Wednesday, March 28, 2012


*** wrote this a few days before women's day - the tchadian women do a dance here, the movement is in the shake of the shoulders, and when they dance they scream, a high pitched trilling almost-yodel except its so much more than that. 


I am so happy right now! I want to write in yellows but it yellow doesn’t stick on the page – too much wild sunshine. 

I have had the best evening in the world.  I can’t stop smiling.  I am alive.  I feel alive.  That moment where it all collides and you are exactly where you are supposed to be and you dancing to the funky groove of the moment. 

The heat of the noon is slithering away and the sky and the trees and the ground are swirled in a faint limpid coolness. 

I am taking a bucket shower, the sun golden on the mangoes,  mangoes that are draping every branch mangoes hanging ripe and luscious and greenorange, the branches are cracking and swollen with fruit, like a thousand sticky sumptuous gems rolling around your tongue and smiling in your eyes. 

The sunlight slanting through the smooth green rippled leaves, cupping the mangoes and shimmering in the last rays of the fading heat heady mangostean mirage

Orange bucket and scan for cockroaches,  listening to bob marley like I’d never heard him before. Get up stand up, Splashing the cool murky water down my back and finally, a shiver, the delicious shiver of a sliver of cold.  A little ice cube piece of heaven in the fruit filled sauna.  And its drench your hair and face in tea tree, the smell of tea tree makes you feel alive.  Your lungs shiver with pungent smoky mint tipped gypsies, magoes on the eyes marley on the ears tea trea in the nose water splashing and slipping down the pathways of the skin, cool and blessed and golden and orange and fresh and brown and alive. 

Wrapping up in a yellow purpled tie-dyed magenta tapestry, both feet in the bucket, sloshing and grooving to the beat of one love, stringy orange coconut fruit hanging in clusters at the tops of the palm looking trees, a swoosh of a tail and the horse munching bean leaves, the buzz of a fly and the stomp of a hoof, a rat tat smat and the children are banging on the pots again, the grandmothers curled rainbows of earthen reds and blues, finally breathing the departure of the sun, the crackle of the cookfire and the smoke that sears the nosesniff and waters the eyes, the smoke of the alive, the smoke of the departing sun, the throaty crickets, if you remember them, their buzzhum tunnels deep into the subconscious

Drinking spicey black tea with generous heaps of powdery milk, sitting on the mat, under the neem trees, the sun is gone and the greys and pinks and the tea is hot and I blow on it.  And the dark spice stings my tongue and alive I am alive grandmother making a face as she takes her antibiotics, childrens fingers tugging at my hair, pulling and clumsy and braiding, alien shapes and wild curls, and then the stars peak out, the simmer and sizzle like tiny omelets, the stars are alive and I am alive and the trees and the mangoes and the earth is round and all things sway in the twisting breeze

And then its laughing about Women’s day, March 8, the upcoming, the amazing, the day the hardworking women of chad wave their calloused hands in the air and quiver their shoulders like rattlesnake ttttttttttttssssssssssss and stomp stomp little stomp of the feet and the hips follow the shoulder and AAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYIIIIIIIIIIIIIYIIIIIIIIIIIIYIIIIIIIIIIIIIII and the tongue and is loose and it tears pure from the throat and halleluiah and its pitched and piercing and goes right through you, taking the soul flailing wild behind it, tearing through the skeleton and a thousand bluebirds explode into the sky.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIYIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIYIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII and twist and the beat and now we are a circle and the scream rises from deep in the earth, furious and tearing and twisting up the roots of the mother tree and  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIYYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAYIIIIIII and it bursts into the air like a headless dragon and the tongues are a blur of a quivering perfect earthquake pitch AAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIYYYYYYYYYYYIIIIIIIIIIYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

And this is the dance and the song of women’s day.  The day where Teskrio says he will make tea and I promies top Ramen for everyone for dinner and we make Bikaou shake hands that she won’t actually work and Teskrio shake hands that he will actually make tea and we all laugh and the tears pop out of their ducts as we imagine him making boule or lighting sticks on fire. 

And we all scramble around the recording I made of the ladies singing in church, the rhythmic elbows of the drummers, Bikaou dancing her way from the front to the group of women, dancing and rattling and Jesus and its in Nangere but the hands in the air and the AAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIYYYYYYYYIIIIIIYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAYAAAAAAAA In the language of the past, the language of the future, the sound of foundation, the sound of wings, the scream of the ancients that gave birth to this country, the scream of the mothers that carry it forward. 

And in that moment the true queens emerge and we the subjects are spellbound.  AAAAAAAIIIIIIyyyyyIIIIAAAA and in that moment no one can doubt the raw passion and strength that propels this country forward, the hands that gave life to the next generation flapping in the sky, the yell of their moment, their song, dancing the spiderhop threads that weave together the complexities of the tchandian spirit, that this is their song, their time, their story, and we watched crowded heads in the darkness and the 2 year is jumping and dancing a jerkey jumpdance as the chant rolls fuzzy and raw from the shakey recording.  

And we all get up on the mat and dance, trying to do the rhythmic shoulder shake, collapsing from laughter looking more like a beserk kettle of popcorn spitting and hissing and spopping in the light of the fire. 

And then its MIA and ringa ringa ringa and weaving our way up and down the mat, making waves with our arms, fluid and reaching laconic for the stars

And its back in the mosquito net and turning off the headlamp and can’t stop staring at the stars and realizing that this, this is happiness.  This is alive. 

Then Susan Tedeschi and can you feel it, bound for glory, can you feel it, I’m glory bound and playing it over and over and fingers flying trying to capture this night, this moment, then its Eric Clapton and deep searing blues and Warren Haynes Band and gotta let your soulshine and I’ve never been so happy.


  1. I remember those feelings--most beautiful highs.

  2. I remember these kind of days too! Just as I had my hardest times in Africa I also had my most brilliantly, indescribably happy times there! You expressed it so well Janna! Its being "alive"!