Greetings again from Kamakwie! We are fast completing our 3rd month of volunteering at the hospital and writing to say hello to all of our friends and family out there! We are all doing great-Peter and I are just finishing up several large projects that we created for ourselves at the hospital. In about two weeks we'll finish being volunteers and become official travelers again! It's an exciting time although certainly sad as well to say goodbye to all of our friends here and look forward to meeting new friends on our journey.
Our one week vacation during Thanksgiving gave us a taste of the ocean and we are heading back to soak up more sun and surf on Sierra Leone's beautiful beaches. The sand at a beach generically named "River Number Two" is white and powdery like sugar with palm trees and warm as a bathtub water. Nearly everyday we had local fishermen in dugout canoes with string fishing lines that would leave in the morning and return with a boat of fish around 4pm. One guy became my personal favorite and we talked about his father and my father and the family traditions of fishing. Then I picked out my fresh fish and the restaurant grilled it. My fish-phobic family quickly came to realize that the fish was amazing and started coming to choose their own fish for grilling. One day Peter splurged and bought me a lobster. It was fun to go with the guy to the submerged cage and he stuck his hand into a bunch of lobsters pulling out a giant! They grilled the monster on the BBQ with a peppery sauce-delicious the best I've had in my young life!!! He he he. We met many other travelers during our 7 hour trip to the coast including a family from England and two French NGO workers from our village who have now become our local friends. When we returned home we drove down the bumpy dusty road and the best part was as we turned in front of the hospital the staff was waving and dancing that we were back! More than ten kids immediately descended on our house to welcome back Jordan and Philip who are much more popular than their parents.
Other recent highlights include many family mountain bike trips in our area and around Kamakwie. We biked to the village where Peter's nurse Amos lives and met his family. It is hard to describe how moving this experience was while we were there-perhaps photos will help! When we left about 25 kids ran alongside our bikes for a couple of miles laughing and keeping us company. If Philip crashed (the roads are very rough with big valleys and rocks) the kids all picked him up and if it was uphill they pushed him on his bike until he was properly started again sometimes launching him at rocket speeds! He loved it!
We've all had a few good crashes as every mountain biker who thinks they might be in more control than they are but I must say in general our bodies are bouncing back and healing. Health wise we are well but all pretty skinny. Peter is the skinniest as his shorts are just falling off him and today announced he is at an all time low for his weight. No surprise as he is playing soccer nearly everyday and we are all exercising all the time mostly with our bikes or on small tropical runs plus just the generally minute by minute sweating that occurs every minute!!! Our diet is pretty much the same everyday as we have local food from subsistance farmers who grow just small amounts to bring to the market. Our biggest challenge is getting enough protein. We are eating lots of groundnut butter (like peanut butter from local nuts) but we realize that our mostly vegetarian diet at home includes a lot of dairy and mostly cheese which we are sorely missing. Ahhhh....just thinking of cheese! We have little circles of Laughing Cow cheese but what we would give for a big chunk of Tilamook Cheddar!!!
Our latest and greatest discovery is goat. While there are no restaurants in our village we did discover this random guy from Guinea who roasts meat downtown and for about $2 you can buy marinated goat with onions and spices. Not totally my thing but I'm eating it, Peter and the boys have become definite goat-holics--they can't get enough goat. Before I came to write on the computer the boys proposed again...maybe goat tonight??? We make rice and some veggies then Peter takes the bike for "take out goat" and a tupperware and rides into town about a mile and comes back with the steaming goods! We all cheer! Tonight I'm on goat duty and nearly running out of electricity and on my bike so will say goodbye for now---perhaps the next time I write we will no longer be doctors but rather beach faring tourists sinking our toes in the sand. We plan to travel in SL for 3 weeks then fly to Ghana middle of January. Ghana has more infrastructure with things like roads and buses and electricity and we look forward to logistically easier traveling and more wildlife and meeting up with my brother Wayne for our continued African adventures!