I am a person that can move somewhere and not miss what I’ve left behind. Some say I lack a certain set of emotions (namely you mother!), others say that I’m practical. Whatever may be the case, one of the joys of travelling and living somewhere new is leaving behind all expectations of what is to come and trying to not let past experiences creep up too much upon the new. But one thing that has been lacking in my current experiences has been art. By that, I mean an artistic community.
To me, art is just not drawing and acrylics, it is a creative way of life. Art is music, art is books, art is breathing creatively. You get the picture. But here in Niger, art is a commodity. In a world that rates 187 out of 187 on the UN human development index, creating and recreating culture is not a priority, understandably so.
Besides taking a morning trip to the Wadata artisans market in Niamey, which isn’t as bustling and brimming as it sounds, my artistic ventures have been all but null. Arguably that isn’t my point for being here, but for a creative, art is a must and life without some sort of creative conversation and interaction is just plain hard.
But today was a bit different, and I am one lucky girl to have found someone’s creative expression in a place I didn’t think possible. The CURE hospital in Niamey’s mission is to “serve children who, because of their disabilities, are often the very last: The last to be included. The last to be protected from abuse. The last to be afforded dignity. Through healing, [CURE] gets to show them the God who hasn’t cursed them, the God who loves them, dearly.”
I was visiting a friend to write and photograph a piece, and upon entering, I was confronted by vibrant shapes and colors everywhere. There were murals, painted on the white washed walls. Above the patients’ beds with mosquito nets, depicting Acacia trees, baobab, wood blocked Bible scenes complete with African figures and landscapes.
Outside where moms, grand-moms, and bandaged little ones sat and played in the fresh air, the well became an aquatic playground for fish, the windows and doors turned into giraffes, ostrich, and elephants. Africa had entered the building and brought life and vibrancy to the suffering surrounding the place. This hospital, a place for those less privileged, to whom life has seemingly given the hardest of blows, became a place for joy, for healing and for creativity!
P.S. Link love for you all! If you’re in need of someplace to browse on your Friday evening, check out this cool video and photo gallery on the latest from Judith Jones, Julia Child’s and other kitchen stars’ famed 90-year-old editor: http://online.wsj.com/articles/a-visit-to-the-kitchen-of-legendary-cookbook-editor-judith-jones-1415376230?tesla=y