Esayi and Annie agreed it would be best to have a farewell party the night before I left. On the Monday before I sent money with Esayi to the San market to buy sugar, tea, cigarettes and gasoline for the fête. Annie met with the women’s association a few weeks earlier to discuss renting strip lights, speakers and a generator. Wednesday night I sat down with Annie to knit and Baissata, the president of the women’s group, joined us so I offered her my chair and sat behind Annie on a low-lying mud wall. They began to speak quickly and I followed words, expressions and body language to figure out my party had some problems. Annie said the woman in charge of coordinating the lights and speakers forgot to rent them. ‘An be na mun ke?’ she asked me. What will we do? I shrugged, and said well, no party? I didn’t know what to say or what to do. Disappointed, I left to make a phone call and when I returned Annie said we had another problem. I smiled and said let’s hear it. She said Baissata had come back to tell her an old woman in village died. That her funeral would be tomorrow, Thursday, the day before I leave. In my village, where animism is a predominant religion (akin to spiritualism), the whole village is expected to go out to the fields and bury the body together. And so, after greeting the family of the woman in the morning, we all headed out to the fields to bury her body and dance next to the grave. That night heavy rains came and the celebration of her life didn’t start until 3 am. I woke up at 5:30 and headed over for the last song, just before dawn. While not having a party was too bad, I’m not really leaving yet and so we’ll save the party for another visit (in ch’Allah!) and hopefully we’ll have a good time then.
A rainy season sunset as I bike into site for the last timeSee more pictures from my last week here!