Written by: Jody
One thing that can make living here difficult is the lack of things to do with your children. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and for that reason, even Niamey, the capital city, has a lack of things to do for and with your children. So just this past week we took a vacation to Burkina Faso, the country to the west of Niger.
After a seven hour car trip we arrived in the capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. To be fair Ouagadougou is not much better off than Niamey, but hey we were out of Niger and on vacation and were determined to make the best of it.
On the first day of arriving we located the go-carts. Yes Ouagadougou has go-carts and boy did we have a fun time. We went with some friends of ours that were in the country for a softball tournament over the weekend, one I was playing in as well. One thing you learn about Africa is that there is not a constant fear of getting sued so the safety pre-cautions are very limited – which can be good and bad. When we were at Victoria Falls in Zambia the lack of safety pre-cautions was a bad thing. There were lots of open cliffs and a very slippery bridge, which we fell on. However, the lack of safety pre-cautions on go-carts makes for a very fun ride.
Camryn in the driver's seat! Don't worry she didn't really drive on her own...
Let me explain… First, in America they often put a safety switch on the accelerator to keep the go-carts from going too fast. No such thing in Africa, these go-carts flew. Second, any bumping or rough riding that would get you thrown out in America, is totally allowed, nobody really cares. On our first ride our children rode with us so we took an easy, relaxed ride – no horse playing for the kid’s safety. But on the second ride, Jody threw caution to the wind and had a race with some of the teenagers from the school in Niamey. This was probably some of the most fun I have ever had on go-carts.
A couple of days later we got to take our kids bowling. Ouagadougou has a bowling alley. The kids had never been bowling before, and we had the whole 4 lane alley to ourselves. They had a blast, however again safety seems to not be a priority in Africa, since we all bowled barefoot. This is not recommended and we were afraid we may end up with some smashed toes, but we all made it out unharmed.
Finally we found an indoor play place in one of the grocery stores. The girls had fun in the ball pits, on the small zip line, and just running through the mazes. These seem to be all over the place in America, but for us it was a big treat.
Although, there was not much else to do, we went swimming a lot, ate out every night, Sarah loved not cooking, and ate some great ice cream treats that we cannot get in Niger. Finally on the last morning we were able to take the kids to a small amusement park. By small I mean they had bumper cars, merry-go-around, and a few other small rides. We spent about an hour there -- that’s how small it was, but the girls had a lot of fun.
Camryn on merry-go-round
Jody and Jordan on the bumper cars
The girls and a hippo