Long ago, before Covid hit I was praying about and preparing for my furlough time in the US and planning a lot of travel throughout the US. Well, Covid definitely changed all of that and many of my travels have been changed, cancelled or postponed. Recently I have been able to get back on the road again for some meetings and trainings and I am enjoying my windshield time with the Lord (I borrowed that expression from another missionary friend). As I was driving to Pennsylvania last week I was reminded of the vast differences between road trip travel in The Gambia vs. the US and I thought I might share.
- In The Gambia we speak in terms of travel days, not miles or hours because there are many uncertainties and WAWA moments that can and will occur each day
- Rest stops in the US are a wonderful thing. They provide a beautiful place for a little walk (see pic from the West Virginia Welcome Center), a picnic lunch, a clean toilet that usually flushes (woohoo!) and a safe place to take a little break on the road. Much better than just pulling over to the side of the road or if you are lucky a squatty potty at a gas station on a Gambian road trip.
- In the US roads are paved and you usually don’t have to watch out for horse and donkey carts moving slowly (unless you are in PA and in Amish country like I am right now). There is nothing that even remotely resembles a modern US highway in The Gambia.
- Restaurants, hotels, gas stations, convenience stores are very few and far between (at times non existent) in The Gambia and do NOT look like the fancy, clean and well stocked Sheetz / QT or the comfortable and air conditioned Courtyard Marriott.
- Air conditioning. Yep, some of our cars do not have air conditioning and it is hot and humid!
- While in some ways we do have roadside assistance it does not look like AAA and the nice tow truck. In case of a car breakdown several men who are nearby will come over and gladly help you dig out your stuck car, change a tire or whatever else might be needed.
I am hoping to continue many travels across the US over the next few months before I return to The Gambia so let me know if you would like to catch up in person and hear more about the ministry.