So many things have happened since I last wrote to you all. I can’t believe it’s only been a week. I don’t think I’ll remember everything I want to tell you, but I’ll try.
My flight to Conakry, Guinea went great. I got all of my luggage at the airport. On the way home, I was in my first high speed chase!
As we were leaving Conakry, a police officer walked into the middle of the road to stop us. Now, the police here are not like the police in America. Many of them make up reasons to fine people so they get money from them. Some do this because they are unpaid by the volunteers and this is their only way to make money and some just do it to get more money. So we didn’t stop. We drove right by. The policeman jumped on a motorbike and chased us for about 10 minutes. JD drove very fast. But the speed we could go was limited because none of the roads were paved so there are very big potholes. Also, we had a huge solar refrigerator strapped in upright on the roof. I was freaking out! But he got tired of trying to catch us so he stopped.
We’ve spent time catching grasshoppers in the field behind the Duecks’ house (a missionary family). Their kids Jacoby, Ethan, and Josey are soooo much fun!! I got to tour the village hospital. It’s not like any hospital in the U.S. Nothing is like the U.S. I ate my first fried termite yesterday. They weren’t very good. The food I’ve eaten here hasn’t been too different. But that’s because the missionaries cook a lot of American food. We visited and prayed in a mosque in one of our neighboring villages. We’ve shopped in the market. We’ve tried to talk to many, many people. I don’t know much of the language, though.
The language that is spoken here is Pular. It is culturally very important to greet people here. If you don’t greet them correctly, even if you’re just walking down the street and they’re people you don’t know, they get very offended. Here is a standard greeting:
A: On jaarama! (Hello, literally I greet you)
B: On jaarama!
A: Tanna ala ton? (Is there no evil there?)
B: Jam tun. Tana ala ga? (Peace only. Is there no evil here?)
A: Jam tun. (Peace only)
B: On jaarama, nani! (Goodbye, you hear?)
A: On jaarama, nani!
When we walk down the streets, the kids yell “Porto!” which means white. None of the roads here are paved. Cows, chickens, and goats wander the streets. There is trash all over the streets. Trash cans don’t exist in Timbi Madina. The Duecks collect all of their trash and burn it every week or so. I got my hair braided today. You guys would bust up if you saw me. I don’t have any pics yet, but I will. The weather is VERY nice. Right now, it’s 5:20pm and about 75 or 80 degrees outside. It gets pretty chilly at night! It’s rained about every day. The power goes on and off. It’s been on all day today because of the World Cup. If they turned the power off during a game he people would probably revolt! But the house we’re living in is set up to run on semi truck batteries.
It’s my birthday! I’m no longer a teenager! My first birthday in Africa. Yay! We got the afternoon off from language study, they decorated the dining room with birthday decorations for dinner, they sang “Happy Birthday” in English and French, we had cupcakes for dessert, the girls on my team gave me a pina (a wrap skirt) and Josey gave me a bag she painted and a plastic gold metal that says Winner. The first time I told someone that I was 20, it was in Pular. I thought that was exciting. It was a great birthday!
I miss all of you so much! Please pray for me to have continued good health, persevere through 5 more days of language study, and that we would be able to share Christ with the people we meet every day through our words and actions. They’re a tough people.
Thank you for all of your prayers. I miss you all very much!
I love you all!