Monday, January 07, 2008

Day 4

Day 4 1/6
Today we got to sleep in a little to catch up on some much needed sleep. After a breakfast of bread with chocolate spread washed down by some chocolate milk we went to see Pink Lake. This lake receives this name due to its color. The lake turns to a pink color when the sun rays feed the microorganisms in the lake. Also this lake is extremely salty, in fact if you were to go into the lake without any type of skin protection within a few minutes your would have a burning sensation in the areas exposed to the water. The people living in the area avoid this burning by covering themselves with Shea butter. They also make a living off of this lake because of its salt content. Locals go into the water just to where they can stand and begin taking salt out of the water by digging out the ground bringing it to land and letting it dry. They later break off the sand and place the salt into another pile. While at Pink Lake I gave some pencils and paper to a couple of the kids and also I traded a boy my shirt for his dyed sand art. He also requested that I write back to him and gave me his address on a small piece of scrap paper. We later traveled to a tribe called Fulani via an old army vehicle turned into a sand/off-roading machine. The chief of the village greeted us as we unloaded and showed us around the village. In the village there were a total of 250 people. This is a different type of village compared to the other local villages in that they do not rely on the national government for assistance. If there is a problem in the village they will settle the dispute under that pavaler tree; also ceremonies such as marriages are decided under this tree. In this village they asked us not to give the children anything because giving the children things teaches them to beg which they do not want, and this worked really well. The kids were most excited when we played with them or had pictures taken with them. As soon as the picture was taken they wanted to see it on the display. The way that we were to support the village was buying from their community store. From the profits of the store the village is able to support pregnant women, buy clothes for themselves, and also build some more sustaining buildings. This store is supported through an alliance of the tribes and travel agencies. Travel agencies have agreed with the people of the villages that they will bring tourists to visit their areas as long as they allow the tourists to photograph their village. While shopping in the village store I was able to hear some drum beating and some type of celebration. We then went over to see what was going on and found that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was to visit the village that day. We saw him arrive and the village began dancing and signing even louder than before. From the village we went dune riding in the machines and finished driving along the beach. The beach area was pristine with no shelters of any type for as far as the eye could see. As soon as we stopped along the beach I saw some vendors come running out of the dunes to set up shop right beside us hoping that we would buy. At first they left us alone but then as one person bought they started pressuring others to buy even if they were not interested. We traveled back to the resort and after lunch we had the opportunity to ride camels. Camels are not comfortable animals and as Josh Bashioum put it; most likely the first person to ride a camel was a caveman who lost a bet. The ride was really enjoyable and I’m glad that it only lasted 15 minutes. Right near the end of the ride I asked the guide if we could pick up the pace a little. He agreed and got the camels to the point right before a trot which jarred us even more in the saddle. After the camel ride we walked to the beach which was a mile away through the sand, but the sand was surprisingly not hot like sand at the beach. As we walked back our feet began to turn black from the dirty sand in the area and the joke was made that becoming black actually comes from the sand. Overall if Africa continues to be like it is now I WILL be coming back and some other people will have to be coming with me.

P.S. There are no preservatives in the food. Everything that we have eaten so far is amazing and a sauce accompanies any type of rice or pasta.

Tomorrow is Safari day


Anonymous said...

I get tired just watching everything you've done. What a great time you must be having. I don't know how you find time to document but keep it up. Dad

sylvia said...

dear Jeff, The pictures are amazing, I wish I was there with you. I'am praying everyday for you and your group. Keep updating us. Lot's of Love Sylvia

Dad said...

I assume you cannot find an internet connection to update us. Keep up with your journal and pictures and we'll catch up with you soon. Dad