Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Lucy Senegal Journal, Days 1 and 2

February 18th, In the plane, three hours away from Africa

We almost missed our first flight. We got to the airport in plenty of time, but first we had trouble getting our tickets, and when we finally got them, of course the line for security was the longest I've ever seen. We had 27 minutes until our flight left. After we got out of security, we hurried to find something for breakfast. We went to get some bagels and my dad and I ordered two sunrise sandwiches. Then my dad went to the bathroom and I was feeling just a little bit scared when I heard the announcer say, "Now boarding flight N-16..... N-16 now boarding."

I felt a little prick of fear when my dad's orange juice broke and spilled everywhere. Maybe I was just a wee bit frantic when my dad got back and the restaurant workers said he hadn't ordered yet. I could have been just the teensiest bit freaked out as the intercom blared, "Final call for flight N-16!" As I sprinted toward the gate, I was just downright agitated when the attendants said that there was no room for my carry-on.........

Editor's note: Obviously they did make it on, but I had to include this episode because I can picture it so perfectly. My husband does not rush. He does not feel the panic that the women-folk in our family evidently specialize in. Moving on.....

February 19th, 10:18 PM Senegal Time

What a day! I arrived in Senegal this morning and it was so different from the very start. First of all, we had been told to carry our own luggage as the people who wanted to help us just wanted money. I guess we looked pretty helpless with our fourteen bags and several people went to grab them. We told them no (Balma!) but they were seriously pushy. My dad only had U.S. money, and only a ten and two ones, so one person got no money. We saw him complaining to the security guard later. I was freaked out of my wits the whole time.

Once we met up with the other dentist, I felt better because he knew what he was doing. (Editors Note: This dentist has been to Senegal three times.) Then I saw the van and I was rather in hysterics again. It was held together by electrical tape!

After going for about ten minutes in the junky van, we blew a tire. We waited for an hour and a half while they repaired it with a chisel.

Despite numerous stops, I really enjoyed the bus ride. We saw goats crossing the roads herded by boys no more than eight, houses made out of every scrap of metal or wood you could find, and endless concourses of people with bags, pots, and boxes balanced on their heads.

Some special memories include a little boy who waved at me and my friend Jade (my dad's assistant's daughter who is also 13), a man who gave me a hug to welcome me to Senegal, and a little baby who stared at me, strapped to his mother's back.

We stopped at an animal reserve and of course, my camera died. But, we did see giraffes that were head-butting each other. I was sure that one of them would kill the other. Green monkeys watched us while we ate pizza for lunch.

When we arrived in Keur Mendibel, I wasn't sure what to think, and I still don't.

The kids are adorable, but everywhere. They attacked Jade and braided her hair better than I could. I guess I'll just have to wait and see before I decide.

What took faith today:
* knowing that the people wouldn't hurt us.
* knowing that God would protect me on the bus ride.
* greeting the swarming crowds in Wolof.

More from the Lucy journals tomorrow.....


Julie said...

Wow, Eileen, she's a great writer. Loved the part about feeling better when the "other" dentist arrived because he "knew what he was doing"!! ha ha

Jen Bay said...

I love the ending: What took faith today... so great.

Lisa said...

Eileen and Lucy...loved, loved, loved the journal entry. Totally could relate to the freaking out when Dad wouldn't hurry...I'm married to a non-hurrier as well...we've missed a few trains. Ran through our share of airports. :) Such a valuable experience you've had, Lucy...thanks for sharing!