Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Things Fall Apart, Part I

I’ve been traveling since Saturday and I have yet to board a plane.

On Friday my dad called to tell me Togo made international news because of flooding down south. I knew a bridge was out on the country’s only national highway, but he got me worried. So instead of leaving Dapaong on Sunday, I went up Saturday morning and got a ride with a friend to Kara that evening. I thought I might be able to get on the bus to Lomé the next morning without a reservation. They were backed up for three days.

Fortunately, another volunteer was going down Sunday morning and we caught a bush taxi together. Everyone was in the car by 6:45 a.m. We didn’t leave Kara until 7:45. We arrived at the station in Lomé at 7:30 p.m. Twelve hours for a trip that usually takes five hours. The detour on the Kpalimé road alone took nearly five hours. We would have arrived earlier if the driver hadn’t made 53 unnecessary stops – we did a lot of screaming at him. In the end, he gave us money for our taxi ride to the Peace Corps office, but probably only because he wanted us to shut up. 

It turns out nine bridges are out on the national highway, not one or two. I’m waiting for the Kpalimé road to go. It already had as many holes as a Peace Corps volunteer’s underwear after a year in Africa. Now every bus, bush taxi and 18-wheeler has to take it to get to and from Lomé. Volunteers are already speculating about evacuation. The government deregulates gas prices at the end of the month and soon travel will be next to impossible. I’m skeptical about evacuation, but everything just needs to hold on until I get back. Don’t want to miss the fun. 

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