Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Fet Ghede and thanks to all
We have finished our Fet Ghede cycle for the year. It's been a busy few weeks. Through all the events, I was reminded that finding diversity is always a treat; similarities unite us more than we think; and that joy is a universal language everyone speaks. Let me explain:
Our sosyete hosted a large Fet Ghede dance for the family. This year, we had over 40 folks come celebrate the Ancestors and serve the spirits with love, light, flowers and food. We actually had to purchase a larger table, to accommodate all the candles we lit for everyone. I was moved to tears as each person stepped forward, knelt and gave thanks for their lives, their homes and their partners. If I can point to anything I've done well, it has been to help folks realize their gifts and blessings in this world. I give thanks.
My sisters from the New SEED Sanctuary were also on hand to lend their ashe to evening. I've not had time to follow through on our lives, and for that I am truly sorry. But their devotion to the work, to our Beloved mentor and mother, made the evening most magical. I promise to be a better sibling next year.
The Tambouye and I also took time to head out to Albright College, in Reading, PA this past Tuesday evening. We were hired to perform a Fet Ghede for the students of Professor Betsy Kiddy. It was a tough crowd, let me tell you. Between giving up their evening to come to a lecture/performance and their bias as to what Vodou is and isn't, we had our work cut out for us. James did what he does best and that was making music they could dance to. I followed Charlie Bird's advice, and just wailed the songs I know by heart, lifting the energy and getting folks to join. They were reticent at first, then they began to get the rhythm and pattern.
They lustily yelled back at me with the response to "E cher?"; they clapped when they should and they actually did get up on their feet to learn the vre. I did my best mambo-ness to get them up and moving. I finally had to stop singing, and just speak about Vodou at their level. I told them about the Africans who endured bondage -- men and women their age, who lived and died for Haiti's freedom. I spoke of the ancestors both in living and far memory. We drew veves together, we offered candles to their ancestors. Surprisingly, the guys were far more into it than the girls, a first for me personally. Usually I can get a couple of the ladies to help me out, but not that night. No, the boys came to my aid, and we led a merry dance around the room, around the altar and finally back to their seats. James sang Nou tout sen-yo with me, and the kids finally, FINALLY smiled and said thank you for coming, for singing and for helping them get it. There were lots of questions, many smiles and some light laughter, as the ghedes departed with smirks and cat calls from the hallway. Even the ached in my hip from my gyrating banda was worth the effort. Ayibobo.
This weekend, we are still rolling as we begin the massive bake off of cookies for the Spartan Christmas pack and wrap party. We are packaging one hundred boxes for the 94th Engineering Division. As Josh says, "yes" to what flavor cookie, we hope to have a dozen choices or more. Sherry is making spiced nuts, we've got candies and a special surprise in each box. I just purchased wrapping paper, ribbon, tissue paper, and more. I am reminded that though Ghede season is coming to a close, the work of a sosyete has no end. And a mambo is on, 24 hours a day, to keep it all intact. I give thanks that God allows me to be healthy enough to keep going and allows my aches to linger only for a short time, reminding me that I am only human and can only do what I can do.
I give thanks - for Ahvizan who shows me what a creative person can do, for Connie who amazes me with her family love, for my husband who endures it all with a grace I can only hope to emulate. Ayibobo. I am blessed.
A very blessed Fet Ghede to all who come to the path. And a reminder that life is short, so be sweet, enjoy and be kind. When we look at what makes us similar, rather than what makes us different, it's a better place to live. See you all around the houmfort!