Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Far from reaching a conclusion, things reach ever more intricate levels of complications.
Yesterday I went to see Keita again at the hospital. We were talking about arranging a meeting between his wife and me when events were precipitated and the door opened. A young woman entered carrying a baby on her back- it was Keita’s wife. I jumped to my feet and greeted her. We both took a seat at the bedside. She has a gentle soft face with a deep sadness etched on it – I didn’t know whether because of me or Keita’s illness. She said Keita had told her everything. Then she reached over and let me hold the baby daughter Nene, (who started crying of course). We talked about the children – I said I had seen pictures of them and thought them very lovely. Then I said that I hoped we could all work together for the rehabilitation of Keita, because we all loved him and that I hoped that she and I could be friends.
Then later that day I got a phone call from Keita’s big sister the formidable Djenneba:.
‘It is all arranged. I took some time off work and went to Segou to see ‘La Vieille’. (Their mother.) She has agreed and the marriage will take place next week. ‘Oh, thanks Denneba, but I don’t think Keita wants to do it now, he wants to wait until he gets better’.
‘What nonsense.’ Of course he wants to. In any case it doesn’t matter, it will all work out, don’t worry. ‘But Djenneba, please, I can’t marry someone if they don’t want to marry me!’ Don’t worry Sophie, just trust me’.
Then this morning I went to see Keita and asked him if he was aware of what was going on. Did he know that Djenneba had been to Segou to see his mother? Yes, he did. Had he spoken to his mother? No he hadn’t. But haven’t you told them that we have decided to NOT get married? No, he hadn’t. But why? ‘Oh, we just have to leave them now. Seemingly we no longer have a say in the matter!
Djenneba had told me too: it is more a question of her deciding than Keita now- did she like me? Yes- then we will marry! The African family customs are hard to grasp to say the least. They don’t seem to cater for individual tastes or wishes. One the friends and family has launched the idea, it is an unstoppable train, and Keita and I are seemingly unimportant now. In this case it is a conspiracy including my unlikely friend Dra, Ace, Djenneba and Boucoum. I have no idea what will happen next. My friend Kathy wrote the following email, and I will listen and take heed:

It is beyond belief the twists and turns that you are dealing with. It is so hard for you to keep perspective in this almost surreal world you are living in. I think it is so hard to keep a hold on everything when you connection with Keita is being stretched and 'controlled' by external forces.
I thinking there is nothing better to do than let everyone else run round trying to control things while you sit and wait - like what happened with Dra becoming friends- and all the time keeping your focus on your feelings for Keita and his for you - that is what has to survive from this time!
Make Haste Slowly. [Lat., Festina lente.]
Author: Augustus Caesar
Source: quoting a Greek proverb, according to Aullus Gellius (X, 11, 5)

Oh, and yes, I managed to squeeze in a visit by the Minister of Tourism (below being shown around the place) this afternoon. Above is the Prefet de Djenne at the bar.


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