Things are going in typical African fashion. Dr. Skankey and the volunteers (sounds kind of like a musical group) were sitting in the plane when he called and said ’We are about to take off” in a few minutes he called back to say that they had gotten off the plane and would be taking off later when the engine trouble is resolved—later has proved to be –if we are lucky—tomorrow, but likely the next day. So all the plans have to change—This means cancel the special Tuareg dinner I had planned for them tonight at my house. Cancel the lunch reservations, change the military security—who have already been paid and will never reimburse us, change the arrival date of the other local personnel. And make plan B which would involve hiring a car to bring them the 12 hour drive which they could not make without a security escort for the final three hours. This means we must send our military out to pick them up about 3 hours south. If we use a car, the United Nations flight which was cancelled does not reimburse tickets, so we have to use it as credit next trip. The small plane they were to fly north in cannot take the enormous baggage we bring full of donated medicine and medical equipment so we shipped it by bus. We actually got all five bags. We still await the two bags that Air France lost. We loaded up the truck to take our things out to the clinic in advance since we could not carry everything in the two cars we have going. We sent Bahari,one of our cooks, out to clean the place, put the furniture back in the rooms, prepare the kitchen and make sure the water barrels are full. We sent Arnold (real name Moussa) to make sure the solar is in order.
Here Bahari sits in a very loaded truck with eggs in his lap. If you could only imagine the “road”: to Tamesna you would realize that the arrival of the eggs unbroken will be as miraculous as everything else we attempt (and often fail). I am dizzy from trying to make plan B, C. D. E. and F through Z. But believe it or not, none of this is unexpected.
It is the evening prayer right now. My guardian at the house is also the muezzin who calls people to prayer at the mosque next door. He has a lovely voice. He uses a microphone that everyone covets. I bought it for Alhassane our Tuareg musician friend. Iji, my dog likes Malam’s voice too, I guess, since he often howls along in harmony. Fortunately my guardian loves Iji and does not take offense.
Stay tuned we may actually do this mission…but then again one never knows in Africa.
Bye for now,