Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cultural experience...

A lot has happened in the past week…and slowly but surely I’ll put some of it on my blog! But first I’ll write about our cultural experience last night…

Last night we made a spur of the moment decision to go to a Krio musical put on by the Ballanta Music Academy. Seeing as I had been to some of their shows/concerts before I thought it would be a good way to spend a Friday evening. So, 6 of us hopped into a land cruiser and off we went. I was the navigator for the evening seeing as I was the only one who had been to the British Council before, which is where the performance was. Of course, Freetown looks different by night so time would tell if I could get us there. We were up for an adventure though.

The excitement started as we were turning left onto a narrow street. A lady standing at the corner look surprised and as we approached she took a few steps back. I thought she was afraid we were going to hit her. However, we quickly realized it was because she saw the ditch that we failed to see! Before we knew it our front right tire was in the ditch. We hesitated for a moment wondering if we should get out of the car, just try to reverse out, etc. But…No worries. Within seconds 8 young Sierra Leonean guys came to our rescue. They were already lifting the front tire out of the ditch before we had time to do anything. So with four wheels on the road again in record time, we quickly realized they would want payment. Since we were blocking traffic we quickly handed them some bills and said “share”. Well, easier said than done- three 5000 Leone bills to be shared among 8 people- I am sure we left a mini riot behind us as we drove off! Actually Le 15000 is a lot of money relatively speaking. It’s the equivalent of $5, which is a day’s wage here for one person. So for about 30 seconds of work for 8 guys, Le 15000 isn’t bad, however, I think it was the ‘sharing part’ that they didn’t appreciate!

The second adventure was just around the corner. This time we made a left turn and within seconds the locals responded- yelling that it was a one way street- the other way! One guy said in Krio “Apoto, you don poil traffic”. Meaning “White man, you’re messing up (spoiling) traffic”. He really did say it to humor us, so we laughed, reversed the car, (again blocking traffic) and headed off again. It just made us laugh. Fortunately the rest of the ride was fine and I recognised the streets downtown and got us to the British Council without major detours.

The musical was fun to watch. Some of the Krio was understandable, some wasn’t. I could actually pick up on quite a bit of it and it was fun recognizing certain phrases that my patients use in the clinic too. There actually wasn’t any music, however, there was amazing singing and African drums. The costumes were colourful, the people vibrant. You could tell the locals loved watching the play; there was a lot of laughing, a lot of clapping and some interaction now and then. It was quite the show. The musical was first written in 1978 by a Sierra Leonean named Raymond Desouza George- who was there last night- and has even featured in London and in Holland. Impressive work.

Needless to say, it was an enjoyable Friday evening!

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~