotel. My great Napoleon dead and my life in Djenne in ashes…
Then, before the day was over, two significant events had ocurred. (I will tell you of one only, the other concerns a phonecall in the evening announcing a generous gift from close relatives).
About lunchtime I was sitting forlornly in my bar, staring into space, not willing or able to do anything. Then, who saunters through the Djenne Djenno Great Gate if not the Ugly Director of the Djenne Electricity Board. (EDM, Electicité du Mali) with whom I have had previous altercations (see blog July 09, 2009), tripping along meekly in the footsteps of the Regional Director of the EDM, as it turns out. The Regional Director exudes an air of decisiveness and expediency, he wears a suit and tie and dark glasses. The Ugly Director is smiling constantly and unctiously (this is a surprising discovery, since his face was always hitherto carved out of granite) as he fingers a briefcase which has every appearance of containing important papers. Their unexpected arrival makes my heart flutter.
The Regional Director had arrived that very morning from Mopti and he had apparently one item on his agenda : to put into effect the immediate connection of Hotel Djenne Djenno to the municipal electricity grid. Two hours later the workers arrived (see above) and last night I slept in an air conditioned room!
Now, there are two possible reasons for this sudden turn about face, and they are both perhaps jointly responsible:
Ace is not only our driver and Man Friday, it turns out that he has important connections. He has spent a few days in Bamako, where he summoned a distant cousin, a significant mandarin in the Malian electricity establishment. This august personnage called the Regional Director in Mopti a couple of days ago and asked why the Hell Hotel Djenne Djenno was not connected?
But that is not all. Meanwhile, in Timbuktu, Abdel Kader Haidara had also been on the phone, it transpires, pestering the same Regional Director on my behalf. Haidara had after all been languishing here at the hotel for several days without electricity during his recent visit, and probably doesn’t wish to repeat the experience.
And finally, I think it helped that I was seen on Malian TV. Perhaps this is only imagination, but my status as a Malian inhabitant seems to have risen sky high since the day I appeared in connection with the Djenne Manuscripts….
It would seem that in the Flux of Things, this could only be a movement towards good. But in order to be connected I had to sign an ominous looking statement in which I agree that the EDM is in no way responsible for any damage caused to any equipment because of fluctuating electricity supply. ..
I signed of course, becuse it is certainly going to be a change, and surely for the better ?

5 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Hurrah! But don't you think the Ugly Director might read this, or get someone to translate it for him? Prenez garde, ma chere!

Wish I could send you photo of Barack and Michelle serving as temporary curtains for the 'new' bedroom...

Dxxx

3:44 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Ah, David, that is a very very remote risk and one which I am prepared to take!
But about your comment the other day - a possible trip to Gilliane's Red Sea hide-away: yes yes yes!lets meet up in Egypt in the spring!
xxxSophie

7:57 PM  
Blogger Ismaïla said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Ismaïla said...

je suis tres ravie d'apprendre que vous avez a present l'electricité.Biensûr vous ne me connaissais pas mais je vous connais un peu.
je connais aussi bien Keïta,Mohamed,Barry,Levi sa femme Rachelle,Dramane du campment et beaucoup d'autres.
Je vous dit fellicittion pour l'electricité et salut Keita de ma part

2:28 PM  
Blogger Ismaïla said...

je suis tres ravie d'apprendre que vous avez a present l'electricité.Biensûr vous ne me connaissais pas mais je vous connais un.
je connais aussi bien Keïta,Mohamed,Barry,Levi sa femme Rachelle,Dramane du campment et beaucoup d'autres.
Je vous dit fellicittion pour l'electricité et salut Keita de ma part

2:29 PM  

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