Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Deep Sigh

We are driving along the bumpy road in a van, roof rack packed with camping chairs, eskies and backpacks, filled with 12 friends, all feeling a little closer after our adventure. As far as adventures go it certainly hasn't been dramatic, but perhaps the most relaxing African trip ever.
The sight out the window is one very familiar to me, but still dear to my heart. The land is hilly and dry, covered in red dust but still some greenery is poking through, even though it hasn't rained here in Guinea for a few months.
The road has many pot holes, with plenty of deep ones that throw me out of my seat in the back, a little yelp escaping from my unguarded lips. An uncounted number of goats, big and small, and cows, roam over the roads, often not even moving from the middle of the road as we drive past.
Every few kilometres there are villages we travel through. Market stalls on the side of the road with women sitting under the shade with their baby on their lap, child playing nearby and men sleeping on a mat under a tree.
No matter where you are driving there are people walking on the side of the road, loads on their heads. They carry fruit to sell, water, wood for fires. Often babies are also strapped onto the women's backs, safe and secure like a joey in a pouch.

Trucks, taxis, vans pass us, loaded beyond anything we would even attempt. Most vehicles would have failed a road-worthy about 20 years ago!

We drove 8hrs from Conakry to Delaba (mandatory flat tyre on the way of course!) for a ship long weekend get-away and stayed at a mission house, set up for teams making their way through the country. The house had everything we needed and if it wasn't supplied we had brought it with us! We had hammocks, camping chairs, fully equipped kitchen, enough food for a week and a beautiful view over a valley.


After setting up our things, settling in meant, eating a great home cooked meal, lighting a camp fire (including some wood chopping), swinging in the hammocks and generally just really enjoying life in the country, listening to the sounds of birds instead of the sounds of the generators.

We ate good food; bacon and egg breakfasts, freshly made cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, hommus with raw carrots or flat bread, chilli and lime popcorn, hotdogs wrapped in bacon cooked over the campfire, toasted marshmallows, chicken pasta, tacos, fresh bread with garlic herb butter, the list goes on.

And to counteract all that eating, a 4km walk over the hills to a beautiful waterfall with a natural rock bridge and cold water flowing between natural rock pools.

Sitting around in the hammocks, reading or chatting as the sun set, listening to the birds chatter, made us all sigh deeply. Do we have to return so soon?
So here we are driving back, van packed, music volume high, singing voices, air con blasting and smiles on all faces.

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