The rains pour forth once again here in Libreville. It is the first of the season. We are entering a nine month season of heat and humidity. The rains rip out of the clouds in a profusion of precipitous glory. I love the rain but find it's fierce companions of heat and sweltering humidity a daunting duo. I wake and shower and then face the day. Just walking down the street causes the sweat to flow freely and non-stop throughout the day and night. I am amazed that my hair didn't mildew during last year's rainy season as it stayed wet all the live long day and night. We are so happy to be living in the guest house residence that has a water tank in the back yard. The water company often cuts water to different neighborhoods at different times. We had water only during the hours of midnight to about 6 a.m. for months on end at our old place down the street. It was inconvenient to say the least. We now have water even when the water is cut due to the beloved tank in the back. Oh how I love the water tank! It sits against the back wall and is filled when we have service to be used when we don't. It's the best part of living here at the guest house hands down. Oh, that and the people that come and go.
Today also marks the presidential elections here. It has been a very quiet day. Normally the roosters crow and children laugh and scream, guys yell out as they play games at the video shop across the street, cars roar past periodically, dogs bark, you get the idea. Today even the roosters have been silent. We are enjoying the quiet and solitude. But it is a bit eery.
We were to go to our Field Forum tomorrow bright and early but due to our speaker's plane cancelation at the last moment we are staying here to receive him a day later than planned. We will drive to Lambarene (about a four hour drive outside of the city) with him and we will miss the first night. A big plus is we get the speaker all to ourselves... HeeeHeee.
We are hoping that when the elections are over and the new president is announced all will be at peace. The old president died in June after being in office for 42 years. His son is the front runner and many are saying they want a change. They are saying that Gabon is a democracy and not a kingdom. Though this nation is at peace and it's people are not starving, the health, education, and infrastructure are subpar to say the least. The country's wealth are contained within the top 2% to 3% leaving the remaining population impoverished.
I feel I've been lagging behind the huge learning curve we are climbing since the beginning of this adventure. Language school in the french Alps while stunning and life changing was incredibly difficult. Then moving to Central Africa and living in a new culture, climate, etc has proven to be just as daunting. We move up and down the socioeconomic scale on a regular basis here. I am in a book club with the American Ambassador and we meet in homes of the upper-class ex-patriots (like, really, really nice houses). Then we live among the moderately wealthy Gabonese people as in those with houses, gates and appliances. But a stone's throw away are shacks of cinderblock and tin roofs. We are also learning to negotiate the missionary culture which is a new world in and of itself to us.
So lift a nearby drink and clink glasses with us to toast our first full year in Gabon! Here's to hoping that this next year will be one of growth and great stories filled with heroism and hilarity.