Wednesday, December 28, 2016

‘L’Homme propose, Dieu dispose’

L’Homme propose, Dieu dispose’ was one of Keita’s favourite sayings. The last time he used it was when we reviewed our holiday plans in March: we had been discussing whether to go to Guinea or to the Ivory Coast in the old Mercedes, but it was suddenly becoming clear that we would no longer be going anywhere. I just looked it up: ‘The phrase "Man proposes, but God disposes" is a translation of the Latin phrase "Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit" from Book I, chapter 19, of The Imitation of Christ by the German cleric Thomas à Kempis.’ It seems that it would  have been imported by the French and is used often in Mali.                                                                                                                                                     I think it fits in quite well with the way Muslims perceive divine intervention in human affairs.
I had been planning my last Christmas in Djenné: on the 23rd of December was the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the hotel. But perhaps it was better like this: A Christmas in Djenné sans Keita is quite inconceivable.
It seems that whatever plans I have had about my future have been speedily rearranged by a power outside my own control. My plan was to leave Djenné around June, to find a nice big house in Bamako with a swimming pool and a few good rooms with en-suite bathrooms in which I would run a Bed and Breakfast. I would also continue MaliMali on the premises and  have both a studio and a little shop. Then I would travel up to Djenné every month perhaps to see the project out at the library.
This is not going to happen. I have been to my GP here in London and it had been decided that I must come back soon not only to have the heart operation but to address some serious problems with my spine. I am not to ride any more. No more promenades with Petit Bandit towards nightfall by the river.
This is not new.  It has been happening and worsening for years, but has been put in the shadow of Keita’s health problems which were much worse.

But I have nevertheless spent a lovely Christmas in London with Andrew, one of my friends who came to Mali on that first auspicious trip. We hosted Christmas Day dinner for mutual friends including the lovely Pia, our Swedish friend who also travelled with us to Mali: everyone mistook her for our daughter.  Jeremiah and David, also Mali veterans were also invited, and a few others. I made flags for the Christmas tree representing all the different nationalities present: British; Swedish, Hungarian, Austrian, Irish and Jamaican, since Andrew is a white Jamaican, born in Montego Bay, where his arrival  into this world was assisted  by  Dr. Marley, the cousin of Bob Marley’s dad.  (After such a tedious blog post once more, I am glad to have been able to slip that interesting bit of information in for some light relief.) Flying back to Mali on the 4th.

Pia and Andrew having Boxing Day Breakfast.


Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Bien tristes de penser que l'aventure Djenné semble se terminer. Ainsi va la vie...
Un coeur tout neuf ou presque et de nouveaux horizons ... Inch Allah!
Bon retour au Mali et tous nos voeux pour cette nouvelle année ouverte sur tous tes nouveaux projets!
Pascal et Monique

6:45 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

merci chers amis et je vous souhaite également une très bonne 2017.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Un article qui nous a fait penser à si on sait très bien que tu n'as rien à voir avec le wax!!!

3:55 PM  

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