Senegal 2010 - Day 12 (Sun.) part 1

Before I tell you about our last half day at Richard-Toll, after which we headed for Diourbel, let me tell you about a hilarious incident that took place on Friday night.

Remember that I described how the (rather self-important) local parish priest at Richard-Toll had a habit of rabbiting on for +45 mins. in his sermons, as well as giving supplementary sermons at both the beginning and end of Mass, well, he got a polite, but nonetheless pointed telling off from our very own Bro. Francis on Friday evening after the priest had come to the Brothers' community house to celebrate Mass as he does every Friday. With him were the curate, a lovely young Nigerian priest, Fr. Charles and another young priest who had served as a Deacon in the parish a year or 2 ago and is now in a parish in the capital Dakar.

Frère Jean-Yves set things up nicely by saying to the Parish Priest that we would be going to his 9.30am Sunday Mass, but that a minibus would be meeting us at the church at 11am, whether or not his Mass was finished. Jean-Yves had told us that his Sunday Masses, as well as very often starting over 15 mins. late, also often go on for over 2h 30 (see previous paragraph for reasons), making it very difficult for factory workers with Sunday afternoon shifts to get home from church in time for lunch before having to head off to work and for families to prepare lunch itself. The priest is a member of a religious congregation. Both his Superior and the Bishop had received many complaints about him, not just about the length of Sunday Mass.

Right on cue, Bro. Francis said to him, "Right, a shorter sermon please on Sunday!" (making the appropriate gesture with his index finger + thumb). The priest, a bit taken aback by this effrontery (the other 2 priests were quietly loving it, as was Jean-Yves), then mumbled something about asking the choir to sing less music. Without missing a beat and with perfect comic timing, Francis replied, "Oh no, the choir are superb! Don't tell them to leave anything out, just make sure your sermon is much shorter!" All this accompanied by Francis' elegant, but "don't-mess-with-me-or-I'll-have you-hung-drawn-and-quartered" smile. Pure class!!

Poor old Frère Jean-Yves got it in the neck from the priest later on, the latter thinking that Jean-Yves had set the whole thing up, but Jean-Yves didn't mind. He's thick enough skinned himself and just loved the whole conversation, so much so that he was soon sharing the story with some of his local parish allies.

 Our very own Bro. Francis.


As we would be leaving straight after (or during!) Mass, we made our presentations to the Richard-Toll Brothers over breakfast.

Saints (Southampton F.C.) football tops for Frère Paul (right - a lovely, gentle, discrete, quietly humorous man) and Frère Jean-Yves (left).

 And for all the extra things that Jean-Yves did for us that meant so much and that helped to make our stay there such a pleasurable one, I gave him a Celtic polo shirt. Jean-Yves is a proud Breton, in other words a proud Celt and loves Irish music + culture. When he came to stay with us in Liverpool for 3 months back in 1995, I took him to the world-famous Mathew Street where you can find the underground concert venue, The Cavern, where the Beatles cut their teeth as a live act, and to the Irish pub just down from the Cavern, Flanagan's Apple, the most famous pub in Liverpool. After quaffing a few Guinnesses (or possibly Smithwicks which Jean-Yves liked) I bought us both a green (of course) Flanagan's Apple t-shirt which they had hanging behind the bar. Jean-Yves was very proud of this t-shirt.

 And in a final reference back to our visit to Flanagan's Apple in 1995, the members of Team Win
signed for him a Murphy's Irish Stout t-shirt.

It was soon time to bring our bags down and head off to the church, but not before Jean-Yves did 2 last shuttle services to the church and back in his car with all our bags. In the process of loading the car, the boot lid (whose hydraulics had apparently gone) fell on his bald head, giving him a bit of a gash. It was a day for head injuries: Mason managed (with Jacob's help, allegedly) to get a wall to collapse on his head + shoulders just around the corner from the Brothers' community within minutes of Jean-Yves having his incident. Charlie also banged his head somehow (can't remember exactly how), but the worst of all was my own injury which I managed to inflict upon myself that evening once we'd arrived in Diourbel... but more about that later.     

The Senegal River went past the back of the church. Two small boats coming back from Mauritania, just a few hundred yards away, presumably loaded with illicit goodies. This was a common practice in Richard-Toll. Prices for goods were cheaper in Mauritania and there was often wider choice.

 When we got to the church we discovered that the Parish Priest had done a runner to the other church in the parish at Dagana to celebrate Mass there. Normally, that would be Fr. Charles', duty. Was it something we'd said? :-)

 Young altar servers before Mass.

After Mass: Frère Jean-Yves, Fr. Charles, Team Win and 2 people connected with the Richard-Toll National 1st Division football team: their physio (left) and one of the players (centre) sporting Saints tops that Jean-Yves asked if we could give them. Their team also play in red and white!

A hug from Jean-Yves and it was time to go...

Our minibus. If you are wondering why there are so many clothes pegs on the rear view mirror, 
it's to keep it's broken pieces in place, obviously!

After the shopping spree Jean-Yves and I went on the previous day, we did not want for supplies in the bus, although it did take us almost 5 hours to get to Touba where one of the Diourbel Brothers came to meet us. More about Touba in my next post.

Jack + Jacob collecting samples during a pee stop. Comedy ("Cockney") Jack wanted to bring home a rather thorny piece of cactus as a present for his mother. We eventually managed to persuade him that this probably wasn't such a good idea.

A rather rickety-looking scaffolding.

 On the right, an emblematic baobab tree.

 A pee stop in the middle of nowhere and a chance for running repairs on the broken sliding door that kept falling off when you tried to open it. This kind of thing comes with the territory when travelling in Africa.

In Day 12 part 2 I will describe our visit to the largest African mosque outside of white Arab North Africa.

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