Sunday, July 16, 2006


8.15 Maundy Thursday , Baba’s.
Keita turned up on his little motorbike at 8.30. He brought along a whole bunch of pristine Unicef -donated ex-ray plates from the hospital for me to cut into stencils for my printing. I thanked him whilst registering the questionable ethics of this. I have heard that the phenomenon known as ‘compassion fatigue‘ stems partly from the suspicion people have that most aid ends up in the wrong hands. And here I am, a living proof that their suspicions are well founded.… but my momentary scruples were overcome and I decided that if my project works out the materials will have been spent for the well-being of Djenne. Keita suggested a promenade en moto to the river- we went past Baba’s on the way and he had clearly decided to try and get me drunk because he picked up 3 large beers (!) for me and a couple of cokes for himself - for which he paid- and then we trundled off into the night towards the Bani crossing and the only little bit of river that remains. The evenings are very still just now- the air is filled with a fine dust which obscures the stars and gives the moon, which is nearly full, an out-of focus aspect. The water was absolutely still , reflecting the gnarled trees on the riverbed which Pia liked to draw in January. The only sounds disturbing the total stillness was the throaty chorus of a thousand toads emitting their earthy sound in unison -like the peaceful snoring of a giant. I thought of the starlings I had watched on the beach in Scarborough and how they all knew how to move in perfect harmony. And the bats at nightfall in Austin, Texas who knew when to move following the first to emerge from beneath the bridge, soon filling the sky en route for their nightly migrations. The only effort expected of the individual bat , starling or toad was simply to follow the leader. But what was the impulse that made the first move or started the evening ’s chorus? Posted by Picasa


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