Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Good and The Bad


Keita is asleep beside me in ‘our’ hotel in Bamako, the Colibris, where we have stayed many times in the nearly ten years we have known each other. It is a Malian run hotel, which means it is different from toubab run hotels, and Keita is the first to admit to this, which is why I am allowing myself a little gentle racism here… For instance:  in a Malian run hotel there is invariably only one towel in the bathroom, even in a double room, which means one always has to go and get  another one from the reception and there are  frequently plumbing issues. Nevertheless, we like it here. We watched the inauguration of Obama in this hotel when Keita was very ill. This hotel has seen Keita in a wheelchair, and has seen him return again walking. We have had many happy times here too over the years and the staff knows us well and brings us sweet Malian tea. Now Keita is ill again, and tomorrow we are going back to the hospital Point G where we will once more see his oncologist to finally settle his treatment programme.
And meanwhile the rest of life goes on: and the rest of life is both difficult and fun at the moment: the hotel is very quiet, the MaliMali shop and business is not exactly flourishing- it doesn’t help that they have decided to dig up the road in front of the new MaliMali shop, causing impossible access problems and thereby ruining all potential trade.
 So lets get on to the fun bit: it is entirely supplied by the Djenné Manuscript Library. We are getting a new important 2 year funding for the library with something called the Gerda Henkel Stiftung in Germany who are working with Hamburg University. They will be doing conservation and cataloging finally – the areas which we have not been able to touch with our funding from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme which only deals with digitization. Now; this does have something to do with my harping on endlessly to the powers that be about how neglected we have been in Djenné in favour of the manuscripts of the more famous Timbuktu, so forgive me if I take some of the credit… There is more too; but cannot really talk about it quite yet…
I will wake up Keita now and we will have nice dinner in the garden of the hotel under 'our' great mango tree...

9 Comments:

Blogger Susan Scheid said...

By all means take credit! Any who have been visiting here well know that credit is due. My best wishes that all goes well for you and yours.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

Dearest Sophie, I admire your strength in making every moment count. My thoughts are with you and Keita. Love, G xxx

9:06 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

thank you both! It is great to know you are looking in.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Congratulations on being an important part in saving this valuable heritage.

11:25 AM  
Blogger David said...

That's it, Gilliane, every moment counting. Dearest Sophie, your time with Keita is especially precious now. Our thoughts and love to both. And how wonderful to have the super Guida on hand to provide personal and professional support. I'll never forget his generosity in London.

3:59 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

And thank you Tabor and David! Yes indeed we are very lucky to have Guida on our side.It was he, in the very beginning- see blogs December 2008- that saw that Keita needed to get to Bamako immediately for tests. He had been complaining about back ache for some time but I had just brushed it off: 'Yes, yes, you have a back ache Keita. Everybody has back aches!' Oh dear...

9:45 AM  
Blogger christine corcoran said...

Dear Sophie

I am just one of many who have so enjoyed your Blog over the years. I was so sad to hear about Keita and am sending you both much love, good wishes and lots and lots of hope.

Chris
Melbourne
Australia

1:00 PM  
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