Today, I got up and went with Ouzman my Senegalese friend to the memorial. He stayed the night and we went to pizza with Adou last night. We all talked about how terrible the attack was and we spent all night talking and laughing and figuring out ways to help Ouzman find work. His work as a mason has finished so he needs new work or he might have to go to Dubai. We told him we have some good ideas for him.
Anyways, we walked to the Etoile du Sud and it was deserted. It felt so strange for a Sunday. No one was here, but we turned the corner to go to the Etoile and I saw Mazequoi one of the young girls who works at the beach and who Anna plays with. I grabbed her and gave her a big hug and we all walked to the beach. Ouzman and I decided to go to the Etoile for some coffee and the people were very excited to see us. We sat and had our coffee and slowly people started to come to the beach. We took pictures with my friends at the Etoile some of whom were in the video of the attack. I stared at the Ocean and then finally I said to Ouzman let's go. He said yes. So we got ready and then got to the sand and I told him we were going to run. I said 1, 2, 3, and we both took off. (I had an early lead but he blew by me.) We hit the water and I dove under the first wave and I can't tell you what it felt like but it was amazing. It was cleansing. I thought about those people one week earlier and those kids especially the deaf boy and I swam. The waves were intense and the current was strong and we both loved it. We slapped fives and laughed and paid respect to those who died. One Muslim, One Christian, One Ocean. We rode waves and got knocked around. Our last wave was strong and we were both doing cart-wheels under the water and I loved every second of it. Thrown down hard, tossed over, not knowing which way is up, and loving life. The ocean can own me but not terrorists.
We then went across the street and had lunch. Everything was more or less deserted except right there at the memorial site. I had not intention of doing all this but it felt like the right thing to be doing. And I know that life is coming back here and that feels so good.
John Doces. Je vous écris de la Côte-d'Ivoire en Afrique.