Saturday, August 04, 2007

Sandra in Sierra Leone again...

I’m back in Freetown. The flight from Brussels via Abidjan to Freetown was fine; no problems. It was a beautiful flight actually. I admired the coastline of southern France, or was it Spain. I enjoyed spotting the coastline of North Africa. And then there’s the breathtaking stretches of desert sand. Pretty incredible landscape. I was pretty impressed by the size of Abidjan and the amount of lights I saw there; very unlike Freetown. It’s good to be back in Freetown, seeing staff, patients etc. We have a pretty new team here now so some things work a bit differently, but I’ll get used to things quickly again I’m sure. Look at the following blurb and see what it’s like to be back in Africa…

You know you live in Africa when…

…you lie awake your last night in Europe thinking about the fact that it is so quiet around you…no generator, no barking dogs, no yelling neighbors, knowing that it will soon be different.

…you are surprised that Abidjan, another West African city is so lit up and think ‘wow, they must have a lot of national power’.

…the 8 km trip from Lungi airport to Aberdeen takes 3 hours which is longer than it took to fly from Abidjan to Lungi.

…you arrive home, entering through a large gate, onto an enclosed compound surrounded by razor wire, being greeting by official night guards.

…you get excited when you realize that there is NPA (national power) at the house and it will be a quiet night without the generator after all.

…you realize that the only reason we might have more NPA these days is because the elections are imminent and it is a campaigning stunt. How long will NPA last? (Before my vacation we had NPA maybe once a month!)

…you turn on your light and the bulb blows out, probably due to NPA

…you find out that all of your sheets/bedding has become moldy due to the humidity here. SICK.

…you notice a big patch on the wall in your room that has fungus growing on it.

…you lock the doors and get ready for bed and then realize you can’t drink tap water and need to go outside again and get a bottle of filtered drinking water.

…you take a shower in the morning and need to squat in the shower to get enough water pressure to wash your hair.

…you go to get breakfast and realize someone forgot to buy bread…community life.

…your staff shows up to work late and doesn’t think anything about that.

…you can walk along the beach after work, enjoying the blue sky, the ocean breeze, children running around, etc.

…you can easily wave down a taxi to take you home. The surprise was, we weren’t ripped off!

…many of the children yell out “white man” as you pass by.

...a child walks up to you and asks for money for food.

…you are met by a fan club of African kids at our street excited to see you back.

…you sit in the gazebo in the evening for dinner.

…you go to do laundry in the evening (the molded bedding) and have to stand there and fill the machines with a hose.

I’m not mistaken. I am back in Africa, where the adventures are only a stone’s throw away.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

San, you always amazes me with your great blog entries. It was fun traveling back together. YES we are back in Freetown and work has started already :)
Love always, mama

Terri said...

Sandra, I finally have a quiet moment this a.m. (the girls are still snoozing) to catch up on your blogging, I LOVE IT! I especially enjoyed the "you know you are back in Africa".......you are able to capture the essence of life there in W. Africa! So glad everything so far is positive with the elections....will write more later!
Love, Terri and the gang

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