Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bamako Birthday and MaliMali Shop

I am seething with frustration- if that is the right expression.  It has now been one whole week that I am back in Djenné and I have not once been able to connect to the internet ! I am writing this anyway, in the forelorn hope that next time I try it will finally work…-
It looks as if  am finally going to have to join the rest of the world, albeit kicking and screaming, into the second decade of the third millenium by buying a smart phone; since it seems as if this means of connection works better in Djenné .  I see my gardener’s assistant Karim fiddling with his smartphone and chatting to potential girlfriends while I am walking around in a constant rage and frustration and not even being able to open up the hotel emails with their potential reservations on my computer! I have so far maintained, in my quaint old-fashioned way,  that I am not interested in being constantly connected, nor in having a phone that can take pictures and do other clever things. I lose at least three mobile phones  a year. I therefore have the cheapest possible cell phone and it does what it is supposed to do: it can make a phone call.  When I arrived at the airport in Bamako last time I had trouble opening the back of my phone to change the SIM card, so I asked an airport cleaner who was sweeping up if he would mind giving me a hand. He looked sniffily at me and at my phone and told me  with undisguised contempt: ‘ we give these sorts of phones to our maids’.

I also have a camera which I use when I want to take pictures, and finally, when I want to get onto the internet – at certain times I have set aside for this task- I use my computer. But this antiquated –although  I would say civilised- way of behaviour is clearly no longer an option and I too am about to become one of those boring people who are surgically attached to their smart phones. AAArgh!
I am in the midst of a  cavalcade of pleasant and important events that need to be recorded- an important birthday was spent in Bamako last week in the very pleasant surroundings of  the Swedish Embassy residence with my  kind friend Eva, the ambassador,  who arranged for a great Swedish style birthday cake and once more  let me stay as I was opening our MaliMali Bamako outlet in the same location as the shop ‘Ethnic Women’ who stocked out goods before and sold well, but closed down since its owner went back to France. MaliMali is now taking on the shop ourselves and on the night of my birthday we opened and  had a small informal drinks party for a handful of friends in  front of the shop in the balmy Bamako night. It is still only stocked with a fraction of the goods it will have and we  are  frantically trying to produce all the things that need to go in: fabrics, clothing and accessories. Meanwhile there is a big order from Sweden to fulfil and one from Brazil, as well as the fabrics I need to bring back to London in May when MaliMali is taking part in a fabric exhibition called Clerkenwell Design Week- we have a stand in a former Victorian Dungeon it appears…



Blogger David said...

Delighted to see the MaliMali shop - executed in style, as ever.

From now on, I shall always think of my pay-as-you-go basic Nokia as a 'maid's phone'.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Superbe magasin! mais on en n'attendait pas moins!!! Mabrouk! Bravo! Congratulations! Good luck! Lycka till! (?)

10:01 AM  

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