Thursday 23 January 2014

around camp

Adoration . .

Darren's gone into town with two escorts to research a few things.  I've chosen instead to remain here at the convent where it's relatively quiet and peaceful.  My body feels a bit hammered today, fragile after the 5-mile hike yesterday around, up and down Petionville.  The sun is fierce so I'm in the shade.

As mass ended a Florence bell rang out from the darkness.  It was somehow comforting to think of a Tuscan haze, terracotta and cold beer.  It was coming from a solitary church some way off, amidst shanty and rubble. Over there the camp fires heat breakfast.  Parents ready their children for school and themselves for work.  Riding tap-tap or taksi.

In the church there's Exposition all day.  Long lines of children make there way from the school below into the church for a few minutes of fidgety contemplation.  I can hear them sing.

Back home this heat would be the height of Summer.  The view from the wall reminds me of a London park.  The sun is intense, and quickly burns - although this can be deceiving and one can easily sit too long in the brain-washing heat.  Shadows fall across swept paths and parched grass.  The contrast is complete.  The riot of colour invites me never to leave.

On the narrow path besides the wall there is a steady of flow of traffic.  Cars ferry sisters to work.  Open trucks laden with water for thirsty plants and blossoming flowers.  An elderly sister, I know from mealtimes, walks hurriedly passed on some mission.  She announces, "Adoration . ."  She's just come from the church.  She annunciates the French vowels beautifully with a broad smile. Prayers prompting some urgent fiat. And tired, too, in the mid-day sun.

The sky is baby blue.  Growing lighter just above the rooftops. A sharp blue.  The children can be heard playing out during their break, the generator keeps the power on, the trees stir, too, heralding the breeze.

I shared a few more precious moments with Sister Gisele.  Sitting by the door.  She speaks softly, her French lovingly articulated; we chatted about the Annunciation - I guessed rightly that the word might be the same in French.  Though her pronunciation gave the word much more opulence.   She showed me the picture from her wall.  A faded monochrome print - redrawn in parts by her own hand, but clearly the Annunciation.  Mary holds her heart.  Gabriel elucidates unambiguously.  Few words were needed between us - despite our limited communication, we could still convey our appreciation of this event  - we each love the poignancy of this magnificent occasion.