Alesta’s Umman.

Another Monday, another trip to Koidu. Traveling there takes us through the village where small children call out a number of different things when they see me. The most popular are as follows:

  1. Alesta (meaning Alastair)
  2. Alesta’s Umman (meaning Alastair’s woman)
  3. White Man (I hope not meaning I look like a man)

Koidu Local Market

As we are expecting to accommodate the environmental impact group of about 20-22 people arriving this week, organization mode has kicked in and the usual shopping in Koidu was multiplied.

This was a fraction of what we bought.

The Lebanese shop owner, Joseph, was more than delighted about the sizable purchase.

He’s an interesting guy who certainly likes his cats.

Other errands in Koidu included me getting photos for my residence card. This was done in a little shack where I sat on a bench while someone held a white sheet behind my head and took my picture with one of the last remaining Polaroid camera on earth. All of this was accompanied by a terrified small child screaming bloody murder at the sight of me. She must have thought I was a ghost.

I know that I was looking a little disheveled from spending the entire day in Koidu, but this photographer was spending quite a lot of time trying to straighten out my hair before he took the photo. I wanted to tell him it was futile, I’ve been trying for months but it’s as good as it’s going to get.

Next, I was stopped by an immigration worker who demanded my passport, which I didn’t have on me because it’s being used to get a residence card. After a long conversation, in his “office” which looked like prison cell, where he told me repeatedly that it was a “crime” to not have my documentation available upon request, he finally let me go under the pretense that I produce my passport within two weeks time. It was not a fun position to be in and my heart was racing for a long time after the whole exchange, but I suppose it’s a lesson learned.

Finally we made it back at camp and unloaded everything. I’ve been told that tomorrow cannot be a workday because the secret society is going to “clean the sacred bush.” I have no idea what that means, but I think that we might get the day off :)

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4 thoughts on “Alesta’s Umman.

    • Thanks so much Kim! How are things in Praha??? You must be fluent in Czech by now. I’m trying to remember how to spell where I was living when I was there, it was Hradchanska or something like that. I can say it but spelling it is another story :) I hope you and Pete are well!!

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