Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Here I go Shean!

First of all, I am so glad that we were able to stay with Mohamed and Amie at their house in The Gambia! It’s always an amazing experience to stay with a local family. We ended up staying a week, enjoying their incredible hospitality. Mohamed was awesome with helping us around town, getting money, translating, making sure we got the fair prices, finding all the embassies to obtain visas for up-coming countries, transport and anything else we needed. His wife Amie is the sweetest thing. Always cooking the best food. I really loved shopping in the market with her. I simply can’t get enough of all the coconut and fresh fruit. Amie’s sister braided mom, Savannah and my hair in really awesome designs. Mine has zigzag corn rows, Savannahs has a bunch of straight corn rows that lead into a pony tail, and moms is the most plain straight back corn rows but they all look super cool. We are constantly getting compliments from the locals. My hair actually took 8 hours to complete. Yikes. It is hard to sleep on your head the first couple of days after all the yanking and pulling, but it’s worth it and really easy to take care of….so convenient! It is really hard and sad when you meet such wonderful people, become so close, and then have to leave them. I know I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes. But, I am still so thankful to be out here doing all this.

I, being the movie freak, loved having english movies and TV to watch. Could you say deprived again? It was fun because we are all getting really into the U.S. presidential elections and were simply glued to CNN and world news. This actually got me thinking because before this trip I would never have turned on the TV to watch or listen to any type of news. Ok, to be honest I avoided it at all times…I hated the news, more then you know. But, now I can actually understand what’s going on and relate to so much more, and that makes me happy. Especially when I hear about places I’ve been to because I can picture that place. I have a real feel for what is being said and done and have an opinion that means something. For example – The violence, bombing, and riots in Kabul, Afghanistan, The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, Turkmanbashi’s death in Turkmenistan, The Maoist Movement in Nepal, exiled leader Bhutto’s return to Pakistan followed by her assassination, The Dakar Rally in Senegal being cancelled due to nearby violence, World Cup soccer league action…..to name a few. It’s amazing to me that I have actually been to and experienced these places. Now my ears open up to stuff like that and also news about countries we are headed towards like Mozambique and the flooding there or Kenya’s election turmoil. Wow!!! The world is an interesting place and I get to see it first hand!! Wahoo!!

Travel days are always interesting. There really are too many police checks, passport checks, bag checks, car checks…check this check that. It can get really annoying. At the border though, every time we mention that we are a family everyone is amazed and sure gives us a warm welcome then sends us on our way with big smiles. Speaking of smiles, Africa has the best teeth. Super white and straight.

I can’t count how many times guys have asked mom and dad if they can marry the daughters. It gets old after a while. And then there’s transport…….Think of the most beat up, run down, rusted out, caved in, junker vehicle you have ever seen x 1000 and jammed packed full left, right, centre and on top with hot, sweaty, dusty, stinky B.O infested, oxygen deprived, tortured victims on an 8 hour ride on a bumpy dirt road complete with car-sized pot-holes. Not to mention the branches that kept whipping through the glassless windows as the car weaved from side to side. Or the fact that there are no rear or side mirrors, no window or door handles, no door locks, no interior padding, falling apart seats, no lights, no tread on the tires, missing nuts and bolts on the wheels, no windows etc etc etc etc You get the point. It was ugly. Recently, the small seven- seater that we were riding in carried 13 people, 11 inside and 2 clinging for dear life to the cargo strapped to the roof. Now if you can’t hack that then you just aren’t cut out for our insane type of adventure. Ahahahh!! But don’t get me wrong. The view and landscape were beautiful.

