Here are the third group of sketchbook images from my trip last February.
(see Part One and Part Two )
First a map of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, where we spent most of our time.
It doesn't show the incredible density of life that fills this narrow peninsula.
You can see that the house we were staying in was RIGHT NEXT to the airport.
The landing of the big Air France plane each afternoon was something you noticed !
And the new house that Pam and Mimo are having built was along the mangrove waters.
We walked over there often to assess the progress.
Some days we drove into the center of the city to shop, visit friends, and change money.
We traveled along the main Autoroute. Life lined this road fully
and surprised me each time with what was encountered . . .
what was offered through the car windows as we passed by . . .
what struck my eye as unique, or odd, or poignant . . .
The pressure to perform well - in dance class - in the sketchbook - is with me.
I carry it inside and suffer with it.
In this slowed down world of low accomplishment and daily circular tasks,
my worries stand out, tied to this effort. Yet I feel myself drifting - all effort futile. . .
Sitting now with the sadness - and toughness - and beauty of this Guinea world.
On the last day I make watercolor cards and write notes in French to the family, friends,
and teachers I have connected with here.
We have one more dance class and it isn't about perfection - just joy and appreciation and love.
I hand out the cards to everyone and we cry and laugh and sit together, looking out.
While everyone rests before lunch I go out back and paint the big palm tree in the yard.
I'm feeling loose and bold and relaxed.
Here it is - the core strong - the fronds dancing - moving - alive.
On the way to the airport we pass small clusters of people - men, women, children -
just sitting together quietly - looking out . . .
And here we are - the Guinea women - all of us !
Mariama Djeli Kany me Mayeni Mary Djeli Guinee Pam Dorothy