travelling in africa

20 Jul

We woke up around 2:30 a.m. this morning to get ready to leave Nalerigu.  It was hard to wake up, but of course we all planned to go immediately back to sleep in the van on the drive to the Tamale airport.  We packed up the rest of our things, got dressed, and waited for our ride.  He pulled up in a Nissan pick-up truck – about the size of the truck in the picture below:

Our hearts sank as we realized we would definitely not be sleeping since we would be crammed into the small backseat.  We loaded into the truck and started driving.  It became quickly apparent that our driver would not be using the A/C, and in fact, had what felt like the heater on low.  We were all getting warmer… and warmer… and then noticed that he reached down to adjust the temperature setting on the truck.  Sweet relief.  Or so we thought.  Within about 5-10 minutes, it was at least 15 degrees warmer and we were all sweating and sticking to the pleather seats.  Below is a sampling of the thoughts going through our heads on the drive…


“I’m going to suffocate.  I’m going to suffocate. I’m suffocating.”

“Why won’t Adam turn the A/C on?  We can’t breathe in here!”

“Where are we… HELL?!” (shout out to Chuck Jamison!)

“Lord, get us out of here, please.” (an actual prayer)


“What is that smell? Is it somewhere between a fart and pleather?”

“I can’t breathe.”

“I think my left leg is falling asleep.”

“Where is Issahaku?  I don’t even like this guy.”


“Why in the world do cars have to have a hump in the middle seat?”

“Aaahh.  So comfortable (leaning her head back on the seat, waking up every 5 minutes when we hit a pothole).”


“Where’s the van?!”

“God, get us off the dirt road as quickly as possible.” (another actual prayer)

I realized I had a problem when I felt sweat dripping down my back at 3 a.m. in a truck with “air-conditioning” turned on.

My knees are literally bruised from banging into the seat in front of me with each bump.

“All I can smell is body odor and pleather… AIR! (after rolling down the window)”

If we hadn’t experienced Africa to the fullest before today, we definitely have after the truck ride.  We were dropped off at the Tamale airport and then waited for the plane to arrive.  We flew back to Accra which is about a 1.5 hour flight without problems and Solomon picked us up and took us to the guest house.  We were so happy to be done with travelling for a day.

We sat around for a short time, and then walked to the supermarket down the street from the guest house to pick up some refills on food items – namely oatmeal and peanut butter – to take to Guinea.  We are so excited to eat in Paris that we don’t want to chance getting “Guineabelly” (a well known phenomenon that occurs after eating food in Conakry for any period of time and consists of cramping and frequent runs to the restroom).  We also needed to get something to eat for lunch today and tomorrow.  Luckily, the supermarket nearby is one that imports many foods from Europe and theU.S.  We were able to find Jif peanut butter, Quaker oatmeal, and Reese’s pieces candy.  We also got deli meat and cheese, tomatoes and fresh bread to make sandwiches for lunch!  We picked up some pineapple and mango from some ladies across the street before heading home to eat.  The turkey sandwiches were amazing and the mango was sweet.  We went to sleep for a long nap with full and happy bellies.

We will eat dinner at the guest house tonight – pot roast and veggies.  We then hope to rest and watch movies and just relax.  We are looking forward to some down time over the next week before it’s time to get back to the grind at Children’s.  Our flight to Guinea doesn’t leave until 3 p.m. tomorrow, so we will get a chance to sleep in and pick up some more food items (the bread was so tasty that we think we might need some more).  We will continue to try to post in Guinea, but our access to internet will be limited – we will likely have to post several blogs at once.

– Rachel (with quotes from others)

3 Responses to “travelling in africa”

  1. Jen July 21, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Glad your travels are going smoothly… and that you all have the next week to relax a little and digest your time in Ghana. Love and miss you all so very much!! – Brian, Jen, and little T

  2. Karen Tucker July 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    I laughed out loud when I read your response to your “travel van.” I’m with Jen – glad you have a little time to relax before embarking on your next adventure to Guinea. Be safe Jamison’s and Baldridge’s. We love you all and we can’t wait to see you again.

    Love, Mamasita

  3. Linda Jamison July 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Chuck was so proud that you quoted him, he couldn’t wait to have me read it!

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