And so it Ends….?

DSC04914January 11, 2014

And so it ends…..? So, I’m sitting here in the darkness of 5:13 in the morning thinking…this is the last morning I will be in Sierra Leone. I wanted to write. So, I quietly got up to get my laptop…I had already been to the bathroom using my cell phone flashlight, didn’t feel like pulling it out again, so like usual, I hit every corner of the wooden-framed bed with my shins all fhe way to getting my laptop and all the way back. Ouch!

IMG_1158I slowly opened up the top….quietly hit the start button like that was actually going to make sure the power on sound would stay quiet (NOT!) and began to immediately take the brightness down as low as I could so that it wouldn’t wake up Mary. And also so that if I thought I needed glasses before, I would DEFINITELY feel that I needed them now. But, as I’ve learned in SL, sometimes you have to go through some inconveniences for the comfort of others. Wait…I knew and practiced this already…but I guess when you’re giving up things that you once took for granted in the States, it can feel a little different.

_MG_1065So, what have I learned in SL? Let’s go through some of the things that I MAY NOT MISS. I won’t miss all of the variations of bathrooms, holes in the floors, make sure that plant isn’t poison oak before I squat, where’s the bathroom? THAT”S the BATHROOM? WHERE? HUH? WHERE? THERE?

IMG_1876Wow!, that other leg muscle that I used to have when I was playing basketball in college is BACK! Yeah! Squatting ALL OF THE TIME without sitting down really does have some positive benefits!, moments. lol

DSC04902I won’t miss, how many Leones is that? How Much? OK? Thinking about it, making sure I have my money together, How much is that again? Ok, looking at my money like all of a sudden the animals and people on the paper money were going to suddenly help a sister out and tell me what all of it means in simple terms, like 5 of those, 2 of those and one of these…once again, NOT! Of course I’ve told everyone with me not to help me anymore because I have to figure this out by myself one day…why not start today…yeah, I’ll start today, that’s a good idea, that’s the American way, pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of thinking. IMG_0847hmmm….hhhhmmm….hhhhmmm….looking….looking…waiting…waiting…hhhhmmmm…hhhhmmmm….OK, how much is that again? Oh no! They see that I’m a target, I have no idea what I’m doing, I look to my wonderful friends who are all looking at me with eyes of sweetness (aww, she really is trying), and support (come on you can do it!) and beautiful eyes that say (if you don’t hurry up with that craziness so that we can go and learn later I’M going to be the one to take away ALL of your money) type of looks, loll

IMG_0849I said, Can you help me please? How much is it? Can you do it for me please? This is what I have…holding out a hand full of dusty and crisp Leones…SURE!!!!!!! They all say!  Loudly!Like My gosh, I thought she’d never ask us! lol…and graciously they help me, thank you….

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and the oh  my gosh,,,I’m running out of money again…I need to do an exchange again, oh no, I only have this much left…

IMG_1465Being stuck in a traffic jam that I thought was long, 4 hours, until I read the news from America about the 4 DAY traffic jam, I need to exchange more money, I’m wondering if I should tip more at home….NawWWW I’m a GREAT tipper and I always go out of my way to do for others….so I think I’m cool. But to really realize everything you do is helping someone else live and eat….is truly special. I was glad to do it all…

_MG_1066And finally, I don’t think I’ll miss the dust too much…dust in my nose, eyes, hair, body, skin, fingernails, toenails….oh my gosh how did dust get there!!!!????? Am I really clean? What’s this? What’s that on my leg? My arm, my neck, is that a blister on my toe Mary? Look at it…please…closer…are you sure? Are you sure? Kind of moments…but I’ll tell you, my fingernails AND toenails have grown expeditiously because of the natural fertilizer…lol0l.

IMG_1138While I say all of these things, and as I’m pausing from typing for a moment, I notice a smile that comes up on my face…yes…I’m thinking, why am I and how could I possibly smile writing about such, well, interesting topics,  and write about them in the dark, quietly and slowly? It is because I realized that it’s all good…and it’s all of these once in a lifetime moments that made this trip so special….I have been able to laugh about things that I’ve never experienced before, things that could have left a negative impression on me but it didn’t. I adapted and it was all good. I will miss all the things I said I WOULDN’T miss.

_MG_1161I like the way the calcium in the dirt makes my nails grow…is there calcium in dirt? Oh Lord, is it calcium or something else? Huh? Huh? What? I can’t hear? Oh Lord, has it affected my hearing now?!!! laughing so hard right now…yes, I’m tripping….AGAIN….remember I’m African AMERICAN! Okay? So I’m going to trip from time to time….lolol….but I digress….not really, but ok…any ways…

I will miss seeing the smiles on the children’s faces, the elderly, when I give them a small amount of money, money that I have yet to still learn the proper exchange rate, spreading the love like I have seen so many Americans do across the world…it meant more to them than me….so why not? We’re all a family….God bless you….

_MG_1164and yes….

