I haven’t logged into my blog for the past three weeks since the cataclysmic events of Easter Sunday 2019.
I have just accessed my drafts and am stunned that I had written three posts in what now seems like obscene ignorance of the ground reality in Sri Lanka. How happy and carefree my posts sound in the run up to Easter Sunday! Talking about the weather in The Gambia and Jordan’s ear ring and looking forward to a wonderful Easter celebration here in west Africa…..
How wildly divergent the trajectory has been on what I had anticipated and what actually happened that final Sunday of Holy Week!
Like millions of others in SL and around the world, I went into electric shock mode after the news hit me that morning.
And that sense of shock still remains with me, my heart like a heavy brick inside my ribcage, making me feel like a deaf mute in a world gone suddenly berserk leaving me without the words I so desperately need to express my feelings with.
That is why I couldn’t post anything for these past several weeks.
When we first arrived in this country we were warned that the weather would be challenging due to evening thunderstorms in September and intense heat in October – but were assured that from November onwards we would enjoy near-perfect weather over the next nine months. Since Paul and I are both basically islanders hailing (no pun intended!) as we do from the UK and SL, we took this with a pinch of salt because we had no idea how there could be no rain at all for such a long period of time in any country….
In fact, local knowledge has proved to be quite true and we have not had a drop of rain for the past seven months and have indeed enjoyed halcyon days full of sunshine and cool breezes all along. The temperature in the mornings and evenings is as cool as it is in Nuwara Eliya – but without the constant drizzle and grey skies of the hill country (the skies are always a brilliant blue over The Gambia) and the sun is warm at midday – yet not too hot because there’s always a balmy breeze blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean.
I often wish I could capture and WhatsApp you the temperature of this place – same as we can capture things on audio and video – wouldn’t it be great if we could also send each other our experience of the weather in a place? But on second thoughts, no – think what that would do to climate change around the world if everyone could just send pieces of the weather to each other across the globe? What a nightmare that would be!
My Nigerian colleague and friend Nneoma says she grew up in a family that went to the Anglican Church in Igbo country and how marriage (to an expat Nigerian Christian) brought her to The Gambia where she now worships in a charismatic church with her husband.
She relates how she woke up the first Easter after she had married and excitedly greeted her husband as she was used to doing in her family home – ‘Christ is risen!’ and how her husband responded with ‘Hallelujah!’ and how she laughed at him for the inappropriate response, the correct one being of course ‘He is risen indeed!’ She has now lived here for nine years but she apparently still calls her parents in Nigeria early on Easter morning with the greeting ‘Christ is risen!’ and they would always reply joyfully ‘He is risen indeed!’
I am overjoyed to celebrate Easter this year in The Gambia and will go to St Paul’s in Fajara or the Methodist church in Bakau for the morning service. Paul and I have planned to have a family brunch at the weirdly named ‘Butcher’s Shop’ restaurant afterwards to which we have of course invited William (who is now very much a part of our family) but who will only arrive in the country tomorrow morning after his travels in Asia over the past fortnight.
Jordan went off to the Form 5 (Year 11) ‘Sign Out’ party – a big event in The Gambia because it’s basically a farewell to this year’s batch of IGCSE students (from all the international schools) on the eve of their final examinations which start at the beginning of May.
Jordan asked for two weeks’ worth of pocket money yesterday saying that he wouldn’t be going out over this long weekend – then turned up with his ear pierced having blasted all his cash on this ear ring!