I really liked Bolama! Cute island indeed. I really like the little non-touristy villages where the animals roam around. I can’t help letting out a big “AWWWW” when I see the little baby animals. They are all so cute!! Piglets, lambs, chicks, kids, calves, puppies, monkeys etc. I love the huge trees too!! Perfect for climbing. One afternoon when our friend Domingos was showing us around, Savannah, Sky, Mom and I decided to stop and climb a tree, quickly drawing a crowd of kids who I might add couldn’t stop laughing. It was funny. I mean, how often do they get to see a bunch of wacko white “monkeys” laughing and bouncing around in a tree. I doubt very often. The kids love to yell “Blanco” (White) at us. Domingos would laugh and make us yell “Black” (in Portuguese) back at them because it was so funny. That would never happen at home. Lol. I really wish I could speak every language. That would make life so much easier. We do pick up a few words but that’s not enough. I always think it’s cool to go and see the local schools and talk with the kids. As guests of honour everyone is always excited to see us. I still get a little nervous at first walking into a crowded room but then again it’s not like I haven’t been in front of large groups of people when guiding foreign English students or competing in provincial gymnastic competitions etc. The swimming was awesome!!! I still kick butt at my flips, twists, and dives! Heehee! Dad is still famous for his cannon balls that splash and soak everyone. I agree with Ammon on how it’s really stupid to live right by the water and never learn to swim. I was having fun showing/ teaching a few friends how to swim and float.

Yes, Sky and I love to go dancing at all the little club type places they have set up. It’s so funny because everyone dances to a completely different beat from what we are used to at home and that makes us stand out even more. All we can do is laugh at each other and enjoy being goofy. The music will blast all night long and Akon is the DUDE out here, basically worshiped because his music is played so much and we love it!! You would think it would be awkward being the only two white people there but actually it was great because everyone cheered us on and wanted to see how we dance. Definitely a crazy fun time for the both of us. On one of the nights we went out with friends we actually ate monkey. Bluck. It’s gross. Oh and something funny…remember how Ammon said that there was a huge spider in his bathroom? It was freaky. After much complaining mom said “Fine, I’ll kill it. I’m not afraid of spiders”. Savannah, Sky and I were huddled together in the small bathroom next to mom who creeps up on the fuzzy beast with the mosquito zapper and attacks it. “SNAP, SNAP, SPARK, SPARK” and the beast takes off running towards us. “AHHHHH” Sky, Savannah and I scream like little girls and jump on top of the toilet while mom chases after the thing. Man, it was hilarious. I can only imagine what Dad must have been thinking when he walked into the room half way through all the action. I am glad there are termites in those huge mounds instead of massive spiders. I would die if there were. Yikes.
Ok, I think I am out of stories for now and out of time anyways.
Much love to all.


At 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bre... I was there too dancing on some of those nights! I am so jealous I missed out on the monkey!!

At 10:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Breanna,
Amazing post!!!!! I agree with you that being to the places changes your view of the news, I think that it has to do with the personal interaction with people and the cultural pressures they experience.
I loved the visual on the great spider hunt, I hope none of Sky's military buddies read that one, somehow I find the visual of him screaming like a girl and jumping on the toilet made me laugh out loud!!!!!
Do you feel different now? You sound different, more confident and adaptable than back in the first days of the tour. Do you guys ever go back and look at your old posts? When we are discussing places if you have been there I will go back to your posts to get a better feel for the area. When stories are funny I will read them out in the OR, usually to roars of laughter and lots of questions. I can guarantee the spider hunt will be on the hit parade.
Ammon is great at creating amazing pictures of the places you guys are and some of the differences. But you paint emotional pictures and very funny turns of phrase, it is a great compliment to Ammon's style.
Thanks for taking the time to write all of you, be safe and have fun.

Love and Big Bear Hugs
The Bear

At 8:55 AM , Blogger Tiuku said...

<<< before this trip I would never have turned on the TV to watch or listen to any type of news. Ok, to be honest I avoided it at all times…I hated the news, more then you know. >>>

Really? This sounds so wierd as in Finland people love watching the news. It's the biggest hit on TV here. Good to know that travelling have made you more open to the world.

I don't know about Canada, but in the States CNN is not the same as in the rest of the world. You hardly see any news about the rest of the on the American CNN.


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