"The road to Kabala"
A beautiful tale from our first morning in Sierra Leone. - SONDER: noun. The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it. -
Stuffed like sardines in a twelve passenger van we set out early from Freetown...what was intended to be a five hour drive quickly became an epic journey into the night due to unpredictable obsticles that of course turned out to be beautiful memories.
The roads outside the capital are unkept in places, sometimes just dirt or mud with large rocks, pot holes, no rule etc. Driving in Sierra Leone is a trip and a half to begin with; motorcycles flying in and out of traffic, no personal space....definitely would define it as madness to a first time visitor, though our driver Mr. Augustine seemed very comfortable speaking the language of various honking methods that the locals somehow use to prevent accidents.
Having arrived late the night before, we were so excited to see "Africa" for the first time. Passing primitive huts and women walking with huge baskets of everything imaginable on their heads, children carrying water, wild chickens roaming the streets, tiny modest homes made of rag tag materials and scrap metal.
About an hour in to our journey we hit a significant pot hole driving about 80mph. The van grew silent, Mr. Augustine winced and the vehicle slowly rolled to an involuntary stop before completely dying. I still have no idea what actually happened to the battery or the fuel pump that held us up there on the side of the road for three and a half hours, but what happened next was magical.
It was hot, we piled out of the van - this motley crew of Americans literally in the middle of nowhere broken down on the side of the road in a new continent. I didn't feel unsafe or irritated, I was prepared in my head to be there a while. "Africa time" is a real thing. Schedules are loose, urgency doesn't always follow through, it takes time and loads of effort to get from one place to another. I was ready to take it slow, take it all in (more in comments)