Friday, November 7, 2014

Fara trip



            Fara is my banking town and is only 43 miles from me, but due to the condition of the road it takes about 6 hours during the dry season and, I am told, 12 hours during the raining season; which is fast approaching.  So at the end of each month I will be making the trip into Fara to withdraw money and to buy anything I can not get in Vondrozo.  This trip will, in the future, have to be taken during the weekend since I will be teaching during the week, but since we have had this month off to settle into our new towns I decided to take a mid-week trip and meet up with all the other Sudesters from my Stage.  For this trip I had a list of things I wanted to purchase, a few items of furniture I wanted to
order, and to update my blog; so I planned on arriving the day before everyone else so that I could get all of this done before they showed up.  In the end, hanging out with my friends was great, but accomplishing my list of ‘chores’ was almost completely a disaster. 
It all started with me trying to leave.  I had, the day before, reserved a spot on the brusse for the morning I was leaving.  On my way to the brusse, an hour early so I could get a good seat, I was surprised to see it pass me on its way out of town.  A brusse leaving early is unheard of and I was not the only one to be caught of guard by it.  The mayor had also missed the brusse, but he being the mayor was able to order another brusse to come into town.  To be honest, they call it a taxi brusse but it is not really a brusse.  What serves as a brusse in Vondrozo is a pickup truck with a covered bed.  Instead of sitting squished inside on padded seats like in a regular brusse, these have a board bench that wraps around the inside edges of the truck bed and you must hold on so you do not get thrown off.  The new brusse left that evening around 3 o’clock and it being mostly filled, I had to take a seat in the middle of the truck bed atop a bag of cassava roots.  This was not the most comfortable place to be sitting nor did I have anything to keep me from being thrown around but the roof to hold on to, but it did afford me lots of leg room.  This trip was spent in almost total silence with the kids spending the daylight hours staring at me; partly in interest and most likely mostly in fear.  Whatever it might have been, their tiredness trumped it all and by the end of the trip I had three kids either using me as a lean or as a pillow. 
Arriving in Fara after dark most everything was closed, so I went out to eat with Stephen and Clarissa and decided to try and complete my list in the morning.  This did not happen either.  The following morning I realized that I did not bring my bank card or any of my papers, so I was unable to withdraw any money.  This was compounded by Efrain showing up at 10 am that morning; cutting my estimated shopping time by five hours.  Julissa, as well as some other Sudesters, also showed up later that day and we spent the rest of the day hanging out at the beach.  Stephen and Clarissa’s house is separated from the beach by a canal, so to get there we had to walk down to the bridge and back which over tripled the distance needed to be traveled.  When we decided to return home we did not want to make that walk again, so we hired a fisherman to ferry us across the canal in his boat.  I say boat, but it was a dugout canoe with a hole in it.  The fisherman could only take two of us at a time and had to stop ever so often to scoop out the water that had leaked into the boat. 
The following day, giving up on the furniture for this trip, I tried to acquire at least some of the other stuff on my list.  There was not much success in this.  I tried to buy an internet stick so that I could have some internet access in Vondrozo, but since I did not have my passport I was unable to do that.  The internet cafĂ© was also a bust; it being closed when we tried to go.  What I was able to acquire though, and the most important thing to me, was my new mattress.  I have had a foam mattress since I arrived in Vondrozo, but it was not sufficient.  After buying the mattress I had to get it to the brusse station on the other side of town.  To do this, Stephen and me lifted it up on our heads and carried it across town to the joy of all the onlookers and shouts that we were Gasy.

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