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

jeudi, octobre 19, 2006

Throwing Rocks (October 11, 2006)

Suddenly, a large gathering of boys and formed and they were all throwing rocks as hard as they could up into the tree. I backed off knowing that there would be nothing that I could say that would get them to stop. Eventually, their lack of aim led to inaction and an eventual loss of interest so that they could go to class.

About 10 minutes earlier, I was standing under a group of trees along the edge of the school yard as a staff member was setting up the principal’s desk and chairs outside under the trees. The principal’s office is not functional so he goes outside when the weather allows or sets up in the covered hallway in front of his office.

“Snake,” said a student who has been coming up to me to practice his limited English. When I did not respond immediately he switched to French. “Viper,” and began pointing up in the tree.

I, along with several others, looked up to see a fairly large snake wrapped around branches about 20 feet above the ground. Since it was curled up around tree branches, I could not tell how big it was but I guessed five feet or so. The Guineans all got a scared look on their face and the decision was clear – something had to be done about the snake. I tried to say that leaving the snake alone would likely cause no harm as it was high up and did not appear to be going anywhere but there was no point arguing. The rocks and sticks and anything else student could find started flying up into the tree. I secretly wished for their bad aim and eventually they stopped without the snake falling to the ground to be hacked up.