I quit my job as a TV news producer. I chose Burkina Faso as my next place of travel, a small West African country that most of my friends go, ‘Huh? Where?’ It didn’t take me long to decide this. Without even consulting my Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Experiences travel reference book, I just ran a few country names in my head and decided on Burkina. Just like that, after one minute of pondering.
Getting there is no easy task. I leave from Dubai after a week of visiting a friend, fly to Qatar, Algiers, then to Burkina Faso. Over 27 hours are spent on flying and waiting around in the airport. It is a plentiful time to amuse at my unusual travel itinary of 6 days of being driven around in a sleek Porsche sports car visiting the world’s tallest/biggest/most luxurious places; and then to spending 10 days at one of the world’s poorest countries.
I get off the plane. The weather is much cooler than I had expected. Nothing like the humid heat of Dubai. It’s only 25 degrees here and the breeze is cool and pleasant. There is a whiff of earthy musky smell in the air and people. It’s the smell of Africa that I so love and had missed.
Many had asked me why I had chosen Burkina Faso, and I’d say, “Because I like Africa”. I give this over-simplistic answer because my real answer would be a bit too vague for many ears and it does sound a bit too romantisised. In fact, I, myself, cannot exactly pin point out why I am here.
I always felt pulled towards Africa since I was a small child. Something about it makes my heart beat faster and my eyes brighten with a hawk like focus. When someone asks what my future life plan is, I answer, ‘ I want to live in Africa’. I don’t know why, and I have no detailed plans in what I would do. It’s all up in the air and I don’t even know how I would make it happen. It’s like squinting far far ahead through a thick layer of hazy atmosphere, trying to make sense of what it is that is laid on my path. I hear a faint drum beat from somewhere but cannot make out the source of it. I swish my hand around in a murky pond trying to catch the fish that I swear that had just swam by.
What IS this thing that keeps me calling? Tugging and pulling consistently and obsessively?
How else to better find out, than to get there and see what I find?
8 September 2014, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso