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France and Benin 2005

Journal 3

On Friday the 16th, Elise invited Wendy and me to go with her and her host mom to a bull fighting thing called the “course camarguaise.” It was the best experience ever! It’s been my favorite thing since we came here…it even surpassed our trip to Avignon. It was held in a town called Le Grau de Roi and was an event that went on for a week: Amazing. The aim was for a group of men all competing against each other, to jump into the arena with a bull and pull off tassels from his horns. The men were awarded cash prizes according to which tassels and how many they took off the bull. The men would run at the bull and try to get at the tassels with a fork-like thing in their hands and the bull would chase them. They would then have to make these amazing leaps over the fence to get away from the bull. The bull’s aim was to not allow the men to get near him and if he did well, when he left the ring, they played “Carmen.” It went on for two hours with each bull staying in the arena for 15 minutes. Elise’s host mom was so cool…she got two of the competitors to give us the tassels they had taken off the bulls! I loved it – Wendy, Elise and I had so much fun. Everyone should have gone. At one point one of the bulls got so mad at one of the competitors that he charged him and went over the fence in attempting to get the competitor! I got a photo of part of that. After the course, they had the bulls running in the street with a couple of cowboys on horseback beside the bull. They brought them out one at a time and the young teens in the street kept grabbing the bulls and trying to hold them down! I didn’t really like that part because they would keep grabbing the bull’s tail. But the last bull they brought out got away and he jumped a fence right in front of us and injured a lady who was standing behind the fence. He trampled her, but luckily she wasn’t too badly injured, I think, though the ambulance came. The bull ran away to the beach, which wasn’t very far away and swam out to sea. Elise’s host mom told us that the bull would swim until it drowned so they had had to send out a boat to herd it back in! That was some excitement! It was a fabulous day and I’m so glad I took up Elise’s offer to go and watch it!

This past weekend we were at Taize in France. I really enjoyed my time in Taize. After Montpellier, going to church three times a day was actually refreshing. I loved singing in different languages even if I couldn’t pronounce the words properly. The church was so pretty – I’m glad we got to be there during the weekend. I loved the candles inside the church – they were so pretty. It was nice to be in church and just have time to talk to God on your own. And the coolest experience was that I felt God there, filling up the whole church. Usually I feel God beside me – just me. It was a new experience, but very awe inspiring. And even though it never seemed like God ever stayed beside me, He certainly answered me and filled me up. I loved it there and I wish we could have stayed for a week to get a better feel for Taize. It was a unique and lovely experience because it was so peaceful there – no matter where you went and no matter what you did, there was peace that followed you. I also really enjoyed the food there because it was simple, but it really filled you up and was delicious. All in all, it was a great experience and God took the time to teach me some life lessons during our time singing in church.

~ Anisha Devadason