Monday, March 19, 2012

Last days in Freetown

Sunday & Monday, March 18-19, 2012

Yesterday as we were violently jerking along the Grafton Road, a young man managed to jump into the back of our truck for a free ride as we slowed for the bumps.  His friend tried at first to get on too and chased us for awhile but never made it. It is very common for people to try to flag us down to get a ride somewhere.  That is why we see them hanging onto vehicles in very interesting and dangerous ways, and many times seen by the side of the road when the vehicle breaks down.  When Jim saw that he had a passenger he drove just a bit faster than necessary, and the boy was hanging on for dear life.  He had this big grin on his face, probably knowing we were giving him an e-ticket ride.  He didn’t get off till we turned off the main road to our hotel.  It was pretty comical. 

We checked out of our nice room, went to church at 12:30, the building next to the church offices, meeting Randall’s there.  I don’t know why but in Freetown they either have really bad English or they are still speaking in Krio, even though they are supposed to use English at church meetings [In Kenema it is much better.]  So not only was it really, really hot in the building, but except for an occasional phrase, we could hardly understand what they were talking about.  We were sitting right by the fan and still Jim was sweating and miserable and we saw the Randall’s up a few rows madly fanning.  Afterwards, we were delighted to go into the air conditioned office and work for awhile. While there a host of young missionaries dropped by, no doubt to cool off too!

We came home to eat with Randall’s and sleep overnight.  It was nice having a home cooked meal.  I took a shower and for some reason there was lots of water this time.  Everything here is so expensive to run in the mission home that they always try to conserve.  The Randall’s save their dish water and use it to flush their toilets, kind of like what we do when there was is a drought in California.  The drone of the generator can be heard loudly on this side of the living area, which is across the way from their apartment, but we are so used to sleeping with noises that it doesn’t bother us in the least.

We see this style of shoes a lot.  Notice how they point upward at the end.  They are very popular here, especially among businessmen.

This morning is the first day that our truck’s air conditioner stopped completely. We were grateful that it worked when we needed it most.  Sahr Doe picked it up Monday morning, just before we left to run errands with Turay, who also does not have air conditioning.  He drove us to the grocery store and then the bank to get some cash because our hotel credit machine wasn’t working, and in fact it wasn’t all over town.  The banking system here is enough to make you crazy.   One day Sahr Doe told me how he met his new wife at the bank.  After today I realize that he had a full courtship right there in the bank and probably knew her life story by the time they got out of there.  If Turay didn’t know the bank people our over one hour stint would have been three hours! 

We had parked our car and walked for all our errands in the heat and I was thanking my lucky stars we weren’t inland.  We drove to the beach to check out those hotels and found a nice one, a little cheaper, but then it really isn’t as convenient as it is here.  Luckily they are building more rooms onto the Country Lodge—they need them these days. 

The Country Lodge in Freetown and the Capitol Hotel in Kenema are both adding on and making improvements.  They are adding a building here at the Country Lodge, which will fit in between the two buildings.  They are also starting another building down below the present parking lot in the back. 

Tonight we’ll treat Randall’s to dinner at the hotel as a thank you for taking care of us, and tomorrow Jim will meet with Turay one last time.  We’ll leave at 1:30 to go to the boat dock for our flight to Accra, then Liberia the next day.  We are now demoted to a bottom room, with a small bed, hard mattress, and smokers had just been in here so we’re airing it out.  The king and queen just got demoted.

A couple of years ago they had begun working on improving the road that goes down to the beach.  Turay says that everyone is sick of this never ending construction project.  I have dirt in my hair from driving with the windows down.  He said they will probably finish this during the election in November....hmmmm… 

Love, mom & dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

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