["We couldn't get the generator started but it was kind of nice with some candles and just gazing at the stars. There was a huge storm coming with the most amazing lightning display."]
Wednesday October 6th
11:15pm: I arrived in Rouks at 5:55pm about 5 minutes before our curfew. We drove out of Freetown at 9:00am, through Waterloo and then onto Masiaka which is a sort of truck stop with a small market. Then we headed for Rouks along a really bumpy road. We only traveled about 250km but it took us all day. The roads are really bad.
I spent the whole night talking with Claude who I will be replacing. He has been here for 6 months and has had a really great time. He is so involved in the local culture and he even wears the same clothes as the richer people. We were talking and he said that you should be able to pick up Krio the local language pretty easily. I said I hadn't heard it yet. He said yes you have, it is spoken over the whole country and especially in Freetown, its a mixture of english, portugese and french etc. Then I realised that I thought that everyone just spoke English really badly but it was in fact a different language. It sounds a lot like English. I said why don't people just speak English. Claude said it would make more sense.
Claude is a really cool guy and so relaxed, before he joined Hope he studied Anthropology after leaving school, but it wasn't his thing so last year he started with Hope and had previously worked in Sudan and Burundi. He must have studied anthropology for a long time because he is the same age as me. I think the degree's are a bit longer in France. He said he came from a small place called Embrun near Briancon in the Alps of France.
Well we had some joints and a few beers, life in the field hey. I have never really smoked before just at friends of Jen's parties who are in bands and live in the inner city. I also smoked a bit in Amsterdam but that's another crazy story. Claude said we should chill tonight because it will be pretty hectic tomorrow for the briefing. Claude said that he can only give me a one day handover. He had hoped that I would come earlier. He said when he arrived in Rouks he didn't even get any handover at all. He said he had to be in Freetown on Friday for his farewell party. He asked if I spoke French, he said that he had written his handover report in French because he was a bit rushed. Lucky I have been studying with the Berlitz tapes.
The compound is pretty simple, no running water and a mud brick house. We couldn't get the generator started but it was kind of nice with some candles and gazing at the stars. There was a huge storm coming with the most amazing lightning display. We stayed till the rain came and then went to sleep. A great first night.
Dave (me) Claudia