The realities of my short stay here in have lurched their way into my thoughts the last couple of days. The first reminder came as Adam left to return to Canada this afternoon marking the midway point of our project. (Adam had plan to return do to personal commitments) He had really begun to appreciate his temperate character among countless other valuable contributions to the team. His presence will be missed.
Reminder was the overwhelming sensation of how many opportunities exist to serve.
After regarding my emotional and spiritual batteries yesterday. We headed off to City Limits radio 93.6 on your FM dial in Gambia. After a crazy town trip to Westfield in an overloaded taxi we arrived to a power outage and no “DJ Logic”. Now being accustom to such Gambianisms. We waited in the sweltering lobby while Jessica did some personal interviews.
Finally 10 mins before airtime DJ logic arrived and we got a brief intro to how things will work. This offered little or no insight to what actually occurred. We were offered seats in the studio and were quickly introduced to a whole new style of radio programming. Words could describe it however, Jessica got it on video and you should really see it for yourself. He played our song for 15mins straight reshuffling it to the start between random overdubs of catch phases and questions directed at us.
We celebrated our radio debut with a dance party/video shoot at the Kotu Elton. Good times.
Sleep was hard to find last night as I felt like Richard Simons was promoting his new work out program sweating on the foamies. It hot really hot and humid. To boot I was awoken to go to the beach as part of a final farewell to Adam.
After a 30 min nap, I reawakened for my second visit to sisters of Charity. This time I decided to bring my guitar. I spent most of my time hangin’ out with the eldest child of the group most likely 5 years old. It was a touching experience. I later pulled out my guitar for a pre-lunch children’s concert. It worked out nicely as the food was not ready for a good 20mins after it was expected. I came to realize how sick these children are as I feed a small 2-year-old girl with ankles the size of a carrot. She ate no more than a bite before bursting into spasms of coughing and crying as she keeled over in pain, a sight that will forever be engraved in my mind.
After lunch was none other than the famed naked baby parade to the training potties. I still need to work on my patience for that one. As cute is they are, the smell is unbearable.
After lunch I ventured off in search of Ebrimah (AKA Jo Fatty) to follow up on our time on Monday. It was enjoyable sitting under the tree again shooting the breeze with some Africans. After our initial conversation Jo told me the story of his eldest bother who had decided to become a Christian. Used the term ‘fight like a Blackman” referring to the actions of his Mandinka family. He was rejected not feed and became ill. When he was sick his family refused to take him for medical help and he soon died at the age of 25. (African family is extremely tight and important dependence is typical even for married children.
It was a reality check to my work in the Gambia. What can you say to a man with this experience while trying to decide to follow Jesus. His words were as follows:
“I want to follow Jesus but I am young and still want to be happy. I want you to see me and not have to say I am in pain, my stomach hurts, my joints are soar. I can not follow Jesus here.”
I will continue to hang out with him and will pray for wisdom. I stopped in to visit Gary and Pam before heading to Jam with Gambia’s hottest Reggae/Senga-Gambian band “Galaxy Crew”. It was cool playing with real Reggae musicians. They could play much else but they sure could play Reggae. The feel as authentic none of this white boy stuff. We hope to do a single with them over the next couple of days.
For the evening I played Rook and then went for Ice Cream with Jessica. It has been so cool to see God transforming her from the inside out.
Now it is just plain hot and I am waiting for the power to come on so I can sleep. It is too hot to sleep with out the fans on. Good Stuff.
Sunday May 22nd, 1:45AM
Rolling out of bed at 10AM I sat in on a quick song writing session before we taxied off the meet with the Galaxy Crew.
After a chaotic setup we managed to Jam on the song we wrote and with-in a couple of run lame attempts we spat out a usable rendition of the song. The thing that tipped the bucket was Abraham’s free style reggae rap. In a burst of reggae revelation, I came to terms that no matter how hard I try I will never cut an authentic reggae track on my own, I need Rasta men to do it for me. We left the practice of some scratch tracks and an excitement for our new tune. I also hope to help them record there new hit single when I get back from Soma. (I will be a busy guy, that week is filling up quickly)
Forgetting about lunch I came back to work on programming of the track only to get distracted by the failure of our air conditioner that stopped functioning last week. It took little time to find the obliterated fuse in the archaic box. So Hewko and I went on a Gambia adventure. After a 7 stop trip, we finally where pointed towards Gambian electrical but surprise, surprise they are closed until Monday.
