Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Typical !
At the weigh-in Haddy is seven kilo’s over our already overweight baggage allowance and at £17.50 a kilo that isn’t going to be cheap…
Thankfully we’ve purchased those ‘cargo’ trousers which means another three kilo’s is taken out and stuffed into what remains of pockets and we only have to pay for another four.
I’m wondering if I can actually carry anything else ?
Every pocket is stuffed full of electrical stuff from mini-disk recorders to transformers, microphones, batteries, leads, recipe cards (don’t ask) and God knows what else, so the first thing we do when on the aircraft is transfer some of it to hand luggage so we can actually fit into our seats.
I don’t know why these people insist on such a shitty baggage allowance when you can carry it all about your person, but they do and although it’s inconvenient for a few hours we’re still taking it, and we’re still not paying for it and what is more, THEY are still transporting it in the cabin.
There is no film on the flight as we’re not going with our usual airline, so we’re all stuffed in like sardines on an Easyjet long haul and fun it isn’t, but finally we’ve landed…

A dash through  immigration so we can get a trolley at the other end to get our seriously overweight suitcases through the pack, but knowing a couple of the baggage handlers holds us in good stead.
The usual question at immigration ‘Where am I staying ?’
Answer.  In the family compound at Fajikunda with my wife who’s just gone through…
And I’m waved in.
‘Thank you’
 Through the scanner and I’m done.

God !  The look on ‘Tufa’s face when he sees us…
Haddy had rung him and told him that someone was bringing some baggage through for us and he’d have to be there to collect it.
Surprise surprise !
So now he can’t warn the kids that we’re coming,

and after stopping at the supermarket at the top of the road for some ‘items of importance’ to whit: Beer, Ginger Beer, Coca-Cola and Fanta, we’re there.

At which point, just as we’re getting out of the car, Housainatou opens the compound gate and shrieks…
It’s another five minutes before we can extricate our legs from the hugs of the shorter members of the family, but it gives us time to catch our breath before the inevitable question…
‘Right… What’s happening ?’

The mobile ‘phone masts must have lit up like Christmas trees because within ten minutes of us arriving the compound is chock full of people coming over to greet us.
Unpacking is a luxury and is not even attempted.
Unwinding from a six hour flight is paramount but seems beyond the horizon right now.
Now is meet, greet, make calls and send more texts.


Mamjarra & Housainatou

Aunt Rose' daughter, Mamjarra, is staying at the compound and will be leaving tomorrow morning.
That was previously arranged, we're not actually turfing her out.
We couldn’t unpack anyway as I think we’ve brought clothes for half the country, and not just half the
Sainabou has to get in touch with her husband to be and get him to send his delegation to us on his behalf to arrange the marriage while Haddy arranges for the Imam and elders and councillors from the local mosque

to do some negotiating on my behalf as I don’t speak the local languages to any great extent.
(About five or so words, actually...)
Sainabou, of course, is not at home and has her ‘phone turned off.
No guesses for where she could be, then ?
Boy, is she gonna get a surprise when she comes home…

Thankfully, one of the councillors speaks pretty good English and so we have a quick practice for five minutes and at the end of it we both know we can do this, so everything SHOULD pass off acceptably when we do the real thing ?
Marriage contracts are completely alien to me, so this is going to be a first.

Haddy and the guys from the mosque have made their minds up.
It’s going to be 6000 Dalasi plus all the extras which include cloth/clothing for me and the money to get it made, and Sainabou’s real Mum (Haddy adopted her when she was about seven) who is coming from Casamance.
Since I’m supposed to be dressed in white then my wedding outfit is going to be pressed into service again.
Buba’ Sainey and the mosque guys seem to have everything in hand on our side so now it’s just a question of waiting until we hear from the groom’s party.
Bloody hell !!!
Where are we supposed to sleep ?
There are clothes everywhere.
On the bed, on the floor, all in piles with a post-it note attached with a name on it.
At which point Sainabou turns up.
Yep.  You were right if you’ve been reading thus far…
She was round the prospective groom’s place.

After we’ve given some of the clothes away it’s close to midnight but at least now we have a bit of bed to sleep in.
I don’t know where we’re supposed to stand though ?
Going arse over tit by stepping on the wrong pile of clothing is a definite possibility.
You’re having a laugh.
Apparently the first wedding presents are beginning to turn up and we only got here six hours ago…
Sod this, I’m off to my bed.
I’m knackered and the rest can wait until tomorrow.

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