Monday, July 19, 2010

Trip to Koudougou - Part 1

This weekend, we did something very different. We went on a weekend outing with Burkinabè friends. My friend, Aristide, invited us to take a trip up to Koudougou, a town about two hours drive west of Ouaga. His family owned a hotel there that we could stay at, Hotel Photoluxe. At first, it sounded like it would be just Aristide and his wife, and Kathy and I going. But things like this tend to be social affairs, so I soon discovered that a few other friends of Aristide would also be coming along for the ride, literally, since I would be providing the transportation. Neither Aristide nor his friends have anything but motos.

We can only fit a total of 5 people in our truck (Kathy & I included), so to be able to take the two additional couples that he indicated were coming along, I was obliged to rent one of our SIL Centre vehicles, a Toyota minibus. It can seat up to 15 people. Kathy & I would end up paying the mileage on the thing, but I figured the adventure was worth it. And besides, the thing is a hoot to drive :)

Aristide wanted us to leave the city early enough to avoid some of the traffic and get to Koudougou in decent time to do some other activities if we so desired. So Kathy & I got up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 on a Saturday morning! This was supposed to give us sufficient time to shower, have a coffee, get to the Centre to pick up the minibus, and head over to Aristide’s place at the west end of the city by 7 a.m. It didn’t quite work out that way.

For a combination of reasons, we didn’t end up leaving the SIL Centre until 7 o’clock. Then we ran into all that construction work on the main road at the west end of the city, which forced us to take a number of detour routes. And on top of it all, I got stuck behind a heavily loaded, slow-moving tractor trailer that was negotiating the same detours as we were. It was nearly 7:45 by the time I got to Aristide’s place. And even then, I drove right past it!

We were coming up to a ninety degree turn in the detour road when I mentioned to Kathy that this looked very familiar. I was sure I had been to this point once before when Aristide, his wife, and I went to grab a bite to eat at a nearby outdoor restaurant after he’d finishing videotaping a wedding. But we had gone past his place to get there. Right at that moment, my cell phone began ringing. It was Aristide.

“Hey,” he said, “you just drove right past our place!”

“I just realized that,” I replied sheepishly. “I’m turning around. We’ll be right there.”

Five minutes later, we pulled up in front of his place. Waiting for us, along with all their baggage, were Aristide, his wife, his two twin girls and infant son, another couple and their infant son, and a single guy. Ha! This was going to be an interesting weekend alright! We were expecting a couples’ event and it had turned into a family event! But that was okay. Having small children along would provide certain challenges, but on the other hand, they would also provide a welcome distraction when we ran out of conversation. After all, Kathy & I did not know the other folks at all!

Stay tuned for the next instalment...

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