« Iyala » – StoryTelling1

« Each time I go to Africa, I receive a new name. This has become part of my ritual.
The last time I was on this beautiful continent, the new name didn’t come to me like the 2 precedent times… I had to come to my name.
It was two weeks before the end of my stay of 2 months in the Equator Province of Democratic Republic of Congo to study the use of medicinal plants by the local population. I went to 16 villages, but 3 caught my attention : in the first two, I spent the night. But in the last one, I offered them to give me a Congolese name. Twins gave me my new name. I chose them because they welcomed me like in no other place over there. They showed me plant uses that were by far among the most interesting I encountered. They didn’t ask anything in exchange for their help, and told me I was welcome if I wanted to come back.
The name they chose for me is « IYALA ». In the Mongo language, it means « the one who gathers », « the good gathering ». Iyala moves people together and doesn’t care at all about differences. She links people to each other. I was deeply honored to receive that name.
Because it is a quality I really appreciate. Because it is true.
Because I use this quality in my everyday life. Wherever I am, whatever I do.

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