Saturday, July 15, 2006


12th April.
There may well be some movement on the Bogolan front, in’shallah. Keita came back from Bamako last night, and we had a meeting with a local tailor/cloth merchant called Bob, to whom I had spoken previously. He has worked with Bogolan in the past and knows how to do it. Keita and he happens to be friends, so as soon as I told Keita about my preliminary dealings with Bob, he said: let’s call him. He came over to Baba’s where we were sitting . Within half an hour or so it had been decided that Bob was to get all the necessary implements and dyestuffs by tomorrow afternoon, and that he would come to my place with all this and we would start dyeing. He will buy a couple of dye vats, a big charcoal burner and the leaves and bark for dyeing as well as the river mud for printing.
I am going to have to buy a large table on which to pin out the fabric, and install some sort of washing line on my rooftop- I can’t have the fabric drying on the ground, although that is the local tradition. - it makes it too dirty.
All this was negotiated with ease and total authority by Keita- I don’t know how much I will have to pay Bob for his assistance. But Keita said- let’s not get into that at the moment. Let’s see how well he performs and then, after a week, you will know what you need him to do and then we can discuss the price. I am very grateful and feel relieved. Bob obviously respects Keita and looks up to him. He told me that everyone knows Keita here and everyone likes him. So I think I am not going to be taken for a ride at least by Bob, and at least not just at the moment. I am just a little wary of relinquishing too much control into Keita’s hands though, however grateful I am. I don’t want to end up in too much of a situation of dependence.. But I like him and I feel safe with him. I enjoy his protection- and I am able to observe myself with a detached curiosity and some amusement as if I were a laboratory specimen. I notice with interest how some primordial instincts are at work because I feel I begin to desire him because he protects me in this alien place.

About 5pm- Have had a shower and I am relaxing finally- we have started my little Bogolan factory. The leaves for the yellow are boiling outside in the courtyard in my new lovely very expensive aluminium pot- well, all is relative. It cost 8000CFA i.e. £8, and that is a lot here, but would of course be cheap in London for a very large cooking pot. It is simmering away on a charcoal burner. The red bark has been pounded by Dembele and is soaking in one of my lovely new buckets. The river clay is immersed in water in a large earthenware pot. Keita popped into say hello briefly then shot off and said he would be back this evening. Good- but the problem is that so will everyone else. Marechal has aquired the habit of just popping in, then sitting around for ever. Bob says he is popping in later. I don’t want to be unsociable but I need a bit of peace or possibly a civilised drink with Keita in some semi-civilised location like the Campement. But I know its too expensive for him and I don’t want to keep paying, so I suppose I will have to go native for the time being. Posted by Picasa


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