Thursday, December 17, 2009

West Africa 2007 - Part 1

My brother Dale sent this Christmas letter to us in 2007. He sent it to us in segments and had me hooked for a week. With his permission I though you might like to read it too but be warned, I am going to give it to you just like he gave it to me and trust me you don't want to miss out on the ending! You can see his work and photos from this trip here at Mission Field Images (click on Index then Africa).

West Africa 2007

Leaving for a couple of weeks is always difficult, the day before departure I’m always trying to pack, some clients are needing last minute images, the church magazine is needing images shot and delivered the same day. As I was leaving the house for the airport, I hit the send button on the last zipped folder of images after working through the night.

Needless to say when I arrived in West Africa I was pretty exhausted. Having only slept three or four hours over three days may have lead to three critical security mistakes I made once retrieving luggage. I carry my camera case and my computer on the plane and check in my other bags. The first mistake was in letting the porter grab my camera case and my clothing duffel bag and run off in front of me, heading to the x-ray machine.

Next mistake was not getting the proper currency before leaving the US in which to tip the porter. When the luggage came out of the machine, he once again grabbed my bags and took me out to an area where large groups of taxi drivers are waiting for arriving customers. Being dragged out to an area of about three hundred people all asking you for money, a taxi ride, use of a cell phone and not taking No for an answer, led to the last mistake. By not taking the proper money and putting it in my front pocket, I pulled my wallet to tip the porter, which is like blood in the water for feeding sharks, I was immediately swarmed and cornered.

The in country missionary that was to pick me up was delayed by all the construction for the upcoming Islamic Summit coming to Dakar in 08. As I’m trying to keep all my luggage secure, my wallet and passport in my pocket and in the midst of the onslaught, I prayed for guidance….yeah, who am I fooling, I was praying GET ME THE HECK OUT OF HERE!!! And then, in the middle of all this chaos…

To be continued,

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