Monday, May 28, 2012

I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife..... Part 1

This weekend I had an adventure.  Last month we had a team from Canada who came to do a medical clinic in a village about 7-8 hours away from where I live.  The pastor there told us that he was going to be getting married in May and I really wanted to go. I've never been to a Sierra Leonean wedding and here I knew the bride, the groom, lots of attendants and the officiant is one of my good (and a little bit crazy) friends.  I knew it would be fun.  Even though I wanted to go I hesitated because I didn't want to spend the money, I was reluctant to be away from the hospital for a few days, and the road is, so long, and so, so bad.  I also didn't want to go that far by myself. I talked my roommate into going on an adventure with me so....let the adventure begin.

In a lot of ways, weddings in Sierra Leone are similar to the ones in the US.  In a lot of ways, they're very different.  If you end up having the BIG wedding  ( most Sierra Leoneans don't do this because it's too expensive )  then the ceremony lasts two days.  The first day they call "the engagement."  This is the traditional ceremony where all the traditional stuff.  The second day is the fancy wedding where the bride wears the white dress, etc.  

We headed off on Thursday.  When I was home, I was in the dollar store and saw this white car paint.  I wasn't sure what I would ever use it for but...look how handy it was!!
I think she and I were the only ones that got this joke....
I mentioned before, that the road is awful.  I was not lying.  We drove for three hours on awful road and made it to Makeni, one of the bigger cities.  There we enjoyed luxurious pavement (as well as a delicious meal at a real restaurant )  for about twenty minutes and then it was back to crappy road.   ( Mom.  Please stop reading this blog now.  Join the rest of us for tomorrow's finale.)

We had been on said crappy road for about two and a half hours when all of the sudden my car  stopped running and all the little lights on the dashboard came on.  I tried to start it.  It would almost start, but then just die.  I tried again.  More of the same.

A little bit about my car.  His name is Boris.  I've had him for several months now and am mocked my my NGO teammates about his rather "rough" condition on a regular basis.  However, while I admit that he has had his problems, I've always bragged that he has never let me down while I was traveling in the bush.  Way to go Boris.  You're proving everyone else right when they talk all that trash about you!!!!

So Boris broke down.  And it was just Meredith and I in the middle of the bush.  Darn.  I looked down at my phone and there was no coverage.  Double darn.  Now, I will admit that breaking down like this in the middle of nowhere has been one of my biggest concerns. It's always in the back of my mind when I'm travelling. I travel a lot. While I try to travel with Sierra Leoneans as much as possible, sometimes it just isn't feasible.  Like now.  What the heck am I going to do?

A taxi drove by and he slowed down a little bit so I flagged him down to ask him if he knew anything about cars.  He got out of the car, looked under my hood and asked if there was fuel in the car.
Me:  Yup, I filled up a couple hours ago.
Him: Hmmm Are you sure there's fuel in the car?
Me: Um, yes.  The needle is still almost to the F.  There's fuel in the car.
Him:  How much fuel did you put in the tank?
Me:  It.  Is. Full.  There. Is. Fuel. In. The. Tank.
Him:  (shrugs his shoulders and walks off) 
I decided to check under the car to see if it was something easily fixable.  Turns out...I still don't know anything about cars.

Fortunately while Mr. Helpful was asking about fuel a motorcycle driver stopped as well. He said he could go back the way we'd come, about thirty minutes, and get a mechanic and bring him to my car. Excellent!!!  He had a passenger on his bike and they offered to have him stay with us "so we wouldn't be lonely" but we said we were fine.  I'll take my chances.

I was heading towards the bushes to use the little girls room when all of the sudden I heard my cell phone ring. Jackpot!!!! There's service!!!  I talked with my friends in Freetown, who of course couldn't do anything but did offer excellent moral support!  At least someone knows where we were last seen.

As we were sitting there waiting for the mechanic, we discussed what a lovely day it was for a breakdown.  The sky was cloudy so it wasn't too hot.  We had some road trip snacks, we had water, we had the wilderness as our bathroom, and we had the movie "Never Been Kissed" on my fully charged laptop.  Could this breakdown get better? I submit that it could not!!

Our motorcycle rider returned about thirty minutes later with our mechanic.  Johnny.  I wish that I had taken a picture of Johnny, because my words will not do justice.  He was a small man with crazy eyes and a little ponytail.  If I had to pick an animal for him, it would be a spider monkey because he was so nimble and quick.  Before the motorcycle had come to a complete stop he was off and running to our car.  He asked what the problem was and then started doing a bunch of tests.  Under the hood, under the car, inside the car, hanging off the outside of the car.  Very nimble.  Very quick. He was pulling this, testing that, you stuff.  I was impressed.  He seemed to know what he was doing.  He also took quite a fancy to Meredith, whom he called "my laughing friend."

I digress. After more testing and some cursing at the motorbike rider for being too lazy, he diagnosed my problem as......  and that's where I'll bid you adieu for the evening.  Did I make it out of the bush alive?  Am I writing this from the lair of.......I don't know, someone scary?  Was the actual marriage I went to the marriage of Meredith and Johnny?  Tune in.... later. When I have the internet again. 


  1. hahahahahahahahahaha...i will be waiting!! i love the picture of you checking under the car, until now i dont know what were you doing there...mi amiga loca! un abrazo super fuerte.

  2. For the record... I never said Boris was unreliable... I just said he needed a good wash!