When I was offered the contract in Burkina Faso I wasn’t initially overwhelmed, but then I wasn’t exactly sure where it was. West Africa somewhere I guessed? A quick look on Wiki search revealed it was a small landlocked country (damn, no beach!) and was indeed in West Africa. Bordered by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast (plenty of opportunity to travel then!). This was good I thought, I’d been to The Gambia before and had really enjoyed it. The food was good, great music, friendly people, safe. Maybe the rest of West Africa would be as much fun. I read further down, “Burkina Faso is a francophone country and French is an official language of government and business”. Damn! French was not my best subject at school, and it had gone downhill ever since I left. Not to worry, I’m sure they would speak English too, I comforted myself. Next stop was the UK government travel advice website. Hmm, the map was shaded in orange and red, “advice against all non-essential travel” and in parts “advice against all travel” it said. It was looking less appealing, however it was the only job I had been offered and it was only for a few months. How bad could it be?
So in July 2015 I found myself heading off to Burkina Faso to catch mosquitoes in the villages around the town of Banfora armed with useful french phrases I had learnt in preparation for my trip, such as “the dolphin is black and red” which would come in handy in a landlocked country. To say I felt a little trepidation and somewhat unprepared would be an understatement……..
Kev then joined me in August for his first taste of field work.