Sunday, May 11, 2014
I never tire of driving through the jungle forests and "country side" of Guinea! There is amazing natural beauty (VERY similar to the gorge in Oregon yet even MORE green than the greenest we see in Oregon, if you can imagine that! Just replace every pine tree in your minds' eye in Oregon with a palm tree and you will be imagining Guinea's landscape) and beautiful people everywhere you look. I will also never cease to be amazed at the piles of items carried on women's heads here (and even young children will be seen carrying things on their heads with babies strapped to their backs!)!! Rachel and I and the boys actually tried it tonight with the help of our hostess Iliane, to carry a basket of potatoes on our head with the aid of a rolled towel. We could each do it for a bit! Imagine if we continue practicing! I can see us now, in Washington Square mall carrying our bags on our heads so our hands are free! Haha! Actually, I can never really imagine going to a mall and buying enough to carry on my head, ever again. Seeing the poverty and simplicity and extreme effort that goes into every day tasks that we take for granted in the states is sobering. We visited Moise's palm tree farm today which is about a 1-1/2 hour drive from the clinic. He has three acres that was given to him about 8 years ago. He began planting palm trees about 7 years ago, which means they began producing palm nuts only about 2-3 years ago. The palm nuts are a main source of two kinds of oils (one from the outer nut flesh, another beaten/burned out of the inner seed) for the people of Guinea. He is very grateful for the ability to provide some income to help support his family while he continues to grow the clinic and evangelize the surrounding areas. From there we drove further through very rough roads along a mountain range very similar to the Klickitats and the cliffs/plateaus seen along the gorge, with a few higher peaks here and there, all covered in lush green foliage. The clouds were low and heavy with rain which down poured off and on all day long. As the clouds blew in and out and up and down, different peaks would be revealed and blue sky would show through and the clouds would weave in and out of the peaks. As we passed through a small village that used cows as a main means of support, the village children swarmed the truck yelling/smiling/laughing "tabaloo" "tabaloo" which in their local village dialect means "white man", and the women shoved 1.5 liter water bottles filled with "fresh" cow milk at us, trying to get us to buy some! Such joy! It's funny…in the village across the street from the clinic the children yell "creepaloo, creepaloo", again their word for white man. Wonder why their words for white man sound so much like our "scary" words of creepy and taboo!?!? We finally arrived at our destination of the natural land bridge. It was pouring when we got there, so we picnicked in the truck until the rain stopped again. We then got out to see the bridge, which from above looked nothing different than any other bridge we may have crossed. but as we walked around the side we could see down into the cavern. It was a small river, much like one you'd see in Oregon, with lots of rocks, a few rapids, and much foliage in and around. We climbed down a steep embankment to a rocky bottom that revealed a large natural rock bridge that the water flowed through. We stayed down there for a while, wading in the water, as it was clean, flowing water. Most water in guinea is unsafe to walk into. It was kind of like being in a cave that had an opening on both ends. It made us think of home and it was very nice to be in a cool place out of the sun with the ability to get in the water! Yes, we took lots of pictures, as always! We came back to the guest house and us girls got the young boys to watch Pride and Prejudice on the computer! The older guys knew better than to be tricked. The younger boys weren't too enthralled, but the girls had fun!! It was Saturday afternoon at the movies! Tomorrow we go into our closest big town, N'Zerekore near the market, where we will go to church of the pastor whom Jeff did surgery on last year…the one who was shot in the leg during the riots/fighting while his family was locked in their house and were threatened to be burned to death. The family was spared when the violators learned they were from Coite d'Viore and not Guinea, but their home and church were burned. We are excited to see him and his family in their church where they continue to serve. He is healing well and is very grateful to be alive! I will report on that experience in the next post. Until then, goodnight from Africa!