Always in the deep woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is an ancient fear of the unknown and is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. -- Wendell Berry

The TRIP: GUINEA - wonkifong --> MALI - bamako, djenne, douentza, Dogon Country --> Burkina Faso - ouagadougou, bobo-dioulasso, bala, ouagadougou --> GHANA - tamale, mole national park, tamale, yeji, volta lake ferry, akosombo, accra, green turtle lodge, elmina, cape coast, accra, hohoe and wli falls --> TOGO - kpalime, atakpame, lome --> BENIN - cotonu (transport stop) --> NIGER - niamey, tahoua, agadez, camel trek in aiir mtns, niamey --> BENIN (abomey, grand popo, ouidah, ganvie, cotonou) --> CAMEROON (douala, buea, top of Mt Cameroon, limbe, sangelima, yaounde, kribi, douala) --> MAURITANIA (nouakchott, atar, chinguetti, camels into the sahara, terjit, choume, ride the coal train, nouadhibou) --> MOROCCO (western sahara, dakhla, agadir, essaouira, marrakesh, imlil, summit of jebel toubkal, fes, chefchaouen) --> cross the Strait of Gibraltar --> Malaga, Spain --> fly to Geneva, Switzerland --> Les Grangettes, France
Click for a map. Updated April 30, 2007

samedi, avril 08, 2006

Peace Corps or Priesthood?

If you've ever played the "telephone" game you understand how a statement can start at one end of a human chain an be something completely different by the time it reaches the other end. Whether it is due to the sounds of our language or the way our brains function, words can easily get twisted around. The following was related to me by a parent/co-worker at Sunnyside.

She came into the tail end of a conversation relating to my decision to join the Peace Corps. However, instead of hearing "Peace Corps" she heard "Priesthood" and the conversation between her and another revolved around this misunderstanding for a bit of time. The following is an attempt to capture the exchange:

"Hmmm, that just doesn't seem like something Frank would do."

"Really, I was thinking that it would be a good fit and something he would enjoy."

"No way. I mean he isn't the type to do something like that."

"I think he is. He is adventurous and likes the outdoors. It will be great for him to go do this."

"I still don't see it. What does adventure have to do with it? It doesn't match the person that I know. Well, I guess McGowan is Irish and Catholic."

"Irish and Catholic? Are we talking about the same thing?"

"You did say that he was entering the priesthood, didn't you?"

Laughter. "No, the Peace Corps!"

This shows that even in the same language communications can be exchanged where people are on two completely different planets. With this in mind, I embrace the idea of going to a new culture and learning how to communicate effectively with people. As this story ended, laughter will be an absolute necessity in adapting to life in Guinea.