I'm sweating, but only in the armpits! It's a beautiful clear night, the temperature is perfect and I'm on the back of a motorcycle going the last 45 Km (takes an hour on the sandy road at night). I have one of my small duffles tied to the back of this bike, and the other duffle is on the back of Pierre's bike. My home-stay father. Benzeki, is sweet and all smiles, he asks if I'm OK, I reply "Ce va". It's a sandy dirt road and the dust is thick. We can only see a short distance ahead with the beam of light from the motor cycle. We swerve and the wheel gets wobbly, I hold on and think really hard that we'll be OK and he regains control of the bike and we both laugh. "Whew, tres bonne!" I say and he laughs. Then he tells be that its the first time he has taken this route by night, not two minutes later a bike comes the other way and it's really dusty now, then he says. in an urgent voice "take off my glass!" WHAT?!?!?!? I think! Then he says it again... I reach around and take them off asking if he wants them cleaned, as I try to clean them one of the lenses pops out and I catch it (yes we are still on the bike). Did I mention I'm sweating a little more right now? I think about how my mother would officially disapprove of this scene and I just kept giving faith to Benzeki that he would get me to Bere safely.
I started my day at 8 am when Tchib Chang and Faka picked me up. We went to Tchib Chang's house where I met his father and a lot of his family. We walked through the side streets that were not paved and littered with trash. We were on a mission to find the police station to get my passport in order. Apparently just a visa isn't enough here. I have to take passport photos and my passport and fill out a document before I can go anywhere. This process takes a while. Not the actual process, but the process of getting there. Finally it's time to catch my bus, the boys had said there were buses all day to Bere. I figured they would know, they live there! Alas, there were not. There was one to Kelo, a town 'nearby' the buss left at noon, so we loaded my bags and got some lunch before my departure. I found my seat on the small hot bus and we were off. It was going to take either 4 or 6 hours, depending on who I asked. We were stopped once by the police and they had most of the people get out of the bus one of the guards got on the bus while I was trying to get out. Being the only one person I had seen in over 24 hours at this point, I pretty much stick out. the guard found out I was American and it was all smiles and laughs after that. He told me to sit down and said some other things I didn't understand, but I just nodded and smiled and laughed with him
A Chadian on the bus in a suit asked where I was from and was helpful in finding me a toilet at one of our stops, or should I say asking where I can go and getting a family to let me use their 'toilet' which was just standing behind a wall. At another stop he got some food and I got a coke, then he paid!!! This was amazing! The last stretch of the bus ride the kid in front of me puked and it was running back toward me. Luckily I was over the wheel so my feet were up, but the girl next to me was less then thrilled. I gave the boy a plastic bag so if he had to puke more he had a place to do it and some bread to eat to calm his tummy.
After being received in Kelo and taking the motor bike to Bere I finally met Olen, Danae and Lyol. They came out to greet me and it felt so good to arrive. I was taken to Pierre's house and met by his eleven children and one wife. Benzeki kept repeating, "eleven children, ONE wife." I thought this was strange but kept smiling and nodding. They let me into my very own hut and helped me get my mosquito net hung, then I went back to the hospital grounds where Olen and Danae have a small house to join them for dinner. We are all the same age and I enjoyed chatting with them. Lyol, who's almost 2 was sweet and we became fast friends. I gave them the goodies I brought over from the US, and they were thrilled with the Ostomy bags. Apparently the women's husband came by earlier in the day to see if I had arrived yet. I've never seen anyone so excited about a $5 toilet seat!!! Truthfully I was a bit jealous they had a flushing toilet (with a seat) while I had a whole in the ground back at my hut. But they were kind to offer to let me use their seat if I needed. :)
This place is rural. I fell asleep to drums in the distance, a donkey breaking into it's horrible heee-haaaws, and people talking. It's warm, but seems to cool off during the night. People have been so friendly. This is good, it's going to be good!
I am excited to see what it looks like in the daylight and see what this time will bring me!