On returning our landlord had a brilliant idea giving us back the fuse with two strands of 18 gauge copper wire running through it. Now as a wannabe electric engineer of sorts an obliterated fuse usually means there is something really wrong. After warning about not using this new an improved fuse, I returned from the Jesus film tonight to find the power out but only in our part of the house. Strange?? Well no, after plugging in the fuse it took little time to blow our service panel’s master fuse which is lock and may only be opened by an electrician. We will not completely be with out power until late Monday.
However, for those wondering about the Gambian TV experience. We found out at 6PM today we would be on the air. After rushing home from the Jesus film and then to the TV station we sat in the waiting room with a couple of girls from Denmark who were also going to be on the show. We sang some songs with then and Rongo (one of their husbands has a connection to the TV station). Ansummani, the host, greeted us in typical Gambian fashion, 5mins before the show. We were given a crash course on the show and quickly discovered we would be presenting an Ashley Simpson clinic and lip sinking to our recording. Jess caught my initial reaction on tape, should be worth a good laugh. However, I don’t think it was as funny as the actual performance; I hope to get a tape of the show.
Anusmmani was a classic Gambian host. He couldn’t remember our names for the life of himself. He asked some good questions and we were able to provided some solid answers. We lip sinked “Message of Love” then did a live performance of “Beautiful Good Day” finishing with a song we wrote for the U-17 Scorpions as we were waiting to go on the show. We concluded the show by presenting him and the station with a Canadian Flag. All in all a very cool experience and I pray the Gospel was sent to the hearts of the Gambian nation.
After the show we moseyed over to the Elton for some sugar and another Gambian gas station dance party. A fitting end to a beautiful good day.
Sunday May 22nd, 11:37PM
After a satisfying bowl of Mango porridge, we headed off to Maurice’s church in Banjul. After a Gam- frustrating journey, we still managed to arrive on time. However, as we walked in the Priest was not overly impressed. It so happened that he had no clue of our involvement with the choir. A brief scrum ensued as Maurice arrived things were not looking good at first but, some senior choir members stepped in and were able to tip the scales in our balance.
It was amazing to again listen to the choir, such power in their voices as they praised God. I could not help but smile as I lead the choir in singing How Great Thou Art.
After we had lunch with Maurice, it got to encourage the local parish’s young Adults group and some how found myself being offer a Julbrew Gambia’s own and only lager. We talked about many of the social and economical problems. Many of the newest are caused by the influence of Hollywood movie and TV shows.
The afternoon I helped shop for dinner and then had a great Sunday nap. Joyce and Jana cook a fabulous Linguini dinner and there are rumors we might get Naniamo bars tomorrow. Gambia won the U-17 championship. The streets have not been quite since the game was over at 7pm. After our team meeting Omar was over and then I spent some time just chilling with my guitar.
Tuesday May 24, 1:15 PM
I am at Compuland trying to do some intranet banking before our team heads off to Soma. Toni and Rita who we will be working with phoned just to let us know it is hot (like 40+ hot there right now). It is my goal not to pass out.
Steve and I might head up to Senegal from Soma as his passport has yet to show up. I hope to take the opportunity to visit the Yannon Family in Bambey. We had a day of rest yesterday and returned to Shalom. I took the chance to swim in the ocean and stayed up late to write an electonica song which was a nice outlet for the stresses of the day. I continue find my days with ministry more enjoyable. I get along with everyone on the team but relating on the deeper level has been a challenge. Different styles and different stages of the journey, it really is no different than life at hoe except everything is always under a microscope and all said we have a very cool team and continue to hold together as a group.
Thanks for all the emails. I am slowly but surely saving them to my USB stick (thank you so much Mark it has been a life saver) to read at a later date. I really appreciate it and do miss your fellowship. Sorry for not being able to reply to you all individually.
Jordan I can’t wait to read your in my scan I got something about Lord of the Ganch… good times.
I haven’t heard anything from the Creo crew (are we Kodak yet?!?) I hope George had a good trip and nothing too bad has happened. :o)Camilo I’ll need you to update my time sheet before the end of the month. Check your email.