Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Well, to her credit she did turn up, and here is the little vixen, decked out in evening gown, taking me on an early morning guided tour around Djenne. She is explaining the djenne-ferey, or the hand molded bricks, made with shea butter, that were used before the toubab-ferey , the rectangular building bricks, arrived with the advent of the colonials. If this sounds quite good and technical, it is about the only thing she explained, and that is staple fare of Djenne guides. She was unable to say anything about the mosque apart from ‘this is the mosque’.
She didn’t know how old the town was, or when the first mosque was built- bref, her credentials as a guide left quite a lot to be desired. But then again, most Djenne guides survive on giving the very scantest of information and charging people the equivalent of two months salary for a maid in an African household for a two hour stroll around town. My relationship with the guides of Djenne is not the most cordial. We tolerate each other because we have to. More about this another time, but let’s return to my guided tour with Lolita/Fatumata.
We visited the new Djenne library, the building a gift to the town by US AID.


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