Alassane Maiga is one of 10 public scribes that sit on benches outside La Grande Poste, in Bamako, the capital of Mali. In a country with 70% illiteracy, scribes are required to help the public fill in forms and send letters – but this week, Maiga and his colleagues are focused on “Valentine’s Day”.
Bamako is big enough and amorous enough to keep the scribes working until the early hours of the morning in the week before Valentine’s Day – to the extent that they can be seen sleeping on the post office steps.
A love poem by Alassane Maiga
You who know my best and worst points.
You who know my coolness and my warmth.
I dedicate this poem to you, Fatoumata.
You gave me the desire to live.
You reconciled me with my parents.
You reconciled me with the world.
Without you I don’t know what to do. I need to see you. Even your clothing.
If I am walking in the street and I see a colour you wear, I think of you. That’s real love. Thank you. I am thinking of you. I love you so much.