Tomorrow night I’m talking to all the Mamma’s onboard the Africa Mercy (AFM), about growing up on a ship, and how that has impacted my life. And how being here as a mamma myself, gives me new perspective and lots and lots of admiration and respect for these amazing women.
And, we’re all supposed to bring a dessert.
So I decided to just run into Conakry this afternoon, and pick up something yummy from a French bakery I’ve come to love. After a couple stops to chat with street vendors I’ve gotten to know, and buy a Christmas present for G-ster, I arrived at the bakery. Hot and very sweaty, but without incident. The cakes were beautiful. All had writing on them, so I thought I’d pick one the least inappropriate for our gathering (not for a birthday as most referred to…but none said ‘just because you need to have something yummy’).
Then I noticed the prices. And decided I should get the cheapest one. I pointed it out to the lady behind the counter, making sure it could survive a twenty minute walk home in the sweltering heat. She assured me twenty minutes would be fine. And then I went to pay. I counted out 395,000 Guinea Franks in small bills–equivalent to SIXTY dollars– at the cash register. The lady took my money and filled a small suitcase with the cash, and tucked it under the table. (Ok, not really, but that’s what it felt like.) I’d like to highlight that there’s some serious math skills, and arm strength, required to live here and deal with such large denominations of currency, in very small bills. As I tell Miss O, it’s a real-life example of why math is necessary.
The cashier moved on to the next person, beginning to count out their suitcase of money. As this is after all Africa, and I need to slow down a bit, and I was happily chatting with a man who’d had lunch with the President the previous week and heard about Mercy Ships from him, I waited. But the ice cream I’d also bought was beginning to ooze out the sides of the container as it melted. So I asked the cashier for my cake. She hollered for the sales lady. Then others behind the counter began hollering for several sales ladies. Then there was lots of pointing and loud discussion.
The cake was lost.
My concern was, the cashier would refund my money, I’d have to pick another cake, and then repeat the whole counting process again.
But, a sales lady ran outside and had their security guards bring a customer back into the store to look through his purchases. A man searched high and low throughout the store. Another group of sales ladies began unwrapping…actually ripping…the paper off the FIVE boxed cakes (he brought someone to handle the cash. Seriously) the customer I was chatting with had purchased.
And after twenty minutes, the cake was found. It had been mistakenly wrapped and added to the desserts of my conversation buddy.
So I said my goodbyes, and headed out the door. I was preoccupied with not tripping while carrying the $60 cake on the way home, so kept my gaze focused on the ground, knowing the rush-hour traffic would let me know of their presence with lots of honking, in time to step out of the way. ut, I only barelyvery narrowly avoided several speeding motorcycles, and 3 curious goats.
Without further incident (marriage proposals don’t count), the cake and I made it to the port and back onboard.
I wonder if fierce committment to desserts is something I should mention tomorrow night?