Skateboarding in CAR (August 2014)

[This post is being published out of order; the story is from August 2014]

Alex is a Swedish doctor just a few weeks older than me. Coming to the Central African Republic (CAR) for his first mission with MSF, he brought along… his skateboard. His became the only skateboard in Ouaka préfecture and perhaps the only one in the entire pavement-poor country.

The staff could hardly believe their eyes as Alex cruised around our small living room in tight circles on his little wooden board, jumping and flipping the vehicle with his own unique elegance. On the dirt road outside, the cheeks of passers-by young and not-so-young were imprinted with unevenly spaced vertical stripes by the bamboo fence against which they pressed their faces to stare in awe at the tall, blond, pony-tailed and moustachioed munju (white man) making so much noise on the only concrete floor in the neighbourhood.

Dr Alex skateboarding in Grimari, Ouaka, Central African Republic

Some people would say it’s a silly idea to bring a skateboard to such a place as Grimari but, as it turns out, it was a marvellous idea. Moral of the story? Seemingly odd ideas are sometimes also AWESOME ideas.

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