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Iwill miss the many adventures of simply going to the bathroom. Using buckets and measuring cups to bathe…an act that I used to do for others and thought it was romantic at home…like Little House on the Prairie or what I call Slave Love Bathing…when you just had each other…well, I don’t know, those days may be gone…I’m like, look, get in and get out! I’m not doing the bucket *pot or pan” kind of thing in my home for a while…lol…but it’s all good….hee hee…I will miss the simplicity of it all.

IMG_1788There are soooo many things I will miss about this place and my trip….but most of all, I will miss the people. I will miss how Kadia took care of me like I was her best friend and sister. And she called me sister even before our trip. I will miss how Ishmil was the younger AND older brother the whole time I was there, who made sure we were safe everywhere we went, well taken care of, fed well, transported well, and how he made me take at least 2 evenings off for fun.

IMG_1790I will miss all of the beautiful people who came over to assist everyone, bringing food, making entire outfits by getting measurements in less than 5 minutes and delivering the entire outfit in a matter of 2-3 hours.

I will miss THE Mary, because there is only one, who convinced me that I lost this and that when I had not, convinced me that it was this day and time when it was not, and convinced everyone that we were 17 out having a good time dancing until 5 in the morning only to feel even older than we really were afterwards…but still soooo alive and young…that 17 has changed to 14 at times…lolol…and who is always looking for opportunities to dance and have fun.

I will miss Sylvia and Brenda who made our beds, fixed our meals and let us watch a Spanish soap opera translated in English that doesn’t have any commercials. They have great hugs too, and a great attitude like most SLs. They are simple, generous, kind and friendly people. I will miss Tutu and the other caretakers who made my trip easy. I will miss Velma, the tech guru who took care of ALL of our phone, exchange and Internet needs.

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I will miss Samuel, my first cinematographer who I has a wonderful eye, and who allowed me to train him on documentary style shooting for 4 hours so that I can later say….Samuel if you pan, zoom or tilt “one more ‘gin” for NO obvious reason….I’m gonna get you! And who went to Moyamba with me to capture the magnificent moments. He has a wonderful attitude and it was a pleasure working with him.

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And I will miss Mohammed who I met later, thanks to Mary, who is also a photographer. He also went with me to Moyamba and captured some absolutely beautiful moments. He has a great eye and is extremely professional when it comes to time and your vision. He also has a great attitude and didn’t mind me telling him later, “please don’t go from face to face while you’re recording “video” when only one person is talking. He was dancing and moving so eloquently all over the front porch going from face to face to face continuously recording and driving my editing and producing eyes crazy! But his work is captivating. Samuel is my ace video recorder and they both forgot my Cut OFF,  STOP RECORDING signal which we went over and over and practiced, but, nonetheless, they tried to record EVERYTHING! I couldn’t ask for two better media people.

I will miss Khadijah Sesay, Victor Koroma, Isatu Smith who played major roles in my journey which I will talk about later….and I will miss my dear Sokko and Obai. Who graciously allowed me to come into their home, the homes of their late mother Ella Koblo Gulama and treated me like a little sister. They are truly special and I KNOW that their mother is proud.

IMG_1884I will miss Christian, our driver, friend and brother who is also one of the most reliable and kindest people I have had the pleasure of interacting with. As well as the good and fun and loving and affectionate people of Moyamba District and their paramount chief Foday Momoh Gulama and Sierra Leone in general.

_MG_1161I will also miss the beautiful children who have played major roles throughout my life in reminding me that wherever you go in the world, no matter the war and poverty, devastation, beauty, not so beautiful, crime, no crime….they are still just children who want the same things that other children want. Someone to hold them, hug them, smile at them, kiss them, be proud of them, guide them, and help them so that they can live for not only a better tomorrow…help them to SEE a tomorrow, so that they can continue to LIVE. Hugggggs to them all…..especially for the ones who may not see a better tomorrow or a tomorrow at all. God bless the babies…

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The list could go on and on and on and on and on and isn’t that a beautiful thing to be able to say??? Smiling…that I could write about the beauty of life and make a list? I am soooo blessed to have been able to take this journey. It has changed me…in ways I know and in some ways, I have yet to experience. I’m going to stop now so that I can post this…but let me say this…I believe in protection, but I hope and pray and pray and pray, that one day we can live in peace, all over the world and war can be a war of words only….as I have seen here in the streets of SL of present day.

Love one another, tolerate one another and want a better life for each and everyone you meet, so that they will want the same for you….Selfless Blessings are the best in the world.May you begin having yours and making it happen for others, today.

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God bless you and keep you near.

Janice

….Not the ending…smiling

Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 1:14 PM  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is so wonderful. Such wonderful pictures. What a journey!

  2. BRAVO!!! Wonderful Sharing!!! On Jan 12, 2014 2:15 AM, “Theoretical Tea and Company” wrote:

    > theoretical tea and company posted: “January 11, 2014 And so it > ends..? So, Im sitting here in the darkness of 5:13 in the morning > thinkingthis is the last morning I will be in Sierra Leone. I wanted to > write. So, I quietly got up to get my laptopI had already been to the > bathroom “


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