Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The money for this will not arrive until July next year however, so I have been trying to find other funding in the interim, so that the two archivists Garba and Yelfa, trained last autumn in our BL Pilot Project, will have something to do and the impetus that was created will not be lost.
I have been speaking to the French Embassy in Bamako ( and incidentally therefore managed to wangle an invitation to their Bastille Day bash at the Embassy, which turned out to be a dour affair-see cartoon above which appeared in the Independent the following day. My complaint was not so much the lack of food as the incomprehensible lack of drink...It is always fun to sing the Marseillaise though, and its bloodthirsty message made me giggle in the context of the Ambassador's speech about understanding and co-operation: 'Q'un sang impure abreuve nos sillons!: Let the blood of the bastards quench the thirst of our plowed fields!- or something like that..)
Anyway, the French Embassy is willing and able to fund something like the Djenne manuscripts, but they are quite complicated in the distribution of funds: it all have to fit into rigid categories and be paid to quite specific organisations which are registered as NGOs or Associations, with proper stamps and receipts and numbers. They also need to have a local partner which pays for a part of the project, and then they might fund the rest.
I said, OK fine. I have just one such Association. It is called MaliMali, it is a proper Association with stamps and registration number and it says in our statutes that we support the artistic and cultural life of Djenne, into which would fall quite naturally the library project I thought. We would give a donation from the funds we earn in the shop- there is a bit in the kitty and I would lend the rest. We would pledge to pay the salaries of Garba and Yelfa for the period of the interim project to the tune of about 300 000FCFA and the French Embassy on their side would cough up about 2 or 3 million FCFA for a series of workshops and courses in Djenne about the importance, conservation, cataloguing etc. of the manuscripts, aimed at the manuscripts owners – and therefore some of the library committee too. By taking part in these workshops the population of Djenne, and the manuscripts owners in particular, would become involved and ‘get a slice’ of the action. The participating course members would also receive a small sum of money every day, a very important incentive.
This proposal to the Embassy fell on stony ground. Because MaliMali does bogolan and weaving it was perceived as an unsuitable partner. It needed to be the Library of Manuscripts itself. 'But they don’t have any money!' I objected.
Let's see what happens.
In a couple of days Abdel Kader Haidara is coming from Timbuktu and I am putting my trust in him to resolve this mess!


Post a Comment

<< Home