I thought you guys would get a kick out of this. I wrote this a couple of days after getting settled in. Looking back, its a bit dramatic… but this was all new then. Since then, the journal entires have become much less frequent (unfortunately) and I find myself overlooking things that now seem normal to me.
How does one start a journal? You’d think a degree in journalism would help, but I find my ideas lacking. Of course its supposed to begin with an impacting anecdote, perhaps a recent incident with some moral undertone that sets the stage for the rest of the story. Or maybe it could start with some punchy lead that intrigues the reader and entices them further into the story. Lord knows I have enough of both already, and I haven’t been here a week yet.I currently find myself sitting on a bed, covered with Disney sheets, looking through the wrought iron bars they call windows here staring at broken glass that crowns the high, concrete wall surrounding this place. By the description, you’d think I was in some form of prison, except for the Disney sheets. However, this cannot be a prison, for I am here of my own volition. I have chosen to sit here on this Mickey-clad bed.
This is no prison… its Africa.
I find myself on the dark continent for the second time this year. However, this time my intentions are to stay. It is no less than God himself that has me here. He showed me a need, and I responded. However, we will discuss that more deeply at a later time. For now, I want to write of my surroundings.
This is the place that modernity seems to have forgotten. My new home is a village nestled slightly upcountry from the coast in a West African nation. It is hot here, and the grass left long ago. Streets, yards, and for that matter, any flat piece of land in town is worn completely bare to the red African dirt. This village is possibly the ugliest and most beautiful place I have ever been.
Despite the lack of organic ground cover, the area is lush like I have never seen. Rich, tropical, and green, the plants grow everywhere there is not trodden ground. Seemingly, all of the plants bear some kind of fruit. Mangos, bananas, pineapples, lemons, limes, and a vast array of other edibles hang off the branches of these trees that clutter the landscape. The landscape itself is some of the most majestic scenery one could lay eyes on. Mountains, of some sort I have never seen, force their way up out of the terrain. They are not simply mountains though. Each peak has its own distinct, almost carved look. No two look anything alike. They march across the landscape, each as though it were a hand crafted totem designed by a master creator. That is precisely what they are.
To be in the middle of nowhere, there are people everywhere. Crowds of African men, women, boys, and girls bustle through the mud-packed market aisles. It seems everyone is selling something, and you almost wonder if anyone is doing the buying. Surprisingly , you can find anything in the market… clothes, food, televisions, radios, cigarettes, and cellphones. Technology in a village where the thought of electricity is laughable for someone from the states. Yet, they find a way with only a little power to have these “finer things of life.” Little kids carry trays of fruits and fried crabs atop their heads pushing the goods into your hands and asking for money.The sights, smells and sounds of the market are too many to negotiate and run together in one orchestral hit of chaos. It is a chaos that is perfectly normal and startles no one, except me. It is everyday life in an African village.
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