I had planned on doing somewhat daily updates on here. Wasn’t as easy as I expected. So to make up for it, I will recap the entire week up to now.
Day 1 (and 2): We departed Seattle at 6 AM PST, though we were up and at the airport by 4 30. An early start to one of the longest days of my life. The 4-hour flight to NYC was smooth, yet long. None of us were eager for the nearly 7 1/2 hours we’d be spending on the next plane to Dakar, filled with many mothers and newborn children on their way home after giving birth in the states (breast feeding next to me, as well). Needless to say, it was not the quietest flight ever. Plus, the hour-long wait on the tarmac in NYC added to the stress.
We made it to Dakar in one piece, thankfully, around 6 AM GMT, which is 10 PM back on the west coast. Most of us got at least 3-4 hours of sleep on the plane though, so we weren’t incredibly tired. After stopping at Jan’s house (a missionary friend of the Olsen’s) to change and grab a snack, we went out to breakfast (Nutela crepes ftw!!) and then headed over to play soccer with the local kids. Expecting to play a quick pick-up game, I eagerly joined in.
Forty-five minutes later, we finished our game. After not running in nearly four months, those kids caught me (and most everyone else) off-guard. We got some water, hung out with the kids at a children center, and then ate lunch and swam at a local hotel/restaurant. Afterwards, we stopped by the Dakar Academy (DA), a private Christian K-12 school, populated by around 250 missionary kids from around the world, formerly home to the Olsen kids. After a few more hours, we caught the ferry to Goree Island, where we would be staying for the night.
Most all of what I have written was included in the short video I made of the first day here: http://vimeo.com/9431208
That night was spent eating dinner at the “hotel” (which was by far the coolest excuse of a hotel I have ever stayed at), and then eventually drifting off to sleep aftering being awake for nearly two full days.
Day 3: Erik and I started the day filming one of the most beautiful sunrises we had ever seen. Since Goree is an island, we were able to watch the sunrise over the ocean even though we’re on the west coast of Africa (Sigur Ros is the perfect soundtrack for a sunrise, in case you were wondering). We toured the island, got bombarded by vendors (the younger members of our group were the most succeptable to the vendors, but overall we made it around the island without being lured into unneccessary purchases), and then started to pack up. Some of the kids went off to buy some artwork, bracelets, etc., and then we caught the ferry back to the mainland.
Since we were all fairly exhausted still, we spent the day watching a softball tournament, visiting the Olsen’s former house, setting up our tents on the DA field, and having dinner at another missionary’s house. All of us were starting to feel that this was going to be a long trip by now, but we had no idea what was in store for us the next few days.
Day 4: We started our Sunday with church service at DA. It was definitely a lot slower than what I’m used to (singing 1 Corinthians 13 to the tune of La Bamba), but it was worth listening to the love stories of 4 couples in honor of Valentine’s Day. It was meant to be a cool down day, so we gathered up for french-speaking boarding students from the DA to join us and taxied to a local restaurant/pool on the coast of Dakar. The rest of our afternoon was enjoyed eating, swimming, relaxing, reading, and, of course, more shopping. I was able to get a good way into Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, which I would highly recommend to anyone who needs a good read.
We taxied back to DA and prepared for a rooftop party at another house. I stumbled across a Valentine’s card stashed in a random pocket of my bag (thanks, Mom!). Afterwards, we headed off to a rooftop party/smores feed not too far from the school. We all played darts and foosball, and a lot of us had some very deep conversations as well that helped us tremendously with dealing with what was in store for us the next few days. Back to the tents for our last night on the dirt fields.
So much has happened this week, especially the days following. It’s exhausting trying to write it all at once. I’ll continue this post tomorrow.