I do realized that most people would be a bit confused with all the different names of locations I’ve used in my newsletter and other posts, if that’s you; read this post and I’ll try my best to explain! And feel free to have a look at this map :)
We left Gorom (YWAM Centre in Sangalkam, close to Rufisque on the map, just East of Dakar) to go on outreach in Kolda in the Casamance region (green section).
Sandra was afraid that we’d miss the bus as everything stops for prayer (muslim nation), but we were in luck and finally left and caught the bus to Dakar (capital from where we’d take the ferry to Ziginchor).
It was a slow but beautiful ride. Every now and again someone would jump on the bus and pay their fare to the lady in the cash box. The bus was packed by the time we got to the city! It was the express bus, it only took 90 minutes to get to the city. At other times, this ride can easily take 4 hours! We hopped off the bus at the taxi station and cabbed our way to the port! We found a cabbie that would take the 5 of us… Sketchy! They’d legally only be allowed to take four. Only after we were on our way did we realise that our driver wasn’t afraid to get caught by the police because it was prayer time and all the cops would be at the mosque!
We got to the port. our “cruise ship” ferry was waiting. It was massive like the MV PNG but reminding me of the shape of the link! A good mix between my two favourite ships! I slept most of the way but woke up in the early hours of the morning, I blame jet lag for getting me up despite all the medication I took (hey! One can never be too cautious to avoid seasickness! But the sail was really calm!)
When I woke up I went back on the upper deck and spent some time looking out to the horizon! It was so PNG! Unbelievable… I was so nostalgic! Then I saw a little girl, she was so PNG, I wanted to take her picture..! She came next to me, I started talking to her, her name was Mama :) We chatted for a while, I showed her pictures of PNG, she loved it, she must have scrolled through all my pictures, then she took selfies and we took photos together! I was amazed! How can a girl from the village even know what a phone is and take selfies!!!
We finally arrived in Ziginchor (large port in Casamance, on the map, the biggest city south of The Gambia) after 16 hours on the sea! We got off the boat and into the waiting bay to collect our luggage… Oh boy! The luggage collection was chaos! They placed all the suitcases into a garage then opened the door for all to roam through them and find our own bags! It was hot!!! Dripping sweat Ange!! We found everything and headed outside to catch our 7seater! Man… It was old! We piled the microscope bags in the trunk and everything else outside on the top roof!
I loved the road! Everything was so gorgeous! I commented on the quality of the road, and I got laughed at! Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting Senegal to be this developed. I kept comparing with PNG and thought it was amazing, while the guys from Gorom compared with Dakar their capital and were unimpressed.
We crossed many small villages… On the road we’d keep seeing road checks. At one point we had to get out of the car and walk through the check with our passports! It was mentioned that the military was there because “we’re in the land of the Rebels!” But eh! It felt safe… I think it’s called faith!
At one of the check points, the driver stopped the car, the soldier looked in, straight at me, I said hello and smiled. The soldier looked perplexed! Then he smiled back and said passport! I asked “Me? My passport!?” He said of course you! With a big smile! I pulled out my passport gave it to him, he looked at it, others handed identity cards, he didn’t look at them, handed everything back, asked Mustafa why he was laughing so much and some other questions in language and we were free to go!
I was then told I shouldn’t talk to the military! Oops! I’m glad I made him smile! Life would be boring all day doing road surveillance!
I must have slept the rest of the way… we finally arrived in Kolda. We’d be going in the villages 1 hr inland from Kolda on a daily basis.