Biking Fast-o to Burkina Faso

Things I have recently acquired: coffee, granola bars, macaroni and cheese, Nutella, a ton of movies, an iPhone, and a Jared! I know you’re all envying my Nutella right now.  No, but seriously, Jared fits right in here. He’s been given the local name “Bayoh,” which means he was born on market day (we don’t really know if he was, but we accepted the name anyway).  Now, anywhere we go, the chants of Bayoh rival the ones of Nayirima, and there are constantly children knocking at our door, begging him to come play football with them.  He even bought me a fan to combat the heat…although I’m beginning to this this was more for him than for me.

Last weekend, we decided to go down to the river that marks the border between Ghana and Burkina Faso, also known as the Black Volta. Quite ominous sounding, right? The rainy season has really kicked in, and there was the promise of somewhat raging waters.  The most flexible mode of transportation is by bike, but it also means you have to leave relatively early to avoid biking in the sun and cross your fingers that the rain doesn’t sneak up on you.

Waking up with the sun (that was me, as Jared needed a little coercing), we made coffee and got our things together for the trip.  We pushed off and began the 10km ride from Eremon to Lawra, taking turns doo-dooing the Indiana Jones theme song.  As we pedaled we responded to the many morning greetings and the screams of children chanting “Nan-sa-la, how are you? We are fine, thank you! And you?”  A nice gesture, but they never wait to actually hear how you are.  Plus, I never asked them how they were, so why are they telling me that they are fine?  Anyway, forty-five minutes and a Cliff Bar later we were passing through Lawra and approaching the river.

The water wasn’t as high as expected, but the view was amazing.  There is no border patrol in this area, and there was a single canoe taking people and their cargo back and forth across the border.  This included bags, bikes, and bottles.  We saw one shop owner taking across empties to buy mineral from Lawra and take it back to his small village in Burkina.

The grass on the Burkina side was looking pretty green, but we resisted the temptation of crossing and settled for taking some pictures and placing bets on which people coming across would respond to French, as opposed to Dagaari. On our way back, we stopped in Lawra for a vegetarian dinner with a few other volunteers at Delphina’s – a restaurant owned by a local woman who cooks the best Jolof rice in all of Ghana. We raced the darkness back to Eremon, dodging bugs and looking over our shoulders to watch the sun set. Maybe it doesn’t quite challenge the adventures of Indiana Jones, but it was a great day to say the least. Hum this next time you go biking…it makes the ride much more exciting.