Monday, May 3, 2010

Excitement in Brikama

     As we walked back from the market we saw black smoke billowing up into the sky. Our first thought was that the Galp gas station was on fire, which would be quite dangerous and terrible in itself. As we kept walking we looked down a side street where many people had gathered and were staring at the source of the smoke. We decided to venture down ourselves to see where the fire was exactly. As we rounded the corner of the intersection the crowd became larger and we found what we were "looking" for. Sadly it was a family's compound. The flames were raging on the inside all the way to the ceiling. Being a concrete or mud block house the flames were contained inside, but our hearts sank a little as we quickly continued on our way in efforts to be out of the way of the fire department.
      At home we have house insurance. In a fire we lose things that are meaningful and valuable to us, but with the help of insurance, family and friends they can be replaced and a new house can be bought or built. Here insurance is less than common and most people don't have bank accounts so their money is most likely kept in their homes. I'm not sure the typical protocol for a house fire here, but thankfully, being a warm climate culture there is usually family to help out at least some. Unfortunately a compound contains several families that would in other situation help each other out.
     It is hard to hear of someone losing their home in the United States, but seeing the house engulfed in flames here hit me in a new way. I felt a new sorrow and disturbance about the whole ordeal. The Gambia is continually becoming more and more developed, but the people here still have much less than we have as Americans and seeing someone lose it all, knowing that the money to replace what they had will be hard to come by, made me think about how blessed we are.
     On a lighter note, we have a few dogs here that live on the grounds of Methodist Mission where we are living. We have grown to love them dearly as we throw out our scraps, fill up a bucket of water and just enjoy sitting outside with them. For the past couple months one of the dogs has been pregnant and we knew that the puppies were coming soon, we just weren't sure when. Yesterday morning Tia (the pregnant dog) came to see us and we could see that her belly had changed so we knew that it would be soon. We didn't see her the rest of the day so we figured that she had bedded down somewhere to have the pups, but we couldn't find her. Then, last night as we were coming home, some of the other dogs came to greet us and I heard some growling coming from the bushes as one of the other dogs got too close for Tia to feel comfortable. So, I trekked back through the leaves to find our furry friend, and there she was looking proud as can be with her new babies. I took her some water and we counted 6 alive and unfortunately one dead. This is more than we were hoping for as some of the residents here at the mission don't really like the dogs and have been trying to send them away (two have already been sent away). We are hoping that they will at least let Tia wean the puppies before doing anything about her or the puppies. Typically people will come and take them away so that they can have a guard dog of their own, so hopefully that will be the case this time as well. Either way, we are excited for our new additions to the mission and we can't wait to watch them grow and develop personalities! Here are a couple of pictures:


"can't it just be over, it's too hot!"

"hey, look what I did today!"

 our new litter

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