Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why so quiet on the Djenne front?
One reason is that my internet connection has yet again been cut off, due to the malfunctioning of my standing order with Orange Mali set up by my bank BIM, to pay for the monthly charge for my internet connection. If this is boring you and you are already switching off and surfing somewhere else, believe me, I am on your side. I am bored too. No, bored is not the word. Absolutely raving furious is a more accurate description of the state of my mind.
Standing orders do not work in Mali. My bank manager tells me, in explaining why it hasn’t worked, that I must allow for human error. I have been wondering what he means, but I am now convinced that standing orders in Mali means that someone is ordered to go and stand in a queue at a till in the Banque Internationale du Mali (BIM), to physically remove the required money from my account in cash and then take it to the next till to pay it into Orange Mali’s account in the same bank. This doesn’t work because the person who has been given the standing order has probably gone to sit down somewhere, and then had some tea and forgotten about the whole thing.
Meanwhile I have no internet connection, and have to go and spend thousands of francs every day in the internet café, dealing with an avalanche of emails to do with hotel reservations. I have suggested to M. Lazare, the manager of the Djenne BIM branch, with whom my relations have become increasingly frayed, that I will present the bank with an invoice for the expensed I have incurred. ‘It is after all because of the incompetence of your bank that I am now forced to go into town and spend this money!’ M. Lazare took this salvo quite personally. It is not the first time I have noticed this phenomenon: there is nothing that infuriates people more than to hear the truth.
M. Lazare told me to go elsewhere if I didn’t like his bank.
Oh, if only I could! Alas, the BIM is the only option. But I am now becoming convinced that sending Petit Baba down to Bamako with Dolly and the cart at the end of each month with the required money would probably be more efficient.


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