The children in Dakar are accompanying COP21

“When, week after week during our outings, we collected all kinds of objects found in nature in order to find a meaning for them, nobody could have imagined that we would create a beautiful exhibition with them: “MAKE, MAKE AGAIN, MAKE LIVE AGAIN.”

The exhibition was installed in Kër Taizé itself, and has been much visited by schoolchildren, students, visitors of all ages and cultures. Our surprise and joy was to hear from their mouths very positive words and repeatedly: “You are fully in COP 21!”

Moreover, close to the entrance, suspended from the ceiling, a thick ship’s rope invites: “Whatever happens, hang on to hope... active hope!” It will stay there for the whole of Advent. What a beautiful welcome!

The week started well with four days during which the diseases of the forest, our streets, the sea, caused by discarded nets, plastic, smoke were presented forcefully and also with humor. But we had to find a way of finishing the week, too. On Saturday evening, in communion with the prayer in Paris in St Ignatius Church, supported mainly by a large group of children – who are the heirs of COP21 – mothers and young people, some very tired, we sang the creation, recalled our responsibility and so revived hope.

Why tired? Because hurriedly, we had transformed our weekly outing into a long COP21 pilgrimage-walk through significant places. The starting point was “Mbao forest” that we know well and which is decaying. But here is a sign of hope: while we had walked so many times, spent so many hours in the forest convinced that the monkeys had disappeared, suddenly yesterday, a family of four crossed our path. All is not so decayed!

Then we followed the railway line transformed into a garbage dump. We entered passages rather than lanes with extremely poor homes, in streets where comfortable houses were invaded by dust and littered with cars... and gas! Neighborhoods deserted by so many families displaced by the floods, the inhabitants having been deceived by unscrupulous landlords. We also wanted to follow the edge of the sea, strewn with nets and an unimaginable variety of objects.

After the walk, yes, some were tired but they will not forget the way people looked at as as we were passing, giving us signs of encouragement and approval.

Once back in Kër Taizé, how good it felt to put our small sign: “COP21 concerns us” and “our responsibility COP21” next to the illuminated globe in front of the cross placed on the ground among the icons. The heirs of our ash-blue planet might not understand much about COP21, but they sustain us in our prayers. They are a treasure for Kër Taizé. What a fine “step further” for this week!

Last updated: 20 December 2015