Sunday, March 6, 2011
"Let's meet at 8ish to go to the parade, then we'll make rounds at the hospital." That was the plan for my first day here. What really happened? Glad you asked!!
Today 01-11-2011 Chad celebrated it's 50th year of independence from France. There were celebrations all day, and man alive this was a HUGE deal!We walked over to the open space to watch the parade, thinking we were a little late, which would mean in Chad, we were on time. There wasn't anyone there, soon we were approached and asked to come up to the stage, this would be our viewing point for the festivities. About an hour later, everything had started and we were in with the who's who of the town. It was so strange to be sitting with all the the most important people, like the mayor, the superficio, and a bunch of other's, just because I was from the US, and hanging with the Dr.'s.We watched different school groups perform dances, tribal groups celebrating, the Arabs racing around on their horses, yes, one person got trampled, but they must have been OK, because we didn't see them at the hospital. There was a women that kept going into the center and yelling, then getting kicked out. There were some locals in American Red Cross vests that made me feel like I was looking at a 1930's photo. This was amazing, I was loving all the celebrating, dancing, just wish I could speak one of the 3 languages I kept hearing, French, Arabic, or Nangeri (a local dialect).The festival didn't start until it was scheduled to be over and the length was about twice as long as the program indicated, so to say the least we were spending our day at the festival! One of my favorite parts was when a little girl, no more then 10, got a turn at the microphone, Olen translated her French speech as she said "We can be ANYTHING! A girl can be a guard, a doctor, ANYTHING!" She had so much spunk, I loved it, and gave me chills!
We were invited to a dinner party at the mayors house that afternoon. We ate at the most important table, it was so weird! We all sat outside under some trees, there were a few low tables with plastic chairs around them and another area to the side with a large blanket for the "less important." They served us first and with the largest plates. We ate family style, with a large plate filled with different foods as we ate with our hands. The second in line to the superficio is a women, she came to sit by me and we laughed as I tried to speak some french, it was mostly me nodding and smiling as she spoke to me. I could sometimes understand a little, then I'd look to Olen or Danae for some guidance. She put both her hands on my face and said how beautiful I am, it was so sweet and tender, it felt like this wise old aunt that was taking good care of me, it felt nice and warm. We talked about how she gets her dresses made and where she gets her fabric, it was a nice day.It got dark and the day had ended, still no hospital, I was a little bummed I didn't get to at least see the place, but there is time, I'll go tomorrow morning. I'm surprised at how much depth this place has. I was also floored at the amount of people that attended the festival! There were thousands, you wouldn't think this area was so populated from looking around.
What is in store for tomorrow?..... so excited! :)