the last half of our week in the village was so different. there was no jump rope or baka, baka, goose....no soccer and no groups of children running through the street. there was a death in the village over night, an elderly woman. picture this:
there is singing, but you can't see the singers. slowly, shuffling feet and swaying hips, women come into view - a whole village worth. they are singing a lament, increasing in number as they pass homes and porches. it's a long walk but they don't hurry... there is time for sorrow in this place. they arrive in front of a brick and thatch house with a solitary woman on the front porch, bent double. she is the daughter...left behind. the singers stop several feet away, but do not stop singing. i keep expecting them to, but they don't. hour after hour they stand in the sun and sing what our guide tells me are gospel songs. as the morning progresses, i notice that the side and back walls of the house are slowly being surrounded by men sitting on the ground, leaned up against them. when we leave for the day nothing has changed.
it wasn't until the next day that i was struck speechless. in the early morning sun, sitting in the dust and still singing, were the women. sitting vigil along the sides of the home were the men. they had sat, and they had sung, all night. the power and the beauty of that...the safety and protection, the comfort of not being alone through the darkest hours... i was awed and humbled by the power of it.
it's the power of presence. by being totally present to the place and people you are, wholehearted, you are more powerful than you know. there is more comfort in presence than a thousand kind words.
... i am working on pictures, i promise. you would not believe the technical difficulties over here...