Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Back in Mali and back in Djenne for several days already, but have been so busy my feet have hardly touched the ground. Grey clouds hang ominously over Djenne, and violent winds whip up the ubiquitous plastic bag debris, throwing it high in the air where it circles like vultures. Rain is looming but not materializing to my relief: I am not ready yet for the hardships that the rainy season brings the owner of a mud hotel.
Have finally caught up with more or less everyone. Much has happened: Here is Madame Koita with the new girl triplet orphans that this amazing woman has decided to take on. The mother of the girls, who are now about 6 weeks old, died a day after giving birth to them in a remote village where no one was able to care for them. MaliMali sponsors Madame Koita and her orphans with monthly support. See www.malimali.org “project” page. I have just tried rather clumsily to do something with the malimali website myself, hoping to bring some more sponsorship and not wanting to spend any hard earned malimali money on a proper website designer.
There is much new building work going on as I noticed when Pudg and I went for our first ride on Maobi and Max yesterday. Various cement buildings are springing up quite close to the hotel, since the Unesco World Heritage protection only covers the town itself, and one is allowed to build in other materials than mud outside the town perimeter. The most noticeable of these new cement edifices is going to be a large hotel, owned by a Swiss woman I am told. Will she live here? I have no idea, since she has not introduced herself, and I am only relying on hearsay and rumour. I have been the only toubab here for 5 years. It might be fun to have a European neighbour. On the other hand, it seems a strange time to invest in Malian tourism since the hotels are more or less empty, thanks to the French efforts of mud slinging. The new hotel may well become the sort of place tourists will like. It seems to have Dogon figures/decorations in cement on the external walls, and given a coating of cement “banco’ it may become pretty, albeit absolutely nothing to do with Djenne architecture, and blocking my customary view of the equipages leaving the market on a Monday. I do hope it will stay unpainted. The colour of raw cement is actually very close to the colour of the Djenne mud buildings, and if left unpainted it will marry it into the landscape slightly more.
On va voir….


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