Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Africa Diaries: I Predict a Riot

(If you've missed any of the previous posts about Africa, then you can find them all here)

After a day-long journey by car, we arrived in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.  The main (European) language in Burkina is also French, so we were glad to be travelling with Kay and Mikael (Mikael was a local so obviously didn't have the same communication issues that we did).

We found a hotel, booked in (there were Western style toilets - yay yay yay!), met a French woman who was teaching in Cameroon, and went out for a night of posh nosh and good music.  Unfortunately we didn't find the good music (which was a massive shame, since I'm a huge fan of lots of different African artists) but we did find the posh nosh.  We noshed and drank wine (ahh.. wine).  I went to the super super posh toilets as many times as I could without it seeming like I had a bad stomach.  It was a great night.

The next day we parted company, and Allison and I went for our last journey together - to Bobo Diolasso - a small town a few hours bus ride away from Ouaga.  I can't even remember why we wanted to go there in the first place - there were probably some lovely monuments/museums/artifacts that would have been interesting to see - it's just that when we happened to be there, so did a riot.  With riot police.  Right outside our hotel.

To begin with, things looked like this ...

 .. and then 'things' deteriorated quite quickly to this ...

.. and what we found most distressing was this type of thing - where dozens of school children had to run past the riot police and the fires and the danger, just to get to safety ...

... doesn't it make our journey to work/school/daycare/the grocery store/wherever, seem wonderful.  Safe and assured and wonderful.

On the plus side, we met a few of the other people who were staying the same hotel as us ...

... and one of them (the guy with the blue turban) is very very good friends with my 2nd cousin (who I'm not close to, but it just shows how small the world has become).  I also experienced the effects of tear-gas for the first time.  It wasn't that close to where we were, but it was bad enough to cause tears (thus the name - duh) and coughing and general discomfort.

Soo - we did venture out that night in Bobo since the rioting had stopped, and everything seemed calm again, and we 'discovered' a bar with some mediocre music and some truly great interpretive dancers.  We were befriended by a boy who must have only been about 18.  He was very nice, even though he thought I was Allison's mother!  Ratbag.

And that was it.  The next morning I got on a bus to head back to Ouaga, and Allison went on to another town in Burkina where she got caught in the middle of another riot which meant she spent 2 days shut inside her hotel room, hoping she'd make it out alive (which she did).

Once back in Ouaga I caught a plane back to Ghana where I had a few more days of Africa before heading back home to Canada.

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