Sunday, May 06, 2012

Went to Mass at St Francis of Assissi this grey English Sunday morning with
my old friend and Mali veteran Andrew . We ambled trough the Notting Hill streets with their ice cream coloured houses, the familiar and well-trodden territory which I replaced 6 years ago by the dusty ochre hues of the Malian savannah.

‘I am the Vine, you are the branches’, Fr. Michael read from St. John’s gospel. ‘Remain in me and you will bear much fruit’.

I am more than ever aware of how much in need of help and divine guidance I am. I need to bear much fruit! And it is not just for myself: it is for everyone else that depends on me this time. MaliMali has to work now! 10 people on the hotel staff and 5people in the MaliMali studio- all relying on income that I must somehow generate. We need to earn money to replace the money from the missing hotel guests. They are unlikely to come back to Mali for years!

I have got nowhere so far. I email people trying to get appointments to show our fabrics, to try and find an agent, to try and just get a place at a furnishing fabric fair called Decorex, held in London in September. My emails must all disappear into people’s spam folders! I am reminded of what it was like to leave art college when you were at the bottom of the ladder and had to spend days just to get one appointment! But this time it isn’t just me, I represent a number of people in a war-torn third world country …. I feel somehow entitled to a break somewhere- just a little help? But there is probably help at hand- perhaps I just haven’t known where to look and how to tap into it?

The fact is that MaliMali did have a great break in 2007 when we were featured in the World of Interiors- just about the most prestigious Interior design magazine in the world! Literally hundreds of people wrote and wanted to buy our stuff… but we were not set up properly, and anyway the hotel was taking all my energy. The chance we were given was not really exploited like it should have been… and people would kill to get into the World of Interiors! I have decided to swallow and go back and see if I can’t persuade them to help us again…

As I was walking down the road I passed a smart Notting Hill restaurant just now. A pretty young woman came running, she had seen me through the window- where on earth did I get my shawl? It is bogolan isn’t it? Where could she find one like that? I felt encouraged again: surely it will work? Surely MaliMali will take off? More soon…


Blogger Susan Scheid said...

The young woman running to find out about your shawl must be taken as a lucky omen. I send good wishes for the success of MaliMali and hopes for it to happen soon.

7:42 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Susan,thank you.
and yes,
I took her as a good omen!

8:52 PM  
Blogger Richard Trillo said...

Sophie, get on twitter and post photos of your beautiful cloth to everybody in the fashion industry you can think of. Most of them are on twitter. Somebody will go "Wow!" and contact you. Try it.

Good luck!

8:46 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Ok Richard,
I suppose I should... I have been Twitter and Facebook resistant until now, one reason is that I have such a bad connection in Djenne- I will spend half an hour getting onto Facebook just to find that someone I hardly know wants to say 'Hi, Howr'e u doing?'But will try and figure out the Twitter thingy now-since its a question of survival!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Mamadou said...

Good afernoon Madam, congratulatons on your blog and achievements. Can we discuss offline the Djenné manuscripts' digitization by the British Library Endangered Archives program ? Thanks. Mamadou (

3:51 PM  

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