Pictures from Senegal

Sunday, October 4

Catholic Mass

Going to mass has been quite the experience on occasion. The Catholic Church is the only one in town and we only have time to go on Saturday nights (during training we have class on every day of the week!). The choir is by far the most worthwhile part of the event. Songs in French with an African drum beat and electric keyboard are so beautiful; simple yet uplifting. They remind me of how beautiful Africa can be on days when I'm down with a mental illness called homesickness. It's a severe medical issue sometimes.

Anyway, the pews are made of wood, decades from new, and form four columns of rows. From the center aisle the women sit on the left while the men on the right. Children and elders sit towards the front. The sermon is given in French with some Wolof. According to another volunteer, the program is identical to other Catholic services. It lasts about 1.5 hours.

Prayers are sung because nothing is written down. There are no prayer books. One fellow trainee set out to find one, but to no avail. He will have to buy one in Thies or Dakar. I couldn't tell you what communion consists of because I haven't taken it, but from a distance it seems to be the same cracker and water duo.

It may be important to remember that when all else fails this is a place where no one talks to each other and that aside from the stand up/ sit down dance there is a potential for over an hour's worth of alone time with my thoughts... or listening to French.

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