Surprisingly, we sleep well lying beside the truck on that hard packed trail. Somehow the thought of snakes, and rats, and cockroaches, and … didn’t enter our heads. We are woken by the men’s movements as the sun rises the next morning. We look about to see a greener landscape than we left behind. Scrubby trees and grasses dot the landscape broken only by the rutted trail that our truck is sitting on. How many more hours of driving? we wonder.
One of the men gestures for us to follow. He leads the way to a stream and leaves us. I have a moment of panic. We’re in the middle of who knows where. The men are no longer in sight. Surely, they wouldn’t leave us. Knowing the water is unsafe, not only for drinking, but also for washing, we manage to clean ourselves as best we can with a face cloth we dampen using some of our precious bottled water. We scurry back to the trail to find the truck there, the men climbing into the back. We scramble into the cab and the drive resumes.
We also were wise enough to bring along oranges. They’re hard, but do provide a bit of juice and sustenance for breakfast. We offer the driver one, but he declines. We haven’t seen what the men ate, if indeed they did.
Many jostling hours later, we arrive at Parakou and once again seek and find the nuns who welcome us warmly.
to be continued