My posts will remain short because it is so difficult to type using the French keyboard... but I just want to check in and say that life here has been very very good. We are thouroughly enjoying our time. Every day we study dance and drumming, then perhaps go out to some street party to see other drummers and dancers.
My birthday was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my entire life. It started at a nightclub the night before. The place was packed and the music fantastic. Believe it or not, there is a pop song about Obama. We went wild when it came on. I danced like a crazy person.... and was completely suprised when I heard the dj dedicate a song to me from Sidy. We didn't get home until 4 am, but since the next morning was sunday, we were able to sleep in. ( Church didn't seem like an option, Peter... otherwise I would have been up for the feast of epiphany.)
Later in the day, Sidy and Lisa went out to run some errands while Rusty and I hung around the house and relaxed. It was very nice. In the afternoon, Mazze, one of my drum teachers, showed up. I was kind of suprised because it was Sunday, but Rusty and I happily sat down for a short lesson. Then Makan and Ladji arrived on motor bikes. Perhaps they were planning to go out with Sidy later. Then Lassi arrived, and Ali. I saw a cab pull up with Sidy and Lisa. Sidy got out of the car with dinner, so we all went into the house to eat. I was suprised when Lassi moved the bench to the end of the room instead of next to the table. All of a sudden, everyone began to sing bonne anniversaire a vous.... and in walked Sidy carrying a birthday cake. When I turned around, I realized that everyone was here to play for me. They lined up on the bench and began to play the drums, while Ladjie and Lassi danced. It all happened so quickly I was utterly unprepared for the emotions I felt. I was completely overwhelmed by this outpouring of love and couldn't stop weeping, which I am sure must have mortified my dear friends, LOL. Truly the most memorable birthday I have ever had.
Africa is extraordinary. I am sure that the relationships I am building here will be the friendships of a lifetime. Every day I feel such a sense of joy for being here. I am deeply grateful to all of you who have been so supportive of this trip... and for your continued prayers.
Love to all of you, especially the kids. I love you, guys.