Merry Christmas from The Gambia…

Merry Christmas everyone! Tonight was a nice evening. Na welli no beta! At 7pm, a number of us went to the US Ambassador’s residence and had dinner in their backyard. Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, tomatoes… add in some desserts and coffee. It was almost like another Thanksgiving dinner!

Afterwards, Adelle, Kelsey, Hannah, and I decided to venture off to Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bakau to listen to some Christmas carols and attend midnight Mass. It’s a small church right by the car park in Bakau, and very close to the fish markets. You can literally smell the fish lingering in the air. And it’s right by the water.

The carols were interesting. The choir sang songs in English as well as Wolof. When Mass started, the Irish priest (who knew how to speak Wolof by the way) did the regular Mass prayers… the standing and sitting and so forth. What made the service interesting, however, was the Wolof songs and music. (Now if they were English Christmas songs just translated into Wolof, I don’t know.) Throw in drum beats and other traditional instruments into the mix, and you have a recipe for a very unique African Christmas experience. They were definitely very cool to listen too. If you’ve ever watched the movie Power of One (it was originally a book by Bryce Courtenay) and listened to some of the songs in the movie and soundtrack, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Tonight’s songs were just powerful. Plus, throw in the fact that it’s Christmas, it made me feel very good and happy inside.

Merry Christmas y’all…

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