0257. Sprawling Serakunda (Gam 03--new)

Serekunda Travel Blog

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...So Serakunka it is... Soon I'm speeding down a modern highway--something I haven't seen since, well, Morocco... and a few minutes later, modern buildings, offices, schools on the side.  Then the minivan drives down a long, narrow, dirt alley and stops.   Not sure which way to the heart of the city, I head to the left.  Soon I’m following another highway with modern buildings on the side--but certainly not a "city center" feel... I even came across the US Embassy--which is kind of cool... it's fun to see what each of my country’s embassies look like...

I follow this highway for miles and miles until I reach what appears to be the end of town--so I hike off to the left to find another way back into town.... only to find that a couple hundred meters back, there's no more city! Determined not to take the same way back into town, I managed to find a dirt path through the swamps with only stones to cross the bog with.

.. I continue on and on, in and out of industrial areas, semi rural neighborhoods--even an upper class neighborhood... and the swamps again... Take a couple of pictures to document this odd journey. Finally get to what seemed to be "city" again... Take a clip in front of a cool looking baobab tree in the middle of the road...

And then hell.

Up ahead, a huge cloud of smoke--but I see people coming in and out of the cloud, covering their mouths.  I get closer.  And there I see it--Serakunda's hell--right smoke in the middle of a residential neighborhood with fires burning constantly--is the city dump...

There's a pathway that goes right to the middle of it--and I strongly suspect that downtown is on the other side--so I decide to go for it, staggering through the haze of smoke.

..

Just can't imagine what it must be like to LIVE next to this place...

FINALLY  I get to what looks like, real city.  The streets are getting more and more crowded... and then--the market, it's got to be one of the most congested markets in the world, the alleys absolutely packed to the gills.  Of course, I've got to squeeze my way down a couple of these--with my guitar, camera, etc--always a risky operation.  Fortunately, I'm usually surrounded by women--so I feel pretty safe... whenever I've got a couple of dudes around me, I start getting a bit nervous...

Finally I make it out to where I can breathe again... Whew...

Still no semblance of a park, plaza, or modern city center of any sort, so parkbenching Serakunda is going to be a bit of a challenge.

.. I head down another of the main arteries--this one heading southeast...

Suddenly a fellow comes rushing out of his shop begging me to give him a very quick guitar lesson... The guys seems sincere, and I need to sit down for a bit anyways, so I follow him into his little car parts shop.  I can see that he's DEFINITELY sincere when he tells a couple of customers to wait until we have our class... I finally tell him that I'm in no hurry and he can tend to his customers...

He does actually pick up very quick (he already knows quite a bit) then he starts to tell me of his story...

He's a Nigerian, married to a Sierra Leonian with three children... He was actually quite well to do and then his wife died during childbirth, which totally devestated him... Now he's trying to raise his children and run his business on his own...

Finally we part ways... I feel honored once again at the glimpse I was able to have into real life here in West Africa...

 

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A quick guitar lesson...
A quick guitar lesson...
Serekunda
photo by: wipr