Thursday, July 7, 2011
9pm, Basse SOS Children’s Village
Hello from amazing Gambia! I’m writing from SOS Children’s Village which will be our homebase for the next few nights.
Our journey across the country was long but unforgettable as I sat in the truck and let what’s about to begin sink in. It’s about 375km from Banjul (capital city) to Basse- pretty much the last place on the map in The Gambia. Our journey took exactly 7 hours and 32 minutes. Some of the lengthiness of the trip was because travelling across the country requires visiting along the way. Some of the time was the condition of a few stretches of dirt road. All of it was wonderful.
I’m going to keep this pretty brief because we are leaving at 6am tomorrow to drive 50km to the Senegalese border and then I BEGIN RUNNING!!!
I feel like I am at the centre of a huge love-fest. I don’t really know how else to describe it. But all you have to do to understand it is to take a look at my facebook page to see the evidence. I am so lucky.
My Gambian team is simply extraordinary. We were chatting last night and Kebba was commenting on how my family and friends were writing to him to “take good care of Erin.” And he says, “Ah, they don’t quite understand. I think that Erin is for everyone. Everyone wants to take good care of her and we will.”
It’s been really amusing watching Pa Modou and Kebba proudly introduce me to people, “This is Erin, she is the marathon runner running Basse to Banjul!” And then the person says, “AH?! She is doing what?” Incredulous at a two things: why a person would do that. And what I look like. Some say, “Her?!” Undertone: are you kidding me, this skinny white girl? Amusing. Ashley and I were in danger of having Ashley’s medication taken away from us at the airport (IV meds = suspicious). Kebba explained my run to the stern border official and he burst out laughing. And then let us go happily on our perceived foolish way.
Pa Modou told Ashley tonight that he wanted to run all 25km with me tomorrow. Ashley told him that he could not do that because she would not use her medical supplies on him.
To bed! I’m cherishing the way my legs feel smooth and comfortable. They may not feel like this again for awhile.
PS. Paris and Nicole would like to punish Celine Dion for infiltrating the continent of Africa.