Senegal 2010 - Day 14 (Tues.) - farewell to Senegal!
Well, all good things come to an end, and so it was that the day of our journey back arrived. That morning we presented to the Brothers at Diourbel (including the community Superior, Frère Jean-Baptiste who had come back the day before from Brothers' meetings in Togo) a data projector, dvd player, amplified speakers and a couple of dvds: the same setup that we used and left in Richard-Toll. The Brothers were delighted at the possibilities that the equipment offered for use in their secondary school there.
We also left them our 12 mosquito net tents that we had been using. The Brothers were going to pass them on to some of the 45 or so boarding pupils they who either don't have nets or have very poor ones. They assured us that these would make a real difference to the young people and would be very much appreciated.
All of this (and the equipment for Richard-Toll, including sports gear, etc...) was paid for through the money that our Team Win members managed to raise themselves, together with other donations that came in during our preparation for the trip. A particular thanks has to go to Fr. Michael Peters, our College Chaplain in Southampton whose sizeable donation allowed us in the end to get the second set of projector/dvd/speakers for Diourbel.
Our last lunch. The Brothers offered the over 18s in our group some wine. As Jacob is 17, he managed to persuade Frère Adolphe to give him the last bit, which Jacob, in his enthusiasm to drink it, managed to spill all over the table. Before he knew it, Simon then reached over and downed what little wine was left in his glass. As Scousers would say, he was gutted! The photo shows Frère Adolphe's mopping up operation.
After our final goodbyes, we set off for Dakar airport. At one point it looked as if we would have to stop off in Thiès (our first port of call in Senegal) again on the way to Dakar, as one of the co-group Team leaders (who shall remain nameless... my life wouldn't be worth living!) had left their passport in Thiès. In the end, a Brother from Diourbel was heading to Thiès before we got to Diourbel oursleves and was therefore able to pick it up.
A minibus that seemed to be in fact a welded-together collage of bits from various minibuses. Very reassuring! In fact, it is the kind of thing that you just get used to when travelling in Africa. Due to the lack of seatbelts, Francis + myself would always sit in the front, so that we would be the ones going through the front window, not any of our young adults. Very heroic of us, don't you think? :-)
We left Diourbel with plenty of time to spare as we didn't want to get caught in the potentially extensive traffic jams that occur daily on the way to Dakar. We were very glad that we did this, as our minibus was showing serious signs of weakness. Myself + Bro. Francis were on the front seat with Francis between me and the driver. His thigh was black and blue after the journey, as the gear stick/gearbox was for most of the drive so slack that the driver was having to move it so far across to engage in gear. In the end, we stopped for the driver and his assistant to tighten up the clutch which seemed to have given way completely. After this, Francis' thigh got a little respite.
But perhaps the most disconcerting thing was that when we stopped for the running repairs, they were exactly that.... the driver took the key out of the ignition AND THE ENGINE KEPT RUNNING. "Du jamais-vu" as they would say in French (never seen THAT before!)
The engine is running, but the key is on the dashboard. Ya gotta larf! You can see the driver's head in the left of shot under the steering column as he fixes the clutch.
In the end, we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and were able to use that time to do some final souvenir shopping and to have a last meal together. Sophie's flight was leaving 1h30 before the one for the rest of us.
A Team Win toast!
Proudly showing off Team Win t-shirts and Senegalese clothing as we await our boarding call.
What a TEAM!!
It was a real pleasure, a joy to be in Senegal with this group. I will have very fond memories of our varied experiences. One lovely aspect is that the Liverpool + Southampton members have become firm friends and are planning to meet up again in the future. Indeed, when we got back to Southampton, the night before the Scousers went back up north, we went out for a pizza and film together, and they were invited to breakfast at the house of one of the group the following morning.
Well done to all of you. And roll on World Youth Day 2011!!
There will be more coming on the blog in relation to the trip: photos taken by other Team members, Rolo's meeting minutes, even a Team Win song!
Watch this space.