Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Journey home to Africa - Day 6 (pt 1) Djati Guinea Bissau

Tuesday 2/21
Day 6
A New School for Djati 
 The Road to Quebo (pt 1)

Hallway @ Casa E
Six o'clock am comes very early when you are in a far away country, especially when it's pitch black outside and you don't have any electricity. I mean you cannot see anything at all. It is D-A-R-K! Randii and I were in our beds sort of half awake and wondering what time it was and when were the lights going to come on, when we heard a tap at the door. Time to rise and shine. And apparently, 6:00 had come and gone and it was now 6:30. We were late. We jumped up, grabbed our flashlights and made our way down the long hallway of our dorm to the bathroom to brush our teeth and freshen up for the day (not an easy feat by flashlight I might add). But, after all -  this was the BIG day! We would get to experience the culmination of all our efforts. We dashed out to the already loaded pickup truck excited to start our long trip to Djati. 

The plan was to drive to Quebo (Quebo is a Fula village with a population of about 6,100) stop for a breakfast/brunch @ Freddy & Raquel's and then all of us make our way to the celebration in Djati.  The trip to Quebo takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Then a few more hours to Djati.

There is really only 1 main road in Guinea Bissau. It has a few traffic signs but is devoid of speed limits and the dreaded highway patrol.  As such, if you have any mechanical problems, you're pretty much "on your own". With all that in mind we traveled with 2 nurses and a mechanic. 

The scenery along the way is also not what most of us are used to. Along the road we saw rice fields and many, many native huts and houses built very close to the road. The poverty was evident everywhere (GB is the 4th poorest country in the world). As we drove by we saw many of the people walking around wrapped in material to keep them warm in the early morning chill (apparently 70 is cold in Guinea Bissau). 
Many of the women were washing clothes (actually, it was more like ALL the women) and the men, well, they seemed to be taking it easy (at least at 6:30 am). Lots of items were for sale along the way. Food, clothing and charcoal. (as these people have NO electricity for heat or cooking) at night they make fires along the road and in front of their homes) Each village has a day when they sponsor a market. We passed by one such market.

Having said all of this, I can also say that the people didn't seem sad. I guess it is their life and they make the most of it. It is all they know. I kept thinking how lucky we are to have electricity and clean running water.

I have posted a slideshow at the end of this post called "The Road to Quebo" - if you would like to see more pictures of our trip to Quebo please check it out

Once we arrived in Quebo, Raquel had a huge meal prepared for us. She is one good cook! Just about everything is homemade, bread, cookies, jam. You name it. 

 The dogs looked on as apparently they wanted to join us but were not invited
Pictured - Freddy, Randii, Raquel, me, Flavia and Juan
After a very delicious and hearty breakfast we added another truck to our caravan and headed off to Djati.
Willie and Randii load the truck
I thought there was a little too much about the Dajti celebration to post in one day so come back tomorrow for part 2.

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