All those good good people in Conakry.
Mission Catholique nearly 3 weeks. They have long given me another, a Guinean name. "Lansine". People come up saying, it has never been like that here before I have shown up. And all those normal, super friendly people ... We are together, on est ensemble. How many times someone has said it? Indicating: We are friends. I have hardly time to think while still there, too busy is my schedule. Still I am touched now that I have time to think back.
Doundounba in our honour.
What an honour. The friends in the Sanké Ballet come this early morning to the rehearsal ground to play their drums to say good bye, a farewell doundounba, and some cannot hold back their tears. Lansine, Lansana, Bofe, Mohamed, and a few more.
Fantakounda, Lansine's wife, has prepared a Feuille Manioc (cassava leafs) rice dish, spicy, oily the way it should be. She has got up early a 6h to get it ready.
This Sunday the 24th of December, we are all tired from the night before, really from all those past high flying nights.
Lansine gives me a small djembé, a cadeau, a gift. It was his 6 year old boy's, now it is for my boys, he says, the twins that are waiting to be born in Vienna.
What an honour.
So much has happened these last 3 weeks. So close have I gotten to the band, the ballet. "Monday's rehearsing will be sad." I too will miss them. Because I won't come back soon. But I promise to make a big effort to do so next year. Friend ship, may it last.
Really you don't expect anything like that to happen. This would be called dreaming.
And really I am very happy about it.
And really all these months after the events, back in Vienna while working the Guinea 2006 pages, I keep thinking of them. And there is a plan now to return.
Christmas Eve - Conakry back to Bamako.
Finally later than planned in the morning, after many hugs and many tears we manage to tear ourselves away.
Time has come to face reality.
Bamako is some 1000km away.
But three friends are with me. Liz and Dan, two English who I met on my arrival in Conakry, and Amadou, Burkinabe who studies in France.
Dan at 26 had already managed to travel a lot in his life. Now he is on his way to SA with his girlfriend, Especially with Dan I have connected well in Conakry. We have a plan to do the Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in January together. Finally I would get to Ghana. Let's see. Life is what we make of it.
So we drive all day potholed roads with overloaded vehicles and trucks and evening comes and the savanna is burning.
And we drive all night and it is cold again at night and I, I cannot get the sound of djembées out of my head. And the diarrhoea is still there (6 weeks now). It will all be fine soon.
We reach Bamako the next morning at 7h. This is Christmas day. I am ill, I am sad, I am tired.
Bamako, Say good bye to the Landy.
Conakry was too good to be true and I have been flying high, too high maybe. - And coming down to this other world has always been a hard undertaking.
After Conakry already Bamako seems like the other world, too clean, too organised and much more civilised. ;-)
When I park the Land Rover for what maybe a very long time, it is blunt sadness that overcomes me.
In Vienna there are two baby boys waiting to arrive in the months ahead. It is all worth to shake off sadness and look forward to going back.
One chapter closed another one of even bigger excitement opened ....
28th in the early morning I fly to Casablanca. I still have the diarrhoea. I am longing for some rest. It will all be fine soon.
On the plane, I still have the drums and djembée rhythms in my head and they will only fade away very slowly.
Later Zurich airport seems totally from a different (stupid) planet. What people are consuming? What money is spent on? But I am cool. I know things now. I am really cool. I am on a mission.
Even later Vienna and Hasna and friends and family, I am super cool. I just need to sleep. And slowly I begin to feel happy. And this happiness won't go. Too deep is the impact Guinea and the friends there have had on me.
Travelling is such a wonderful, eye opening experience.
Stay tuned, we'll be on the road again sooner than you think.