I have just returned home from a 10 day trip to Burkina Faso, Africa. I saw hunger, disease, hope, joy, generosity. I felt hot, dusty, thirsty, loved, appreciated, encouraged, hospitality, inspired. I was filled with heart-breaking experiences that consumed my heart with compassion. I wish I could put it into one simple post and tell you what what all this means. But I cannot.
On a trip where there was hardship around every corner, we did find a few things to put a smile on our face! The Burkinabe people are very resourceful and creative as to how to move about their country.
At times, I felt like we stepped into “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. In that story, a little boy tells his father some pretty outlandish tales. And his father basically just wants the bare bones. But well, that’s boring!
So here are a few of the real things we saw. Whether you believer it or not.
With fewer regulations as to transportation, we saw streets flooded with motorcycles and mopeds. And by “flooded,” I mean they took over the roads at some places! They do not have to have a driver’s license for one of these, if it’s a certain kind, and well, they drive like they have had no instruction too! They weave in and out of cars and vans and trucks. They cut in front of you at a stop light. They line the sides and middle of the roads. They pile them high with however many people (or children!) they can put on. Occasionally you’ll see someone with a helmet. But not often.
We saw doors carried on the head and 12 ft planks of wood and panes of glass carried on bikes or mopeds. We saw young girls carrying heavy, and I mean heavy, bowls of water, fruit, vegetables, laundry, just to name a few things. We saw women dressed up nice in their finest clothes and highest of heels driving the dusty streets of the city.
We marveled at what could be piled up on the top of a bike, van, or in the bed of a pick up truck! There are actually 20+ women and children crammed into this truck! Or take a close look at this van on the right…what do you see strapped into place?!
And they are very capable of multi-tasking! Traveling and talking on a cell phone. Why not?
We never tired of looking out the windows to see what we could see.
We did see a plain donkey and wagon. Lots of them. But these, that seem like outlandish tales…were in fact really following behind.