Friday, June 19, 2009

I have swam the last 20 lengths in the hotel pool.
We have had our last sardine and salad picnic lunch in our room.
We have walked down the hill from the Clinique Littorale to the ocean for the last time, buying our last sweets from the young girl in the wheelchair half way down the hill.
We are enacting the routine of our daily existence in Casablanca for the last time with something which feels close to regret. At ten minutes past midnight we will take off for Bamako, for perhaps a difficult and uncertain future. Life in Casablanca has been beautifully simple, focussed on Keita’s radiotherapy and on retrieving his ability to walk. I, at the same time have tried to improve my Bambara. Nothing has disturbed us from trying to attain these goals and now this cocoon of peace has to be abandoned...

Keita can now walk very slowly if holding onto a rail. I promised his old mother to try and bring him back walking and I will nearly have accomplished this. I will ‘hand him over’ to his family tomorrow in Bamako, where he is to continue physiotherapy for some time to try and regain more movement. He will then go onto Segou where he will stay with his mother, his other wife and his children for some time- how long it is not decided and I must now withdraw on a certain level.

I will go onto Djenne from Bamako almost immediately. Hotel Djenne Djenno, which for the last six months has been relegated to second place because of Keita’s illness, must once more become my focus. I am full of foreboding- what will I find when I get to Djenne? The dreaded rainy season is about to start with all it means of muddy hardships. I will no longer have Keita by my side, and my beloved Napoleon is no more. It is as if the colour had gone out of Djenne and I am about to go back to a town in black and white.

Ala ka hine aw la.


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