Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On wandering...

Sometimes as a journalist, you use all your wits and senses, and take every precaution possible. (Sensible, really.) Sometimes, you throw caution to the wind and take that extra risk. Then there are those occasions you simply let someone who knows better than you lead the way.

I wandered through the sand, between the maze of one-storey, windowless concrete homes. Entire families sat inside; some smiled as I walked by and peered in, others frowned. I didn't know exactly where I was headed; I turned a corner.

About ten feet ahead of me, a little girl of about 8 was walking with her father. Hand in hand, they strolled. I was wandering; they had purpose.

The little girl looked back at me. Her dreadlocked braids shifted to one side. She smiled, let go of her father's hand, and slowed her pace.

She extended her little hand to mine, and took it. Her father chuckled as we continued our walk through the maze. We ambled a few hundred paces, crunching the seashells that cover the alleyways in Joal-Fadiouth, Senegal.

As we emerged from the concrete mass of homes, the little girl stopped. She let go of my hand, and took that of her father once more. They both looked at me, then looked up ahead.

A church. A church for Christians and Muslims, here on this tiny little island town in West Africa. A church where everyone is welcome.

They had led me to their destination. It wasn't mine. But I went in, too.

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