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.