Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Travel is Complete!!
pic of us in Kabala, at the CES office balcony
We have safely arrived in Kabala after a couple LONG days of travelling. We haven't been in the same place for over a day yet, so we're pretty excited to finally be staying somewhere we won't have to leave in a few hours. Freetown was very interesting. The airport was an adventure on it's own: once we arrived, people were taking our bags for us without even asking, and once we were outside we were bombarded with marriage proposals and people asking for money. It was a very hard experience. When they were loading up our bags, one guy told us that "This is the way it should be: we work for you white people and you pay us." That's a pretty heartbreaking thing to hear, and I definately had a bit of a break down. After that, we arrived fairly late in Freetown so we checked into Jay's Guest house and we all got our own room! Melanie and our driver Bilalie went to go find some food and came back with chicken and fries! We woke up the next day and headed into town with Bobson, a CES Freetown Representative. We first went to exchange money which ended up happening right through the van window! After we got our money we went into town to buy some mosquito nets, as our own got lost at the airport. The driving in Sierra Leone is very exciting - there are no stop signs or stoplights, and you can drive any speed you want and pass anytime you want. It seems the only rule is that you have to honk constantly, so it's pretty crazy! Freetown was INCREDIBLY busy - people everywhere, both walking and driving, and there are markets almost everywhere you go. Nothing anyone explained to us could have prepared us for this trip, as it seems almost everywhere you go, poverty has hit really hard. It's crazy how Africa has the ability to break your heart & open it at the same time, but it does.
Yesterday I had another pretty crazy experience. When we were waiting at our guest house for the car to take us to Freetown, I went downstairs to talk to the guard and a couple of the workers. We sat there and talked for almost an hour, and afterwards one of them asked me to go to the market - which is something I shouldn't have done without asking, but as we all know, when I get really emotionally overwhelmed, I don't think very straight. (I'm sorry guys..my mistake). However, despite that, I am glad I went, because on the way back from the market, the two guys I was walking with told me something very hard to hear. They said I was the first white person they had ever met that had ever talked to them like friends, and the first white person to be really genuinely nice to them. This broke my heart - they told me how most white people they meet just come here to tour and the most they say is "take this bag up to my room". It's hard to accept that your own culture has made so many mistakes, but that's why we are here, to change the way we see the world, and the way the rest of the world sees us. How can someone I just walked to the market with call me his best friend? I don't know, but that's just how amazing these people are.
For now, we are safely in Kabala, with our host families. Everyone here is amazing, and we're excited to go to the school and meet the kids. We'll write more later!
With God's love from Kabala,