The Blog of WEC USA

West African Vignettes


“Kevin and I traveled across to the Gambia to pick up some bikes. The journey became quite a prayer experience! The public transport was an old Peugeot estate car with seven seats. Apparently this vehicle can hold ten people, plus the driver, plus two people on the roof! In front of the passenger seat sat the fuel tank; a bottle with pipes leading from it. Wire held the car doors closed and their windows had no glass. The bonnet [hood] had to be opened at every stop to add water and something that took the place of oil. The car had to be pushed to start its engine. When asked if the wire he kept pulling was in fact the brake, the driver, who looked to be under 16, calmly let us know that the wire was to reduce the revs as there were no brakes. We prayed!”


“I’ve just come in from my first football [soccer] game since we got here. Ah, that feels more like it! It’s been so much more comfortable now that the humidity has dropped. I can also say it’s become quite chilly at night at 25°C. I miss talking! Wow, it can be so frustrating wanting to communicate with all our neighbors and not being able to do so. I quite enjoy shopping though, it’s always a laugh! Body language and gesturing not to be underrated! 4K [8.8 lbs] lump of meat sawed from the carcass! Yum!”


“This evening I sat out on the street with our Fouta neighbor, Safi, both of us with our babies. Safi doesn’t speak much French, so we just greeted everyone and took in the scenery: a haze of smoke from fires burning; boys (including Kevin who scored 2 goals!) playing football to our left; ladies walking home from the market with their purchases in a bundle on their heads; men on motorbikes returning from work; goats bleating and climbing over a nearby construction site; crickets starting up their song; music beats coming from somewhere; Aila trying to grab any finger she could to put in her mouth and smiling up at Safi. In that moment I felt strangely at peace and at home.”

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