Day Eleven: Transcendent Moments

I woke up this morning at 6:00 am to two strains of music. A lone Muslim singer started a prayer and a group responded in kind. Again and again. At the same time roosters were greeting the day, calling to each other across the village. Melody and harmony taking turns in the embrace of life. Oh my … where am I on my planet and in my heart?

We shared a community dinner last night at the B&B – all sixteen of us. Eddy and his staff prepared a delicious meal featuring chicken, pork and some veggies I didn’t know. But the real deliciousness was the people, each one with two shining eyes. I was at a table for nine and at one point there were three Flemish conversations going on. I sat back and listened to the music. My friends balanced beautifully their need to chat with family in their own language and their care for me, sometimes venturing into the world of English. Very sweet to be loving the teeter totter.

Twice during the evening, there was sadness. A young woman who was our server suddenly turned from us in tears. She walked away. Lydia got up immediately, followed our Senegalese friend and put her arm around her. Lydia told me later that a fellow had recently died in the woman’s arms. Oh my … something I’ve never experienced.

Then one member of our three families also walked away and sat down on the other side of the courtyard. The head dropped. A loved one went over and they spent a few minutes together. Love lives.

This morning several of us walked to the market. Fresh fish, vegetables, clothing … so much was available. I roamed around and greeted the people who were selling. Very little French on my part, no English on theirs. No matter. Eyes will do nicely.

Jo showed me his Senegalese pantaloons this morning – so colourful- and I wanted a pair. Lydia knew a woman who could make one for me so Lore and the seamstress set off with me to find material. Red, blue and green beckoned me and soon a metre was mine. Tomorrow or the day after, I can look just like Jo! As soon as I can send photos again by Facebook, I’ll do a fashion show for you.

Our travels took us past.the home of a woman Lydia knew. We went inside. A tiny girl was lying in her mother’s arms, gasping. After we left, I asked Lydia what could be done for the little girl. “Nothing. May she die soon.” When a member of a typical village Senegalese family gets very sick, there are no medical services available. So intensely sad.

As we walked the streets, saying hi to this person and that, I saw an old woman coming towards us. She was stooped over and was carrying two buckets. She dropped slowly into a chair and started spreading her vegetables on a table. We talked, most non-verbally. Rancine is (Are you ready for this?) 100 years old. With the smile of a child. Next to us sat her great great great great (!) grandson. The three of us just hung out together. Then Rancine’s great great great granddaughter came to be with us. Amazingly, I was home. And then we waved goodbye.

The last image I’ll leave with you came to me as a small group of us sat outside a tiny bar, each sipping their favourite beverage. Across the way, a girl in a blue dress sat on a chair. Between her legs sat a young kid, most likely her sister. The older was braiding the younger’s hair. I looked over for thirty seconds or so and the older girl seemed to be making eye contact with me. I waved. She waved. It was so beautiful. Such grace just doesn’t happen in Canada, as far as I know.

That’s enough for now. Transcendent moments indeed. And more to come.

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