03 November 2012

It's about the journey...

I walked out my door this morning at 745am intending to have a full day, but having no idea what really would take place before I returned close to 10pm.
my moto at the mechanics

Unfortunately my moto had decided to quit on me last night while I was on my way home (it had been in the shop all day because of a different problem...). So thanks to some good friends, my moto was placed in the back of a truck to be taken back to one side of town and another friend picked me up to take me home. Thus this morning I set out to catch a taxi to go meet up with my moto and get it back to the mechanic... 

After hailing and trying to catch multiple taxis (the system here is to pack in as many people as possible who are all heading generally the same direction, so often it takes a few tries to find one going the right way), I decided to offer a little extra money to be taken direct to the other end of town. Well he wanted more than that but I wanted to get on with my day so I agreed (only an extra 500cfa). Well this "white girl" apparently made some other peoples days. As he picked up and dropped off people all the way across town (ahem so much for direct) he explained that this white american was paying their fare today! Excellent :) We finally get close to where my bike is, when the taximan decides he wants me to learn "right and left" in Zarma. Which is great as that is the language I am studying... However that meant that we drive in circles and weave all over taking far longer than necessary to reach my destination in order for me to successfully repeat (kanbanari and kanbouwo ... I think)  :)

Well upon arriving at the compound where my moto was waiting, I am greeted by the guys who work there who couldn't figure out how I got there and why my bike was already there... :) So I proceed to tell them that the carburateur has a problem and if they would please help me to put the moto back in the truck and drop it off with the mechanic. Some things are the same everywhere: men want to fix what is broken. As they take my keys and insist I must be doing something wrong and that they can figure it out, all I can picture is the last time it wasn't working and somehow my bike ended up in pieces and they were holding it upside down and shaking it (amazingly it helped)...  :)  But I told them that I appreciate their desire to fix it, but that this time it is the mechanics job to fix what he broke the day before :) 

my moto at the mechanics

The next few hours were spent running unsuccessful errands all over town. From people not being in their offices to power cuts, to the lack of food at restaurants... I was very glad when I was able to retrieve my once again fixed moto, stop by my office to see friends and get some info (and invite myself to dinner the following week with some people coming to talk about sports ministry here :) ) and then finally pick up some yummy $1 sandwiches and have lunch with a friend. 

It is now about 3pm.  This is when my day made some unexpected turns. Everything else so far is more of a normal days worth of adventures so wouldn't have been worth writing about... but combined with what follows, I can safely say it has been quite the day!

Today was the day to start contacting some "realtor" type folks about looking for a house here. I knew that this would be quite the process (I don't know anyone who hasn't had some difficulties working with this system), but I don't think I had any idea what I was actually getting into! I called one guy and gave him a few general things I am looking for and he said he would get back with me. So I called the next guy. He immediately tells me he has a house for me! I said, but you don't even know what I'm looking for yet! Ahem.. He is sure however that he has a place, I tell him that I am looking for something small for myself, he says "oh.. well I still have a house for you!" and asks if I could meet up right then. Since I wasn't too far away from where he wanted to meet, I told him I could could. I figure, if nothing else maybe I can explain better what I want, where, and my price range in person.

So I am chilling on my moto in the shade trying to avoid getting burned, when a man walks up and says "hi, it's me." Excellent. You who? Well it was the realtor, but he continued to look at me a little confused. I said so where is the house? He said it's back behind here a little ways. Ok... (I'm thinking, so let's go!) Then he says, "you have a moto." I now realize the problem. He does not have a moto. He expected me to have a car and that he would hop in and we would drive around... So, instead he begins walking and I drive from shade tree to shade tree as we make our way to this house. Upon arriving he explains that he has to go somewhere else to get the keys. Ok. Well about 30 minutes later he returns in a car full of men. Turns out to be the property owner (who ended up being a high ranking government official) and friends. 

So we all walk into the compound that actually seemed not so bad.. The house was about the same size as mine in Maka but all put into one building. The proprietor wants to talk for a while first before I can go inside. "Give it vision" or something :) Tell me his plans, what he is willing to do to the house to fix it up (it was umm very basic to say the least and in need of major repairs). This is all fine as I'm not looking for something big or fancy by any means. Eventually we look around... I think hmm maybe it could be workable. But how much is my question. After talking a while longer, he finally tells me to tell him what I have for a budget and then we could discuss prices from there. I tell him. Ahem. Let's just say that it must be the location of the property, but what he wanted was 3x more than what that building is worth. He told me we should write up a contract right then and that he is sure I can pay what he is asking. I said kindly no thank you but if I ever change my mind I would let him know. The realtor seems a little upset as we walk away. He agreed that he had not taken the time to listen to what I wanted, so I explained what I was looking for. He says he understands and has the perfect place for me at the right price...

He sends me back to the main road where I wait in some shade for him to join and he says he is going to catch a taxi and then I will follow them to the next house on my moto. Ok, let's try again since I'm already out. So I am waiting but then... what?! He hopped into a taxi going the exact opposite way of where I am looking... I feel as though I should follow however so we drive.. right on out to the edge of town. He hops out and says ok its just a ways further then turn left. I said there is no way I want to live in this part of town. I think he finally understood that I was serious about what I was asking for. So we parted ways and he agreed to call back monday with some other options. We will see what the next few weeks bring... :)

Next I went over to hang out with a friend while her daughter was swimming and we talked about more ideas and things that she has found here housing and sports wise. She is awesome. Did you know that there is a gym here? Like a real full fledged eliptical, weights, etc gym! We went by to check out its hours etc. Who knew. 

Now it's off to another meet-up. This one was set up through a friend of a friend's husband. This Nigerien gal, M, is supposed to be involved with sports here and could help me get connected with what is going on locally for girls our age. Needless to say I was pretty excited! We were meeting up at this new "trendy" restaurant. What I didn't realize was that it was not just the two of us meeting for dinner. It was us, plus a couple of guys, and lots of mojito's (for them ;) )... I almost laughed out loud.  Not exactly the Makalondi village experience this time ;) I don't really know what I was expecting, but we all had a great evening talking about all kinds of things. There is always a lot to learn here, and this business realm of Nigerien culture is not something I know much about, but it was very interesting to listen to. She is not as much involved in sports here, but knows a lot of people so we will meet up later to meet some of them.

So, what did I accomplish today? Hmm... well my moto seems to be running better as it got me all over town. I think that's the thing about this place. It's not really about what you get done or don't get done, but the conversations you have and the people you get to interact with that counts the most. 

I don't really know that much more than I did at the beginning of the day about where I will live or what type of sports ministry I can start looking into. But I did meet a lot of new people. I did get to make some new friends and contacts. And I see a lot of possibilities in the future. God knows what he has for me and where, all I can do is be obedient and take advantage of every opportunity to learn and explore the different options. The pace of life here is slow, and getting involved in and finding programs takes time. I am just thankful that each day holds something new and that God has a purpose in what can seem like an "unproductive" day from the outside.  I love that even just searching out sports here has given me the chance to meet so many more local unbelieving people my age.  The journey is where life happens. 

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Hey Beki - what a great post. Your stories are very inspiring! Thats really cool about doing sports-related ministry!