Stories from Africa, the Lion Mountain IV

It’s late afternoon. Ginny drives me to the hotel, and Bockarie keeps us company, summing up the working day along the way. I suggest we go for a drink. We stop at Lumley Road, in front of a beach bar named Cuba. The bar is outdoors. Simple inventory. Several canopies with plastic and tin roofs resting on wooden beams driven into the sand, something like a bar, with a barbecue in the background, and an ancient billiard table with several guys gathered around it. I notice they play badly. The plastic tables and chairs are slightly sunk into the soft sandy surface. On one side is the street, on the other the beach and the ocean. Bockarie and I sit at the table closest to the beach, while Ginny orders a drink and returns to the vehicle, which may not be left unattended. My enthusiasm for the ocean and the beach from this morning does not decline. The environment in which I find myself is quite different from the enclosed spaces and limited gardens common in the part of the world I come from. The sun is still strong and high above the sea, but in some unusual way it does not burn on the skin as in my parallel. At Bockarie’s suggestion, I order Guinness, which is produced in a local brewery.

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Stories From Africa, the Lion Mountain III

The ringing of the phone in the room interrupts my focus to work. They’re calling from the reception desk. It’s eleven o’clock. Wasn’t it at 12? Time seems to be a flexible term here, quite different from the one I’m used to. I put on my shoes and jacket, take my bag and quickly go out. In front of the building my driver Ginny waits for me together with Bockarie, an excellent specialist in development projects, human rights and economic development. I heard from him several times in preparation for my mission and felt somehow happy to be able to work with a man whose African experience is comparable to my European one. I see him for the first time in person. He’s a little older than me. He is thin, but bony and strong. Pleasant smile. Feeling like we’ve known each other for a long time. We hugged in greeting.

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