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January 4, 1998

Today, we passed the Burkina Faso border and head for Dori where they make goat and camel hair blankets. We had a few visitors yesterday. Mostly they wanted a drink of water. This AM, we celebrated Leon’s birthday. He’s four. Tobias sent a book and a box of candy, a puzzle from Uschi and Reinhard and a book from his grandmother. He seemed happy.   One weird thing is my dreams at night. Since there is no job or home stress here, I find myself dreaming really strange stuff that’s all jumbled together. Not nightmares, but very strange.

The way into Burkina Faso was easy. No money to pay and they didn’t make us take everything out of the truck like Uschi and Reinhard feared. There were two dogs in the town where we passed the border, but they were mongrels, heavy, short legged, longer hair, small ears. One was red, one hound marked. The red was the son of the hound marked one. We had seen a few from the distance in a few villages at the edge of Niger, but couldn’t really see what they looked like.

At Dori, it was great! All the dogs that we saw were awful - mongrels, but the market was wonderful. I bought two cotton blankets, a heavy copper bracelet, two glass bead necklaces, and a wooden stool. The blankets were expensive but so time intensive to make. But they were still cheap at only 1850 CFA, about $30 for both of them. We didn’t see any camel or goat hair ones. Perhaps we’ll see some in Markoye tomorrow, but now I need some batik and leather things. Also, the wooden sculpture for Rhonda and silver jewelry, if possible. Uschi said the route we take from Dori to Markoye is the same pist ABIS uses to go to Tin Akof. At Dori, we also had cafe a lait, not as good as Niamey and I also bought what Uschi said was Sprite, which turned out to be Tonic. YUCK! Tonight, we are still 40 KM from Markoye.

Oh, along the way to Dori, we saw a brindle male with white socks. I thought him pretty, Uschi didn’t like him. He wasn’t so noble, but certainly better than those we have seen from Tin Akof. Uschi tried to buy some eggs there. The people were so dense. She followed the chickens around, making nests in the dirt, showing what size eggs were, etc. The people were just staring and laughing. She was so frustrated.   Finally, a boy came out with 1 egg, then we started over trying to get more. It went faster after that, but the woman wanted lots of CFA for 5 eggs that probably had baby chickens inside. Uschi finally got them for 200 CFA. I find the people here in Burkina, a bit hostile. Nothing obvious, just a feeling. There just doesn’t seem to be the warmth that was present in Niger. Perhaps more Europeans come here and they learned not to be so friendly. At the market, they were sharper with dealing and stuck to their prices, especially on the blankets. That night we were in Cram-cram land again. The dogs had it really bad. Nettie hates to have her feet
handled to get it out. The others don’t like it either, but Nettie really stresses out.

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