Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the moto again: A saga of traveling in west Kara

Monday, I was in Binaparba, D's village, on my way home from Atakpame.  The trip on Sunday up to Bassar from Atakpame was hell-ish.  The bush taxi from Atakpame to Sokode was ok.  But we had to wait for like 3 hours in Sokode for the Bassar car to leave.  When it did, at like 1900, I was sitting next to a drunk guy who kept passing out on me.  And the driver went extra slow through the mountains, but I digress .  . .

So, Monday morning I called my regular zed-man from Kouka, Richard, to come get me.  Richard and I are good friends, so I call him whenever I can.  Anyway, later on, D and I decided to walk the 4k into Bassar from Bina to meet up with Saye.  I texted Richard to just pick me up in Bassar.  He called me about an hour later, said that his moto was broken, so he'd sent another guy who did not have a cellphone, so I needed to go back to Bina to meet him.  Back in Bina, the zedman showed up at like 1330, no problem, and we left.
The road from Bassar to Kabou is new and paved.  I was spacing out on the moto, listening to music and watching mountains and brooding thunderstorms pass when the back end of the moto started wobbling.  Flat tire. The zedman looked at it, and saw that the valve stem had blown off the inner tube.  He left me along the road while he went back to Bassar to fix it.  I sat there and watched thunderheads build over the mountains to the south.  Then I went and kicked a termite mound for fun.  It hurt my foot. 

The zedman came back and we continued.  We were about 8k out of Kabou, going through the new road construction, when the back of the moto wobbled again.  Same thing.  Only in the middle of nowhere between Kabou and Manga.  The only things in sight were a bridge construction crew and this line of dark clouds.  I had just been ruminating on how it looked like we could outrun this storm to Kouka . . .
I was all for finding the nearest tree and waiting out the storm, but the zedman was like, "we gotta walk to Manga to find a mechanic." Ok.  Then the rain hit.  I, for once, was really glad I had my Peace Corps-issued moto helmet.  Cause the rain was coming sideways.  Then I realized that rain shouldn't be making a "tink" sound when it bounced off my helmet.  This was just after the back of my neck really started stinging.  Pea-sized hail.  As shitty as I felt, I was glad I wasn't my zedman-- I at least had a helmet and a huge pack to protect part of me.  He had nothing. 

So we trudged down the road in the rain, him pushing his moto.  Then the rain stopped, eventually.  And the prefet came up behind us in his Toyota pickup.  He's a nice guy.  He had his driver stop, and I got in the back seat, and got a free ride back to Kouka.  This is roughly analogous to a state governor picking me up in the US.  If the US was the size of West Virginia . . .

Back in Kouka, I dried off, ran errands, and ate lunch/dinner.  The zedman eventually made it back, and came to pick me up at Bry's.  He was like "I just bought a new inner tube and a new tire. We're good now."  So, about 1600 we left for Nampoch.  Just over the bridge, the rear of the moto wobbled . . . we slide and spun around for a bit.  The inner tube blew. Again.  I was like "ok, I'm walking home."  Fortunately, a friend of the zedman passed and took me the rest of the way to Nampoch. 

I usually pay 5 mille for a trip that should take about 1.5 hours.  That day, I left at 1330, got home about 1830, and paid 8 mille cause I felt bad about the zedman blowing 3 inner tubes.

I slept all day the next day.

The kittens are getting big.  I got home and I couldn't figure out why my house smelled bad.  Then I discovered that the kittens figured out the concept of the litter box, they are just too small to get into it  . . .

 Flies bite.  They are more annoying than mosquitoes. 

So our term as the editing team of Farm to Market is finished.  It was fun.  We just finished the last issue in Atakpame this past weekend.  It was kind of a mess cause the Malaria Action Committee was meeting at the transit house at the same time we were so the place was crawling with Volunteers.  But it was good.  Read issues of Farm to Market here.

Seeing people is always nice.  After I am around a lot of Americans, though, I find myself wanting to go hide in village for awhile. 

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