Meanwhile I plummeted. I had not fully recovered from my own illness and suddenly I was very sick again with severe diarrhea, fever, extremely low blood pressure (70/40) strange palpitations, bref, I was so weak I could hardly stand up. Last Tuesday I was admitted to a private clinic here where they rehydrated me with a drip, and put me back in reasonable shape again as well as taking plenty of tests including a coloscopy with biopsies the results of which will be winging themselves hither from Germany in a couple of weeks only.
As if this was not enough drama, Eva flew off to Burkina Faso last week (where she is also ambassador) and arrived smack bang in the middle of a Coup d'Etat. She managed to get back here again a couple of days later (the same day as I was discharged from the clinic) and played us the recording she had made with her mobile phone from the balcony of her hotel in Ouagadougou featuring mortar fire and machine gun salvos.
Today Keita will leave for Segou and Tabaski with his other family. I am staying here until the weekend when I will return to Djenné if I am strong enough. This week is more or less a long holiday beginning tomorrow with the Malian Independence Day and on Thursday it is Tabaski.
People are leaving Bamako on trips to what is regarded as safe areas: Sikasso, Kayes; south to Kangaba etc. No Embassy staff are allowed to travel to Djenné of course.
Eva has never been to Djenné and it is unlikely that she will be able to go on a private trip since she cannot herself do something she tells her staff they are not able to do.
So I came up with what I believe to be a wonderful idea which I suggested to Eva: she should travel incognito. She and I would dress up in full black burqa, and Denis her cook and sometime driver would be disguised as a gulf potentate who would be driving his two wives to Djenné to worhip at the Djenné Mosque for Tabaski. This suggestion was received with a lot of laughter from both Eva and Denis. I guess I must also clarify that my inspired idea was sadly not accepted .The thing is: I was really serious. My friend Karen of Toguna Tours, one of the only still operating tour organizers here has a client who wants to go to Timbuktu. Karen has said that she is prepared to arrange a trip to Djenné, Mopti and the Dogon country but that she cannot help her to get to Timbuktu. That trip, along a lonely piste through the desert between Douanza and Timbuktu is considered to be too dangerous. Now, if I wanted to go to Timbuktu I would take one of the local taxi brousses that travel that way every day, but I would travel in full burqa. I believe it would be a safe way to go.