Thursday, March 29, 2007

A long time ago, in Rwanda and Burundi, I used to get irritated by our ex-pat neighbours on the lonely tea plantation where we lived who used to invite us for drinks at night and spend all evening complaining about the natives. Then I lived in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and yet again the topic of conversation over the pink gins at sunset on the verandah tended to be the appalling lack of manners/education/understanding etc of the natives.
Here in Djenne I am the only expat around, and although a Frenchman, a Dutchman and an American all own houses here, they only visit now and then- I don't even know them. Therefore one would have thought that the topic of conversation may have differed- not a bit however.
Diawoye, the manager of the Maffir, one of the two other good hotels here, comes along at night and we sit on the roof in the sunset bar and what do we do? yes, we complain about the natives, although Diawoye is of course a native himself. 'Ah, you just can't find the staff here- it isn't like Bamako, complains Diawoye. ' You give them an inch and they take a mile- and you turn your back and there they are, asleep in their chair, as if they hadn't a care in the world!'
Baba the waiter was trained by Diawoye, who later 'gave' him to me as a Christmas present when I started the hotel. Baba worked in the bar for a few days when Beigna had been given the sack, and here is the sleepy little native, hard at work in the bar, a living proof of Diawoye's theories.... Posted by Picasa


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