Isis, or an Evolving Africa


Another important thing that happened in February this year: the visit to Auroville of Isis.

Isis Noor Yalagi became a dear friend, and not just because she is the
only person also from Martinique who has spent several weeks in
Auroville, the last ten days of which at my place. Among our “Guests”
over the years in Repos itself, there are many people, French or
not, who know and appreciate Martinique for having stayed there at some
point, and to talk about it with them was always nice for me,
who actually know so little about that small island my family is from,
but where I have myself lived only for three months when I was eight
years old.
There was in this February 2013 a meeting of AIF (Auroville
International France) and I had been invited; listening in silence to a
participant from La Réunion island, who kept telling about the growing
impact that she found there for everything having to do with Auroville or Sri
Aurobindo and Mother, I was a little sad in contrast because of the total absence of
interest for any of that in Martinique, and in the French West Indies in general. I
expressed this sadness for the first time after the person finished

A few days later a friend of Auroville hitherto unknown to me
was quite happy to spend a few hours on my terrace facing
the sea before she would return to France. I mentioned my sadness about
Martinique; she said she would contact for me an extraordinary person,
and moreover, precisely one from Martinique, who
happened to be visiting Auroville.

The following Sunday afternoon, sitting as I do now
often directly at one of the tables where we serve the various
preparations ordered by Aurovilians or Guests, I saw coming to me
a tall and beautiful lady, with dark skin, the sight of whom
immediately brought back to my memory the lines by Baudelaire evoking
his Martinique friend  Jeanne Duval: “a beautiful ship that takes off on the
vast sea … at a pace gentle and lazy and slow … ” (quote approximate, I do not have the text with me).

An exciting interview of several hours ensued between her and
I, sitting together there as if we were alone in the world,
discovering each other with a growing mutual fascination. Even from
afar, the strong personality of Isis made a great
impression on those of my colleagues who saw us together.

Martiniquaise (and so, French) by her mother, Isis is Togolese (and so,
African) by her father. I felt also close to her African side, which was
awakening in me all the memories of “my Africa”, the Africa
still French in those days, where I spent most of my childhood, where I
grew up …

In other lives I was also a Berber, and an Egyptian, two other
connections with Africa; her own inner connection with
Egypt is revealed through the name she has chosen for herself:
Isis. And it is thanks to her that I had this year for once a
birthday anniversary dinner on 23 February … and the old Berber in me
could enjoy a great couscous, prepared by her especially for me and a
few other privileged guests!

For Isis is a good and daring cook: a few weeks before she had organized
and conducted hands down, almost alone with the help of just a few volunteers, a large African Dinner,
memorable for the more than 300 people who came.
After meeting me, she decided that my presence was
essential for the future meetings of the Africa Pavilion and so I had
the pleasure to be invited to the next one, taxi paid …
but in this group too large my bad hearing prevented me from following
effectively what was said, so I did not renew this
experience. One intervention in a clear and loud voice that I have at
least had the joy to hear perfectly, was that of Isis herself,
highlighting with a remarkable clarity of mind and a great
power of expression that it was the evolutive message of Sri Aurobindo
and Mother that had to be carried to Africa, because that alone would
the power to offer Africa a future truly worthy of her,
revealing her deep soul, away from the mere copying of the Western
materialistic world that for the time being seemed the only option. When
said that, it suddenly became so obvious that no discussion
was necessary, this was instantly adopted unanimously.
Mr Tekeste was there also, the former Ethiopian diplomat who had been
the official link between the Emperor Haile Selassie and Mother, and
who after that chose to live in Auroville, since then tirelessly
pursuing his dream of establishing the African Pavilion, and conversely
of introducing Auroville to Africa; he was among those who approved with
the strongest nod of the head Isis’ proposal. It was equally clear that
for the friendly young Africans also present (all boys), students at
the University of Chidambaram near here, Isis had become a valuable
source of inspiration for her contagious enthusiasm and extensive
experience of public action.

My little guestroom being free shortly after, Isis
moved in, with the firm intention – while continuing to help her
young fellow Africans for the Pavilion – to start learning from me
everything she could about the Integral Yoga, including its cellular

But our common life began on a note far less serious: I
was not going to miss the rare boon of this other authentic
Martiniquaise without taking that opportunity to elucidate some memories
I still had of my brief stay in Martinique,
precisely at this crazy time when, like in Brazil, the famous
Carnival  is on. I told her the words and hummed the tune and the chorus
of the song chosen
that year for the whole Carnival, apparently it had become a
classic for she recognized it immediately, and there we were, the two of
us, singing loudly in my living room in Creole: “VAVAL, VAVAL, WOU  PAS
QUITTER NOUS! …” (Vaval, don’t leave us!) while outdoing each other
dancing on the irresistible rhythmic cadence of the resurrected song,
punctuated by our laughter! After a few moments of enthusiastic and
delectable Martinique fun, this joyous past re-emerged in our beings
calmed down, bringing us even more exciting prospects of our
evolutionary future …!

About the future evolution of Africa, I’ll let Isis herself say
how she would like to participate in that, when she will be
re-established there, after a short stay in Paris starting from here.
Having read this article about herself, she will write the following
part of it with rested head, from Africa itself, as soon as it will
become possible. Africa does not yet know what onslaught is getting
ready to fall upon her, but myself, who have lived for even this short
period with Isis, and who can still hear her contagious laughter, I have
some idea of ​​what’s ‘preparing to break quietly upon Africa in the
coming years, and I look forward to it!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. dykewriter
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 15:44:50

    gosh thank you for the nod

    I like being helpful 🙂



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