Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I don't know her. I saw her about 2 weeks ago on TV. Waiting. Big eyes, curly hair, framing her face, nice mouth. Pretty. When she walked in front of the judges it was revealed she was using sticks. She had had a motorbike accident 4 years ago. She belittled it saying it was nothing. She sang, I was impressed. I know singing, she does it.
I saw her last week on a completely different show. This time a group of physically challenged people trek to Kilamanjaro. Immediately I saw her I was riveted. Polio sufferers, deaf, blind, amputees, and Yolene. All of them tracking through bush and desert all of them struggling with each others struggles.
Yolene wasn't the only one who moved me but I allowed myself be moved most by her. 4 hours was the most she had walked in an age. I remember vividly her walking and arriving late in camp to be greeted by hordes of Africans jumping up and down cheering her home. I cried my heart out. I think she had walked 10 hours finally. I wasn't feeling sorry for her. I was just so touched by her steel. Her no nonsense nothing is going to stop me approach. Her refusal to let anyone put her down and negate her, and her sheer open heart on her terms. Dust, rocks, thorns, altitude sickness, rocks, and boulders, all on sticks dragging, forcing pushing those disobedient legs to their limits. Teaching them what they had forgotten. Teaching me. Her beauty, it is a profoundly deep inner beauty that shines forth. She is medically not supposed to be able to walk but she does more and more. Yolene like it or not you are an inspiration. I know you are in Aix en Provence somewhere, it's an hour and half away from here. Someday maybe we will meet and I can look in your eyes and you will see the joy you fill me with.
Now if only all of us had the same attitude. I am embarassed when I see people complain about having to walk across the road and I think of Yolene.

1 comment:

Gillette said...

What a great story! Thanks for this.

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