Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trip to Namina's village...

On Saturday the 5th of March I woke up at 6 am. I had a big trip planned- a visit to Namina and her mom in their village. Farrah, a taxi driver friend of mine came to my house at half past 6 and after loading up a huge bag of rice and some other gifts for the family, we headed towards town. On the way we picked up one of my former colleagues, Ramatu, who used to work with me as a nurse in the Aberdeen outpatient clinic.

By 8 am we were on the ferry, heading towards Lungi. From Lungi we were told it would be a 15-minute drive to Bailor town, Namina’s village. Wrong. We picked up her older brother Saidu, to show us the way and after 25 minutes we found ourselves in a remote area, driving in and out of very small villages. Saidu kept saying we were almost there. We came to a bridge and wondered if we could cross it. Saidu said taxis do it all the time. So Farrah braved it. The crossing was very noisy as the loose planks were moving about under the tires of the car. I loved watching Farrah’s face as he was driving across the rickety bridge. He was happy to make it to the other side and already dreaded having to cross the bridge again on the way back!

After 75 minutes we reached Bailor town; a peaceful village on the beach surrounded by palm trees. The people were friendly and of course Namina and her family, including her granny, were thrilled to see us. Many children crowded around fairly quickly to get a glimpse of us. I was happy to see Namina and Wara again, and loved the fact that I was able to get a glimpse of their lives.

With all of the children in tow, we walked to the beach and enjoyed picture taking and refreshing sips of coconut water. There was laughter all around. It was great to see Namina in her own environment. We walked further down the beach and then turned back up to the village and back to Namina’s house.

A few hours later we were served food. Culturally, the guests are given food and everyone else waits to eat at a later time. So the three of us were served a wonderful meal while everyone else remained busy in the kitchen or in the house. I would have loved to sit down and eat with everyone, but I know this was a way for them to show their appreciation and respect. Their hospitality meant a lot.

When we realized we would miss the two pm ferry, we sat around and talked some more and then left in time for the 4 pm ferry. Of course, we had to cross the bridge again. And this time, we actually got into trouble- the tire slipped through the planks and was stuck in between the metal bars of the bridge. After trying various tactics, we managed to get the car tire out. We went on our way again, thinking we would miss the 4 pm ferry but in the end, there was no 4 pm ferry and had to wait for the 5:30 pm ferry. I think we were home by 7:30 pm.
The visit was eye opening and I will treasure the memories. I was happy to see where Namina and Wara live and grateful for their hospitality. I think what I was reminded of most from the trip is Wara’s commitment to her daughter. Wara’s husband died a few years ago and she is now the sole caretaker of 7 children (of which two are above age 16). I thought about our journey to Bailor town and back – the cost, the time, the distance, the effort, the challenges. And I thought of Wara making that same trip every single week to get Namina to the clinic in Aberdeen for her wound care. They would take the ferry on a Monday, stay with relatives in Freetown, come for Namina’s appointments and then head back to Bailor town on a Friday evening. And Wara did this for months on end and never complained. Wara was determined and dedicated and I can certainly learn from her. It is her perseverance that pulled Namina through. And after months of follow-up and more months of waiting for the ship, it was a delight to be able to take Wara and Namina to the ship for Namina’s admission. I feel privileged to have played a part in Namina’s story and am glad that I will continue to be involved in their lives.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Thank you for sharing this, makes us realize once again, how easy our way of living is. Love you

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