December 6 - 8


Dec. 6 - This place is like living in Bruce Springsteen's house. In the last hour we must have had 150 visitors, all coming to see their beloved Massamba who just returned 2 days ago from his latest tour with Baaba Maal.

It all started with a visit from Acca Wele, a famous African singer who Tony met during his last visit. Today he was walking home from the local market and she saw him and called to him and said she would stop in tonight. There were many people here already, visiting, when she came into the room. As soon as we saw her, we all just knew she was one of those special people who make folks feel better just for having known her. (Massamba told us that he started his career with her and she told us that she's been in many cities in the US)

We took a few pictures, and then, all of a sudden, everyone wanted their pictures taken. Somehow the word got around the neighborhood, and people started coming in from the street, all dressed to the T, to get their pictures taken with the American visitors. There were flashes everywhere and great excitement.

In the middle of all this, one of the women gave Nancy her waist beads and showed her the special dance that went with it. Two more women gave her their beads. It seemed to be some kind of ceremony, but we don't know yet exactly what it was. They took Nancy and put a turban on her head and finally took her downstairs and dressed her in one of their traditional dresses. Everyone danced, clapped, and celebrated for her.

They told her she would have many children. We danced some more, but it was getting late, so we decided that all the women would get together tomorrow afternoon and make waist beads together and learn more about what it all means.

To be continued.........

Dec. 7 - Our visit to the ENDA French School. They sang a song for us, "L'egalite, l'egalite, nous prions, l'egalite des Races" - Equality, equality, we pray for equality of the races. Much more about this inspiring visit in today's email. (On left are the children sending us off with a ritual clapping "thank you." On right, the teachers, Ousseynou Dieng, Abdeulaye Soro, and El Hadji Boubou Sene, with Jean, Debby, and Nathan.)

Dec. 8 - We were invited to M'Bassou Hiang's house for the afternoon (he's Baaba Maal's manager). We were greeted at the gate by a troupe of superb drummers and dancers. After they performed for us with the highest energy, they brought each one of us in to dance with them. They showed much good humor and laughed with us at our attempts to dance Senegalese style. Tony, Steve, and Joe then joined in with the drummers and played for the dancers (left). When the boy sang praise songs with the kora player, using each of our names (top left), we were transformed by the beauty of the voice and instrument together. The two boys dancing above, N'Diaw Samb and Tabane Diouf, travel and perform with Baaba Maal.

Members - look for fun stories in your email update today!

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