Sunday, March 27, 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Watching with Keita
Keita is receiving transfusions of blood plasma, platelets and concentrated blood around the clock but at the same time this precious life source is escaping from him in an unstoppable nose bleed. He is very tired but hangs onto life with all his considerable strength. He is slipping in and out of a semi unconscious state, but sometimes he says poignant short sentences which may be dreams or may be meant to be taken at face value. He suddenly looked at me and said, in Bambara: 'Why do you not have confidence in me?' He never speaks Bambara to me. Did he really mean what he said? Another time he said, again in Bambara: 'We will have to start cultivating on the new land". Which land? He did not say : I take it to be our land in Djenné and it is right we must plant some new mango trees at least.
Keita's numerous Bamako family are now all mobilized- many have given blood and at any time there is at least three or four cousins and sisters with Keita as well as Mai and myself. He has now been moved into a new comfortable VIP room which has been arranged for him by his family.
Guida has stayed until midnight both nights and Cheik Oumar, Keitas young nephew has been close by us and stayed the night to help. We continue to hold Keita, try and wipe and stop the blood as best as we can, we pray and they read things from the Koran, while I read the 23rd psalm, say the Lord's prayer or a Hail Mary or I too join in with
La Ilahai LaLaa
Aish Ha Du Anna Mohammed Rasu Luu Lai
( There is but one God and Mohammed is his Prophet.)
There seems to be little point of arguing the finer points of religious differences right now...
I have been resting for a few hours at Eva's an will return to Point G now, and this night Mai will also stay by his side.
Friday, March 18, 2016
The Sorceress of Timbuktu
Four days followed cram-packed with activity. At the studio we managed to finish the important fabric order for the interior decorator in Amsterdam; I assisted in the organizing of the shoot as a liaison person with the library where some scenes were shot of Yelpha and Garba the archivists taking manuscripts from the shelves and placing them in boxes, pretending to be saving them in a hurry from the threat of the Jihadists. On the second day I had the joyous news from Keita in Bamako that he had stopped bleeding and that he felt better, so I was able to take part in the activities with a lighter heart and enjoy these four days and starlit evenings once more. One night we rigged up a sheet as a film screen, and Samake found us a digital projector so the team was able show us their brand new, as yet unreleased, film Mali Blues after dinner with a few invited guests, making Djenne the unofficial World premiere.
Mon amour pour toi est comme une grande Fleuve qui suit son cours à jamais. Laisse ton amour pour moi devenir le même ! Ne me repousse pas ! Laisse-moi t’approcher !
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Once more at Eva's
Keita is resting beside me in the guest room. The blood values were still very low at the last test, regardless of the growth factor injections which seemed to have made no difference. But Dr. Touré says the effect may be delayed so not to give up hope yet and Keita has had yet more blood and plasma transfusions in the last days. The plan is now to do a blood test once more on Monday and have a consultation on Tuesday morning with Dr. Touré. We still hang on to a small hope that he might be able to start the all important medication then.
Should we give up hope? When does one give up hope and when is it appropriate to talk about the end? Should one talk about it? I know only that it has to come from Keita himself.
Monday, March 07, 2016
What shall we say?
I am speaking to Keita who is lying next to me, resting, in the guest room at Eva's once more. I came back from Djenné yesterday courtesy of the lovely 4X4 of Sidi, the Dogon guide/ chauffeur who accompanies the people who are involved in the library project. This time it was Maria Louisa, the Italian Conservator who is involved with our new conservation/cataloging project at the Djenné Manuscript Library who had spent three days working with me and the library staff, staying at Hotel Djenné Djenno. I was very glad to be able to be included in the return trip to Bamako- it certainly was a lot less challenging than a bus journey...
I had spent a few nice days in Djenné while Keita remained in Bamako in the bosom of his family continuing with his growth factor injections. I needed to oversee some work in the studio and at the same time providence had arranged for a number of interesting people at the hotel: there was Hans the Dutch/Swedish entrepreneur who comes every year, as well as a nice young Belgian chap and there was Andrea of course. We had lingering dinners under the stars and for some reason this combination of people made for a very jolly time with much laughter ...although always there is the shadow of Keita's illness which returns to my mind every few minutes.
I returned to Bamako refreshed and found Keita about the same as when I left him: he is very weak and he has now finished the injections to try and kick-start his blood count. Tomorrow he will make a new blood test to see whether he will finally be able to start the Indian medicine....
"Well" said Keita. "Remember that the picture was hanging at a favourable angle last time at La Senegalaise. You could always say that.?"
He too has caught my idea that somehow the picture is a barometer of our fortunes.. And indeed, it has looked worse at times in the past.