Saturday, December 19, 2009

West Africa 2007 - Part 3

To view images of this trip go here to visit Mission Field Images

Dale: The missionary having grown up in this village, turned white and fear filled his eyes. He told me to hide my cameras and just sit still. As I put my cameras in the case, the young men off to my right jumped up and ran out of the village screaming. Then from my peripheral vision, coming towards me I saw this thing, wearing a bright red string like outfit, much like the dilly suits snipers wear. Covered from head to toe and banging two machetes together, it entered the village center. The crack of metal on metal emptied the village and sent a chill down my spine.

As this evil entity moved into the village, you could feel the temperature drop, almost freezing in place those who did not posses the ability run. As we sat there silently, I began to battle internally. I wanted desperately to grab my camera and run this thing down, but at the same time I could not do anything that would, in one selfish act, completely destroy the relationships that took over forty years to develop. I began to wonder why God would put this in front of me yet, not allow me to photograph this very important element of this primitive culture, was this a test of obedience?

Eventually this thing moved on and the villagers began to return, but by then their adrenaline was so high anything natural was completely lost. I looked over at the missionary, he was visually shaken, he hadn’t seen this thing since he witnessed it beating up one of the villagers some twenty years ago.

We had about thirty minutes of light left and the missionary wanted to take me down by the river to see if any there were any activity with the fishermen. We shot there for about fifteen minutes and then we were on our way. As we were leaving the trail by the river, we stopped by the home of a former house keeper of his family, which waved us down earlier. When we approached the front of the house we could see the fear in their eyes and they were locked in their home looking out this window type opening, this thing had returned and was in the area.

I went back to the vehicle and grabbed my camera; the missionary just looked at me, perplexed by the fact that I grabbed my camera. I asked him if he wanted an image of this entity. Shaking his head with a smirk on his face, he said if I could take the shot without upsetting our translator or the other villagers, go ahead, but, he said, just be aware this thing is completely unpredictable and he might attack you, I just smiled back and said, I understand.

The missionary began to carry on a conversation and I was introduced to the family. After a few minutes I began to wander around taking photographs. I walked around to the side of the house and noticed there was a trail, walking up the trail I came across a well. As the light began to fade the well took on a unique look.

When you look through the lens of a camera, the image is upside down and backwards, through a series of mirrors and prisms the image is inverted back to it’s normal configuration, however, when you depress the shutter button, the view finder goes black and you cannot see anything until the mirror drops back into position. So I lined up the well and took the photograph, when the mirror dropped back into place…

Have to run, check back later for the…continuation.

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