It has been five days now and there are clearly some items you must bring out to West Africa if you ever find yourself staying a whole month and like me, have plenty of time to kill. I am slowly beginning to regret not packing my suitcase to the brim with them. Top 10:
1) Chocolate. Plenty of it. I brought four boxes of jaffa cakes and have munched my way through three boxes already. Perhaps bring some will power with you to!
2) Coffee/Tea. If you’re like me, and like a decent brew, trust me, there are no Starbucks in Burkina Faso (I’ve looked!).The little packets of Nestle coffee topped with a sprinkling of powdered milk (which never dissolves no matter how vigorous your stirring ability is!) will not do the trick.
3) A good DVD box set. The one item I did bring. Sopranos. First time I’ve seen it. Immense.
4) Light long sleeve shirts. Forget fashion. Just stay cool!
5) Your work. Yes, I am very busy at work during the day but if you’ve got some work left over from home then bring some. My most productive evenings ever cooped up in les Hotel des Conferences. The thesis is nearly nailed!
6) Football shirts. And wear them! Nothing gets a conversation started better when you’re French well......sucks. Make a great present too.
7) A hat. Simple. Yes. For me. No. What an idiot!
8) A towel. The hotels des conferences clearly seemed taken aback by my request for another towel after my 17th shower. You will sweat a lot.
9) An instrument. Sounds daft and yes, I know it isn’t essential, but with so much spare time, a great chance to learn......me, I’ve already requested a trip to the nearest music shop in Ouaga.
10) A ‘Ca va’ and a ‘bonne journee’. Every local appreciates a good hello, how you doing? And you can pretend you know some French for a few minutes..........
Best wishes, Chris