Doucement

Ouidah, Benin

Another day, another trip on the backseat, another badminton errand to run. It was a long ride from Cotonou to Lokossa, back on the dusty construction-filled road towards Lomé, needing multiple literally-on-the-road stops to fill up on gasoline. (Gas stations are few to none; vendors sell gasoline in bottles on the side of the road, imported illegally from neighbouring Nigeria.) Traffic is anything-goes: separated local traffic lanes (like “collectors lanes” on the 401 in Toronto) run adjacent to the fast lanes in the middle, but with the roads frequently blocked due to construction, everyone just ends up driving anywhere on the dirt, on sand, through fields…whatever means necessary to get to the next surfaced road. Motorbike traffic u-turns at will, driving up and over a median to go to the side of opposite traffic. Chaos, but it seems to work better than Ghana.

The night before and all through the morning, before heading on the road Aubin and Miguelle’s mom were warning me about “la poussière”. Didn’t know what that meant until I was covered in a layer of it, skin turned ashen grey, nasal passages burning. I let Aubin keep the helmet he brought to protect me from it — he was driving, he needed it more.
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