Tuesday, January 22, 2008

things i should and shouldn't tell you

the boss of one of my friends here is a lebanese Christian who thinks that all american missionaries work for the CIA. that's right. i am the jason bourne of freetown. anyway, shortly after he made this accusation i signed in on facebook and most of the adverts on my page were in arabic and i had invitations to join some lebanese political groups. so i was like, "oh yeah? who's the spy now?!?" and sometimes i jokingly call my lebanese friends "terrorists." just in jest. it's light-hearted fun. well, 2 minutes ago when i checked my blog, the page was in arabic. yeah. saw the 2 boxes where you are supposed to put your sign-in name and your password. but i, of course, put them in the wrong places because, well, arabic goes left to right. so i tried again, and then once i signed in i saw english... anyway, it looks like my cover is blown and now they're just messing with my head.

okay so, here are some stories that i swore i would never tell my mom, but now that they are in the distant past, i think they're are slightly amusing. sorry mom.

a few months ago was supposed to go out to one of the refugee camps with florence and erin. the day kinda boxed up and we left a bit later than we planned to, and i hadn't had time to eat all morning. we had to take one kind of transport to get to another kind of transport and florence kept telling me i needed to eat something, but i'm stubborn and i kept saying i would just get a plate of rice once we got to the camp since we were already late. this was right when it was getting really hot after the rains ended, and the sun was in full force. we ended up sitting in traffic for over an hour without moving a mile, and by then it was too late to go to the camp since we wouldn't get back until late and the east end of the city isn't somewhere you really want to be late at night. so we got down from the bus and started walking back toward town. i needed to stop at a friend's shop to pick something up, so the girls came with me. as soon as we reached, i started to feel sick. i told erin i needed some water and i sat down. then my friend looks at me and says "oh no. what's wrong with you? you're yellow!" so i ask to go to the bathroom. he shows me to the back of the store. i enter the bathroom, the room starts to spin, i think i'm going to die, i leave the bathroom because i don't want to die alone, i fall down in the hallway, lay there for a minute while everyone runs to see what happened, i gain enough strength to run back to the bathroom and throw up, then i started to feel better. they force-fed me 2 candy bars and 2 liters of water before they let me go home. so... the moral of this story is, you are never too busy to eat when it is 95 degrees and insanely humid. i learned my lesson. please don't lecture me.

the next story is a bit more disturbing. i'll spare the frightening details, and beef up the more entertaining ones... i think this happened in october... me and faye and our friends nicole and samir were walking on the beach one friday after work. we got caught up talking to some other friends and it started to get dark before we got back to samir's jeep. well, being the very smart girls that we are, nicole and i started to lag behind faye and samir (who is tall and manly and the kind of guy you want to keep up with if you are at lumley beach when it is getting dark). nicole pulls out her camera because we wanted to laugh at a picture she took earlier of samir (tall and manly) imitating the way faye walks (bouncy and girly). so yeah, 2 girls, lumley beach at dusk, nice digital camera. before we knew it, a guy runs up behind us and tries to take the camera out of nicole's hand. she refuses to let go (she's a very petite little thing too) and ends up getting thrown on the ground by the guy (who honestly wasn't much bigger than she was). anyway, being bigger than both of them, i started shoving the guy as hard as i possibly can. this doesn't sound funny, but it was a little bit because i had my rainbow sandals in my hands and i have a feeling those might cause a sting if you were hit in the face with them, which he was. so there's nicole laying between us in the fetal position with her camera, this little (yet strong) man bent down trying to get the camera with one hand and blocking blows from me and my sandals with the other hand. it was really pretty scary, but he didn't get the camera (even after another guy showed up to help) and i'm pretty sure they had friends watching who will never let them forget that they couldn't get a camera away from those 2 american girls. faye and samir did run back to help us too. i'm actually pretty sure that those guys would have gotten the camera had it not been for faye and samir. i think nicole and i managed for those first 30 seconds on just instinct alone, but once we realized what happened, we were crazy. she was really upset (who wouldn't be?) and i was just mad. so yeah, another lesson learned. and don't worry, i'm too paranoid now to let anything similar happen again. i'm pretty sure i shouldn't have told you this story...

people have asked about a mailing address and a phone number. mail is a funny thing here, and i'm still waiting on a few letters that i know were mailed 4 months ago. but faye did receive some Christmas packages - she received them after Christmas, but she received them. so, it's a gamble, but here is my address:

PO Box 545
Freetown, Sierra Leone

and i use the phone company that does the best job of receiving international calls, but they're not perfect. you might have to try a couple of times to get through. if you are calling from the US, my mobile number is:


oh! and my birthday was nice and i spent it at the beach. this is the first birthday i remember not needing a winter coat... but it was nice. and not as painful as i expected. :) i'm dramatic, i know.

love love love you all.


Anonymous said...

do you ever check your gmail

Sarah said...

i miss you stephy mac...happy birthday! glad it was good. remember the beach and the barracuda in 2004...good times, good times! any chance of you being in america in may?? love ya~~



Brent Anderson said...

please keep blogging.

Anonymous said...

I honestly just stumbled across your blog looking for info on Freetown (My mom is from there.) I'm a college student at the University of Virginia and I'm interested in social work/ humanitarian aid. I wanted to get more information about what group you are doing this through. If you get this comment, please respond to me via email: downistheupbeat@hotmail.com Thanks so much.

juls said...

just thinking of you!!

Liz said...

time for an update mcguire.

Ben Kendrew said...

Hi Steph. I just wanted to say hello. I hope you are doing well...please tell your family hello.

quebutterfi said...

hi steph! i miss you so much! i forgot you had this blog last time and tim shaw reminded me! i still had the link in my favorites :o) fyi...i have a beautiful, bouncing baby boy, eli. he'll be 5 months on monday! email me if you get a chance:
(was hoping you'd get my screen name) haha.