he's come and gone, and I hope he had as much fun as I did. Which was
a lot! Though the trip wasn't without its bumps...
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL
I get to the airport right around the same time Pat's flight did. So
I'm expecting a wait. What I'm not expecting is to spend 2 hours
watching ALL the other passengers leave with no sight of my brother.
Finally, I ask permission to enter the (restricted) arrivals gate,
where I finally find him at wit's end because his luggage isn't there,
and he can't leave to find me because he's afraid they won't let him
back in! English may be the international language of aviation, but
that's a pretty loose standard at the Ouaga airport, so it's not 'til
I find him that he learns his luggage has been left in Niamey (where
the flight stops for an hour. Get that? It's not a transfer, just a
stop. They had absolutely no business taking his luggage off the plane
there), but it will come in on the next flight tomorrow evening. Too
bad tomorrow evening we'll be exploring the Sahel.
After arranging for another volunteer to come get the luggage, our
Country Director, who has already graciously allowed Pat to stay at
her place (he had nicer accomodations than I did!), invites us to
dinner, assuring that Pat's initial African repast is a lovely one.
DAY 2 - BUREAU AND BANI
Today we begin exploring the damage a daily regimen of French has done
to my English. I refer all morning to taking my brother to the
"bureau" rather than the office. By either name, we get there, I
introduce him to my better-paid colleagues, and we head to the bus
station (which I insist on calling the "gare") to get to the start of
the real adventure - camel riding in the Sahel! After assuring Pat
that I've chosen the most reliable bus company on our route, naturally
our bus is 2 hrs late leaving. Which is only to be expected when you
load lead pipes too long to put anywhere other than the main aisle of
the bus, then load the passengers, then (to be continued)