Our HR genius, Josh, has been shooting video daily and creating a compilation of 1 second from each day of his life since April. That inspired me to do the same with a project trip, which in turn made me think another fun thing might be to give you a sort of “random moment” peek into typical project days. All times are approximate, because you don’t really think I wrote all this down the second it happened, do you?
Saturday, May 28:
9:48 a.m. We lose Rex right after flight check in when he leaves the counter and goes to the right while the rest of us go left.
3:35 p.m. Rex and I power walk the halls of New York/JFK and scout a location for dinner. I shoot a selfie beside a chicken mural.
6:10 p.m. Depart JFK for Dakar and Dillon is seated beside a pair of brothers who spent a year of school in Dakar and happen to know the ministry of Beer Sheba Project. Small world.
Sunday, May 29:
6:45 a.m. I don’t really sleep, but I do manage to be incoherent enough to miss the coffee service on the plane; settle for Excedrin.
8:30 a.m. Land in Dakar, where we are required by security to ride bus a full 30 yards to the terminal building. Really.
9:03 a.m. Experience the smoothest customs entry of my life; all team luggage accounted for. Greeted by John, David, and Jason. On the drive from Dakar to Mbour we run over a goat.
11:24 a.m. Arrive in Mbour at the home where we will be lodging all week. Are fed a giant and delicious lunch. Eric introduces us to Raymond, our house helper and cook for the week, appoints Jason as FridgeMaster, then takes us on a walk to the beach.
3:47 p.m. Clean the camera gear, unpack a bit, pass the rest of the day in a jet-lagged blur. Pet dogs. Go to bed at some point, I think.
Monday, May 30:
2:02 a.m. Awakened by wind so loud I am certain I am in Colorado.
6:30 a.m. Instant coffee, gorgeous birds, other early risers
9:00 a.m. Depart Mbour for a tour of the Beer Sheba Project site, the future restaurant site, and meeting with mayor of Sandiara. Rex gives him a bag of Raisinets, which he finds delightful as he used to work for Nestle.
1:16 p.m. Treated to a Senegalese lunch, groups of 5 seated around one huge bowl; introduced to moringa powder, which is grown, dried and packaged at Beer Sheba.
2:09 pm After the tour we meet Martijn, a Dutch engineering graduate who is visiting his parents. Eric asks if he would be able to join our team and help, so he does. And with that, we have added another nationality to our team (Irish, Senegalese, US, Dutch).
8:00 p.m. Dinner, Raymond’s delicious chocolate cake, some project discussions and planning, then get about halfway through testimonies before most of us are too sleepy to go any longer.
Tuesday., May 31:
5:14 a.m. The neighborhood mosque is blaring the call to prayer and a rooster or goat is screaming. There is also a mosquito under my mosquito net and it’s hungry.
6:52 a.m. Try moringa powder in my yogurt. I take a guess on how much and it’s too much. I have to force it down. (Imagine if Yoplait made “Arugula with Sirloin.”)
10:00 a.m. Tour of the Catholic teacher training facility that Eric wants to model the Beer Sheba school after, as well as a house being built of compressed earth block. Lots of engineering talk I don’t understand, so I find a flock of goats to shoot.
1:20 p.m. Lunch back at the house: that yummy thing with the broken rice, onion sauce, carrots, and lime again. Lose all professional composure and Instagram it.
4:30 p.m. It is decided that Eric’s unused ping pong table top will make a fine work desk so the men go to fetch it. It has no net so they do what engineers do: McGuyver one out of a strip of moringa bag stickers; ping pong game follows.
7:00 p.m. Raymond's evening masterpiece: lasagna and some delicious desert; hear the remaining testimonies; a lot of project work happens. Drop my external hard drive thus killing it, turn off the computer, and thank God for giving me the foresight to buy an extra memory card and 3 16-gig USB drives for back up.
Wednesday, June 1:
9:45 a.m. John, Dillon, Jason, and I drive to the property to do a soil percolation test. In other words, they dig a hole while I shoot. Then they fill it with water and see how fast it drains while I shoot. A group of students shows up to see what is going on (also shoot). John explains it all and they grab shovels and help fill in the hole (go crazy shooting). It’s about 180 degrees F, dusty, and windy. Shooooooooot.
11:20 a.m. Stop at grocery to buy syrup because Rex plans to make French Toast. All we can find is baobab and Nutella. I get a cold shower and the camera gear gets cleaned again.
4:50 p.m. Dana arrives from airport. She joined late because she was backpacking Utah after graduation.
7:00 p.m. Eric takes us all to a lovely restaurant in nearby Saly for dinner. Dana gets the other bed in my room and the 18 mosquitos that sneak under her net inflict 100 bites on her legs in the night.
Thursday, June 2:
5:15 a.m. More call to prayer, goats, and screaming rooster.
10:00 a.m. Pastor Diokel (Jacquel) and Jeremy pick up John, Jason, Bill and I and take us to Gorou to see about a potential WASH project (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene)(shouldn't that be WSaH?). Bill and I ride in the back of the truck and it goes down as my favorite morning of the trip.
1:18 p.m. Back at the house, Bill asks me if I have heard from my kids, right as Joel texts to ask where he can find the ground beef.
5:35 p.m. Rope John and David together and attempt to shoot interview for a future video. In the course of 20 minutes we are “audio bombed” by 2 motorbikes, a truck, school children, a dog, and several car honks.
8:48 p.m Put together interview blooper reel before bed and review about 3 hours of time-lapse video footage (so, like 80 seconds). Have enough other footage to begin our team video.
Friday, June 3:
Blur of a workday in which I shoot about 4 hours of time lapse footage, a stray beach dog steals my phone, Jason and I start the Monty Python quotes, Raymond feeds us more amazing things, and I focus on capturing some good stills of these incredible teammates of mine.
Saturday, June 4:
Another blurry day whose details I cannot recall beyond our team inadvertently walking through a wedding party in town on our way to dinner and something about shrimp. On the way home in the dark a bunch of us step in a hole, one right after the other, and Rex finds a hedgehog.
Sunday, June 5:
Rest day = church with Pastor Diokel and Eric’s family, lunch at the mission house (Senegalese style!) with a cat, a walk on the beach, and Jason and Hutch depart. The rest of us crash hard in the downstairs room, check Facebook, and play ping pong.
Monday, June 6:
Crunch time! Most of the day is spent nailing down the presentation for tonight. The dogs get lost on their morning walk so around 1:00 pm Bill and I go looking for them. We find them on the beach, standing on rocks and staring out at the horizon like they are thinking very deep dog thoughts. Later we give the final project presentation to the Beer Sheba board of directors and they treat us to a cookout.
Tuesday, June 7:
Early in the morning we all move to a cute little beach resort in nearby Saly for our “R & R Day.” We have breakfast with cats, some time on beach, and a monitor lizard shows up. Lunch also features cats and David pours water on one to make it leave. I spend time in the pool, get a djembe lesson, and we have our closing time with communion (and the cats). Closing time is where we go around and offer each other words of encouragement and also share our highs and lows of the trip. There are not many lows mentioned. Dinner also brings cats. No one wants the trip to end and we go down to the beach in the dark for prayer before turning in.
Wednesday, June 8: They drag us to the airport and MAKE us go home.
The video below contains 1 second clips from nearly every hour of the whole trip, at least the ones where we were (mostly) awake.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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