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The Day it All Went Wrong

October 22 is definitely a day that will stick with me forever. It was simultaneously one of the best and worst days of the semester. It was our last day in the city of Kedougou and things were already going wrong before breakfast. The day before, we had had the chance to send all of our laundry out to get washed, and we got them all back wet, smelling worse than they did before we sent them out. After we ate, we went to go pack. I got back into my room and somehow all of my bags had got covered in mouse poop. It was everywhere. I cleaned up and packed my bags before bringing them outside to get loaded into the cars. One of the cars was a truck that had an open bed with seats. We loaded into the cars and took off to a surprise location, with none of the students knowing where we were going.

Our journey ended up being a drive into the mountains, for 2-3 hours. The drive was beautiful and we were all getting excited for the place we would end up. Just at that point, we got stopped by a man in a uniform, with a medal pinned to his chest and what we assumed to be a gun in his waistband. We stayed there for a while, trying to convince the man to let our cars through. It wasn’t until then that we found that the plan had been for us to hike to a waterfall, near a village which we had planned to spend the night in. After some time, it looked like we were about to get through, and we all got excited. Just as we all got our hopes up, we were again told to turn around, and this time it was for the last time.

We got into the truck and started our disappointed retreat. Right as we reached the bottom of the mountain, our instructor Beth took a picture of the beautiful sunset, accidentally capturing a hidden police checkpoint in the process. We immediately got pulled over and we were asked to explain to the police why we had taken the photo. Eventually, the picture gets deleted, and the problem is solved. Not even 10 minutes later, the driver accidentally hit an unmarked speed bump. Thankfully, no-one was hurt, and the only casualties were a jar of jam and a packet of pretzels. The car stopped working for a second, but it got going again and we slowly rolled to a nearby hotel, puffing out clouds of smoke the whole way.

Even though so many things went wrong, it was still such a fun day, and it felt like just another day in our adventures in Kedougou.