Week 3 - Rita

Our trip upcountry was thrilling, exhausting, and beautiful. We had an amazing trip. The bus ride had some rough spots, but Mr. Badjie kept the reggae and Aretha Franklin coming. Looking out the bus windows will be one of my fondest memories of Africa what a gorgeous landscape. However, I will never forget that first time we got off the bus in a village near Brefet. The flocks of children that followed us held our hands dutifully and the adults were especially hospitable. As we walked through the village, we saw women pounding grain, every color imaginable hung out to line dry after being washed in water from the river. Men in Muslim garb dozed in the shade or drove carts pulled by donkeys and horses to carry new roofing and fencing wood. As we passed a well, we stopped to talk with a group of women, who were working in a nearby garden. One of the older women picked up two gourd halves (calabashes) that she could barely reach her arms around and began to play them like drums, smacking them together for a hollow, bass sound and punctuating that sound with rapid slaps on the top gourd with her open palms or fingertips. We took turns dancing amidst the children and grinning women they seemed to really appreciate our participation and thanked us for dancing with them. This happened every time we danced upcountry we were thanked and complimented, despite the fact that our dance was not even knee level to theirs. I was completely overwhelmed by our ../index into that village. I felt like a baby

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Updated 06/25/00.