All posts tagged: village chief

on meetings

Last week we had an important, VIP-level meeting. The kind for which preparations are endless, and staff wrings its collective hands, and fingers are crossed that it goes off well. Fortunately, we had two advantages right off the bat: this Very Important Meeting was held under a most perfect tree (a good omen), and the welcoming committee was enthusiastic: Thus the meeting commenced in great form and style, with a masterful emcee. And it continued with a walk to see Important Things. Admittedly, a long walk. And a very hot one, under an African sun. Maybe a little too long. But there was a point, and there were no complaints. No whiners in this bunch. They were on Official Business. So we continued. This was the point: And after many questions and inspections, even the skeptics were convinced. And thus the meeting was a resounding, if sweaty, success.

on mud mosques

Yesterday: 1.5-hour trip to Tadianabougou. Arrived during a meeting between village chief, village boutique owner, enthusiastic farmer, company reps, and a few chickens. They sat in an easy circle under a most perfect tree–the kind that reaches out wide to offer shade, a good climb, and enchanting protection. Just the right tree for an important meeting. The chief wore a bright salmon-colored frock and spoke little. He sat on an old, low chair with worn plastic straps conspiring to be a seat; by the end of the meetings, the straps had parted beneath him and he slowly sunk down until his bum was nearly on the ground, legs still propped up by the chair frame. I introduced myself, and took tea. After the meetings I asked whether I could take a photograph of the village mosque, made of dirt, mud, clay. Someone asked the chief in a quick string of Bambara, he replied, and it was proclaimed in French: The village chief has authorized you to take a photograph of the mosque. Thank you, merci,¬†iniche. …