Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Bambara Adventure

In order to mount a defence against encroaching and unaccustomed feelings of restlessness and uncertainty I have decided to launch myself into a new adventure. It is something I should have done years ago, of course. I am talking of The Bambara Adventure. I have half heartedly been studying the Lingua Franca of Mali for as long as I have been here, and have a relatively large vocabulary tucked away, but never used. Why? Because I used to run a successful hotel. I had to be obeyed instantly without my staff collapsing in laughing fits at my pitiful Bambara attempts.
‘How long has that couple been sitting over there waiting for their dinner? Too long! Get a move on and give them some bread at least to start with!’ That sort of salvo would not have been possible in bad Bambara.  But now my staff can have as much fun as they like at my expense- there is no one here. So this morning I arrived with a flourish: ‘Aw Ni Sogoma. Sisan ne be Bamanankan fo doron. Ne te Toubabokan don’ . (Good Morning. From now on I will speak nothing but Bambara. I do not understand the language of the Toubabos.) The last bit is quite fun: there is only one white man’s language here- whether you speak Dutch, English French or Lithuanian- it is all Toubabokan.
The staff has been exemplary. They have not laughed too much, but rather have endeavoured to speak to me slowly and clearly and with patience. This should only take a couple of weeks inshallah!
And other fun happenings is that my appearance on TV Down Under yesterday was quite a success if I can judge from the various emails that have arrived from strangers lavishing hugely misguided but  gratifying praise on me about what a wonderful person I am,  as well as making various interesting offers such as the kind woman who would like to come and help me in the MaliMali effort by  teaching  crochet to the locals...
I believe the programme can now be watched on


Blogger David said...

Toubabokan - I like that. Have never forgotten that the ancient Greeks called those who spoke foreign languages hoi barbaroi because to their ears they all went ba-ba-ba...Healthy to be the barbarian once in a while. Good on you for the effort.

And, yes, the programme was I thought very good and I didn't detect them getting anything wrong about you. Of course you came over as the born goddess-presenter.

10:15 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Hoi Barbaroi! That is great. I will go out and face my staff again this morning with renewed courage. careful, all this praise might start going to my head!
What I would really like now though is for the Aussies to make some MaliMali orders!

8:32 AM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

Sophie, a TV TRIUMPH for you ! So eloquent and composed and you looked stunning :)

11:29 AM  

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