Wednesday, October 24, 2007

19 october.

things have gotten a bit busier. most weekdays i'm bouncing between adult computer classes and after school programs at grencoda. practicing steel pan and spending time with the neighbors at home. so last week, when our office was closed on friday, i was thankful for a day to be. a day to approach without agenda.

decided since i had the time, to combine my morning walk with a swim in the sea. ventured up to palmiste beach with a towel and a book to spend the morning. now i've been enjoying my sea baths thus far. but i think i fell in love with the sea that morning. it was my first solitary swim. and i floated. and twirled. and danced. and prayed. i was in wonder of this sea before me. stretching further than i could see. deeper than i could fathom. and yet somehow, i was allowed the joy of being a part of it. made me think of God. of this something beyond what i can understand. that surrounds me. that i can be part of. that i can be one with. i would lean back with my arms wide and let go and float and let the water simply move me. i haven't always been the best at floating. i'll start worrying about waves coming or think i'm sinking and put my feet down. but lately, the letting go has been easier. and i've discovered a certain freedom.

eventually wandered back home. picked up some reading books for after school on the way. journaled. visited my eighty-nine year old neighbor tiey. purchased some of glenda's homemade soursup snow ice. and then it was time to go meet my methodist-catholic-english-grenadian friend mary theresa. we were going to a prayer service in st. george's.

the prayer service was in memory of prime minister maurice bishop and the other grenadians killed on that day - october 19th - 24 years ago. the violent event in grenada's history is not recognized as a holiday. but members of our staff at grencoda, who were directly involved in the revolution, consider it a solemn day to be remembered. its why our office was closed.

now i don't understand everything about the events of october 1983. i've gathered bits and pieces from what i've read. from what people have told me. the prayer service provided more glimpses into the mystery of it.

the prayer service was at fort george - formerly fort rupert - where the killings happened. pictures were up of the people who died. pictures were up of grenada in the 80's. images of workers and farmers and women assembling. finding empowerment. making their voices heard. schools being built. communities active. people working alongside people. it looked like a fascinating time to live in grenada. a time where social justice was not just talked about. but lived out.

but somehow things went bad. talk of "communism." fear. political upheaval. a prime minister, members of his cabinet, and other grenadians sought out and killed. ms. williams, my supervisor at grencoda was imprisoned during all the excitement. had she not been, she could have been killed too. one day when she's in the right frame of mind, she says she'll sit down and tell me the whole story. one day.

and i thought it so interesting to be living in a place where people had experienced revolution firsthand. had seen social progression. had worked for change. and then had seen the people they worked alongside killed. had seen violence. and chaos. and everything turned upside down. it was only 24 years ago. and there are scars still healing.

but tomorrow's the public holiday observed. where every office is closed. october 25th. the day the american's invaded grenada. the day the american's saved the day. the calendar calls it thanksgiving.

at the prayer service, people said 19 comes before 25. people said the day we should remember is the 19th. not the 25th. but here we are. celebrating the day that people from my big country felt the need to invade this tiny island. and i although i believe every day is an occasion for thanks, i find it a strange day set aside to be thankful.

so i continue to ponder the story of all this. continue to seek out more glimpses into it. continue to pray that justice might be restored. to grenada. to this world. a justice that comes not from guns and bombs. but a justice that comes from something greater than ourselves. from a faithful God that is our Hope. a merciful God that does not abandon his children.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

lovely things.

"cricket. lovely cricket."

a phrase repeated quite frequently by the announcer at the matches on saturday. every time she said it, i chuckled a little. i went to the set of matches at the national stadium with my friend kimo. saw grenada and antigua-barbuda each win a match against each other. they played two. also saw a classic english team beat a classic west indies team. learned about wickets. and overs. and bowling. and runs. and sixes. and fours. the games were sometimes exciting. sometimes monotonous. but i learned a great deal about this sport so popular in grenada.

from the stadium, you could see mountains. and it made me think of kidd brewer stadium. and the view from it. and it made me think of homecoming at appalachian. happening simultaneously with the cricket matches.

my understanding of the game, still incomplete, took time. at first, i tried to make sense of it in terms of baseball. the two sports have similarities. with batting. and runs. and things. so i would try to grasp the concepts of cricket based on the concepts of baseball. but the sports have a lot of differences too. and i eventually had to apply my understanding further. beyond baseball knowledge.

and i thought about constructivism. that educational theory. that someone talked about one day in a class that i may or may not have been paying attention in. how we construct our new realities based on our previous experiences. we build new understandings upon the foundations of the old.

and that's kind of how i've grasped grenada. i've come with my own experiences. my own memories. my own life up until this point. trying to make sense of this new place. from the perspective i've been given. trying to understand cricket from a baseball point of view.

and i am thankful for where i come from. most certainly. yet i hope i can begin to apply my understanding further. to value the beauty of this place for what it is. to appreciate the beauty of these people for who they are. to grow. and learn. and discover. the things i was sent here to understand.

on our way out of the stadium, there was a lovely sunset over the sea.

when i got home from cricket saturday, a game of one touch football (soccer) developed in the street outside my house. started out with a few kids. then it grew as more and more kids showed up. glenda even joined in. and she could kick the ball with the best of them. a grandma. a bunch of kids. and me. playing in the street. barefoot. joyful, unplanned, lovely moments.

the next morning, i got up and caught a ride with some grand roy methodist ladies to church in guoyave. a very small congregation. they have a rotation of ministers that come to lead service. so there's someone different every week. we waited a little while, but the assigned minister didn't come. so we went ahead and started singing. different people picking different songs to sing. and for some reason the singing made me cry. it was a capella. and probably out of tune. but it was heartfelt. and sincere. an offering praise in community. and it did my soul good.

we sang for a while and realized the minister probably wasn't going to make it. (it turned out that she couldn't get a ride, so she didn't come). so we went through the order of service in the prayer book. we read scripture from the lectionary that some ladies had brought with them. discussed it in instead of having a sermon. sang some more. shared praises. prayed together. closed with come thou fount, one of my favorites.

the church exisited beyond a minister. as a body. each taking part. and perhaps that's the blessing of this circuit system. that the congregation isn't dependent on one person to function. but that they function together. faithfully.

it was church. lovely church.