Senegal 2014 – Post #1

Well, here I am in Africa again.  I love adventure and exploration.  I often talk and write about video game related exploration on my blog and on the Theology Gaming podcast, but I have set aside the virtual for a week and am experiencing reality.  This is my third journey to Senegal and each trip has had a different focus.  Several years ago, Forest Hill church agreed to sponsor a village of about 2000 people called Ndjemane (pronounced something like “Jamon”).  Since that sponsorship began, relationships have developed, medical clinics have visited, and a well was drilled.  I have befriended a young man who is currently about 16 years old – and he is the reason I keep coming back here.

Just getting to the village can be adventure enough.  I left Sunday morning from Charlotte and arrived in Dakar at about 4:30 am local time.  Then we drove about an hour to get 25 miles or so to Theis (pronounced something like “Chess”) where we have “set up shop” at a small local hotel.  Monday was a day of sleep and recovery as well as cultural orientation.  Today we have more orientation, a visit to the local Christian hospital, and a visit to the local market.  I have experienced all of these before, but each time there is a “newness” to it.  I tend to forget photo taking, since it is not a passion of mine, but I will try to include some pictures here and there.

One thing I have noticed in me, is that when I first came here, I couldn’t help but to see the dirt and trash everywhere.  Maybe it’s my imagination but Dakar really looked like it had been cleaned up.  There were new roads, and there were even bushes and trees planted on the side.  The usual plastic trash bags were nowhere to be seen.  Now, as we drove further away from the capitol city, things were a little less cleaned up.  Even so, I see the dirt and trash less and less.  This must be a mental thing as maybe I am starting to see the people now more than the “stuff” surrounding the people.

A unique aspect of this trip is that I’m traveling with a missionary that I help support financially, as well as visiting another missionary that I support.  How cool is that?  How often do you get to actually see the people and their work.  Missionary number one is Leo, part our group, who is in the beginning stages of missionary work.  He, his wife Michelle, and their two children will undergo over a year of training before coming to Senegal to live.  Matt, my other missionary friend, has been here less than a year and is just starting to settle in.

I will try to make at least four posts while I’m on this journey.  I’ll try to post a few pics too.  I promise!