Thursday, August 11, 2016

Farewell Acé (Hasseye)

I had swallowed a lot: more or less exactly 1300 000 FCFA in stolen electricity bill payments. I had decided because of  the memory of Keita and for the long time and happy memories that we have in common to try and forget and forgive what he has done to me, although he has continued to pretend that he has done nothing wrong in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Never mind, ‘let’s move on’ was the prevailing philosophy on this matter.  But today something else happened which made me revise the plan with which I had not been all that happy.
Acé  (above bottom left in boubou with the sheep he won for Tabaski in our hotel lottery, 2012) has always been entrusted with the purchase of the millet for my animals.  This dates from the very beginning when I bought my first donkey in 2007. I have never questioned him: he told me how much it cost and I paid. This was of course in retrospect quite gullible of me, but it must be understood that Acé was my trusted right hand man and I did not question him.
Every six weeks or so we need to buy another 100kg sack of millet. This has never caused any problem and I have paid between 22000 and 23500 FCFA for the sack,  ( up to £30) depending on the time of the year. Yesterday Al Hadj who feeds my horse told me that the millet was about to finish. Since I feel uncomfortable about Acé now and perhaps somewhere in the back of my mind a trap was forming, I asked Boubakar the gardener this time. “Please go and get a sack of millet, won’t you Boubakar? And don’t forget to get me a receipt from the merchant please.” And off he went and came back with the millet and a receipt which stated quite unceremoniously that the 100 kg sack of millet costs 15000FCFA! Boubakar was very  apologetic about it. “ It is quite expensive now, he explained.  I wanted to know how much it normally costs. “Oh, it can be about 10 000FCFA” said Boubakar.                                                                                    
Yes Yes, I know I am also responsible for this. If I have never checked the price of millet then it could be claimed that I deserve it. But I have been burning my candle at both ends here, especially at the time when there were plenty of hotel guests. There was MaliMali and there was the library. I should have checked everything of course but some things fell by the wayside and my laissez-faire and trusting  attitude lay myself open to abuse...but I never thought it would be by Acé...

I set a trap for him. I assured myself of the price of millet once more, then I called him. When he arrived I said that I needed a sack of millet. How much is it again? And he fell straight into the trap and told me it was 23000FCFA. After a moment’s pause I said” Acé, it costs 15000FCFA for a sack of millet and that is a high price. Here is the receipt from the merchant. I am afraid you have to leave now and I never ever want to see you again”. And he left, saying “D’accord! Pas de Problème!”.

The Mercy has run out- and I don't even think it would be right to keep him on after this. I gave him every chance and he continues cheerfully to try and rip me off! So farewell Acé  my once dear friend.


Blogger David said...

Yes, sadly, you're right. His shame is that all your readers knows he's a thief. For whatever reasons he did it, to go on doing it when you're going through hard times is reprehensible.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Triste, triste histoire... Difficile de reconnaitre que la confiance de ceux que l'on apprécie n'est pas partagée... Difficile de reconnaitre que le monde dans lequel on vit n'est pas le monde que l'on rêve. On te souhaite tout le courage nécessaire pour attendre des jours, espérons-le, meilleurs.

11:47 AM  
Blogger jm.herraiz said...

He has been crushed by his own lies. Since he had not admitted his faults, he was forced to keep on lying. If he had declared now the real price, another mountain of lies would have fallen upon him. His fate was set a long time ago. By himself. Not much can be done for him now...

8:04 AM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

So sad, this, and really the only decision you could have made. I think often how much we do have and need to trust without question, how essential it is so as not to live in a constant protective crouch. These are of course much smaller things, but I almost never count my change when I go to the store; I rarely check restaurant bills for accuracy, either. Rather, I trust, and the only time I don't is when I think the person shows s/he is distracted or not so good at math. So I'm sure I would have trusted Ace, as you had, and I don't think it's at all your fault that you chose to trust. Such a shame that he didn't take the opportunity to make it right with you once the truth came to light, and even more of a shame, beyond that, that you have had to pay such a price. Really sad.

9:02 PM  
Blogger mary said...

In a sense all's well that ends well. You were never going to feel confident about your relationship with Ace again and the fact that he has proved himself to be utterly dishonest again so soon has given you the perfect opportunity to part company. To trust people is important but some people live with different boundaries of honesty. It will always be thus but because the minority are devious does not mean that we should assume everyone else is too. Keep trusting and have faith in human nature being honest. Otherwise where are we in our relationships with people?

2:12 PM  
Blogger David said...

Absolutely right, Mary - the majority are honest everywhere, though in some cultures cheating is more embedded than in others (I'm not saying that's the case with Mali, but I remember how boring it becsme having to check restaurant bills as a tourist in Greece in the 1980s, which was a surprise).

2:28 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

I know there was only one decision to be made, and it is good to hear you agree. But there are of course the mitigating circumstances of the grinding poverty here. Although I have paid higher wages than the average here and I have always looked after my staff and their families in case of illness etc; there is no doubt that life is a struggle for most people, even those that are fortunate enough to have a job.
But because of this situation I am always so happy and full of admiration when other people in my staff- Maman or Dembele for instance- actually point out to me that I have made a mistake and try to pay me back money if I have over paid or mis- calculated- and that has happens several times. Poverty does not turn everyone into a thief...

10:48 PM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

Dear Sophie,
I know and understand your predicament. I’ve had the same thing in Egypt with Tarek who I trusted and found out that he was ripping me off, left right and centre and telling bare faced lies to my face. Also the apparent casualness of their reaction when they are found out is incredible. No sense of remorse at all. So you are right and thankfully the situation gave you the evidence you needed. However, it doesn’t change the fact that sadness is the overwhelming emotion that’s left over after these confrontations. Still chin up, as you say there are still people who you CAN trust.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Marianne said...

I'm with Mary. And good to get it sorted. All this stuff is just so difficult, when cultural and economic circumstances are taken into account. Nonetheless, there is still an essential truth and rightness, and that's what we have to stick with. Must be hard dealing with it all on your own.

4:20 AM  

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