Sorry for the delays.... There was no Interntet.
Well, I asked for Africa: the music, the dance, the animals and its people and I got a taste of something that is not Oakland, that's for sure--toilets with buckets of water where one would find tissue and pitchers for pouring the water on one's left hand after one does her business. I am glad I didn't need the outhouse.
The water is cold.
Do people take cold showers? I am not certain...all I know is this is the first and the last time I sleep here.
Rodents chasing each other across the roof and under the floor boards and under the bed.
I am not investigating. All I know is I am afraid to lie down. I'm just happy I have my misquitote net, they are buzzing around and I haven't been bitten yet and don't plan to be. I was lying down and I guess I could try it again. I wish I could sleep with the kid in the other room, Muhammadou's son, who was up late watching a film on TV.
The healing ritual was great...first Mama Oulimata sprayed the patient with medicine—she filled her mouth and then sprayed her and then she sprayed us. Next the other women healers sprayed her too. This was followed by them rubbing the patient with some medicine with milk—we then tasted the medicine too as we all licked our fingers. It was great participating in the healing of one of the community. While the patient sat on the mat, her back to the drummers, multiple hands rubbed her down as she grew more and more agitated. Clearly the drummers moved her as they played. Anxious to dance, the women took off the wet over skirt, holding her down as they rubbed the medicine in, dried off what would rub in, fixed her lappa and put a tunic over it as she stood and began to move.
The drums meanwhile grew so loud I had to put in earplugs so when the women and those gathered, the children and drummers, everyone knew the songs dances and changes. It was really beautiful and as I took pictures and clapped in time to the drums, I was pulled into the circle and invited to dance...I mean here I was with the authentic folks, not that in Oakland Mama Naomi or Brother Zak are faking but here was spirit and medicine and cultural relevance all together the way it was supposed to be--if nothing else, Africans are practical and pragmatic...if it feels good it must be good, right? And what is good for one's spirit is good for one's soul and one's body and one's mind.
We walked over from Pape's mother-in-law's house to the shrine where the rituals take place.
First we stopped at Pape's father-in- law's to peek in and say hi or Na/ge/deft? How are you? The family shared several meals while I was there--it's really cool the way folks use their hands and some might have a spoon to use as well but dinner is in one dish. I haven't had the opportunity to share a meal yet, too many cannots in my diet, so I watch and participate vicariously...it is the same at Suzanne's.
When we got to Mame Oulimata's place she was making salat. These Senegalese folks take their din seriously...kids are learning Qur'an and reciting --Pape made salat at least four times while I was with him, at the zoo, at his mom's twice, at his house.
Before the healing ceremony the patient had a meal with her family and Mame Oulimata had a meal with another healer and her son and daughter. While we sat talking a woman ran screaming by our door...doors are left open children and other members of the community walk by pop in their heads and shake hands Savah! Practice English on me and then go on their merry ways.
I thought she was on fire, just then the lights went out on the block and we went outside tio see what was going on. A man was trying to get the cap in the can of gas but it was still hissing out and so he just took it away...I still wasn't sure what happened to the sister who I'd seen run by. Wolof has a fast speech pattern, probably perfect for me, since
I speak fast already.
She was fine.
Hum, rolling blackouts, another similarity to California. At Suzanne's the blackouts are during the day about 8 to 4 p.m. It's really arbitrary, but I saw a few people with flashlights. Pape told me that Youssou N'Dour was in Rufisque yesterday, that would have been fun.