Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Almost fall

(Photo taken last year during our first East Coast fall.)

It is hard to believe it is the end of October when it is 85 degrees with 90% humidity. It is getting warmer and the rain is coming less, and sometimes I completely forget what month it is. Like, it could be the middle of summer and I wouldn't know.

This morning David and I woke up early and went for a jog around the neighborhood. We left our house while it was still dark and tried our best to dodge the sleeping dogs and potholes. David said something about how there weren't as many people around as usual. I joked that maybe they all knew about a big rainstorm coming in that we didn't (this happens all the time).

Then it started to rain. "This isn't too bad. Remember that time in Costa Rica? That was way worse." Then it started to rain harder. And harder. After a few minutes, we were completely soaked. The rain pounded our bodies and the nasty gutter water overflowed onto our legs. We passed by people huddled under overhangs, wondering what the crazy white people were doing out in the storm.

And though we looked ridiculous (almost forgot to mention we were matching in black tank tops and red shorts), it was great. It felt cold, and the sky was dark and cloudy, and it felt like fall. At this point, I'll take what I can get.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Mariama lives down the street, but she has some sort of connection to my guard and so she washes her clothes in our compound. She is all of maybe 3 feet tall, but she talks like someone much older. We have had the same conversation the past two days.

Mariama: Hello!
Me: Hello, my dear. Ow di bodi?
Mariama: Fine. Where is your man?
Me: He is in the house.
Mariama: He does not work?
Me: No, he is a student.
Mariama: You go to work? And he doesn't? (Giggles)
Me: Yes, he studies at home.
Mariama: Greet him for me, yeah?
Me: Okay, I will greet him for you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Camping at Bureh Beach

(Where we slept. The water came up to that log.)

Bureh Beach, about an hour and a half from Freetown, is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. We celebrated our friend Shane's birthday by camping out under the stars for the weekend. We surfed with the local boys at sunset, ate fresh fish and rice for dinner, shared stories around a bonfire, stared in awe at the Milky Way, swam in the rolling phosphorescent waves at 2am, and woke to the sound of the waves breaking just yards from our beds.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I was handed a letter the other day. It's from a teenage boy who lives down the street from my house. Every morning I walk past the stall where he sells cigarettes, soap, candy, etc. He sets up his stand, placing each item in the display as children pass on their way to school.

Dear Madam,

How are you? Hope everything is fine. I'm really happy and I appreciate the way you are talking to me. You make me remember some white people in my village. They were missionaries, they opened schools and churches in my village. They used to love me so much but due to the rebel war they returned back to their country. So that's why when I see you I remember them, because they promised to help but the war spoiled everything. I'm praying that Almighty God will make you succeed in anything that you are doing so that you will not forget me.


The day he gave me the letter I went home and cried. I cried for all of the hopes and plans ruined by the war. I cried for the families forced to leave their homes, businesses, memories. I cried for Osman, a boy who lost everything and has now put his hope in me. Me who has nothing. Me who doesn't know how to handle the situation. I am not worthy of this.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Public transportation

We took our own advice and got super adventurous this weekend - public transportation style. Over the course of the weekend we went to the beach twice, had lunch at our favorite restaurant, ate an amazing Indian dinner at a new friend's house, and went to a party at a mansion overlooking Lumley Beach. All without a car. Boo yeah! The weekend grand total:

- 8 taxis
- 4 ocadas (motorbikes)
- 4 private cars
- 2 poda podas (mini buses)
- 1 retired tour bus pretending to be a poda poda

Friday, October 1, 2010


There will be a time when I look back on my experience in Sierra Leone and wish for more. More interaction. More conversations. More memories. More life. I will damn the days that I laid on the bed and watched movies on the laptop, the days we spent confined by the concrete walls of our compound. The me now says, “But it is hard. We don’t have a car. We don’t know where to go. It is a challenge just to communicate. We make mistakes and we look like fools.” The me then will say, “Why did you let that stop you? There was so much to see and so much to learn. Do not be afraid. Seek out adventure! Go! Live!” And so I will try.