A couple of weeks ago I saw this on Facebook- it seemed like a good idea for MaliMali to take part so I contacted the organisers. I was told there was still space for this three day fashion fair at Hotel Salam at which all participants would have an exhibition stand and would also have an opportunity to take part in one of the two fashion shows that were to take place tomorrow and Saturday night.
I said Malimali was very interested and could they send the details to me by email? The whole thing would only cost 50 000FCFA, and was arranged by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
During the next three days several people called me from the organisers. I said I still had not received any details, and every time I resent once more by SMS my email. Finally I decided that if the organisers were not capable of sending me a simple email, the whole event had every sign of becoming an organisational fiasco. Nevertheless, suddenly I DID receive the programme and all the details, including the information the MaliMali was to take part in the fashion show on Friday night. So after some deliberation with Dembélé it was decided that we would go après tout
A bad decision.
First of all I received an SMS on our way down to Bamako (we had got up at five o'clock at Djenné to get up to the carrefour with all our material and the whole collection to catch the first Bani to Bamako) that we were required to go to Hotel Salam at 6pm to do the essayages
- the trying on of clothes on the models for the fashion show) This had been on the programme for today. We did not make this, (and later found out that it never took place anyway) but instead we arrived at 8 am at Hotel Salam this morning with all the material, ready to set up our stand in good time for the 9 am opening which was advertised on the programme.
There was noone at Hotel Salam that had the slightest idea what we were talking about. They had never heard of the Bamako Fashion Week. They were not aware that there was going to be any fashion shows either tomorrow or Saturday.
I phoned one of the contacts I had been given with the organisers: 'Oh, yes', he said. The venue has been changed to the CICB (the Centre Internationale des Conférences de Bamako
). Dembélé and I hailed another cab and dragged all our material over to the conference centre. And lo and behold, noone there either had ever heard of the Bamako Fashion Week! The conference centre was filled by other events. There were a few models hanging around in the parking lot, also wondering what was going on. I once more phoned the organisers, who this time did not reply. Then a glamourous lady in very high heels and an impressive and important looking clip board and a name tag around her neck walked past our sorry little group in the parking lot. I assumed that she was part of the organisational team, and yes; indeed, she admitted to this.
'Yes, we are having a few problems, but do please remain patient for just a few minutes and I will get back to you', she uttered soothingly before tottering off in her heels, never to be seen again.
We stayed for another half an hour. Nothing happened. I now told Dembélé to go and fetch us a cab. As we were getting into the cab, turning our backs on this whole sorry event a lady from the 'organisers' called me again, informing me that the essayages
were going ahead in the afternoon at 3pm.
I told her to get lost.
Fortunately we have a few other things to do here in Bamako, including trying to negotiate a Bamako shop outlet to hire for MaliMali. We are hoping to be able to secure the shop at the Villa Soudan once more... This time it will be only for MaliMali: clothing and interior decoration items. More about this later hopefully.... Meanwhile there is also a consolation in that my beloved KarKar (Boubakar Traoré) is giving a concert at the Institut Français tomorrow night, and also that I am once more staying at Eva's lovely place where I am just about to jump into the pool...