We were invited again this year by friends of Colleen to their home in the Cévennes – to Richard and Arlette. First we met up with Arlette’s sister Eliane who lives in Montpellier and then proceeded for an hour and a half’s drive in a north-westerly direction into the mountain ranges of the Cévennes.
Eliane and Arlette (Baccuet) were born to French Missionaries in Lesotho at the beginning of WW II. They still speak fluent Sesotho!! Colleen became very fond of them while they nursed together at Groote Schuur in the early 60’s. They returned to France in the mid 60’s and two years ago, after 47 years they reconnected and the friendship taken up where it left off. Arlette married Richard Dahan, a protestant Pastor, still very active as co-ordinator of prison chaplains of the greater Montpellier area. We are delighted and privileged to be enjoying this contact.
The community of Mandagout is composed of a number of hamlets dotted along the valley and surrounding mountain sides.
The Cévennes together with the “Causses” – i. e. a group of lime stone plateaus in the Massif Central – have recently been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Though thinly populated there are still agriculturalists keeping up the tradition of farming with goats, Reinette apples, chestnuts and sweet white onions.
Our hosts treated us with a tian of vegetables from their own garden and a most delicious traditional onion soup.