Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nice To Be Back!

It was only when we went to use the phone in our house the other day that we realized it wasn’t working. There was a dial tone, but we couldn’t make any calls out, nor receive calls from anyone. Why our line was suspended was a bit of a mystery until we went to pick up our mail at the Centre. There, interspersed with all the other correspondence, were four envelopes from ONATEL, the national telephone company. Each represented an unpaid bill and progressively outlined the consequences of failing to pay, culminating in the warning of impending suspension on November 15. I thought we’d made arrangements to pay those bills during our absence, but there must have been a miscommunication somewhere. So we sent our services agent to pay the bill and arrange to get the line reconnected.

Our cell phones are back up and running after laying relatively dormant for the past three months. A colleague used them occasionally to keep our SIM cards and numbers active. I’ve already started reconnecting with my Burkinabè friends, especially my Kusassi colleagues.

The weather is relatively wonderful here in Ouaga this time of year. Warm days and cool nights. It’s actually enjoyable to drink a coffee on the front veranda in the mornings. The only drawback is the harmattan wind off the Sahara Desert that brings a constant, low-grade sandstorm to Burkina during the months from November – February.

For food and meals, we’ve picked up some basic supplies at the mini-market and hit some of our favourite economy restaurants for supper. We’re not yet ready to face the traffic and hordes of aggressive street vendors in the downtown area where the supermarkets are located. But we need to go there soon. Perhaps we’ll try being Sunday shoppers. Quite by accident earlier this year, we discovered that the supermarkets are open on Sundays, when both traffic and vendors are at their lowest point of the entire week.

I’m still on the lookout for someone I can commission to do a lot of our shopping for us. This is an activity that is often rather time-consuming and stressful for Kathy, but is something a Burkinabè with a moto could do for us quite easily, provided I can find someone both trustworthy and reliable. But in a country whose name means “the land of upright men” (men of integrity), this shouldn’t be much of a problem, right?

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