Senegal 2010 - Day 5 (Easter Sunday)

A quick addition to the Day 4 article: (bottom photo) Frère Jean-Yves, church sound engineer and also responsible for transmitting a live relay of the Mass on a Muslim (yes, Muslim) radio station, one that can be picked up throughout most of Senegal + much of Mauritania. So our performance of "Lord I Lift Your Name" had quite an audience!

The Senegalese Muslim station is quite happy for the occasional Christian broadcast to use their airwaves. That is not to say that everything is hunky-dorey betweeen the 2 faiths here: young Christians are sometimes tempted away from Christianity and into Islam by hard-liners who promise jobs, money, wives, houses, etc... in return for a conversion. And then when they do convert it's a big deal: celebratory banquet + much rejoicing. But still, things are better here than in many places and there are many mixed-faith famiilies that enjoy good internal relations.

(As I am writing this on Weds. morning we are enjoying our coolest morning temperature: 20C at 8.20a.m. I feel good!!!! as James Brown would say.)

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Day 5:
After our late night at the Easter Vigil it was "free rising" for us Brothers and a 9.30a.m. breakfast for our young-uns: much appreciated by me personally, given that myself and Bro. Francis are getting up at 5.30a.m. every other day while we are here (20 mins. earlier than usual in England) to join the community (Frères Jean-Yves + Paul) for Morning Prayer + meditation.

The great feast of our Lord's Resurrection was for ourselves certainly one for rebuilding our strength + energy. A quiet day: general rest + relaxation, washing clothes, listening to music, reading... and our usual trip out for lunch with the local Brothers.

For the local non-Christian population the over-riding importance of April 4th 2010 was that it marked the 50th anniversary of Senegalese independence from France. Their annual April 4th celebrations give children 2 weeks off school and it just so happens that this year their Independence Day corresponded with Easter Day. This is actually why I decided to bring the group out at this time of year. The big advantage is that we avoid the rainy months of July + August when it is much more humid and there are far more insects (including mosquitos).

As part of the anniversary celebrations a 53 metre high bronze monument, commissioned by President Wade (Senegal) was officially unveiled with much pomp (and an unabashed show of self-importance on the part of Wade) at the capital Dakar. Here are some shots from Google Images. The first is clearly Photoshop-ped in terms of colour. The next one is much truer to life.




Excitement was provided in the evening of this special day for the Senegalese people by a suitably special sporting event live on Senegalese TV that for the people here is as big as the F.A. Cup Final: an all-in wrestling bout between the top 2 Senegalese heavyweights, Yekini (the Champ) vs. "Tyson" (the Challenger - guess who he's named after). Well, when I say all-in wrestling, this is a mixture of traditional Senegalese wrestling (very similar to what can be found in Togo and possibly much of West Africa in general) and boxing, though the boxing element is really just handbags. The real action is the grappling. But in the case of this year's "fight" the handbags went on for over 5 mins. and actually involved flapping their hands in circular motion in front of each other in a highly camp and comical manner without any contact being made, barring the odd highly dramatic slap on the shoulder. Then Tyson decided he'd had enough of the posing, dived in and was promptly flipped by the experienced champ, Tyson's head plunging into the sand: a fatal fall for the challenger. A win comes from such a head bang or from the opponent's shoulders/upper back hitting the ground. In actual fact, having seen a few archive clips on YouTube to compare this with previous bouts (all far more exciting than our one), the decisive action far more closely resembles Judo. If only they could do without the happy-slappy-handbags. I suppose it lengthens the bout and builds up tension, given that the real action is often over in a flash. Anyway, see for yourself below... and have a good laugh!

Before the YouTube clip, a photo of the decisive moment: the head of Tyson (right) plunging into the sand as Yekini (left) twists away.





Supper (post-bout): the most delicious oranges I have ever had!... and bananas too.
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