It is really a strange feeling being back here in Ouaga. Almost three weeks ago we were settling here and taking in the reality of being in Burkina Faso, most of us for the first time in our lives. Our feelings were a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Living in this compound was a helpful means in preparing us for our transition to the living in Mahadaga, while also preparing us mentally for the weeks which were ahead. Now those weeks are passed. And we are again residents in this compound in Ouaga; but we are not the same residents.
Everything is perceived differently now. Partly because we are three members short of our original band of travelers (Luke, Nathan, and Seth, we miss your antics and the prevalence of Luke’s face in unexpected places). But we are experiencing a different kind of change caused by more than just the absence of members. The markets seem so much bigger than they did when we first came here. The streets are more familiar. The people are more individual. The weather is more bearable. While nothing seems to have changed from when we left, our minds and hearts are now attuned to this way of life. It’s a strange feeling. But it’s a wonderful feeling. We recognize that we are truly blessed to have been placed on this path to Burkina Faso.
Just for those parents out there who are interested in every detail of our trip, here’s the rundown of our experiences since the last update.
TRAVELING TO OUAGA
We left Mahadaga Wednesday morning and arrived safely in Ouaga in the evening. However, during our travel, we made an unexpected pit stop due to the complications of a flat tire. Our team took on the delay positively and used this time to rest in the shade of a roadside cafe. Despite the inconvenience, there was not a shred of complaint or grumbling in our group, as we are thankful that we were kept safe in the face of these circumstances. Besides, how meaningful can a trip in Africa be if there isn’t that one unforgettable traveling incident?
ARRIVING IN OUAGA
After getting settled in the SIM station in Ouaga, we went out for dinner at an African restaurant which would resemble a place you might dine at during a vacation to the Bahamas. We enjoyed some satisfying, and interesting, meals as Matt Walsh lead his debriefing session with us. His stories and instruction were very insightful as we began to take in the reality that we will be facing some new challenges upon our return home. There are many factors to consider when it comes to returning back to our day-to-day lives; our debriefing session last night was very valuable and effectively covered these areas.
TODAY’S GAMEPLAN (THURSDAY)
Today will be our last full day in Burkina Faso. We woke up and some of our team went out to purchase some items for breakfast at the market, reliving the memories of our first excursion on the streets of Ouaga just a little over two weeks ago. Throughout the day, we visited an Artisan district where we bought some last Burkinabe souvenirs. Then after a filling lunch at the pizzeria, we went to a Zoo! Which is stated with an exclamation point because I literally haven’t been to a zoo in over ten years; there is something magical about having that spell broken in Africa. Granted, it was a little less than large scale, and most of the animals weren’t exactly in their cages but rather joined us on the tour, but it was nonetheless an unforgettable experience. We are going to have dinner at the American Rec center, a tradition for most teams on their last night here. Dinner will be followed by rest, then we will head to the airport around midnight for our flight which leaves at 3:00 AM for Casablanca.
Prayers for safe travels, and minimal complications at each stop.
We will be home in about 27 hours.
See you all soon,