I thought he’d forgotten. I languished beneath my mosquito net half reading a poorly written novel but mostly succumbing to the brutal heat still lingering in the late afternoon.

My morning had been fruitful. My lift into town dropped me far away from the Catholic compound- barely in the city limits. On the side of the road, unable to catch one of a dozen pinpins driving by (PC forbids us to ride them) I walked beneath the shadowless reach of afternoon sun. My new acquaintance, a nearby justice of the peace forewent a quicker cooler ride on a pinpin and instead walked beside me along the dusty road. He shared his thoughts on justice and court. He talked about the war and how he had housed Mandingos, on his farm and was called to task for it, ordered killed. But when asked why he harbored them his answer, “because they are humans. They are not armed. They are seeking safety,” was set free.

I arrived tired and late for my French lesson but despite that (and my missed session last week) it went well and afterward I sat around laughing and talking with my teacher…my friend…

That, the long walk and brainwork, lead to me sprawling on my bed, only half annoyed that I’d been stood up. Only I hadn’t been. Sierra Leone called to arrange meeting at Starbucks in 30 minutes, and there he was ready to walk to SKT as the sun headed briskly toward the horizon.

It isn’t a long walk but there are no sidewalks – and in some places, no footpaths along the long stretch of paved road that cars and pinpins race down, narrowly missing potholes, each other, and pedestrians (most of the time). The perilous walk was worthwhile. We meandered up a side road in SKT (a town I’d only driven through) and passed curious onlookers until we reached Caucus.

Caucus is known joint in these parts – renowned for its goat soup. Apparently Sierra Leone had called ahead and so we had two steaming bowls brought to us. Goat soup is a spicy broth based soup with huge chunks of goat in it…some I could identify others I wasn’t so sure about.

Sierra Leone watched me for a little while and then inquired, “why are you leaving the skin?”

“it’s a texture thing,” I responded. True…the skin has a layer of fat beneath it that grosses me out – but the thought of chewing on the skin itself was unpleasant.

He shook his head, “that is the best part. When we make goat soup we purposefully leave the skin on, that is where the smell of the goat is. We eat the soup because of the smell of it. You are leaving the best part.”

I shared the “best part” and shortly after we began the dark walk home. En route Sierra Leone teased me about not going out at night (transportation is an issue and so I’m out of practice) and chided me for thinking I can’t walk around alone at night. He assumed my reasoning is Africa based.

I corrected him, “I don’t walk around by myself in the dark anywhere, it is ingrained, but add to that I’m foreign and people assume I have NGO money, it isn’t a good mix.”

“but here you could here,” he argued, “because you are foreign people watch out for you.”

It is true. I have been blessed by many a person who extends a helpful word or action in my direction because I am not a daughter of this dust…but as in all places, it is not the majority I am worried about…it is the one in a thousand…the one who doesn’t have my best interest at heart.

“I have interactions all the time with men who talk to me inappropriately or try to do things that aren’t ok,” I answered. He looked genuinely surprised.


We walked on in the dark, dodging traffic that whizzed by blowing dust, debris, and diesel into our path and occasionally stopping to look at the stars. We didn’t see my circumstances the same but we could both admire Orion.

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