By Likiwi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Our canary-yellow Toyota pick-up was fully equipped for our week-long journey from Moundou, Chad to Yaoundè, Cameroun in the late 1970s, with food, water, medical supplies and the possibility, if the need arose, to sleep in the back of the pick-up. Feeling intrepid, our adventure began with two other families one Iranian and the other Canadian.
The dirt roads were deeply rutted due to the recent rainy season and sometimes it was easier to just drive along the side the road rather than risk destroying the axle of one of the vehicles. The air was full of fine, choking dust until we got closer to the border, where lush growth began to substitute the dry semi-savanna.
Our first stop was at a small “motel” at the border, which consisted of several large mud huts with aluminium roofs, they had running water even if no electric. We arrived just before sunset and rented one of the large round huts for our group. We thankfully showered off dust and sweat, ate our first hot meal of the day and then prepared for the night.
There were several cots in the round house, without bedding or mattresses, made of woven cow-hide. We sprayed the beds down for fleas and other “night life” before arranging our inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags on them. Then, waiting for the insecticide to do its duty, we sat outside the hut, enjoying the moon-lit evening sitting in front of the fire, talking about the trip so far and planning the next leg of our journey.
avoiding fleas, ticks and lice
enjoying the full moon
© G.s.k. ‘15
Today’s episode brought back memories of my youth in Africa. Now we have many conveniences when travelling, however in some parts of the world travelling is still quite an adventure. I decided to share with you the beginning of a journey I took many years ago from Southern Chad to the capital of Cameron with friends and family. We (my first husband and I) had two small boys at the time, our Iranian friends had a baby daughter and the Canadians three rambunctious boys. The trip was basically uneventful although not what one comes to expect when travelling in Europe or North America.
Here’s the haiku (I’d advise you to click the link above for the full haibun) Basho wrote centuries ago:
fleas and lice
now a horse pisses
by my pillow
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
At least we had no horses about.