(the way home)

Cotonou, Benin

I enjoyed Benin so much that I stretched my stay an extra two days, cutting everything else from my itinerary. Instead of using them to go somewhere far, I chose to hang out — at the beach, at the badminton court, at Miguelle’s house, at my hostel with Firmin and Clementine.

With my French finally at a basic conversational level, it was all the more refreshing to get to know people better… tragically, just as I was about to leave. We coached Kesley through her interviews for a volunteer opportunity in Canada. Aubin and I exchanged music and learning materials related to informatics. Maman and her gang at the shop gossiped some more, teased me about potentially dating African women, while I dished right back to them. Lots of time killed on Youtube, huddled around a smartphone. I played a bit more badminton… and at least scored a single point. Watched a few telenovelas with Clementine and her family, then received a few bags of peanuts and tapioca flour to bring to her brother in Boston. I was killing time and enjoying company. I felt like I could stay… I really didn’t want to leave.
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Kpalimé and Lomé, Togo

Ghana clearly didn’t want me to leave. Hey, I was even tempted to stay.

The distance between Hohoe and Kpalimé is not far, maybe about 1.5 to 2 hours tops by vehicle. Naturally, this would be a route with plenty of travellers, right? Nah. After sitting in the parking lot, in the only tro-tro going to Kpalimé, under the hot sun for 2 hours, we were still missing our last passenger. I decided to buy the last seat just to speed things up. It got me a bit of goodwill from the other passengers, but also what seemed like a little derision for my impatience. Hey, at least that means everyone has a teeny bit more leg room, right? Nah.

So then we’re off! Well, the tro-tro driver’s gotta tie all the tags up top and tighten the screws on the wheels first. Sure, just a couple minutes more, no big deal. Off we go on a bumpy unpaved road! Oh, whoops, gotta fill up on gasoline too with the world’s slowest automatic pump. Okay, now we’re really going…30 km/h!

About thirty minutes in, we hit a particularly large pothole. THUD! Oh, false alarm. Wait… THUNK!
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