11.03.2011

LOOKING AROUND IN LOOKING TOWN. Part. 4

I'M BACK!
I haven't posted anything here on my blog for over a month.
I received A TON of emails and comments from all my readers about how much they all missed me and couldn't wait for the next post. JUST KIDDING! I heard nothing from nobody. (sniff sniff)

No one missed me. Not one single mention of my absence.
Which obviously means that you have a life and I should get one too.

Until then, here you go....  

Sierra Leone part: 4
I woke up that Friday morning in Freetown to the sound of pouring rain. Buckets and sheets of rain. Brooke, Josh and I had rotating sleeping arrangements from the couch to the air mattress to the foam mattress on the floor.
It was our fourth night and I was excited to be back on the foam mattress where I would be sleeping the rest of my nights in Africa. The previous day at the beach I remember Brooke offering me her sunblock and I foolishly declined it, not wanting to seem fragile in from of all the young Sierra Leonians.
Regretfully the next day, Friday I was left feeling 'hungover' with a slightly sunburned face and severely sunburned lips. So, the sound of thunderous rain outside made me feel even more down. The plan for the day was to go to Looking Town. Dad and Josh packed the little truck. Mom made the pancakes and assured me I wouldn't need a coat. And she was right, as we stepped out from the little Missionary apartment the skies were clear and bright and was as warm as mid-July afternoon in Utah. I was immediately sweating.


                  A ride down Kissy Road held the same sights and sounds and amazement that
                               I have yet to forget or describe sufficiently.


                         As we drove, I was taking pictures and my Dad looked up ahead and said;
 "hold on fellers" or something like that and he said it looked like some sort of political protest was coming towards us in the middle of the road.

My Dad rolled up the windows and instructed us to be careful and for me to put my cameras away. He thought it might be the ritualistic march of a cultish traditional "Devil". But as they walked closer my Dad eased up to see that it was just a political rally for the conservative party candidate "Timbo".
So to heck with safety and caution, my Dad then instructed us to get out and join in on the rally and for Brooke to sit on the hood of the truck.
We opted for just rolling down the window. What happened next was a little bit of craziness along with me demonstrating to the people of Freetown what a nerdy American woman acts and sounds like. Those of you who know me luckily already know how nerdy I am.



After an hour or so on Kissy Road we made it to the chapel where a few of "the boys" were waiting patiently for us.

 Pete, Mohamed, Amarah and Alimomy were there to join us again for the day as we toured around their neck of the woods.

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law (one of my faithful blog readers) asked me where I got all the pictures that I have posted here on my blog. She seemed surprised when I told her that they all came from my own camera. I had a hard time myself believing the things I saw.

The people of Sierra Leone are more than willing to have their picture taken as long as you first ask them for permission by saying,"can I snap you?"  


A camera usually bring children and adults alike out of the shadows standing in line
to have a photo op with a funny looking American.

The little Motley Crew of boys from next door came over as soon as they saw us at the church and were happy to pose for a picture or two.

"Snap me, Snap me!" they say.

We were told to dress in understated missionary attire for our trip. And so we did most of the time. With "the boys" acting as our guides and guards we were elevated to celebrity status as we walked up and down the dirt roads.
  We made several stops at humble homes just around the city and met the most wonderful people.

To them it was just another ordinary day, but for me...it was life-changing.
I saw how simply and humbly and happy they lived.

In most ways the people in Sierra Leone were just like you and me.
They worked hard, they cooked, they cleaned, they studied, they laughed, they loved their kids.

This scene I snapped from the bridge above as we made our way through Freetown. This picture here is so wonderful to me. A typical Friday afternoon of "brooking" the clothes and "brooking" the babies. We made a loop and walked around to the Fayambo family.
(Their home is just to the left and beyond the clothes line in this picture.)


Once we were there they welcomed us with open arms and giggled when I suggested we snap a picture.

