By Warner M. Montgomery
The African Slave Trail
Bah Oure, director of ERA/Guinea and a coach of the Guinea National Basketball team, was a questionable member of our Slave Trail Expedition team. He had suffered a knee injury and wasn’t sure he could walk 21 miles. However, as we gathered on the morning of June 13, 2004, in the village of Farenya, he threw caution aside and gave in to glory and valor.
Within the first hour, Bah’s knee gave way and he collapsed. Team members rushed to him. Between cries of pain, Bah instructed Sekou Camara, the youngest and strongest of the trekkers, how to pull his leg to re–socket his knee.
Soon after Bakoro, Bah once again fell to the ground in agony. Once again Sekou pulled his knee back into position. We offered to send him on to Boffa in the supply truck that was following us, but he refused. “I must continue,” he said, “This expedition is too important.”
With the excuse of Bah’s injury, we stopped for lunch at a well outside of Bakoro. It was 11:15 am and 90° F. Under the village baobab tree, we held a palaver with the local elders. Dr. Camara explained the purpose of our expedition, and Jim Fisher offered gifts.
The truck was sent to Boffa for sardines and bread since no one except me had thought to bring food. I shared my Powerbars with the group and the elders provided palm nuts. We filled our water bottles from the water pump provided by the Japanese government. I washed my face and settled in a lounge chair for a nap.
(Next week: Sanya Pauli, a major slave village)