Imelda and Francine try to ride my bike. My bike is taller than Francine herself. It was really cute. This did not happen on my bad day, I am just trying to brighten up the page.
29 Septembre 2006 Vendredi
List the positives first: 1) The internet worked, so I emailed and did travelblog easily and uninterrupted for two hours at the bureau, 2) I cashed the school money check for a student in Athieme, and 3) I bathed and ate once I finally made it home. My run this morning could be considered a positive as well.
Only Willie and Melchior had arrived at the stadium by 8h, so the three of us talked and then left. I prepared myself for what I had planned to be a quick trip to Cotonou.
I had the taxi ride from HELL. It would not have been from hell if I had not counted on doing so much all in one day. I left the house a little before 9h, Bubs escaping just before I had closed the doors, and found a taxi by 9h30. It was a very top-heavy taxi, and was very slow, but I was in a car at least. Just after Lac Aheme there was an accident, so we were forced to take back roads. For what seemed like hours, we followed vehicles through mud and fields, stopping very often
Derique and Bubs chill. Maybe someday I will have human children... Until then, lots of pictures of puppies.
to help stalled cars. Today, especially that ride, I was sure to die many times. Once, just ahead of us, an orange-laden truck got stuck in the mud, very tilted. As people, young boys included, helped push it out, I just knew the truck would tip over. Then I would be stuck in the African bush in the middle of the day, nothing getting done. The truck did not tip. Then I was sure that the top-heavy car I was riding in would tip, most likely on my side. I was very willing to get out and walk, but no one offered and my door did not open from the inside. I closed my eyes and sucked on my orange, and oh-my-gosh we made it.
THEN- I found out there were three Mamans in the car, who had so loaded it down. IT TOOK FOREVER to unload all of their stuff. FOREVER. I had stopped considering it possible to actually arrive in Cotonou. It was far more likely that I would get as far as Pahou , perhaps, then somehow be forced to return to Athieme via the same treacherous route.
All along the bush dirt roads, villagers started collecting funds. Tie a rope to a tree and charge 25 FCFA or so, then be sure to acknowledge me; “YOVO! Ca va?” and touch my arm. Or squeal in surprise. Or make kissing-faces. I think, sometimes, “white” people are not considered human in this world.
What should have taken the normal two hours to Cotonou took five. FIVE. I was slightly in shock and not really speaking when I made it to the office at 14h. I knew I could no longer come home early like I had wanted. I got a wonderful package from a friend, mailed just a day before she left Japan. That made me much happier. I didn’t say anything really until a volunteer asked. Then I kind of fumed. Well, I started letting out a hiss, a very small hiss.
At this point, I accepted not making it home early like I had hoped, and was willing to move on. I did internet for two hours, and then went out to run my errands and head home. I went to the grocery store- the guy to cash the check was not at work yet. So to be efficient, I spent my time waiting by looking for the Niger Embassy. The zemidjan and I were directed to the Nigeria Embassy, then to the Ambassador of Niger’s very home before finding the Embassy of Niger within walking distance of where I had started. And it was, by then, closed. I was exasperated. I paid the zem 700 FCFA (was it too much? I don’t know) for the complete tour of Cotonou, then cashed the check back at the grocery store and found a zemi to take me to find a taxi home.
While looking for the zemidjan, I passed a netphone center and although I had already emailed my friend that I was not able to call her like I had hoped, at that moment of passing the phone, all I wanted was to talk to her.
There was no electricity. Directionless, futile anger.
It took forever to find a taxi home, and then it was sharing the front passenger bucket seat, which, of course, according with the mood of the day, was more uncomfortable than it had ever been before. I couldn’t even find any FanChoco, the only thing I believed capable of soothing my nerves. Within 30 minutes of Athieme, my bucket-seat partner got out, and I was so relieved to be comfortable for the final leg home- but then the fourth passenger in the three-passenger backseat decided to move to the front. I was so jaded; I didn’t complain but just scooted over. I wanted to cry. All day long = futile anger, forced patience. What would have been anger if someone had been at fault, but the world was just against me.
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