Monday, September 19, 2016

Bridges and Marabouts

The villagers come from far and wide to Djenné for the Monday market: it has been so for many centuries. There are several entry points to the island town of Djenné for those arriving with horse and cart, but the main one is across the small bridge to which one arrives when one comes from Sanouna and the Bani crossing. This is the one used by the trucks and lorries, buses and private cars.
The horses and carts have normally not crossed into the town but parked themselves close to the hotel. This Monday they  were not alone in staying this side of the bridge: all motorized vehicles apart from mopeds have been forbidden to cross the bridge which is collapsing.

Built in 1975 it has had little or no maintenance and now  it has been condemned by the authorities. I am in Bamako  still and these pictures are courtesy of my friend Sidy Traoré in Djenné. What will happen now? Are there any emergency funds for this sort of thing? Who knows. I can only imagine the havoc this is causing.  The Pousse-Pousse owners are happy of course and apparently the going price for a cart to be pushed into Djenné with merchandise to sell was a minimum of 1000FCFA this morning.  But other consequences are more dire: it will be impossible for the ambulance to cross from the hospital for one thing...

Meanwhile I have begun to lend a hand to the Mission Culturelle who are finally intending to open the Musée de Djenné, and I am responsible for a photography exhibition in one of the halls. This morning I received a message from the anthropologist Geert Mommersteeg who spent a a lot of time in Djenné in the late eighties and wrote 'In the City of the Marabouts' with the excellent news that I was allowed to use the marvellous portraits of the Djenné Marabouts from this book  taken by the photographer Martin Stoop for the exhibition. The picture below is of the father of Dr Guida Landouré; known to readers of this journal.


Blogger jm.herraiz said...

Oh, my god. I hope that bridge will be repaired or replaced very soon

9:20 AM  

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