Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Journey home to Africa - Day 7 (pt 1) Quebo Guinea Bissau

Wednesday 2/22
Day 7
A REAL Surprise Celebration in Quebo (pt 1)

After leaving the celebration in Djati we were driving back to Quebo for some dinner @ Freddy & Raquel's (this was one place we knew the food and water were safe). As we passed through a small village a man stopped us and asked if we could help a village woman who was pregnant.  Since we had 2 nurses (Raquel & Juan) a couple of cars behind us, they stopped to see if they could help. When they reached her they found that the woman was in labor and the baby was breech. One of the baby's arms was hanging out but the baby could not be turned. Unable to help the woman further they drove her to the nearest hospital, which was in Quebo. The hospital has no doctors and they are certainly not able to perform a cesarean section. Raquel and Juan left the woman there fearing the worse for her.

After dinner Freddy & Maritza drove us to the near by Fula village of Buba where we spent the night at the Pousada Bella Vista which is located right next to the river. A beautiful location for a hotel.

I awoke early the next morning to sound of the 5:00 morning prayers (Fulas are predominately Muslim) The prayers were a sound I have certainly not heard in my neighborhood back in the Bay Area. I am not Muslim but it was a very calming sound as I lay in bed awaiting daylight.
The hotel had electricity until 1:30 am, ceiling fan, flushing toilet and shower

Maritza and Freddy returned to pick us up around 8 and we were on our back to Quebo for breakfast -- or so we thought. We planned to attend a Fula celebration in Quebo at 10:00am. (I was excited as I thought it was a village festival of some sort)

We also inquired about the woman and the baby and learned that the baby had died and the prognosis for the woman was uncertain but it did not look promising. Child birth is the number one killer of women in Guinea Bissau (GB has about 5 doctors for its 1.5 million people)

On our way, we made several stops ta pick up some of the local chiefs who were also on their way to the celebration.  A few of our riders were musicians as well and we had quite a musical ensemble going on in the back of the pick up. How cool!
When we arrived back in Quebo, boy were we surprised to see all of the local chiefs from various villages and the children from the school there waiting to honor us! We had no idea the celebration was to for us. We had not done anything for Quebo. We were speechless pretty much!

Fula school children
Chiefs from surrounding villages
Each of the leaders spoke and thanked us for the help we were giving to the country and in particular to Djati. Even though Quebo is Fula and Djati is Balanta they wanted us to know how much they appreciated what we had done. It was amazing to hear each of them speak to us. We never expected this warm tribute. (this is also on video which I will post once I receive my copy)

The women of the village presented us with a banner and a handwritten letter expressing their appreciation.

The children sang and the principal spoke of his gratitude.

  Randii and I joined in the dancing

group photo with our team and all the chiefs, leaders, school principal and teachers
some in attendance The Amado Quikala, father of the teacher kneeling at my left. The one in the green cap, is the King of Saltino, Sulaimane Balde; next to him is Chief of Saltino - part of that village's delegation; the next one in nearly all white is Alhaji Mamadu Balde, King of Forea (Quebo); the next one is Saido Bonko, counselor.
We were then summoned to visit the oldest man in the village who wanted to meet us. We were told that he is over 100 yrs old

It can't get any better than this...or can it? 
Stay tuned!
for more Fula celebration pictures click here


STIR.ORG said...

So great to come across this page. I got to see my family members and my hometown brings back such beautiful memories of my childhood!
Thank you for sharing, some of the pictures were taken in my parents house!

devon said...

WOW!!! This is so cool. Thank you for your comment.