Friday, July 08, 2011

Back to normal again, that is to say, back to my normal grizzly Mali personality, which I had happily put on the shelf for my European visit. I don’t think I was angry once in Europe, but as usual, I have about one uncontrollable fit of rage a day here. And what is it that makes me so angry? The points of friction seem ridiculous when written down in isolation, but when experienced one after the other they declench explosions…
People want things from me all the time. That is understandable, there is hardly any tourists around and people who rely on tourism are literally starving. When I arrive back they see a possibility of borrowing or having some money coming their way. I try my best not to be annoyed and I try to figure out some way of helping by giving some work if possible. So when Boubakar the weaver came to see me the other day he pretended it was a courtesy visit, but I knew that he needed something from me as usual. And indeed he did. So I arranged for him to come and start weaving our big loom next Monday, although we really don’t need any more weavers, since with no tourists we don’t sell anything and it will just be stock piling. Getting the loom ready for Boubakar involved sending for someone from Segou at some considerable expense to put the loom back into order.
Then yesterday, as I came back from my ride there was Boubakar hanging around. Just seeing him made me annoyed. We had already arranged everything, what did he want NOW??? I wanted to take a shower and escape onto my sunset roof with a whisky and soda. (My new fad, a change from the rum and ginger cocktails), I did emphatically NOT want to talk to Boubakar again. 'Yes?' I enquired unpleasantly. 'What is it now?'
“I have brought Oumar, my brother, he explained. (‘It gets worse’ I thought to myself and gritted my teeth. Oumar makes clay jewellery.) ‘Ok what do you want?’ I continued irritably. ‘I want Oumar to come and weave here instead of me, I won’t have the time’ said Boubakar. I lost control completely and started shouting at him: 'But Oumar is a godamn jeweller!'
‘Oumar can weave too’, objected Boubakar, now getting angry as well.
‘I have arranged this for you, damn it, I thought you needed saving from death by starvation! I don’t need a XXXXing weaver, we have weavers already, I was only trying to help you out!’
And with that I swanned off to take a shower while Boubakar and Oumar stomped out through the gate, no doubt on their way to town to tell anyone who wanted to listen that the toubabo muso has now finally gone completey insane. On my way to my new house I shouted to Maman: ‘And never ever ever ever let people hang around here asking favours from me at 6 pm again when I come back from my ride, coz I will go beserk again! Get them to make an appointment- in the future I will see people in the morning between 9 and 11,' I added grandly, disappearing for my shower and to get changed and smartened up for sunset drinks and romantic dinner with myself in the garden where the new ebay solar fairy lights twinkle away from the mango tree and the flambuoyant.
Of course, the solution to this whole thing would have been to say, quietly and calmly, ‘No I am afraid that won’t work Boubakar.’ Good day’. That is all that was necessary. Instead I behaved like a lunatic!
Heaven help me from myself.


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