Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A lighter mood

Mali qualified for the African Cup today after a two- nil victory over Algeria in Bamako this afternoon to the jubilation of the Malian people.  It was about time something cheerful happened to this bruised nation! Meanwhile all the  people held in quarantine in Kayes after the ebola case of the little girl and the grandmother have been released:  noone has been contaminated, Alhamdilullah!
In the region of 500 other people are under surveillance, all connected to the chain of possible contagion from the cases at the Clinic Pasteur. No one has developed any symptoms so far.  The doctor who had treated the diseased imam at the Clinic is still ill but in a stable condition. Will Mali be able to extricate itself from the epidemic? We are holding our breath and praying.

There are the occasional guests here at the hotel so Dembele and I decided to give the Malinke chambre superieur a facelift.  I think it looks tres jolie, non?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Object!

Joe Penney of Reuters in his  article yesterday on failing to make the important point that these last cases were dealt with in the private sector, and that the reason for this debacle is most likely to be a cover-up by the private clinic. Instead he throws totally unwarranted blame on the whole  Malian Medical Corps, by using an anonymous source:

"This case shows the lack of training of doctors in Bamako. This training should have been done six months ago," one aid worker told Reuters, asking not to be named'

What nonsense. I object to this scurrilous  treatment of the Malian medical corps who may not be perfect but certainly know  what is required in order to deal with an Ebola case. If there have been misdemeanours, please put the blame on the correct  culprit, i.e. the Clinic Pasteur in this case!  This is just typical of the sort of knee jerk racist ideas that sits so comfortably with the international press and community: Malians are useless. The Army is useless, of course everyone know that. So let's just continue now on our well worn track down the same alleyway and suggest, this time without the least bit of evidence, that the Malian medical Corps is as useless as its Army!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Outrageous Private Sector Blunder!

It is not fair!
‘Mali awaits anxiously the all clear’ wrote the Guardian just a few  hours ago on its internet site. One hour later, the Malian health authorities confirm a new death from Ebola. This time in Bamako, at  the prestigious Clinique  Pasteur, the clinic for the Malian elite and the Bamako Toubabs. A nurse died last night. She had been in close constant contact with a patient who had been cared for at the clinic a couple of weeks ago. The patient  was from Guinea, and had suffered from an unspecified disease. His body had been repatriated to Guinea. The case has nothing to do with the previous case of the little girl and the grand mother..

Mali has been waiting with bated breath to be able to announce the joyous news tomorrow that not one amongst the 107 people under surveillance has been contaminated. The Malian health authorities have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner and everything has been done according to the book. They should be warmly congratulated, as should the ordinary Malian people who have changed their way of behaviour. I travelled on a Bani bus last week from Bamako to Djenne Carrefour. When we stopped for food in San I noticed several plastic wash basins with soap and Omo for people’s use outside the public toilets and by every food station. I saw every body washing their hands thoroughly before eating.  

But this new case- in fact these two new cases (!) - are different. They are in the private sector. Panic will spread in the expat community in Bamako. I do not know the whole story, but it certainly looks as if the Clinique  Pasteur is guilty of severe negligence. How could they even treat a patient from Guinea without taking the necessary precautions and without testing for ebola? I do not believe this would have been the case in any  public health centre run by Malian health authority officials.
The nurse who died last night, as well as the patient who died two weeks ago,  were treated at this clinic for several days . The body of the Guinean was repatriated to Guinea for burial, all without any precautions whatsoever!!  And meanwhile people have been coming and going as normal to the Clinique Pasteur! It  looks like a cover-up. It is outrageous.
I am curious to see the reactions among my Bamako friends in the international and diplomatic community who use the Clinique Pasteur on a daily basis.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Any Ol' Iron?

Yes, Yes! I am here!
Only I have had no internet connection for almost a week.
However, have kept busy and have added another feather to my cap, and another job description to my ever lengthening CV. I can now add Haulage Contractor  to the other professions I have exercised. 
These include in vaguely chronological order: Baby Sitter, Singer; Potato harvester (with my cousin Eva. We got the  sack almost straight away because we  put an awful lot of potato leaves on top of the potatoes in each crate...), Waitress, Go-Go Dancer, Disc Jockey, Grapefruit/ Orange/ Strawberry/Gooseberry/ Avocado picker, Laundry worker, Movie Extra, Fashion Model, Party arranger, Florist, Fashion Designer, Theatrical Prop Maker, Interior Decorator, Photographer, Motorcycle Courier, Receptionist, Sculptor, Journalist , Academic, Painter, Potter, Installation Artist, Hotelier, Textile Designer. I am certain the list is much longer.
I think it might be worth adding it to the list of remedies on sleepless nights: rather than counting sheep or ex-lovers one could of course also count ex- professions. The rules are simple:   one has to have earned money for the doing of the  particular profession, even if it is only a little and only once.

But I digress, as is my want. Let me get back to the point, which the launching of my career as a haulage contractor, if that is how to describe what we are doing?...

It is like this:   Some time ago I attacked the Dutch Prince Claus Foundation in connection with  the vast amount of metal and plastic tree surrounds that are littering the Djenne archaeological sites because of a tree planting scheme initiated by them that went wrong. They have turned out to be thoroughly good sports and have taken this problem very seriously indeed. They have in fact  employed me and  Malimali to get rid of the said tree surrounds! They are to be dug up and buried in deep graves on the outside perimeter of the archaeological sites where the trees were intended to protect erosion.
I have enlisted Ace as a foreman for the 15-20 labourers and the work started last week- a two month project will clean up the country side around these sites and ensure that people and animals are not cutting themselves on rusty metal, as well as returning the scenery back to its original peaceful aspect. Hurrah for Prince Claus of the Netherlands!