Eid Mubarak! The past two days have been pretty laid back. Sunday was Eid and Monday was the national holiday for Eid. We spent the days exploring the market and the local food within it.
Everyone carries everything on their heads. We have tried hard boiled eggs, dried yucatan root balls, empanada looking cakes, kettle corn, popcorn, and the most amazing sugar cookies I (Maria) have ever had, all from peoples heads. We shopped at fabric shops, shoe stands and the fruit street. We were on the hunt for an avocado but were unsuccessful, instead we ended up leaving with a few cucumbers instead. On Monday, six of us went to the food market to purchase sweet potatoes, bananas and peanut butter for the malnutrition team. In the market everything is out in the open, fish, chicken feet, pig skin, sugar, palm oil, peppers, lots of onions, and even bowls of pills (pharmacy in a bowl). If you ever needed anything you could probably find it there. Everyone is shoulder to shoulder on the paths through the market under a web of umbrellas that protects the merchandise from the random storms throughout the day. Beneath our feet, indents in the gravel would form puddles of rain water and who knows what else. Let it be noted that everyone walks around in sandals because they are more practical for the rain.
Side Note: It’s the rainy season; therefore, it rains at least once a day. When it rains it either pours or mists but whats really nice is that it doesn’t last more than an hour. When you look on the weather app it shows constant thunderstorms but I can reassure you (for all my family asking) I am not constantly wet.
We were towards the end of our journey and on the hunt for 64 sweet potatoes when we got to a paved path. Not only one, but two cars then appeared out of no where and were trying to pass each other on this path that was not even wide enough for one car. We start scrambling (along with everyone around us). Bowls of lettuce, onions, and potatoes, stands of shoes were all pulled off the path to make way for the divergence. People were standing foot, overlapped onto other foot. Our group was trapped against the sweet potato stand and our toes were an inch from the car tires. All of this was accomplished and communicated through the back and forth honking from each car. Toes intact, we received our sweet potatoes and were on our way.
Weaving through the roads, on our journey back to World Hope, we ended up passing down the beauty isle. Women were getting their nails done, hair weaved and eyebrows tattooed. To our surprise all of these services were being provided by men. The ladies in the group were being asked to participate but we respectfully denied and continued on the African cobblestone roads.
Long story short we made it back and we will continue to venture out into the market in search of more. Updates on those adventures to come.
Work wise, we edited our blog and its visual appeal. We also planned out two days of clinic visits for Tuesday and Wednesday. I went and talked to Hassan, the man who works for Ukweli and who is very connected/knowledgable on the healthcare system in Sierra Leone, about clinics we would possibly be able to go visit. Two of the clinics I picked, Gbanti and Fintonia, were not feasible to get to because we would have to cross roads in canoes to get there. Hassan liked five of my choices but warned me the journey would be rough.
- Gbendembu Clinic
- Mabunbuka Health Centre
- Mateboi Health Centre
- Makamp Health Centre
- Mapaki Health Centre
We are still trying to connect with out contacts in Freetown, but hopefully we will be able to set up meetings at the Sickle Cell Society and the two of the health centers, Aberden Women’s Center and Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, soon.