I am now the proud owner of a bike. Pretty much everybody in Burkina rides some two-wheeled conveyance. Even taxis are hard to come by, as I discovered the other day when I wanted to go down to the embassy and had to walk a mile or so to a big round-about in order to find a cab. Most people have motor scooters, little 60cc or so Yamahas are the most preferred model, like Djibi had. I am frankly scared to ride one, though, having ridden a motorcycle like twice in my life before coming here. Peace Corps has a very bad opinion of motorcycles in Africa, too. My boss in Guinea, the now late and very much missed Jean Demarteau, came to Guinea with the determination to eliminate motorcycles from the program. When he got there, we still had a dozen or so volunteers who had them, but he carefully reworked all the program designs so volunteers could get around on bikes. While he was country director in Benin, apparently, he had to sit by at least one hospital bed while one of his volunteers was dying from a motorcycle accident. We had a few bike accidents in Guinea, but nothing worse than a broken finger as far as I can remember.

One thing Peace Corps volunteers have that I don’t have is a bike helmet. I went down to the bike market today, and one guy had several dozen for me to try on, but not one fit. So I am going to order from Amazon and hope they can ship successfully here. My hat was hard to find, too. Not too many people wear a size 8.

And one of the bike salesmen pointed out that Thomas Sankara was known for riding a bicycle. That sold me on the idea. I’m not nearly as cute as Sankara, though:

Bike 4ThomasSankara

Too bad I couldn’t find a picture of him with his bike…

And, I’m growing my goatee back. I normally have a beard in the winter months, and soon it will be winter here. Nighttime temperatures down to 15 on average, with recorded lows as low as 10. That’s 50, for you Americans. And I’m sure if I experience 50 degrees now I will be out buying a winter coat…

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