When we first came to Guinea Bissau in August of 2013 our children were wide eyed, curious and everything was new to them. This time, they knew what to expect, everything from driving to the airport to arriving in our village. When we got off the plane in Dakar, Senegal the children weren’t wide eyed with adrenaline, but rather tired and ready to find a bed. They gained their energy once we met up with a fellow missionary, Beryl, then once we were in the car going to the guesthouse, they fell asleep. Last time they were wide eyed looking at everything taking it all in. I remember sitting there thinking, our children’s world view just got blown open, this time I thought they are quite accustomed to life in West Africa. Once we arrived at the guesthouse, our children regained their energy with excitement to go and play with everything they had missed. They ran to the tire swing and pushed each other with laughter flowing from their mouths. They ran in search of a ball to play basketball and then onto our apartment where we would sleep for the day. Our children wanted to experience everything that had become so familiar. Michael left to take our bags to the ferry and I only wanted to sleep. My eyes were heavy from lack of sleep on the plane and it was only 1:00 am for us even though the sun was telling us differently. Eventually the children calmed down and they all lay down and slept for almost the whole day. We woke up around 2:00 pm (Senegal time) and began preparing for the ferry, our next leg of the trip. We were happy to meet up with another missionary family that was also taking the ferry down to Ziguinchor, therefore making our ferry ride more fun than usual.
Once we arrived in Ziguinchor, we said goodbye to our friends and began the wait for our bags to be unloaded from the ferry. Michael stayed with our kids and I left, with our fellow missionary, Delores, to get our supplies for in the village. On our way out Delores and I saw two men standing across the street waving with huge smiles on their faces. It was Djibi and Adramane who had come up to meet us. We went over to meet them and were embraced with huge hugs as they were so happy to see us. We then left them to buy our supplies and then to return to meet up with the rest of our group to then began the third and last leg of our trip.
After a long time of loading 20 suitcases and nine backpacks onto the car, Michael worked to get a good price for our car eventually agreeing on a price that was too high, but we were all tired and ready to go home. The car was loaded on the top and inside and we began the trek to Catel. The driver began honking to announce our arrival in the village and we began waving to the faces we had grown to call our friends. Children ran after our van and a stream of people began arriving to our house as we disembarked from the van. We were greeted with smiles, hugs and dancing. We were so happy to be back and I believe from our greeting from the people here, they were so happy to have us back.
This time for our arrival in Catel, we could understand what people were saying to us. Our children also could instantly talk to their friends and play. We all knew what to expect and knowing what to expect makes your experience entirely different.