Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 10

Day 10 1/12
We woke up early again for a long bus ride. Along the ride we stopped at a nice resort for a break from all of the bashing around. The trip was very bumpy and at times we were about 6 inches off of our seats. Again we were better riding off road than on the road. We passed some construction which consisted of a grader and a roller. They simply scrape it smooth and roll over it hoping all of the craters will disappear which does not always work. We made another stop in another small village where we picked up some fabric that will be used in making the uniforms for the children in Tendaba. Anytime our bus stops we are approached by children who want anything we have to give them. There was one boy in particular who caught my attention because he was wearing mittens. I thought it was quite funny and thought to myself…Who sends mittens to Africa especially to an area where the nights only drop to 50 degrees at the coldest. I originally thought that we would be camping out as in roughing it at this camp. As we arrived I quickly realized that we would not be roughing it and in fact the camp facilities included running water, plumbing, and electricity. I would have preferred sleeping on the ground compared to what we were given as in a concrete slab with a foam mat. This was not comfortable and within 20 minutes it was as if I was sleeping on concrete. Before the sunset we went on a boat ride along the Gambian River. The river was very wide and it took us about 20 minutes to cross this river. The boat ride was a bird watching tour of the surrounding area where we saw trees that grew down to the water where they created roots once touching the water. Our boat was made of wood that was hand built in the camp with an engine mounted in the rear of the boat, it reminded me of an enlarged canoe without paddles. While on the ride we got off the boat to see a baobab with a dug out hole where bush pigs sleep at night. While on the ride we learned that the area around the camp is known for its production of peanuts. After dinner the camp held drumming, dancing, and singing. Their way of performing is completely different than what we think of in the US. We were expected to participate in the rituals and to show appreciation to the leader we were to dancing into the middle and raise his stick. Their dancing style consisted of stomping and swinging their arms, it was almost how a little kid dances but in a much more controlled way where the dancers keep the rhythm with their feet. Keeping the rhythm with feet entails raising them off of the ground and stomping them back down as your hands and arms match this rhythm doing other motions.

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