Sunday, November 13, 2016

Some corner of a Foreign Field/That is forever England

For the first time I have spent Remembrance Sunday in Bamako, where I  took part in a moving ceremony at the Christian cemetery given by  Alice Walpole, the new British Ambassador (with Lt Col E Coward above). Wreaths were laid a  at the grave of a British soldier who served and died in the second world war. His  body was repatriated to Mali since his parents lived in Bamako.
The ceremony was followed by a reception at the British Embassy Residence.

Evelyne Decamps the new French Ambassador was very chatty and friendly and  said she was worried about my being in Djenné alone and in her view very much a kidnapping target. ( I am surprised and flattered that she even remembered who I am!) Yes, perhaps I am a target, but I must have been that for many years now...

I have spent a couple of lonely weeks in Djenné when much has happened on the world stage: a new American president was elected for one thing. This turned out to be  a very different occasion to the last time I stayed up all night to watch an American election at Hotel Djenné Djenno... that was eight years ago and the hotel was full of tourists. There were different nationalities watching in different rooms- I was with the American Peace Corps in the  Kassonge Room and we watched CNN. The bar was for the French and the Peul Suite was were the Italians were watching: A joyous occasion. At four o clock in the morning when it was clear that Obama had won an Italian woman experienced a surfeit of joy and ran into the garden and grabbed the night watchman and kissed him on the mouth. Everybody's choice of president was elected;  Keita was still well and life was sweet .. Now I am tired of  of being horrified about the result so we shall just pass over it.

What else? We had a lecture  for the manuscript owners who have entrusted their manuscripts to the Djenné Manuscript Library by Saadou Traoré our new manuscript expert who was explaining what he has found of particular interest in the manuscripts: there is plenty. I was particularly excited by a manuscript from November 1755 which talks about the shaking of the earth: this was the Lisbon Earth quake which was felt as far as Djenné! More about this shortly on the Library Facebook page.

 I am on my way to London in a few days time where I will have my small heart operation.
I also need to say a big  thank you to those kind and generous readers of this journal who have come to the rescue of Malimali Projects!  Because of  recent donations we are now able to continue with our monthly support to the adult literacy class, the English class; Madame Koita's orphans  etc. at least for a few more months.  We are also able to sponsor one more calligraphy competition at the Djenné Manuscript Library! Hurrah and thanks!


Blogger David said...

I need to get out the African fabric you brought us at that happy time with multiple pictures of Barack and Michelle, and hug it close to my heart.

Looking forward to seeing you very soon. xx

7:47 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Yes indeed David! We need to make some sort of art work with it. Longing to see you! Don't forget to get me plenty of string quartet tickets! xxxS

10:02 PM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Bon courage pour ton intervention chirurgicale. On te souhaite de vite récupérer ta forme que nous admirons tant. What about a short trip ( "short" because we know you are always very busy thanks to David as it seems) in Lyon while you're recovering?

10:45 PM  
Blogger David said...

I shall try and insist that elle va trabouler in your most beautiful of cities - hopefully convalescence will allow? You are such good friends and I'm sorry we didn't meet on several visits.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Just tell us when you come. We will be happy to show you around and eat together in a " bouchon". Maybe you could come together with Sophie!

12:09 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

What a splendid idea! Lets go to Lyon David! Can't we just jump on a train with J?

9:40 AM  
Blogger David said...

More or less, yes. Definitely one of my favourite cities (though Bordeaux, on a smaller scale, is captivating too).

7:15 PM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Just make sure we are available when you decide to jump in the train!!! We're already excited!

8:15 PM  

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