A few days ago one of the ladies, who is typically looking out for me, gave me a key. It was the key to the other side of the squatty shed where I normally take care of my business. I had always wondered what was in the other side, I figured it was storage. This morning I checked it out and I couldn’t be happier man.
It is sparkling clean squatty toilet! As far as I’m concerned the place it a palace, there was even a bucket pre-filled with water for flushing. Now if I could find a reliable source of fiber to offset the rice and white bread I’d be set.
Ants in the Pants
Clothes on the Line
Arg! Just had my favourite shirt go missing from the clothes line last night – might hope to see it walking around the compound or Sukuta before I leave at the start of next week. (not sure if it is a temporary or permanent borrow )
Heart on the Line
Not more then a minute after finishing writing the last paragraph. The woman who has been voluntarily washing my clothes and cleaning my room since my arrival just stepped in the room overwhelmed with tears.
Using my limited Fula and ability to read wild hand jestures I began to understand the situation. She believes my missing shirt is a personal attack against her, someone’s plot to make me think she is stealing my clothes and thus not to trust her or help her if she has any requests.
At first it seems strange and far fetched (who would do that?) however, it is very plausible (if you steal it and live on the compound you can’t wear it and if you are coming from outside the compound why would you just steal one?) Unfortunately, it is well with-in the realm of the cultural norms and capable darkness of a human heart.
Even yesterday I was involved in an intensional conversation aimed at pitting me against someone else so I would loose their trust. Honestly, if we claim it we are not tempted to these schemes we only deceive ourselves.
Two weeks ago I had the chance to speak from 1 John chapter one where John talks about walking in the light. When we walk in the light it exposes darkness – and darkness doesn’t like it, it is a uncomfortable feeling. This lady is one who walks in the light in her attitude and actions and it is uncomfortable for those who wish to be complacent or self seeking.
Needless to say my heart was broken for this woman. I have always been impressed with her faithfulness, humility and generosity. I can use to learn a lot from her. My hope the shirt shows up and it is all one big misunderstanding, more for her peace than the sake of having my shirt back.
To Kanilai (and Back)
Those who know me well understand I have a mild sense of insanity for the sake of just for the sake of adventure. In the lull of the election, I decided I needed to get out of the city and go see something new.
Without much persuasion, I convinced a local friend that we should bike to Kanilai together (the president’s home village). For him the 200km+ journey was a regular trip as he is a member of the Gambian cycling team. For me however this was a different story but I wanted to see if I could do it. After all I had bought this sweet road bike I wanted to try it out.
The challenge was not so much the distance so much as the time. Originally I had envisioned doing the trip 100km a day, turns out our schedules limited us to one day. To put it in perspective I figured the farthest I have even biked in a single day was 60-70km. It is a bit like being a 10km-15km runner than deciding off the couch to go out a run a marathon, in the hot sun.
The locals had a good laugh when I told them where I was going, as most will refuse to travel that distance in a car unless necessary. My rational side tended to agree with them particularly after the first hour.
The up country roads are beautiful, wide open and quiet with minimal grades, the outflow winds are really the biggest challenge. At each village we met a cheering section of children most who would chase after me in hopes I would drop candy, coins or perhaps lay a golden egg on my bike seat.
We arrived at Kanilai around noon, it was a bit of a ghost town as the president had announced a free 3 day party in Banjul it seemed like the whole village had left to join him. This was true to the extent that there was not even a vehicle remaining to take us into the safari park. After 20mins of negotiating, I convinced the staff to allow us to go on our bicycles while the guide road an ATV (assuming the lions wouldn’t eat us*). I figured we would set a new precedent for eco-tourism.
* it turned out to be a valid assumptions, the lions photographed in the office were now dead because they tried to attack their owner.
The trip home was a mental test, yet, my friend encouraged me home. Often he would stop at wells refilling my bottles and buying watermelon slices while I cycled ahead. As night settled in, the road became an endless tunnel of light lit from my beam. My legs continually verged on cramping up and my mental fortitude was wearing thin. I was about ready to hop on a transport vehicule when the Brikama traffic light signaled me I was 1 hour to home – a few more bananas and a boiled egg from a shop would provide enough energy to bring me home.
All said the journey was a great success and then only side affects seemed to be a bit of numbness in my left hand which I think is related to my previous elbow injury and holding onto the handlebars for so long. I even managed to get on the bike the next day so I cold go for a swim.
From Here to the End
Tomorrow and Thursday: final visits making sure all out of country arrangements are made properly (making sure I'm not getting scammed is a full time job some days). This is hard there are many demands and few
The weekend: We are hosting a family meeting for HOW calling all alumni and distant relative. (originally scheduled for the prior weekend) *see scheduling post from last week.
Monday: Goodbyes and packing. (and of course learning to speak fluent Fula)
Hope to squeeze in another post perhaps on the way through London. (including the always popular "best of" photo collection.
Thanks for following and all your prayers and support.