He drove us to Bissau in his Nissan SUV. It's a pretty big vehicle, for Guinea-Bissau, plus it has a chrome bumper guard added on that you often see used on vehicles that might run into big animals or other immovable objects. The purpose is to protect the nose of the car from serious damage. This bumper guard sticks up as well as extends wider than the SUV.
I'm generally pretty tolerant of another person's driving style. I don't normally gasp or cringe like some passengers I know.
That has to be true even more so when you're driving in countries like Kenya, Papua New Guinea and now Guinea-Bissau. Even if there are lines defining lanes, they are suggestions at best. A two lane road can quickly become a three or four lane road. There are lots of people walking, crossing, bicycling, motorcycling. There are also many chickens, pigs, cows and donkeys along or crossing the road.
And that's even before we got deep into Bissau with vehicles double-parked on narrow roads and streets congested with people, some with carts and wheelbarrows overloaded amazingly creatively.
Here's a series of pictures of one intersection when a taxi broke down and was not pushed out of the way. The taxis driving down our right side are basically driving on the "sidewalk" (where people walk).
William scares me. He drove in this wide SUV like he was an aggressive taxi driver. I saw people jump out of the way. One lady was crossing a divided road against a traffic light, carrying a loaded basket on top of her head. She never should have tried crossing but, once she began moving, she did not have too many options on stopping. William laid on the horn, startling the lady. He then swerved left into the left turn lane to pass behind her. Swiftly done but nerve wracking to at least the woman and to me.
I truly thought we were going to clip at least a dozen people yesterday and maybe squash one small chicken and one pig.
And they require a drivers' license to be able to drive like this?
And when we stopped for petrol (and an ice cream bar), William's battery was too weak to start the SUV. We needed help from four others to push so he could pop the clutch and get us going again.
I can't wait to get home.
Yesterday was another really hot day. It reached just over 100 degrees. Most of our work in Bissau involved spending time outdoors in the hot sun. Neither Corey nor I brought our hats. Corey has less hair than me and spent more time outdoors so he got some serious color up top. I think I did fine as I finished connecting the cables we ran in the trench on Thursday to the National Council's office and then strung the cable for our guest apartment up the outside wall, along the roof line, around the corner and into a hole into the apartment. I'll finish this job on our next trip to Bissau Tuesday or Wednesday.
The director of the National Church has been wanting internet access for his office for quite a while. Estevao had agreed to provide one connection off of our network but had stipulated that it should be only used by one computer at a time (to limit how big a drain would be placed on our slow internet connection). The director pressed me about wanting more than one connection and is still asking me to add a hub to multiply the number of computers he can use. I've declined citing Estevao's policy.
|Aha! We have Internet access at last? Let's watch a video!|
Today is Saturday but it's pretty much a work day for Estevao (who had a morning meeting and will be meeting with us for a project review) and Corey and me. We are reviewing our plan for next week and catching up on documentation.
We've also already had several people bring us computer problems here in Lendem. William just sold his older, normal sized laptop computer to a friend in Bissau who in turn sold William a netbook (very small, light computer) that was supposed to be new. Out of the box, it won't boot up because of bad installation of Microsoft Windows. I have tried to get around the problem but have told William there is nothing I can do here. How disappointing for him.
On the other hand, a Guinea-Bissau women who has been here for the OneStory workshop brought us 3 USB drives, claiming that they had a virus. Corey and I tested each one and found no viruses but that some virus had taken all her files and had hidden them and made them hard to restore. Fortunately, we were able to run a command that restored all her files (about 5 GB of documents and pictures), both for work and personal. We returned them to her just before she left Lendem to return home.
We're now two thirds through our time here in Guinea-Bissau.
- I should experience my first Guinea-Bissau church experience here tomorrow
- Perhaps travel one day to one or two other SIL locations here in Guinea-Bissau (mostly to let Corey evaluate what can be done to provide power)
- Two work days in Bissau to finish jobs there
- And the rest will be here in Lendem
Please continue to pray for Estevao. While the symptoms for malaria are less right now, he is still experiencing frequent pain from the pinched nerve in his spine.