Friday, June 17, 2016

Too much sorrow

 Death is so much more present in Mali: too many die young. The latest in this line of sorrow is Djennéba's firstborn, Nasra Keita, her daughter who was married with three small children. Djennéba, above and below, is Keita's older sister. She called me just now in Sweden to say that her daughter lost her fight last night at the Hopital Mere et Enfant in Bamako where she had been treated for two weeks. Djennéba would have spent the entire two weeks by her side which is the Malian custom. When Keita lay dying at the Point G Hospital she was there with many other family members who stay around the clock outside the ward where they sleep on mats and eat the food they have prepared while they  await patiently the conclusion of the drama which is more often than not the body's last journey to the morgue.

It is not really possible to ask what the loved one died of: one is likely to receive an unsatisfactory reply: 'Oh, he had a head ache and then he died', or "she had a stomach ache for some time and then it was over". Even Djennéba, who is a trained mid wife does not indulge in any diagnosis or explanations so it is impossible to know the cause of death. I think it is regarded as impolite to inquire, and in any case I don't any more since I know I will not find anything out.
So Nasra  will be buried today - always the very same or the next day.

I am spending time in Sweden before returning to Mali at the beginning of July with some trepidation: what will it be like now without Keita?

I can see the flowering lilacs here and I notice their scent, I am aware  of the beauty of the early summer meadows; I can feel the gentle Swedish  summer sun warm my limbs in the day and I notice that  the nights are cancelled but these things are destined for the enjoyment  of other people  and I am only walking through it all without absorbing it as if I somehow was wearing a protective isolation garment.


Blogger David said...

Sorry for yet more sorrow in Keita's family. You put it heartbreakingly. Life is cheap in many places in the world, which doesn't mean that loss is mourned any less.

5:46 PM  
Blogger jm.herraiz said...

Rest in peace

5:08 PM  
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