Journey Across Africa

Below you'll find stories of my two year experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the small West African country of The Gambia. After my service I traveled solo, with only a small backpack, across West Africa; reaching N'Djamena, Chad after two months. Visa problems for Libya and Civil unrest in the Darfur region of Western Sudan made Chad my last stop.

Peace Corps Service: Aug. 2003 - July 2005

Journey Across Africa: July 2005 - Sept. 2005

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What I turned down

Day 44
Tues Aug 30
Start: Bobo-Dioulasso
End: Ouagadougou

Despite how the previous day ended I was still up in the air about going further back-tracking to Banfora and seeing the waterfalls. I tried to find the cars, but with only a half-hearted attempt before getting back on the bus to Ouga.

The hospitality of the staff at Peace Corps was only exemplified when I returned and the Safety and Security person for Peace Corps told me exactly how to get a visa at the border to Niger (thanks to another staff member who knew my predicament and left for Niger a few days earlier, but called back on the procedure after asking). I give them my passport at the border, am allowed through with a piece of paper. The next day I go to the police station in Niamey with the piece of paper, pick up my passport, pay $40 and get my visa. Simple.

He then took me directly to the bus station, helped me buy a ticket for the next morning; confirmed a taxi would be picking me up; helped me back to the office and later on tonight will be showing me around the part of town I didn't get to see a few days back. On the way back to the office we passed the Airport. A brief thought occured, then left. I don't know when the best time to quit is, but it's not when your down. I put the bus ticket to Niger in my wallet.

I e-mailed the Country Director directly thanking her for the hospitality of her staff and the volunteers for going above and beyond what I expected.

After what happened yesterday I need a vacation. True, I've been traveling for a six weeks and some might call this a vacation - but I need to just sit in one place for a few weeks. A village maybe, someplace relaxed, where I can re-energize. Just this evening I received an e-mail from my contact in Niger. A new group will be swearing in on the 16th and there's a festival on the 14th which most volunteers go to. I might stay in Niger for two to three weeks just to slow down a bit and relax.

It wasn't until I got back at the office and was able to look up pictures of Banfora and the waterfalls did I truly regret missing that opportunity. It would have been fun and refreshing to sit under waterfalls and just cool off - but I missed it. Turned it down because I had a bad day the day before, when this would have made everything better. Now I know it's time for a vacation! This time, if there's waterfalls in Niger - I'm going!

(That I did NOT go to ... )

[picture not mine]


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