Messi, Mohamed and Pete quickly got sick and tired of all my picture taking. Even still they always would come back and want to see themselves on my camera.

Here we are posing with brother Fayambo and the infamous slaughter house behind us. Every morning 60 or more cows would be brought under the makeshift awning, slaughtered and then they would wash all the blood and carcases down the river.

About this time my Dad suggested we go and get something to eat.

It's funny but no one had ever heard of a Wendy's or knew what a Big Mac was. However, everyone knew of a great little place called Amigos. They suggested that we should walk through the town to Amigo's and try one of their famous meat burgers.

A large roll, with a smothered piece of meat with beans, spaghetti noodles, cabbage and ketchup all ready to go having been prepared earlier in the day and sitting in a warm display case waiting for us.

And speaking of delicious food...Pete, Sam and James claimed that they love to eat cats. Yes CATS! I suppose the boys could see the disgust on our faces as they told Brooke and I how sweet the meat is and how they hunt, kill and cook the cats. I wondered if that could be true...

however, it was curious to me why I saw many, many gangs of lazy, mangy dogs running freely around.



and yet I only spied one skinny poor paranoid kitty cat.   
After lunch I was ready for a nap or some air conditioning, but was informed by my mom that our day was just getting started. Here my dad is buying a bamboo bowl from some cute girlies.
Here is the a glimpse of Looking Town that I "snapped" from the ferry
on my first day in Sierra Leone.    
 (The red areas are the very dirt roads and trails that led us to the very homes that we visited.)  

After a series of confusing right turns and left turns
we parked the truck at the bottom of the hill. 
We were greeted almost immediately by our fan club of curious, happy children.
Everyone called out to my parents "Elder, Sister Neves!" as we walked up the main road in Looking Town. The people came out on their porches or stood in their doorways to get a good look at us. 
  We had quite a following of little kids and adults coming up to us and touching our arms
 or shaking our hands. I suppose they were curious to see the slightly younger versions of Elder and Sister Neves.

All I had to do was offer to snap one little picture and a frenzy of sorts would break out.

                      We climbed further up the hill with the boys as our guides.
Mom lead the way most of time and never seemed to get tired or overwhelmed.
 She was definitely in her element. Who knew? 
We rounded a corner to find our friend Alice and her family there. Alice lives on the edge of a little hill, or rather a dangerous cliff. There were many babies and toddlers walking back and forth on the path and no one seemed bothered. But when we got together to snap a picture and my heel neared the edge, everyone cautioned me to "tek time, tek time!"     
    meaning "be careful you silly clumsy white woman." 

An hour and a half later we made it to the top to be greeted by the whole Ngegba family.
We sat under the mango tree and had a little missionary lesson.
               Sam is standing up in the white shirt, Albert is next to him in yellow.
                                      Pete is sitting down by Josh and Messi has his back towards us.


This little girl's name is Adama. She would grab on to either my hand or Brooke's and
hold on to us the whole time we were there. She asked my Dad if we were going to stay.

My Dad had to tell Adama that no, we weren't able to stay, and then told us all sadly that it was in fact getting dark and time to go home. 
             I considered many times just becoming a native and calling home
to tell Dean where to send my things.

Can you blame me?
This little baby followed us all the way up the hill. She called Sam her brother and Sam took such good care of her like she was his little sister,
even though she belonged to someone else.
 There was a great sense of community there.

We were making our way towards the truck in the dark, and that's when I was robbed. 
I was holding onto Albert's arm, Brooke had a hold of Messi, my mom was holding onto Pete's arm and Josh was talking with Sam. My Dad had snuck ahead to arrange for his friend Solomon to come out of the shadows and pretend to steal my camera.

 So sure enough, without warning Solo jumps out of the dark,
grabs for my camera and takes off with it.
I yelled for help and tried to fight back all the while thinking...

 "well, here it is...this is how it's all going to end for me."

Quickly though, my robber and everyone else was laughing at me.
Silly white woman.

