Africa never ceases to be extreme.
It is extremely tiring, extremely frustrating, extremely infuriating. On the other hand it is also fantastic, exhilarating and filled to the brim with possibilities.
Whether one catches the one side or the other depends on one’s immediate circumstances. But these can easily change. One just needs to move over a fraction to gaze at it all from another vantage point: just a little shift in perception, and even nightmares recede and turn into dreams if caught in the right light.
My life here now feels just so- seen from one angle I want to flee: I see only difficulties.
But I shift over two degrees to the left, and look at it again, and there it is, nearly perfect, my life here in Djenné. It unites all the things I tried to do in my earlier life- those things that I succeeded in, as well as all those that failed.
I was always a dilettante. This is the perfect place for it,
I can do everything without really knowing anything about anything! I have a little hotel without knowing anything about the hotel business, but it gives me the opportunity to be a hostess to a never ending stream of people, many of them interesting and some of them fascinating.
I was once a fashion designer, well, I have a fashion and textile studio here now, and even a shop where we sell the clothes. I did interiors and here there are plenty of interiors to decorate. If I want some more I just build another mud house!
I dabbled in the academic life. Now I continue dabbling for the British Library, without having any training or idea whatsoever about Arabic manuscripts!
And yesterday I was able to indulge my do-gooding instincts and play Florence Nightingale, at the same time as I touched base with my past as a motorcycle enthusiast and went deep into LA BROUSSE on my newly repaired Yamaha DT with Barry, a collegue of Keita’s from the Djenné Hospital. (What fun! If there is anything to cheer me up instantly, in the absence of my beloved Napo, it is to crash through the dusty savannah on my trail bike!)