Octopus Pots

Octopus Pots …IMG_8401From North Africa, staying with my daughter’s family… My grandson had just begun babbling in his crib, sunrise was imminent, the pink glows of predawn skies hurried me along the walk to the marina. By now I had navigated this pathway alone several times … turn right at the first corner, continue past the car wash, the louage/taxi station, past the school that has a child to toilet ratio of one hundred to one, straight ahead at the first roundabout, slightly right at the second one. Sidewalks present IMG_8335their own obstacle course challenges of ‘men’s only’ cafe chairs, cars, motorbikes, or stacks of building bricks; and the curbs vary in height from nine to eighteen inches—an added challenge when pushing a stroller.

Past the police station on the left, where the latest crunched Peugeot waits inspection. Papagallo’s Italian-ish restaurant lets me know I am still on track, past the final Fruit Secs stand and the Marina is in view. I breathe in deep, the fresh sea air has a cleansing effect despite the shores being overrun with litter. Two herons swoop down, as fishermen ready their boats for the morning catch, I arrive just in time to see the sun rise above the clear blue waters.IMG_8392

Thousands of octopus pots line the rocky port walls—the small clay pot trap has not changed for centuries. Apparently the tiny octopus and squid love to crawl into cozy spaces, and then become trapped due to their inability to either back up or turn around. I am reminded how easy it has been to feel stuck in a tight spot, unable to reshape my attitude. I climb over the rocks reaching the light house, and feast on the rich deep colours … the blue of the Mediterranean sea—the boats traveling out to sea, a feast for the eyes, therapy for the soul. My heart craves for beauty, and recently John Eldredge put it into words for me…. in that as much as we have felt pains in our lives, proportionately we seek the beauty … this has become clear to me in my journey of grief.

This morning the pages of my travel NT open at 1 Corinthians 4:7 … I laugh at God’s sense of humour as I read: “Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us ….” (Good News NT)        IMG_8405                                                                                                                                    I text my daughter to let her know that I will meet her on the path to her son’s school. What a great start to the day for just one of a million clay pots!

Walk a mile in the North African shoes

IMG_0430Thoughts from North Africa …. as the third call to prayer goes out.

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Welcome to Tunisia, “Mahrahabba (welcome) You are not tourist here, you are our guests, you are family.” Right hand pats the heart three times, as the man in the red checkered scarf looks deep into my eyes. I wonder if he is hoping for a large tip.

Ancient roman ruins abound in this country, as do artifacts from generations since. Coming from Canada, where anything over 200 years old is considered ancient, I can hardly fathom the large stone blocks fashioned into the massive amphitheatre  that held up to 35,000 spectators in the third century. “The monument of El Jem is one of the most accomplished examples of Roman architecture of an amphitheatre, almost equal to that of the Coliseum of Rome.”  (Unesco World Heritage -El Jem.)

IMG_0336What was it like to live in ancient Roman times? … I could only imagine as we viewed the arena. The gates of life and death were pointed out to us at a previous site, as the guide explained how the animals, prisoners, and gladiators were brought into the arena, likely to face their final battle … they may have been killed in the colosseum, but apparently were not devoured in the presence of the audience … that surprised me, but perhaps that was something offensive to some of the more sensitive members of the audience?

What was it like? And what is it like to live in this transitioning country today? I have not been here long enough to answer that question. I am taking it all in. Tunisia has been described as post revolution—in fact today is the anniversary date of the revolution. When speaking with some of the locals, I ask through a translator, how has this revolution impacted the ordinary person. Many say they have not seen any benefits yet, as prices have risen and unemployment has increased.

I sit with my daughter, we have been invited to taste zagoo-goo, a special dessert made for the prophet’s birthday. (Two holidays fall in sequence: the prophet’s birthday on Monday, and the revolution anniversary the next day.)  The dessert is made from a paste of ground nuts and a creamy thin overlaying. To my surprise it is not as sweet as it looks—it looks like it should be chocolate pudding with whip cream, decorated with sprinkles.

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Two months ago, this neighbour  serving zagoo-goo asked my daughter:  “What is it like to live with love?”

A profound question.

What is it like to live with love? The question haunts me, it speaks of the deepest longing we have as a human being. For the lady, it was equated into the love of her husband … but it seemed to go deeper. This country is enchanting, the mix of ancient and modern, and yet the eternal question …

What is it like to live with love?

 

(Photos by Jocelyn)