Hands as Bridges

By Hannah Duke

The minute we turned into the village, we were greeted by 100 people jumping and dancing and running towards the car.  As we drove to Kecouta’s compound, the kids all joyfully ran after the cars.  When we finally came to a stop and opened the doors, we were overwhelmed with what seemed like thousands of children.  They were all so excited to see us.

The first thing I remember was the feeling of little hands grabbing and tickling me.  They laughed and laughed until the second I turned around. Then they would promptly run away until I turned back away from them.  I would start to feel tentative hands tickling me again.

It wasn’t long before Ramata grabbed my hand and pulled me away from the rest of the kids.  She brought me back to the compound and said something I couldn’t understand.  She knew I couldn’t understand her so she walked to Mr. Alter and asked him to translate for her.  He looked at me and said, “you must learn how to make dinner with the women.”  So, Ramata and I walked over to the women and I spend the rest of the evening watching them make dinner over a simple fire under the moonlight.

We spent the rest of the night interacting with people.  We played with kids until our arms couldn’t take it anymore.  We learned from Kecouta and Keita about the village and how excited everyone is to have us here.

We have only been in this part of Senegal for a few hours but I already feel so at home.  The people are bridges into this world.

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