There is a new Bona Fide British Embassy in Bamako. Not a Consulate, no, an Embassy, although the other diplomatic corps here define it a ‘lap_top embassy’, meaning there is an Ambassador with a lap top and a staff consisting of perhaps someone to make tea and run errands. That sounds fine to me. Why bother to spend lots of money of first and second secretaries etc. if the Ambassador can do it all himself? The problem in this case seems to be that His Excellency is letting his tea boy take care of the lap top correspondence.
I wrote the Embassy the other day; informing them of my presence here in Djenne; Mali, as a British Citizen. The main thrust of the communication however was that I had managed to secure a British Library (Endangered Archives Programme) grant worth more than 55000 pounds Stirling to save the ancient manuscripts of Djenne; running for 2 years and giving up to ten people employment during this period.
The people in Djenne think of Britain firstly in terms of Gerrard, foot ball player of Liverpool. Secondly they have perhaps heard of La Reine d'Angleterre- and of Lady Di. That is about it. I don’t know what British Ambassadors are here for. I had an old fashioned idea that they might like to spread good feelings about Britain, to show and share the glories of British Culture. Therefore I had entertained vain glorious hopes not exactly of receiving an MBE, but perhaps of being invited to a little champagne and twiglet do at the embassy; just some token recognition at least of the project, possibly co-inciding with my visit to Bamako next week when I will have to present the project to the Malian Ministry of Culture.
But no. I have had no response to my email to the Embassy, inviting the Ambassador to come to the forthcoming televised opening ceremony. I therefore called the telephone number given, and I believe I must have spoken to the tea boy. He said he would deal with my email shortly. That was two weeks ago.
Clare dearest, if you read this, could you please ask your brother Dominic (recent British Ambassador to Cairo) if he thinks the British Library Project in Djenne deserves at least an email in response from the Embassy????