Sunday, July 08, 2007

When our Millenium was newly born, I loved a pretty young physicist, briefly but intensely. He told me about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Entropy, in bed whilst nibbling my earlobes.
If I I understood it rightly , it means that all things, if left to their own devises, grind to a halt and the universe is destined one day finally to stop and die. This phenomenon is called Entropy. Energy is expended in various forms in order to prevent this slowing down and dying.

Africa seems to have a speeded-up version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Things fail and grind to a halt and nature encroaches with alarming speed. The energy expended to counteract African Entropy is much larger than elsewhere and an almost superhuman effort is needed simply to retain the status quo.
Little frail inroads made by alien entities such as electricity and plumbing are soon gobbled up by the onslaught of African Entropy which wreaks havoc silently but with deadly efficiency in the very fabric of the material world which surrounds. us. There are armies of termites at work in the wooden beams and soon the frail structures we erected will be nothing but heaps of dust.
Today we are replacing several main beams supporting the hangar or the grass covered wooden structure which gives shade to the bar and restaurant- they were thoroughly rotten and threathening to collapse, just six months after installation.

African Entropy is a master of seduction: it lulls everything to sleep while carries out its deadly destruction.
I arrived here back from Europe two weeks ago, full of energy and armed with a million schemes for the Hotel and even for the town of Djenné. But my European energy, like the plumbing and the electricity, is an alien element and fails to make any inroads.
Now I sit here, my leg in plaster, nodding off on the verandah, gazing at the big holes in the wall of the reception building occasioned by the first rains of the season. With every tropical rain storm cascades of mud are sent sliding down from the beautiful facades of Hotel Djenné Djenno. And in the distance I see Ali, aleep in his chair.

What made me so arrogant as to think think I could shape anything in this alien world , where everything slips and slides on its inexorable journey back to mud again after a brief appearance in a recognizable shape such as, for instance, a little hotel called Hotel Djenne Djenno?. Ashes to ashes , dust to dust and mud to mud...
And then, whooosh! A powerful surge like an electric shock wakes me up from my slumber and I want to wail and , like Dylan Thomas, ' rage rage against the dying of the light'!
And I want to hit into the muggy rain ladened pestilential July air, striking the invisible powers of African entropy with my crutch, and instead of Cyrano de Bergerac's A vous! Le mensonge, A vous! La Sottise! I want to cry: A vous! les Termites! A Vous! la Boue et la mauvaise Plomberie, A vous! Les Groupes Merdiques Chinoises!

Damn it, we WILL have electricity at Hotel Djenne Djenno! We WILL rebuild and be beautiful and I will ride that silly Xaloc again! I WILL swan about on my two legs, with my feet in those vertiginous red orthopedically incorrect shoes I bought in London , looking chic, being the hostess and having drinks with fascinatng people in my sunset bar!
African Entropy on yer bike!


Post a Comment

<< Home