So it seems. There have been many major roads shut down recently due to flooding. It's not too bad considering that all traffic is going through my village now so it's easier to get home. But the price of traveling is rising so there's an incentive not to travel. Besides, roads get far more dangerous when vehicles swerve to avoid potholes and chickens . . . and people. Yeah, it's quite disappointing to see that a taxi driver will almost run over someone in an effort to avoid damaging their tires. I understand that it's not cheap to fix, but is it really worth someone's life?
Recently, a few friends of mine where on a 15-placer traveling up on the route national (Togo’s main highway.) In the process, a local got off without paying the taxi driver and got into a different car. Now, it’s clear that the individual is trying to get away without paying, but it appears that he saw his friends en route and decided to joke around. The taxi driver was not amused and followed the friend’s vehicle for quite sometime. The friend even ran through a checkpoint where the military usually set up and bother everyone for a few CFA. [They don’t have much choice and neither would I if the military carries an unloaded weapon for the mere joy of intimidation.] Anyway, the 15 placer driver would rather retrieve his $4 or $5 than care about anyone’s safety in the vehicle. My friends repeatedly told him to stop but he continued. When the vehicle caught up to the friend’s car, which had been stopped by the police, my friends demanded to be let out of the car. The driver refused to give them their bags (piled about 5 feet high on top of the vehicle) so my friend climbed the car and retrieved their bags. She said it was pretty scary. I can only imagine. I really don’t like the driving situation here in Togo one bit. But, it does put things in perspective.
Not very many people here will ever own their own car and some may never ride in one. But the hassle that they go through is so overwhelming that it’s almost worth not traveling. And that is what upsets me the most. Travel can be so exciting, so memorable, and rewarding. I would love to own a plane in order to take some of my Togolese for a small joy ride around the world. I would take them to Texas for some BBQ, Mexico for taquitos, and New Zealand (random) to enjoy the landscape. They love to hear my stories of the places I’ve been and those I’d love to visit. I almost want to cry thinking that they may never see a place outside of Togo and the beauty that surrounds them. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to travel and see places even some Americans may never see. And, most of all, I enjoy sharing my stories with those who someday would love to follow me in that journey. But for now, I suppose it’s best that we just try to avoid the floods that can wash those dreams away.