September 08, 2005

3 Sept 2005

Day Six
Lodja


We are broken and we are tired. I discover the true meaning of the word tired—dog tired, exhausted, beat, worn out, bushed, pooped. My whole body aches and I am morally drained by seeing hospitals with no doors and windows, patients on weaved cots and no sheets and lack of water and electricity in General Hospitals.

We wake at 4:00AM to set of at 5:00AM for our trip back from Kole to Lodja.

The Bishop is kind enough to offer us a ride back to Lodja in his car. It is filled with a Bishop, a nun, a doctor, a mechanic, the driver and me. Being the only one with no valuable function in case of an emergency, I try to make myself useful by snapping loads of pictures. You never know, it might come in handy if National Geographic wants to hire me (hint hint). Again, the trip is quite difficult and we stop 1 hour after our departure to find a huge old truck, stuck in the middle of the road (in essence taking up the whole width of it). It seems its battery ran out. We lend them a little bit a juice but the motor has been so modified, welded and haphazardly fixed that it takes a while until it can be powered again. We set off on our merry way, making the best of the up and down, side to side movement of the car until we find a tree in our way.

The driver gets his ax, the mechanic his machete and they set hacking at it until it can be moved to the side. Back in the car, the sister mumbles “sweet Jesus!” every time the car dips to a 45 degree angle (the two front wheels being at severely different height, it feels like we are going to topple over). I see men carrying dead monkeys and antelopes up to the markets. I see woman with weaved straw backpacks carrying banana leaves, baby, manioc, and pondu (manioc leaves) back to their villages from the forests. I see thousands of butterflies that flitter at the approaching vehicle, bursting their clutter into individual petals of color. I see the Independent Electoral Committee vehicle pass us by and give them two thumbs up for the job of enrollment they are about to do in Kole.

We get out of the car three times to push it up a slope. We even find ourselves filling up a hole to help it get traction on a particularly problematic hill. We get to Lodja just before the rain starts pelting down with fury (imagine the clay road becoming a thick muddy river bank when it rains) and I throw myself on the bed to sleep.

2 comments:

jean-pierre said...

Have you ever been published before? What about The Sun? They are in North Carolina, I believe. They might publish photos and or your writing.

Would you like to submit a photo via Picasa for me to share with the world in the web log http://cafegroundzero.blogspot.com/ ?

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