The markets in Theis seemed remarkably calm. Often, the vendors can be very aggressive as they try to sell their carvings, drums, and other trinkets. Later when we went to the food market to buy some tea and sugar, it was much like you might expect a bazaar from the original Indiana Jones. Crowded, people barging in front of you, and a lot of shouting. I have a translator friend who was very helpful to me in securing some African fabric for me to bring home to my wife.
I have been instructed not to use names of my Senegalese friends. Although the country officially recognizes religious choice, Christians are often persecuted. My harmless posts about someone who is Christian could result in maltreatment.
After a visit to Bartimee hospital, we had lunch at MIS (Mission to Inner Senegal) headquarters, and then piled into the bus for the trip to the village. So we left for the village Tuesday afternoon rather than Wednesday morning.
It was about a two hour drive. The first half is on paved road and the second half changes over to dirt. The people were happy to see us and we exchanged many happy greetings. Of course there were plenty of children around to help break the ice for any newcomer. They love it when someone shakes his or her hand or if we thumb-wrestle.
It wasn’t too long before I saw my namesake who I will now call TK. TK looked genuinely glad to see me and we exchanged the traditional handshakes and greetings. I always mess these up so it can be a source of genuine amusement.
I asked him if the church had received the guitar I sent as a gift with a previous group and he said yes. About this guitar, I has trying to keep my expectations low. I was sure it could have easily been stolen, broken, or neglected. However, after returning to the compound from setting up our tents – I entered the compound to the sound of children singing. There, right in the middle of it all, was the guitar – intact and slightly out of tune. Yet it was perfect for the way that they were using it. That was what I wanted – not for them to play a Western instrument in a Western way, but in their own way.
This feeling was almost euphoric for me, and together with the guitar, the makeshift drums made from buckets – we sang and danced for hours.
All in all – a long, tiring, yet very fulfilling day.