Hasseye Traore, Samake and I went on a mission this morning for The Djenne Manuscript Library. We need to recruit a new person for the last year of the British Library Project. This person will be doing digitization work, but will also need to have a really profound knowledge of Arabic and to have a very high level of general eduction. This person could one day be the Director of the Library, and since we hope the Djenne Manuscript Library will become one of the main centres of not only Malian, but West African manuscripts, this position could become a very important one. So, where did we go to find such a person?
We went to Samake's Alma Mater, the Ecole Normale Superieure
in Bamako, and to the Arabic Department, more specifically. (For the non-French, I must explain that this is a post-graduate institution, and normally the pride of any educational system which models itself on the French.)
Here three young canditates who had just graduated awaited us to be interviewed. They were exceptional all three: the only reason that one of them was dropped was that he lacked English.
The remaining two were both so good that we have not yet decided- each of us three has gone our different ways to try and reach a decision by the evening.
Let me present the two:
Nnmber one is a girl! Just this fact is very interesting for a deeply traditional place like Djenne, of course. She speaks fluent English as well as Arabic and French of course. She knows Excel and that will be helpful to me, since she can help with the filling in of information for London. Her father is high up in the High Islamic Council of Bamako, which impressed Hasseye Traore. She is however a modern and fashionable young woman and did not even wear Hijab.
As she left we were all seduced by her and certain she would be the one. But number two arrived, and he was just as qualified as the girl! His English is perfect, his Arabic too. A tall, super thin Fulani, his main attribute apart from being academically flawless, was his great boyish enthusiasm. He somehow awakened my mothering instincts, and I can't bear the idea that he will be disappointed! Oh dear, what a dilemma, what to do!
Samake has already decided. For him it is the boy. He thinks he will integrate easier with the team. I am waiting for the phonecall from Hasseye Traore- if he too choses the boy, it is decided. But if he choses the girl, it is my decision that counts... And if that is the case, I really don't know what to do! I have a feeling that Hasseye will chose the girl. Why? Because he said that 'a girl would be easier to manage!' Now, in this case, the young lady in question did not seem to me to be someone one could just 'manage' quite simply! Anyway, I am waiting for his call, and the three candidates are waiting too, for my call which I promised would come today!
Watch this space!
News by the evening!