All Down the Drain...
And it is all my fault. The deal with ‘Baba Hotel’, the owner of the land, is off. Today I typed up a sort of contract/agreement which was going to be at least something to start negotiations with. Baba and Maman were to keep running the hotel, and pay a monthly rent to ‘Baba Hotel’ who would keep out of it and not interfere. He has a habit of hanging around with an unsavoury bunch of out- of - work tourist ‘guides’ and sellers of trinkets. Exactly all the Djenné inhabitants we do NOT want at Hotel Djenné Djenno. I had decided to give Maman and Baba all the hotel furnishings – beds, mattresses, air conditioners etc. They could pay me off slowly when and if they were able to make ends meet. They know how to run Hotel Djenné Djenno- they have had a long apprenticeship.
However, as I was sitting and waiting for ‘Baba Hotel’s spokes person, his nephew who has been to school (‘Baba Hotel’ is illiterate), I felt a unpromising annoyance welling up within me and knew I was going to be skating on thin ice. I shouldn’t really even get involved – but the nephew had wanted to speak to me so I felt I was obliged to do so. When he finally turned up I was already very annoyed. Perhaps my deep rooted irritation with everything that has to do with ‘Baba Hotel’ is just a symptom of my annoyance with my own stupidity. I should of course NEVER have entered into a lease for Hotel Djenné Djenno and built a hotel on a piece of land that did not belong to me! I should have bought the land in the beginning and now I have to eat my hat. Everything I have built reverts back to ‘Baba Hotel’ at the end of June, and I am very cross.
So the nephew arrived. He did not want anything to do with the proposed letting agreement I had drawn up. He instead let me know that they may consider employing Baba and Maman when they take over Hotel Djenné Djenno at the end of June. ‘When you do WHAT???’ I barked unpleasantly. ’You are not taking over Hotel Djenné Djenno! I will take down every sign and every scrap of evidence that the hotel ever existed rather than being associated with anything that ‘Baba Hotel’ will be running! and as far as Maman or Baba’s working there there is no chance of that- neither of them has any intention of working for ‘Baba Hotel’, it is common knowledge that he never pays any of his employees!” Now, this was of course not a very diplomatic way of discourse. The nephew now made it clear that they would be interested of buying the inventoried items for the sum I had specified of 3 000 000 FCFA- about £4000, but that they would like to do so over a period of time, putting a third down in cash; ‘No XXXXing way’, I continued, on a roll by now. “I want it all in cash before the end of June or everything will be hauled out of there.” (To give me some credit, I do think that I am right here: if they want the stuff, they can go and borrow the money- I do not trust them at all).
So, the nephew left after icy handshakes on all sides and what could have been a ray of sunshine or hope: the continuation of Hotel Djenné Djenno under the management of Maman and Baba is now well and truly a discarded pipe dream... what a shame!