After a few days of being thrown around on horrible roads a rest day was very necessary. It is just exhausting, especially with the heat.
Adam, having gone on ahead, had booked a room for 2 nights for us and French couple, Sebastien and Alexandra. They are travelling on Honda dirt bikes. Very brave of Alexandra methinks. Dennis and I and Adam slept in our vehicles last night and used the facilities in the room. It is in a a bungalow in what might have been a military barracks. Pretty austere. However, at 7pm we had warm, running water and electricity.
Sometime later in the morning Sebastien and Alexandra arrived. We are letting them sleep in the room tonight to save them putting up their tent. We’ll continue to use the shower/toilet and share the costs between us.
Rest days mean not driving anywhere, but there are always tasks to undertake. Some washing, to try and keep up to date rather than let it build up. Giving the fridge a clean out and sorting out the contents of my toilet bag and washing that.
The afternoon was more restful and I managed to sit under a tree and read my Kindle. The tree we were sitting under had strange fruit. We wondered if they might be edible. On asking the property owner, we discovered it was a cashew tree. The nut is separate from the soft fruity part, sitting on the top.
We had arranged to have dinner together in the on site restaurant. The choice had been chicken or fish. We had all chosen chicken. As we were not near the coast and Adam had made a comment about a lady descaling fish which did not look very appetising, we all thought chicken the safer option.
Dinner was supposed to be at 7pm. We were late as we filled our water tank, as 7pm was when the water came on. It was 7.20 when we arrived in the restaurant, but it was still another 30 minutes before dinner arrived.
Quite a large portion of chicken with chips and a few onions. We have not seen any vegetables at shops or roadside stalls for several days. Other than potatoes, hot chillies and tiny onions. Potatoes are no good for us as we have bags of dried mash potato still to use. There is fruit though. Pineapples, papaya and we still have some mangoes.
Apparently Abidjan, in Ivory Coast, has some French supermarkets. We are hoping to be able to restock, as our porridge supplies will run out tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get dairy products, butter, cheese and milk, to keep us going for a while too. We are told these supermarkets are expensive, but it will be worth it to us.
Over dinner we talked with Sebastien and Alexandra about their plans for the future. They already have visas for Nigeria which they obtained in Paris. They are having to travel quite quickly to make sure they are through Nigeria before their visas expire. They are also South Africa bound.
After South Africa they are heading for Reunion Island where they are hoping to settle. Alexandra is a dentist and Sebastien would like to start some sort of tourism business there. We wish them the best of luck and hope they will like Reunion, which they have not yet visited.
What for the future of Africa?
Lying in bed I was thinking about our travels through Africa and Guinea in particular. What happens when there is no more forest to burn for charcoal? We have commented before on the large number of children and young people. Young girls have a child strapped to their back, are expecting another and have another holding their hand. What happens when all these children start having children?
There is no employment, other than for a few in the local economy running shops, motor cycle repair places, selling their fruit/vegetables etc. Women are occupied cooking, washing looking after children. Children seem to be doing tasks too. Carrying wood, water etc. Most men seem to be sitting around doing nothing. The only other income seems to come from cutting down the forest and burning it for charcoal to sell.
Yesterday we read an article about the amount of plastic in the ocean exceeding the amount of plankton. What happens here when it rains. All the plastic which is lying absolutely everywhere must get washed into rivers. It does not bode well.
The Chinese are here too. Yesterday we passed a huge quarry with Chinese writing on the gates and being serviced by Chinese trucks. They are taking the natural resources, in return for what. We did see some evidence of road building, but it seemed to have stalled.
I eventually fell into a fitful sleep.