Updates by Michael Lavoie
Tuesday was surpassed on Wednesday. What a Wednesday! In the morning, Kathryn and I went to salute the chief-- we offered a couple gifts and announced the pump project. He offered to let us sit at his side on his throne. That never happened before to me.
Around 11, pcvs emma, trent, Grace, and haley arrived from kaya and. tougouri. At the school, we immediately formed 2 vol teams for 2 large classes--the pcv's organized and engaged the kids in actvities and I showed them the Brookside video, after which I took a similar video of them--it's all "zemsame" or "just" here. The videos were like an exchange of pictures.we started with video on table laptop thenzigzagged to put it on my head like a canary of water, swiveling around the room for better viewing. When the brookside kids waved at them in the video, they all waved back, video meshing into reality. So powerful--so beyond the expression of words. And how spectular and innovative in class were Emma, Haley, Grace, Trent and Kathryn. In recognition of their good school work, 4 of the masks came out early and danced before these 4 pcv's. And then, at 1 pm, pcv's tim and becky arrived from boulsa with pc cd shannon. That made 7 pcv's, me and Shannon in Namtenga.
With Shannon's arrival the celebration of Tuesday began anew with even more force. Short welcoming remarks were made along with thoughtful remarks from simeon and christophe about the 3 anniversaries.
Gifts were presented to school and infirmier, and talked about kindness of mcnaughton family with computer and other gifts. I tried to provide similar french and moore delivery of my comments. Namtenga provided gifts from village including a parcel of land to me: briefcase to brian, basket to marcy; and various gifts to pcv's and shannon and I.
After the ceremony, time still permitted a visit to the Namtenga Soundo Babiisi (NSB) weaving studio where their weavings were proudly displayed. Some 30 women danced along with Shannon and the pcv's. So special, so powerful. See the video. Although we could not do Skype, we managed a call with nsb singingto the cranbrook nsb.
Although disappointed that the school to school call did not work; the school vidoe to video did work and the content is terrific. Before leaving we had a pcv dinner at my house. The pcv's that came here, I said, were 1 in a 100. 99 of 100 people would never have come, choosing to stay where they were at because of how far they had to travel in country and because they could only stay til 5 in the middle of no where. But they came somehow sensing it to be worth the pain. The same was so for shannon. We all came this time, sensing the good despite the sacrifice and brevity of time. 1 in a 100, that is who you are, I said.
Wednesday Night. That night and others gave me precious moments to breakoff from the adults and to chat with20-30 kids who assembled at the concession entrance. Quiet exchange of questions and answers about commonalities in penpal letters and favorite words like "zoodo" (friendship) and "ditame" (eat). The hope and humility in their eyes, if describeable at all, tears you to your knees.
Stay tuned for more updates!