The very next day we made a stop to see my favorite brother Bangura at his tailor shop. 
My mom gave a wonderful lesson and I was so proud of her.

All during the lesson my Dad kept getting calls on his cell-phone.
The boys of Looking Town were playing a Futbol game in our honor and everyone had gathered and they wondered when we were going to arrive. 

So it was back up to Looking Town to the soccer field named Fonday Field.
We were the guests of honor, everyone turned out to watch the game. 
The kids guided Josh and my dad and Brooke and mom to the seats
where the guests of honor sit.
(here Brooke sits in the middle of all these intrigued kids showing them her iPod.
Brooke was the first one to introduce all of Looking Town to YouTube.)
I stayed on the other side of the field to take pictures of the action.


The playing was great, the talent and skill unmatched.
                    But I wasn't paying much attention to the game...


                                                         No, I had other distractions.

      I was sitting alone, across from my parents and siblings
                             and my camera was drawing a crowd.
   A small group of boys wanted me to "snap them"
                        and then they all wanted to see their picture on my camera.         


Those few little boys turned into twenty or thirty big and little boys.
They were all grabbing for my camera.
                                                     I felt like I couldn't breath.

This guy in the white shirt kept offering to hold my bag and insisting that I just hand over my camera to him and he would snap my picture. What did he take me for?
I was trying to mouth the words "help me!" to Brooke,
            but she was too busy enjoying her celebrity status, waving to her fans and watching the game.

Finally my friend Alice came to the rescue and called everyone "bad boys" and grabbed me by the arm and lead me over to my parents.

Even after the game was over and we congratulated all the players, this little boy kept hanging around patiently waiting his turn at a chance for a photo of himself to be on my camera on it's way to America.
The kids continued to swarm all the while yelling,
"snap me! snap me! ...auntie, auntie, snap me!"


It was raining softly as we loaded up in the truck. It was time to go.
It started coming down harder as we left our beloved Looking Town for the last time.
By the time we made it back out to Kissy road, the potholes were now small lakes.
We had a dinner appointment at the missionary favorite Christiana's Restaurant.
(Mom takes a few pictures of Elder Massey recieving a present from Christiana while Sam looks on.)
(My mom stumbled while we were walking down the hill in Looking Town and caught herself with her hand. She had several cuts and gouges, but she had a local medicine man patch her up and was better than new.)
Elder Massey was having his farewell dinner and invited us along.
    
                                                             Yeah, he was probably regretting that.
Christiana and her daughter went all out with a Sierra Leone version of an American BBQ dinner.

My favorite part of the evening,
maybe my favorite part of the whole trip,
was when this guy in yellow kept coming in and out of the room and finally inquired from Elder Massey
 "how many Leones for the two white girls?"
Before I knew it Elder Massey was negotiating a price for Brooke and I in Krio.
I think my price went up to about 15,000 Leones. (about $4.00)
I was truly flattered.

We ended Saturday night with dad giving Josh a good old fashioned haircut in their kitchen,
 mom getting her primary lesson ready for church the next day.  
Brooke printing out futbol pictures for Messi and Sam  
and me still on cloud nine from my recent marriage proposal. YES! I've still got it!
Well, that's it for day four and five.

Brooke is begging me to hurry and finish up my Sierra Leone blogs because she is so sick and tired of hearing me go on and on. Just kidding, she is the one encouraging me so blame her.

Actually Brooke wants me to finish  so she can post the pictures that we took on our last day in Africa.
It was an unbelievable sight. 
Here is a picture preview. Stay tuned.

2 comments:

Kathryn Roberts said...

I love your photos and writing. And yes, I did miss your blogging!

daisy k said...

I LOVE IT!!! thanks for sharing your amazing adventures with us.. You are a fabulous writer... (who's your mom anyways:) Hard to believe your mom and dad are going to be home in just a matter of 3 weeks - CRAZY!!

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