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TIA (This is Africa)

January 23, 2013

Things have been quite fun. There is always lots of laughter with the Kornegay/Meany clan and also lots of hard work. While the boys spent several hours on the land cutting down tree branches to use as posts to protect new plants and trees, the girls were busy taking funny pictures and feeding the village children Animal Crackers and Teddy Grahams.

I love driving out to the land. On my first trip, before land had been purchased, we spent several days driving out to various places that were available for sale. When you get out of the city a bit, you really experience Africa. Children (and often times adults) giggle at the white folk, follow them around, and wave goodbye until the vehicle is out of sight. It’s where you really get to see how poor this country is.

But they are very hospitable. We spent some time at one of the houses that neighbor the land. Musa has been very helpful to the workers on the land, allowing them to store tools at his place and keeping an eye on the land when no one else is there. Mama Musa roasted corn for us while we waited for another neighbor to visit. We all behaved like the very white tourists that we are, cameras in hand, snapping pictures of our surroundings!

This is Africa.

In the city, things are quite hectic. The people are brave and walk along the streets while driving is unlike anything you’ve seen in America. Pedestrians don’t have the right of way, but somehow there are few accidents (as far as I can tell, at least). Small shops line the streets, women carry things on their head, and the street boys wait on the corner for a red light to go beg at car windows.

This is Africa.

While the city seems busy, things move slowly. If you’re 30 minutes late, you’re right on time! If you’re hours late, you’re still on time. “African time” makes the white folk crazy!

This is Africa. A phrase we’ve been using mostly when we’re frustrated with the cultural things that aren’t inline with our expectations. Like the saying, “It is what it is,” sometimes you just have to go with it. It’s different here. And when you come with a purpose and have to work with others who have learned a very different set of rules, compromise is difficult.

But, this is Africa.

And after only one week, I feel so very at home.

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