Crossing the Bridge to Fri-Fria

November 2016

Up in the city I had gotten used to being an outsider. The people have a name that they yell whenever they see a foreigner. Every time I am on a motorbike, or even walking, all the children will yell “Foté Foté,” which translates to “white person white person,” and since not many foreigners come to this part of Africa, well, they all run to the side of the road to see who the person is and what they look like. There have even been instances in the market where children will pretend to drop something so that they can touch my feet, or they will reach out and touch my arm or hands. But here in the village the children were more accepting, but also very shy.

“Okay, I can totally do this. Yep. Just a bridge, that is handmade, and could possible break with just enough weight, and then I will fall into the huge river flowing underneath me. Yep! Totally got this. It has at least 2 layers of branches! Got this!”

Everything makes perfect sense, yet it all makes no sense at all. I was so mentally prepared coming to Africa, so why was I nervous now? Of all the times for my mind to be pondering so many things at once, why is it that it happens when I finally get to meet the people I will be working with?

“No worries though. God has got me. If He can create this world, He can surely hold up this bridge so that I can meet his children that need guidance.”

After crossing the man-made bridge, we walked to the village. It wasn’t much further considering we had just traveled about 4 miles already. When we arrived at the village, the chief was there to greet us. He invited us into his home and provided us seats so that we could sit and talk with him. Thankfully, since I do not know how to speak Susu yet, a translator came with us. We introduced ourselves and explained that we have been thinking of their village, and that we would like to come once a week to provide medical assistance to those who needed help if they would like us to. The chief was so excited and pleased, that he said he would go and speak with the 8 or 9 villages surrounding his. Though he wasn’t sure if they would accept our help, he said that his village would be more than happy to accept our help.

As our conversation went on, more and more people started to come up to his door and ask to sit down and listen. I noticed that most of the children hid behind their elders and just stared at me. It makes since that they would stare considering that they had probably never seen a white person before.

After we talked more logistics of what would happen if they chose to accept our help, the chief showed us his village. The village is quite small and very close together. All the houses are made of packed dirt and steel roofs. There were also some huts that were round and had straw roofing. We walked around where they would eventually like to build a school. At the site they chose, children from the neighboring villages would be able to walk everyday to get an education, where right now, they had no way of receiving education unless they walked to the city, which at the end of the day would be exhausting since it would be an 8-mile trek round trip.

We ended the tour by going back to the chief’s house, where they had prepared some food for us. Here in Africa they have peppers, but they are very small and very spicy. I had to eat slowly since I could feel my tongue and lips burning! After we finished the food, we set out to go back home. We went back to the village that we had passed through on the way to Frifria and grabbed our motor taxi to head back.

After the journey home, I realized that God had already been preparing the way and the hearts of the people. Even if the chief didn’t know whether we were going to be accepted by the other villages or not, he stated that his village was so open to receive our help. Surely the Holy Spirit has been working in their hearts way before we even got there. Maranatha! Maranatha! Jésus reviens bientôt!

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