Good afternoon, below you will find a story from my niece, Ashley,  who is currently in Gambia, West Africa for a two year tour with the Peace Core. Talk about being a beginner! I received this entry from my sister yesterday and found it to be very interesting, I have shorten it some, please read on…

Notes from Gambia: There are days when I can walk to the roadside and catch a car within five minutes. Then there are days like today… The main forms of public transportation are the many 15-20 person vans called gelly gellys that drive the highway, from city to city, picking up and unloading passengers and goods along the way. The gelly gelly is a temperamental vehicle; prone to breaking down if you look at it crossways. ..The interior is stripped down, with benches covered in cracking vinyl and daylight through holes in the floor. ..On this fine day in March, I head to the roadside to hail a gelly gelly into town. It’s 10 am, I have a good chance of catching a car quickly, I think. After greeting the men sitting at the roadside I settle in. No cars are passing so I wait. And wait. And wait. Two potential cars come by and stop, but Gambian men in a greater rush than I race to the cars and fill them. Finally, a gelly gelly stops with room for everyone waiting. I’ve been at the roadside for almost two hours. I hurriedlyjump on before they drive off without me. Almost two kilometers up the road we stop. Yes, a mere 2 K. The stop is unscheduled, as we are in the middle of the bush, and the motor has stopped running for some reason. The passengers grumble as the hood is raised and the driver and his assistant fiddle with something and the scent of diesel/something burning fills the cab. Within 15 minutes the motor is running and we are back in business! (Keep in mind my destination is only 20 K away. I could have ridden there on my bike twice by now.) I think we’re home free. Usually there’s only one breakdown per gelly gellyride. But alas, 8 K later we blow a tire. One thing I will say is that the driver and his assistant could give NASCAR Crews a run for their money. They are fast and efficient at changing tires. Finally we make it into the city and I hop off at the market. I have been in transit for almost three hours. It’s been an adventure pretty typical for the Gambia. I’m finding that life here runs at the same pace as a gelly gelly ride. A trip that should take 30 minutes takes 3 hours. Meetings get postponed, but life happens, you get there eventually. As an American used to getting what I want when I want it, or within a reasonable time, this is a hard change to adjust to. It’s frustrating, but I have to remember to slow down, not worry about the time, and enjoy the crazy ride I’m on.

I find her last statement to be the most revealing about all of us. So I started to think, when did I want something NOW, when have I been in such a great hurry? Don’t we as she says; “eventually get there”. What about spending time in the present moment, as they say that is all we have, the present. As Americans we are use to getting our way, always be accessible, what is the big hurray? We will get there eventually so why not enjoy the crazy ride and have fun..