- My mosquito net is from Roselle, Illinois.
- The notebooks I purchased (because mine were full) were made in Downers Grove, Illinois.
- One of my carpenters' favorite hats is a Chicago Bulls hat.
- One of my favorite drivers is never without his favorite Chicago Bears hat.
- A man at the checkpoint to get to my village was wearing a University of Illinois t-shirt complete with the Chief Illliniwek symbol.
- A man at the recent sport meet at my school had a WGN Radio / Chicago Bears fanny pack
- Another man at the same meet was wearing an old-school Chicago Bears jacket
- A man on the side of the road (on my way to Freetown yesterday) was wearing a Brian Urlacher jersey.
It's really pretty surreal to look and see CHICAGO on someone's shirt here in Africa but it always brings a smile to my face and makes me realize the world is a little bit smaller. But, I saved the best for last:
SORI BANGURA, a man of high esteem in my town, met me a few months ago. Our friendship was easy, he is a very productive farmer and often has cold beer and good stories to tell. The reason he's in this post? You'll never guess his alma mater. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, class of 1969. Your humble author? The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain, class of 2009. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES of me finding another alumni from my university in my tiny village of Gbendembu?! That smile on your face? On mine too. I love and miss you all :)