Monday, March 1, 2010

On the Road

Later on this week I will follow up with an update from the Amizade water project which
has been the subject of the last two posts.

Instead, I'd like to share with you the surprised expressions I receive as I take a daily stroll along the road in front of our center. It is not every day that these people see a strange, older, camera-toting "white guy" wandering near their village. In the bottom picture this young man urged me in broken English to buy his rooster. He was very polite and I think extolled its features, but I couldn't figure out exactly how much he wanted for it.

The second photo of this older fellow stopped his bicycle to comiserate with me. A car had raced down the road pell mell and had splashed me with bright red mud. You can see the puddles in the background. It is one of the hazards of walking during this rainy season. He laughed good naturedly and seemed to know that I lived nearby. I have learned virtually no Swahili and many people know a few words of English. By the way, everybody loves Obama because his father was from Kenya, which makes him practically an African.

The top photo is one of many fellows who are transporting bananas all day long along the road. They start early in the morning, packing these bunches out of the groves, and then pushing them as much as twenty miles or more. I think this guy was especially tired when he approached. It looked like he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw me.
I have enjoyed my walks and certainly have gained an appreciation of what it might feel like to be black person walking in an all white neighborhood in America, except I am certain and relieved that no one is going to call the police.

These photos have all been of males. I have some shots of women that I am dying to share with you soon.


  1. Lee, how come you didn't buy that rooster? You could have shipped it home as a permanent living souvenir of your trip--almost permanent anyway. Oh couldn't figure out how much the kid wanted for it!

    I understand what you mean about finding yourself in an environment that makes you realize what it would feel like to be a black person in an all-white neighborhood in America. I've had that experience a few times in my life, usually during an emergency of some kind when I didn't expect to find myself on foot (and sometimes alone) in a black neighborhood. It's a little bit different in Africa where every country is a "black neighborhood," but I still understand what you mean.

    Great post!

  2. Wonderful portraits, faces, and story! The red dirt and green foliage are quite something. I noticed the blackness of the dirt on the water project. The black usually indicates fertile soil. Does it seem so? Is the red volcanic, or clay? Interesting shots. Lovely people. It's nice to be "visiting" with you.

  3. The faces in these photos all tell their own story! Beautiful people! How wonderful! Thank you again for sharing this experience with us. The rich colors are really something else, indeed!