The Togo-Benin Border

When the reveon started, it reminded me of a Navajo occasion with drums and dancing but then the intensity became greater and greater and I did not want to do anything but get out of there. After we got behind the member’s wall and the elder was hurt, she opened a little back door and let us out. Three elders, Pete and I were ready to go. Elder Naiombi from Ivory Coast took my hand and led me through the streets all the way to Southam’s apartment. It was a taste of African culture and at the same time I could feel his concern for me and his desire to protect me. He is a very kind and loving elder.

When we were at the border it looked to me that chaos reins. Before we got there, we saw a long line of trucks parked along the side of the road with the drivers camped by the side of their trucks. Sometimes they are there for days trying to get through. Boy, are their trucks something to behold. They overload them so tires are wobbling, springs are sprung and loads are twice as high as they should be. We saw one that had “the best of the best” across the front and I laughed as it looked like a reject from a war zone. When we were at one booth, I think it was the one for vehicles, Pete sent me to the pick-up to get his international driver’s license, and I got the key stuck in the lock and before I knew it I was surrounded by about six or eight street vendors wanting me to buy phone cards, handkerchiefs, cookies, hats, etc. I was starting to panic when Pete and the Southams came and we could get in the pick-up. That was at the Benin side and then we had to do it all over again at the Togo side. After we were through with everything, there were so many trucks, cars and motos trying to get through, that we could not get through going the opposite direction. Elder Southam just edged to the side and the people in the booths just moved their goods back and let us through. People don’t get upset around here, they just move out of the way. It’s kind of nice but still I experience a white knuckle ride every day.

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