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The Diary
The Solidarity
C.R.E.N - Boussè (Burkina)
Nun Ester is from Naples and has been in Burkina for nearly 25 years. She manages the CREN centre in Boussè, a small village inland Burkina. The cen...
Nanoro – St. Camillo Hospital (Burkina)
We visit this hospital run by the Camillian Fathers, situated 40km inland of Broussè, in the North of the country. There are many departments and the...

We get to Burkina – 15 Jan 2008

We enter this state by a secondary border called Koro. Within a few minutes we are inside; police and customs checks are really quick.
We have also finished one of the gas tanks and in this country you cannot buy a 2 kg tank. Therefore, we will wait until we get to Ghana. We sleep at Ouahigouya, in a welcoming centre called “Hummingbird”. The centre is a local association for Onlus, to help poor families.
Simple but clean rooms at 4700 CFA. GPS N13°34.906’ W002°24.703’

Hospital Solidarity – 16 Jan 2008

We visit St Camillo Hospital in Nancro. The building has been developed with the help of many Italians. All details are found in the solidarity section
In Nancro we meet Gino and Enrico, who have come here by motorbike across Algeria. They should have gone back home through Mauritania, but with the latest rioting they have decided to leave the motorbike here and take the plane back home to Valle D’Aosta where they reside.

Ouagadougou - 17 Jan 2008

Here we are in Burkina’s clean and stimulating capital. As usual, we visit the Embassy to request a Visa to enter Ghana. 15.000 CFA, 4 pictures and after 24 hours we have the Visas. Quick and quite economical; the Visas last 3 months.
The intense heat has seized the hand-break cable. Thankfully, it jammed when the brake was off. We try to repair it, with no success. We will wait until we get to Accra (Ghana) to replace the part. Here it will be too expensive, as Land Rovers are uncommon here.

We stop in Ouagadougou for a few days. We spend a night at the Ok-Inn camp-park which has the great advantage of being free! GPS N12° 20,120’ W001°30,840’
But the wi-fi is not free, on the contrary, it is the most expensive that we have found in this city and also one of the slowest! Services are not very clean and convenient. We move to the more central, neater and more welcoming centre called Notre Dame de Loreto GPS N12° 22,304’ W001 31,481’

Bobo – 21 Jan 2008

Bobo-Dioulasso: this peaceful city is a pleasure to visit and holds a big market . You can walk through the streets to a beautiful mud mosque.
We have stopped in the shaded and tranquil garden of African House. GPS N11°10,154’ W004°18,707’. It is close to the centre and cheap, shame about the very dirty services.
We cannot find a 2Kg gas tank in Burkina. We are unable to find a fault on the battery charger, which is playing-up. Claudio has a temperature again and gives us another malaria scare. We decide to wait until we get to Ghana to find a gas tank. In the meantime, we get in contact with the battery-charger’s manufacturer hoping they will shed some light on how to solve the problem. We also go to a medical centre for a malaria test (2500 CFA, circa 4 euros) which, thankfully, is negative.

Happy Birthday Laura!

We celebrate Laura’s birthday at Bobo’s Eau Vive restaurant. Instead of the usual birthday cake, we have some nice ice-cream with candles and a chorus of happy birthday accompanied with guitars.

CREN – Solidarity – Boussè

We stop to visit a Nutritional Educational Centre (CREN), where the many children suffering from malnutrition are helped and their mothers educated in food preparation and nourishment. We give an Elfo token. See further details in Solidarity section.
On the Elfo website, we will publish all the information on how to donate and help this project from Italy

Banfora – 25 Jan 2008-02-24

From this tiny village we travel 40km along an uneven track to reach the Sindou peaks. The peaks are beautiful. We take a walk along a narrow plateau, which was once home to villagers. Centuries back, the villagers moved down, settling in the more practical, comfortable countryside below. Now, the peaks are a place for ceremonies and sacred rituals.

Whilst we are here, we get to know an association, which helps orphans who have escaped from the neighbouring Ivory Coast war. We leave some school material.

Tengrela Lake

This lake is a tourist attraction and hosts about 40 hippopotami. We are able to get quite close to them. We set-up camp and sleep by the lake’s shore, their grunting serenading us through the night.

Karfiguela Waterfall

The last, but by no means least interesting thing we do, is to check out the Karfiguela waterfalls.
We cannot suggest any place to sleep in the city, as the Canne da Sucre Hotel is very expensive, a bit run down and despite having a nice garden, camping isn’t allowed. The Calipso hotel at the entrance of the city is worth a try, it is pretty and not very expensive.

Obirè Rois Gans Sanctuary – 27 Jan 2008

The Rois Gans are a population who came from Ghana many centuries ago. We visit the village of the fetish kings and, accompanied by one of the kings’ wives, we go to see all the statues of past kings, where still today, rituals and sacrifices are practiced.

Gaoua. Land of the Lobis – 27 Jan 2008-02-24

This land is home to the Lobis, an ethnic group with complicated traditions and customs some of which, are still unknown and shrouded in mystery. In their two storey houses there are rooms dedicated to fetish and propitiatory statues. A king and a few important magic figures manage social life: mystics, fortune-tellers and sculptors of cult artefacts. The use of fetish worship and cruel, bloody sacrifices (chickens and other animals) is common practise.

Daniela Bognolo - 28 Jan 2008

We meet Daniela Bognolo and her husband. She is here studying and researching the Lobi population. An anthropologist and art historian professor of European fame, she has been researching and studying this population for over 30 years.
A very affable and agreeable pair, we spend a very interesting evening with them, enthralled by their extraordinary stories. The next day, we regretfully part company to continue our journey towards Ghana.

Burkina Faso - Our impressions

We pass-through the frontier at Hamele with speed and efficiency. Crossing the border in all aspects is simple and without fuss. Roadblocks are rare and the police are courteous and friendly.
The main asphalted roads are well kept, making you happy to pay the light toll fees. Road signs and signals at crossroads are plentiful and clear.
The country does not present any big attractions, but the atmosphere is clean and relaxed.
The main means of transportation are bicycles: they are everywhere.

Sign posts, curiosity and beer