Monday, September 21, 2015

Turbulent Times...

A turbulent time  has passed. It is merciful how in the middle of disasters and tribulations providence arranges things to be just about bearable, or at least manageable: let's take the last ten days. Keita had been bedridden, in pain, on morphine, unable to move or even go to the lavatory on his own. I was able to help and we pulled through- towards the middle  of last week he was more or less back on his feet again, and on Thursday he was able to have his forth all important treatment.

Meanwhile I plummeted. I had not fully recovered from my own illness and suddenly I was very sick again with severe diarrhea, fever, extremely low blood pressure (70/40) strange palpitations, bref, I was so weak I could hardly stand up. Last Tuesday I was admitted to a private clinic here where they rehydrated me with a drip, and put me back in reasonable shape again as well as taking plenty of tests  including a coloscopy with biopsies the results of which will be winging themselves hither from Germany in a couple of weeks only.
As if this was not enough drama, Eva flew off to Burkina Faso last week (where she is also ambassador) and arrived smack bang in the middle of a Coup d'Etat. She managed to  get back here again a couple of days later (the same day as I  was discharged from the clinic) and played us the recording she had made with her mobile phone from the balcony of her hotel in Ouagadougou featuring mortar fire and machine gun salvos.

Today Keita will leave for Segou and Tabaski with his other family. I am staying here until the weekend when I will return to Djenné if I am strong enough.  This week is more or less a long holiday beginning tomorrow with the Malian Independence Day and on Thursday it is Tabaski.
People are leaving  Bamako on trips to what is regarded as safe areas: Sikasso, Kayes; south to Kangaba etc. No Embassy staff are allowed to travel to Djenné of course.

Eva has never been to Djenné and it is unlikely that she will be able to go on a private trip since she cannot herself do something she tells her staff they are not able to do.
So I came up with what I believe to be a wonderful  idea which I  suggested to Eva: she should travel incognito. She and I would dress up in full black burqa, and Denis her cook and sometime driver would be disguised as a gulf potentate who would  be driving his two wives  to Djenné to worhip at the Djenné Mosque for Tabaski. This suggestion was received with  a lot of laughter from  both Eva and Denis. I guess I must also clarify that my inspired idea was sadly not accepted .The thing is: I was really serious. My friend  Karen of Toguna Tours, one of the only still operating tour organizers here has a client who wants to go to Timbuktu. Karen has said that she is prepared to arrange a trip to Djenné, Mopti and the Dogon country but that she cannot help her to get to Timbuktu. That trip, along a lonely piste through the desert between Douanza and Timbuktu is considered to be too dangerous. Now, if I wanted to go to Timbuktu I would take one of the local taxi brousses that travel that way every day, but I would travel in full burqa. I believe it would be a safe way to go.


Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Est ce que tu nous dit que les femmes maliennes ne portent plus leurs superbes boubous colorés, qu'elles ne montrent plus leurs épaules? que les marchés ne sont plus inondés de couleurs? Trop triste!
Sophie prend bien soin de Keita de toi.
Monique et Pascal

12:18 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Mais non! Rassurez-vous. La plupart des femmes ma1iennes sont habillées aussi joliment que toujours, et les marchés n'ont perdu rien de leur couleur et éclat!

Mais à Bamako surtout il y a une augmentation des adhérants au secte Wahabite- et on voit malheureusement de plus en plus de femmes en burqua total, ce qui me mets toujours en grande colère. Je me souviens un jour dans un taxi a Bamako ou nous avons passé un mariage Wahabi avec toutes les femmmes couvert en noir. "Regarde cela! " j'ai dit, irritée, au chauffeur. "Ce sont des femmes ma1iennes! Qu'est ce qu'elles pensent q'elles font habillées comme ça! C'est ridicule!" Mais le chauffeur, dans un esprit de tolerance typiquement malien m'a repondu, "C'est pas grave. Il faut laisser les gens s'hablller comme ils veulent".
Je ne suis pas d'accord.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

What an interesting adventure this could have been. I was hoping your friend would have been brave enough, but then again, would I?

6:46 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Tabor, indeed a shame. I think Eva is plenty brave, but I guess in her position she cannot always do what she likes...

11:27 AM  
Blogger David said...

Anyway, if she changes her mind, you've spilled the beans...It always feels bizarre learning of places that one went to with relative ease (for in a 4x4 the journey to Timbuktu was no great hardship) now being no-go areas. That seems to apply to half the world now.

I'm delighted, if hardly surprised, to hear of Keita's latest resilience. Are you stronger now too? Difficult to tell you to take it easy because that's not what you do, unless forced into it...

I want you to know that we led the assembled crowd at Pia's 50th birthday in Povel Ramel's Swedish version of 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts'. Having found an English translation I now realise his text is a lot funnier than the original. Must admit I'd always been puzzled to hear the word 'nitroglycerin' in it.

2:58 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Pia's 50th birthday??! Surely you mean Pia's 40th birthday? Would ha1ve loved to have been there for the "lovely bunch of coconuts!"

5:05 PM  
Blogger David said...

Now you have me doubting (she doesn't look either, of course, honestly). Oh dear, I may have made a faux pas in public. Julie and Rory were here inter alia tonight and we thought and talked of you, of course.

10:24 PM  

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