week 5 - Africa

Gabu Travel Blog

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Week 5 – 2008 T.I.A. outreach team
After packing our bags and cleaning our rooms, we sat down to share a meal together. Soon we would be parting ways if only for a short time. Matt and Makayla joined Roy in the big green lorry and set out for a thirty-one hour journey to Gabu, Guinea-Bissau. We prayed, gave hugs, and took a few photos before that old wagon pulled away from the community center and drove out of sight. The remaining four of us went to the internet café to send last minute emails and Skype our loved ones.
Dinner was unusually quit. It was strange not having the rest of the team there. I wondered how Matt and Makayla were doing and if they were enjoying the trip. Just after 9:30 pm the remaining team loaded up in the taxi.
Remy, Ruth and their girls were there to see us off. We surprised them with a special financial blessing to thank them for their help and assistance over the past month. Remy shouted out praises, while tears filled Ruth's eyes. Joy welled up in my heart knowing that our team could make such a contribution to the ministry God has planned for them. For a short moment I imagined Remy introducing his new wife to his mother in his homeland, Togo and how he would one day share the gospel with the people there.
It was nice having people wave goodbye to us as our taxi drove away. It's amazing how much you can care for those whom you've only known for such a short time; how some people become so special to you and you never forget them. I will always remember Remy, his family, and the memories we shared.

The journey to Gabu was horrendous. The fumes from the exhaust filled the taxi burning my eyes and made me nauseous. Not to mention getting whip lash from weaving in and out in a zigzag motion to avoid the potholes in the road. Drivers prefer to drive in the dirt alongside the road rather than on the road itself. In Senegal, many of the roads are in great need of repair. If you drive in a pothole you risk loosing your vehicle and being stranded with no mechanic for miles.
After six hours of driving, the driver pulled over and turned off the engine. He spoke zero English, so no one bothered to ask questions and just assumed he stopped to rest and was too exhausted to keep driving. It was nearly 3:30 am and we all were tired as well, so there we slept for over three hours – sitting upright in a taxi cab surrounded by darkness somewhere in Africa.

When we woke, I could hardly believe my eyes. Cars, trucks, and buses were surrounding us. People were standing outside their vehicles. What were they waiting for; what were we doing here; and where were we? After scoping out our surroundings and making assumptions, we realized that we were waiting for the customs office to open and were about to enter into Gambia. Nervousness filled our cab as we searched for our passports and thought about what we should do. The driver was specifically told NOT to go through Gambia - we were to drive around it, yet in just a few minutes we were going to board a ferry boat and cross the Gambia River.
We immediately contacted Roy to let him know the driver took us a different way – just in case something happened and they needed to look for us.
I couldn't believe it – the other team prophesied we would cross a river and now that prophesy was coming true. I felt peace knowing this detour was in God's plan and trusted in His care. Plus I was excited to add one more country to my list and receive some new stamps in my passport. I just wish Matt and Makayla could've been there as well.
The remainder of the trip was spent in the blistering heat. The engine was so hot it felt like the heater was on. Plus the suns rays shone straight into the car. Even with the windows down dust and hot air filled the car. One hour was spent waiting alongside the road while a mechanic repaired the clutch. It went out a second time in the middle of nowhere, but thankfully the driver kept going. For over an hour he zigzagged past potholes without shifting gears until finally we reached town.
He drove into a dirt field while nearly hitting two people in the process before coming to a stop. From there another cab drove us the rest of the way. Then we had to wait three hours alongside the road for Roy and Judy to meet us. The locals were friendly and put down a mat for us to lie on.
There we were – tired, hot and leaning up against our backpacks waiting. Once Roy showed up the excitement of being reunited with our team energized us and looked forward to going to Gabu. Jon Paul and I changed places with Matt and Makayla. We would ride the remaining five hours with Roy in the big green truck. Judy showed up shortly after Roy and picked up the rest of the team.
After stopping at customs and the border patrol, we arrived at the YWAM base, Jocum, at 10:00 pm (twenty-four hours later from when I first left Dakar.) We were greeted by music and dancing. Everyone celebrated and was happy to see us. We were starving and happy that dinner had been prepared for us. Nearly exhausted, I managed to take a shower before going to bed. My head hit the pillow and within minutes I was fast asleep at my new home in Gabu. 
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