Our final Sogebaf bus ride, and for adequate reasons. It should not take 8 hours to drive from Bobo to Ouaga.
First, we sat at the bus station for over two hours waiting for the bus to get loaded and depart. Then, we started out on a good note when fail to make it up the hill out of downtown because someone forgot to get gas. I mean, fuel just might be sort of helpful for a 329 kilometer journey. We managed to turn around and coast back down the hill to the second gas station we passed (the first one we saw signaled they were out of fuel to sell us.)
During the ride we were sandwiched in with two aid organization workers from Chad who help Sudanese refugees. While entertaining and interesting, their company was a bit wearing after a while, since there’s only so much to talk about when you don’t speak each other’s languages much. But they kept trying, for all 8 hours, bless them.
About 3 hours into the journey, as we are preparing to pull over for a rest stop, a commotion in the seat behind me causes to me turn and see a teenage boy attempting to jump out of the back of the bus. All of the men surrounding him are holding on to his arms as he flails out the back door, trying to escape or commit suicide, we’re not sure. The word on the street is that he was being transported to Ouaga to be admitted to a mental hospital; at least that’s what our Sogebaf buddies translate for us.
The journey continues as we are constantly passed by bigger, faster buses, which can obviously handle the loads of people and goods they carry. Our bus cannot; I can see out the window that several plastic containers tied to the top are flopping out in the wind for most of the ride as we slowly plug along. At one point we stop, start to reverse back down the highway for about 300 yards, then stop again for about 3 minutes. Then we keep going. Half an hour later we pull over to let a long stream of bicycle racers pass going the opposite direction, followed by an entourage of fancy cars. Who in their right minds would bike race across Burkina? Everything just seems a little bizarre.
About an hour and a half outside of Ouaga, we were met by two fierce, back-to-back rain/wind/dust storms. We had to pull over for a few minutes at one point to wait out the horizontal rain, and Lauren and her Chad buddy took turns plugging the leaky hole in the ceiling with their handkerchiefs. Roofs, chickens, roads, and little dogs too all flew by as we continued on.
We finally arrive in Ouaga, deciding we’ll try one of those bigger, faster, non leaking buses next time. We exchange email addresses with our Chad seat buddies just for fun. The funny thing is, as I’ve been typing this, I received an email from my Chad seat buddy, who is called “Joe” because he says no one can pronounce his real name. Here’s his message:
I hope that you’re well,is that rigth?Just to tell you that i’m back home and every thing is alrigth.What about you and your freind?I thing,you will remember me.
Have a pleasant week-end.Benjoe from Chad republic