28 Aug 2015 1630
I’m sitting in Dulles Airport, waiting for my flight to Paris on the way to Burkina Faso. On my way to the airport with my brother-in-law, Brahima, “In the Jungle” (weem-a-way) was playing on the Muzak at the gas station. Luckily for me, Burkina is semi-desert.
I said goodbye to my wife, Kadija, on the phone earlier today, while packing the bags at my mother’s. I had her on speaker phone which is not the most romantic way to convey this message but I needed both hands to toss stuff in the bags. I hope she gets by OK. When my daughter was a newborn, I took off to a six-week training seminar, leaving Kadija with three little kids to care for. Now, those kids are teenagers – don’t know if this will be easier or harder for her. As my mother said as I was bidding her farewell, I am crazy to do this but I guess I’m stuck with it now. I have thought more than once about bailing out but I’m sure I would kick myself for the rest of my life. And there’s that little matter of 60 grand of government money, much of it spent already, that I would have to give back. And how many people get to be Fulbrighters?
Dulles has really changed from the days of my childhood when we would drive out here and eat in the airport restaurant (in the famous terminal building with the sweeping roof) so we could watch the planes take off. No more little buses running around from terminal to planes, instead you take a modern train system out to a terminal building that looks a whole lot like every other terminal building in the known world. So much for architecture, but of course that old terminal building had about 15 gates. Last time I flew out of this airport, in 1993 on my way to my research trip to Aix-en-Provence, we loaded at one of those gates and rode the bus to our plane.
While I’m writing this, I’m struggling with my old cell phone. I saved it and brought it along so that I could use it in Africa. But I can’t even use it here in the airport. I logged onto the wifi using this computer when I began writing this, and the phone still hasn’t processed the login for the cell phone. I think I may have an expensive purchase to make once I get to Burkina. I can’t be without cell phone service there – I think the phone may be my only form of data access, as my informants tell me that wired internet is very hard to obtain and unreliable to boot.
Ah, finally, the phone finished logging into the Dulles free wifi. Now we will see if it can actually receive data. And, success! I need to uninstall all the Robot Unicorn Attack and Candy Crush that Jeneba Diane loaded on there.
I have a couple of pictures that I’ll add later.