Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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Friday
Nov042011

My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil

I haven't always been the amazing dancer I am today. It has taken years, hard work and concentration...and lots of fancy shoes.  But, the dedication has paid off.   And in a lot of ways, actually.  For example, a couple of months ago, I out-danced the devil.  

In September, I visited the West African country of Sierra Leone.  Traveling with a group of 5 others, we served alongside one of my friends from my doctoral program, Samuel Kargbo.  One morning while the others were lecturing in the Bible College that was hosting us, Samuel and I walked around the small fishing village that was adjacent to the college.  

We walked along dirt roads boardered by huts and shanty houses with the occasional beached boat or mended net.  Children were everywhere.  Adults were scarce.  Samuel shared with me that this community was where the Nigerian soldiers, sent by the UN during the civil war, set up base.  When the Nigerians weren't busy liberating the people of Sierra Leone from an evil tyrant, they were busy making babies with the local women.  

Then I began hearing drumming.  I noticed a crowd in front of us.  Nearly a football field away.  "What is that?", I asked.  "It's a women's cultural group.  Don't take any pictures Matthew.  It will upset them".  As we approached, I noticed a figure much taller than the rest, dressed all in white.  "Who is that?", I asked again.  "It's the devil".  

Of course.  

Turns out that 'a women's cultural group' is a very tame way to describe the women elders of the community that practice female genital circumcision.  A gruesome tradition still practiced in may parts of Africa.  One part of Africa where this form of mutilation is still practiced happened to be the village I was walking through - taking pictures like an American tourist.  And while circumsing girls is an accepted practice, apparently taking pictures of the women who do such a thing is frowned upon.  

The crowd, maybe a hundered strong, was singing and drumming and the devil, dressed all in white wearing a tall wooden mask, was dancing around from house to house.  That's when they spotted Samuel and me.  We tried to walk nonchalantly down a different street, but they soon surrounded us.  Drumming, singing and then the devil stood right in front of me.  Looked me up and down.  And began dancing.  

I let her dance for a few moments, then, with Charlie Daniels' 'Devil went down to Georgia' echoing in my mind, I recognized this for what it was.  Not being one to shirk a challenge, even if it comes from a 7 foot tall devil, I began to dance.  I tootsie-rolled, butterflied, krumped, robot-ed and threw in some other Watson-patened moves that came from the recesses of my East Dallas spirit long forgotten.  I danced.  Like a bad mo' fo' I danced.  

The crowed erupted in laughter, noise, drumming and delight.  The devil slinked away.  The crowd parted and Samuel and I passed through like the Hebrew children passing through the Red Sea and we continued our walk.  Smiling. 

p.s. I snapped this pic, while walking away from the crowd.  The devil is the tall figure in the center of crowd dressed all in white.

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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil
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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil
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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil
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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil
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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil
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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil
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    Watsonopolis - Journal - My Life as a Dancer Part 1: Dancing with the Devil

Reader Comments (1)

You are amazing!

November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD.Watson

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