First Ouagadougou Road Rash

One nice thing about bicycles. If you fall down, you usually aren’t going too fast so all you lose is a little skin and your dignity. Road rash 1

Especially if you are me riding on a pretty hot and muggy evening.

I was riding back from English Mass at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican Embassy, on my nice new bike. Because I am a pretty careful guy, I was riding on the dirt alongside the paved street instead of the street itself. But I had to make a left turn. In order to get up on the pavement, there was an inch or so of curb. Instead of dismounting like a proper old slow guy, I decided to try to hop the curb. Crunch. Luckily, no damage to the bike or me aside from a bit of a lump and some skin now decorating the road.

Everybody was very kind and helpful. The biker behind me stopped to make sure I was OK, took me around the corner where somebody could inflate my tire – his sense was that my front tire was low and that’s why I couldn’t get up the curb – and then when I got home, another kind stranger brought me to the pharmacy where I could buy some band-aids and bacitracin to keep everything nice and clean.

And the English Mass was wonderful. The little kids of the American (and British?) community read the Bible readings, did the prayers of the people, and brought up the bread and wine for the communion part of the service. One of the kids was supposed to do a, well, not a homily because that’s the priest’s job, but a speech about the readings, but she didn’t feel ready and so the priest stepped in with a quite solid extemporaneous homily. Presumably, he was ready with something just in case. He is a Hungarian, I think, the assistant to the Nuncio, who is apparently out of town since his heroics during the coup talking General Diendéré into surrendering.

Another bike ride tomorrow, down to Djibi’s house, though I’m going to make sure I come back before nightfall. Riding at night is especially scary around here – not only are there ninja pedestrians like in Portland, there are also ninja bike riders and even ninja moto riders. Eternal vigilance is the price of staying alive on the roads around here. I passed a bike/moto accident on the way, just before my fall, which is another reason why I was riding slowly along in the dirt on the roadside…


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