December 25, 2016
Crossing the border wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be. I have been to other countries before, but I have always crossed in a plane and things were taken care of at customs inside of an airport. So, driving up to the boarder of Guinea and Sierra Leone was a little intimidating, but not bad. In Guinea, militia checkpoints are pretty common. You drive up and militia men wearing guns or some sort of weapon walk up to your car to look inside. Most of the time we pray and hope you don’t have to get out of the car since there really is no point as we usually walk up to some high-up person and give them a paper to say that we live here. Usually we are okay after that and we just get back into the car so they can lower their barrage to let us cross. Sometimes even in the city you will see people hopping out of moving trucks with guns running around so that they can look intimidating. In reality they are pretty funny once you get to know them.
By the time everyone was ready to leave, on the 22nd, it was about 1 in the afternoon. We headed on our way and waited to get to the other side of the boarder. I didn’t know really what to expect, though I knew there were lots of militia checkpoints that we would have to cross. We got through many of them just fine. We even saw an old friend we had made around where we lived. Tigertu (pronounced like T-eye-grrr-two) was his name. It looked like at that checkpoint that they might give some trouble and most likely have us get out of the car to pay, but because we knew him he let us pass quite nicely. It was a blessing from God since his normal station was almost 5 hours away from where we were right then.
We arrived at the border of Guinea and Sierra Leone after the sun had gone down. I wasn’t sure what time it was since I had packed my phone and computer in my bag that was in the trunk of the car, but my best guess is that it was probably around 8 or 9pm. Since it was a boarder there was high security and we had to pay a decent amount to cross, thankfully we were able to cross smoothly.
Once we were in Sierra Leone, we stopped at a riverside and were able to relieve ourselves. I never knew how amazing it would feel to relieve myself after the horrible rocky roads of Guinea. The roads get so bad that even if you are buckled in you will still hit your head somehow, and not just on the roof of the car. To accurately describe how bad the roads are, if you sit in a chair and lean 50 degrees left and right, you have just passed over the first part of a pothole. So, even though we were all tired, because of the roads, there was no sleeping, only laughter and craziness after some possible brain bruising.
After we had passed about 12 or so checkpoints and driving on smooth roads in the first time in 3 or 4 month, we arrived at our place of destination, Devil’s Hole. Yes, the place we are currently staying is called Devil’s Hole. Don’t ask my why, for I don’t know myself. Maybe it’s the amount of mosquitoes that live in the area. It’s almost like they migrate to the area from everywhere else. It probably doesn’t help that there is a small river running right through our backyard. I’ts kind of nice, really. You are able to hear the frogs, goats, dogs, mosquitoes all night long. Then in the morning when we draw water from the well you are able to see the giant stacks of trash right in the river. Then if you are lucky enough to carry the bucket of water back to the house, you are able to step on wobbly rocks and up a hill so steep that you can literally touch the rocks in front of you. Its not bad though, I will get great muscles from this! Especially since we only have 2 buckets for over 10 people living in the same house. In fact, today, Christmas, we have over 50 people living in this house. All of them relatives of our career missionaries. Since they are from Sierra Leone, their family was able to travel pretty easily for the holidays. I do have to point out one of the benefits of there being so many people, there is also A TON OF FOOD!!!!!!! Oh brown rice, how I have missed you!
So, all in all, I am alive and well here in Africa. Thankfully we get two weeks off to come to Sierra Leone. Hopefully we will be able to go to one of the beaches that I have heard about. Thanks for being patient in waiting for me to get an update out to you all. Its been pretty busy getting adjusted to life over here. I pray that many blessings come your way this year! Maranatha! Maranatha! Jésus reviens bientôt!
With lots of love from Africa to you,