one way is through music. i've managed to learn a little steel pan while i've been down here. joined the grand roy pan angels. during the christmas season - november and december - we've been playing at fish friday every other week. last week was one of my most favorite performances. despite the rain, crowds came out. joyful christmas songs. lots of dancing and energy. a delight to simply be a part of it all. danley, my co-worker at grencoda made sure to snap a few pictures of me playing...
as i typically do, during a break from playing pan, i walked around the small festival - i love this part too - greeting the different vendors selling fish. during the last couple months, i've gotten to know many of the fish vendors through a basic computer class i've been helping with. the computer class was just one component of a vendor training course that grencoda sponsored. for about eight weeks, i taught a small class and assisted with another one. i think i like teaching adults. especially adults that are interested. and motivated to learn. these vendors came a long way in their understanding of computers. and it was a joy to be a part of their learning.
as i was passing by miss eslyn's booth last friday, she beamed and motioned for me to wait on her. she came out of her booth and embraced me with the most sincere, beautiful hug. she had been sick. hadn't been to class in the last week. told her i had missed her. often times eslyn required much patience. needing words spelled. needing things pointed out. and i got to work with her one on one a lot during the course. and in that moment - that hug - i knew the course had meant something to her. she gave me a necklace made of local spices. she was selling them. but gave me one as a gift. i put it on and wore it the rest of the night. taking in the scent of grenada. thankful for the chance to know eslyn. i bought some fried fish and bakes from her and made my rounds visiting the other vendors.
our computer classes were officially over this past tuesday. the end of the training course was celebrated with a small graduation ceremony. the vendors got all dressed up. they were so proud. and i was so proud of them. the metaphor of teaching a person to fish, rather than giving a person a fish was emphasized throughout the program. always heard that as a chinese proverb. but it certainly has grenadian relevance. especially in gouyave. especially in fish friday. and although somedays i wonder how i am contributing to justice, i realized that grencoda is an organization that seeks to empower, that seeks to equip, that seeks to uphold dignity. and i was thankful to be a part of an organization with that vision. and we don't get it perfect. and progress is slow. but we keep trying. keep seeking justice. and i pray that we might be apart of the justice that God is doing. and i'm thankful that we don't have to do justice on our own.
after the ceremony, the vendors had eats and drinks and fellowship. it was a joyous celebration. i'll miss these folks. especially that faithful trio from my class - binta, anna, and mr. benjamin. but i know where to find them on friday nights. next week we're playing pan again. and then the next, my family will get to experience the magic of fish friday for themselves.
that's right. the huggins will be having a grenadian christmas.