Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Last days in Fula Kunda

"I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was,though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray. When I look behind, as I am compelled to lookbefore I can gather strengthto proceed on my journey, I see the milestones dwindlingtoward the horizonand the slow fires trailingfrom the abandoned camp-sites, over which scavenger angelswheel on heavy wings.Oh, I have made myself a tribeout of my true affections,and my tribe is scattered!How shall the heart be reconciledto its feast of losses?In a rising windthe manic dust of my friends,those who fell along the way,bitterly stings my face.Yet I turn, I turn,exulting somewhat,with my will intact to gowherever I need to go,and every stone on the roadprecious to me.In my darkest night,when the moon was coveredand I roamed through wreckage,a nimbus-clouded voice directed me:"Live in the layers, not on the litter."Though I lack the artto decipher it,no doubt the next chapterin my book of transformationsis already written.I am not done with my changes." Stanley Kunitz

Our last week in Kundong Fula Kunda. Next week we move to the dusty junction town of Basse in the far east.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fula Kunda Week 5 & Tendaba

Another day of life in the village. Journeying futher away from the known and deeper inward.

Fula Kunda week 4

"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams" - William Butler Yeates

It is interesting to me that a person must travel thousands of miles from home to realize the value of what he has left.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Week 3 in Tendaba

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.(Aldous Huxley)

This week we had the opportunity for some rest and relaxation at a camp called Tendaba. The camp is located right on the Gambian river and it was very refreshing to be able to spend some time here. Not only did we get to enjoy good food and cold drinks but there was also a pool.

Fula Kunda Week 2

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy

This week our village experienced a scare from local bushfires. Well actually, i experienced the scare as huge flames rushed passed only 40 yards away from the thatch roofed houses. The villagers just calmly took to the woods and made sure the fire was not heading in our direction.

Fula Kunda Week 1

"it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream--alone." - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

We were chosen to learn Pulaar which is spoken by the Fula people. They were and are to a large degree a cattle raising people living in the far flung open reaches of the Gambia and wider West Africa. Our training village for the next 2 months will be Fula Kunda on the South Bank of the River. The village consists of about 25 mud houses with thached roofs.

Helping to build a fence made of local materials for the village garden.

This is how a Gambia bed is made.
Who knew that cashews grew on a delicious fruit?
Gambian Zorro