[ Conakry, Guinea ]
Fria is a large mining town in the mountains, about 135km outside Conakry. The mine is bauxite, the history colonial and depressing, and it has been run by Russians for decades now. Every aspect of the town’s history is tied up with the mine, but it’s not the reason I was there. I was there to meet a local contact who was involved with projects for DwellEarth, a company owned by the husband of an old skydiving buddy from Dallas.
I arrived late morning, after a pretty unpleasant 20km climb, and without warning. As I struggled up the hill, I had been approached by a Moroccan man driving past, wondering if I was OK. I was, but he invited me to his restaurant on the off-chance that I survived the climb. I did, and The Marrakech Restaurant was one of the first things I saw after passing the mine. I stopped. Air conditioning and real coffee made me stay.
Eventually I got in touch with Joshua, my DwellEarth contact, and he said he’d grab a motorcycle and come meet me. He did. He led me deep into a local neighborhood, and eventually to a compound owned by his church. My plan was to stay for maybe two nights, then on to Conakry. A week later, I finally left. So it goes on the road. The reason? Incredible people, a direct tie to local culture, immigrant contacts from Liberia and Sierra Leone, and, well, maybe a bout of the common cold and my first, errrrm, intestinal distress of the entire trip.
A huge thanks to all the folks from the Fria Seventh Day Adventist congregation for taking care of me, showing me a good time, and making me feel welcome in your homes and neighborhoods!
Namaste to all,