Always in the deep woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is an ancient fear of the unknown and is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. -- Wendell Berry

The TRIP: GUINEA - wonkifong --> MALI - bamako, djenne, douentza, Dogon Country --> Burkina Faso - ouagadougou, bobo-dioulasso, bala, ouagadougou --> GHANA - tamale, mole national park, tamale, yeji, volta lake ferry, akosombo, accra, green turtle lodge, elmina, cape coast, accra, hohoe and wli falls --> TOGO - kpalime, atakpame, lome --> BENIN - cotonu (transport stop) --> NIGER - niamey, tahoua, agadez, camel trek in aiir mtns, niamey --> BENIN (abomey, grand popo, ouidah, ganvie, cotonou) --> CAMEROON (douala, buea, top of Mt Cameroon, limbe, sangelima, yaounde, kribi, douala) --> MAURITANIA (nouakchott, atar, chinguetti, camels into the sahara, terjit, choume, ride the coal train, nouadhibou) --> MOROCCO (western sahara, dakhla, agadir, essaouira, marrakesh, imlil, summit of jebel toubkal, fes, chefchaouen) --> cross the Strait of Gibraltar --> Malaga, Spain --> fly to Geneva, Switzerland --> Les Grangettes, France
Click for a map. Updated April 30, 2007

jeudi, octobre 19, 2006

C’est Moi (October 1, 2006)

By 7:30 pm, it is dark in the town of Wonkifong. Street lights are not present to illuminate the corners and cast nighttime shadows. If there is electricity, light bulbs from houses light up areas of darkness, almost beckoning one to the doorstep.

Without much nightlife to talk about, I’m usually ready for bed an hour and a half or so after dark. What else is there to do? Also, the temperature in my house typically hovers around 85 oF, so lying down and not moving until I fall asleep is a personal coping mechanism against the heat.

Last night, I was almost asleep when I heard footsteps coming up to my house. Knock. Knock. I try to ignore the sound – I don’t feel like getting up. Knock. Knock. It seems like this person is persistent.

“J’arrive,” I yell as I grab some clothes. “C’est qui?” (who is it?) I ask.

“C’est moi,” replies an unfamiliar voice.

Personally, I only reply “It’s me” to someone I know well or will at lest recognize my voice. I get to the door to find the face of a total stranger looking in at me. He holds up a bundle of bananas and tells me that they are a gift from the community president. I thank him and he leaves.