13th story: From Bobo Dialasso to Accra (11.04.05 - 21.04.05)

Despite the heat, we started again on bikes from Bobo Dialasso towards the Ghanian border on April 12th. The first 20km there was a gentle decend on the mainroad towards the capital Ouagadougou, then we had to turn and it was all piste. Away from the main road we off course drew even more attention with our recumbent bikes. As soon as we stopped a whole crowd of people gathered around us. The people in Burkina Faso were extremely curious, but very friendly. Already people in Senegal and Mali had been poor, but here the poverty was really extreme, quite a few of the kids were running around naked with bloated bellies. But nevertheless people were friendly.
The heat was outrageous that day, we were not only sweating, but the sweat was dripping from our fingertips. The drinkig water turned into an undrinkable something within minutes....

At midnight the temperature went down to only 35°C- impossible to even think of sleeping and half of the night we turned around on our matresses sweating. The next day we set off at sunrise being rather tired. At 10 am it was already too hot for us to continue cycling. We were also in constant fear about the insulin. Most of the villages we drove through had no electricity and we were unable to buy the much needed ice to cool the insulin. Hendrik had a special system to cool his insulin in thermos bottles but in this heat he needed ice to prevent the water from boiling. Another problem was food, in these small villages the only thing we could buy were mangos- very small and not yet ripe ones. The drinking water from the local dwells seemd like a bacterial-virological bomb, since the life stock was getting watered right next to it. Though we filtered the water of course, we were unsure about it.
We were lucky and managed to organize a transpot towards the border (Hamile/Ghana).
Ghana welcomed us with a big “Welcome to Ghana” signpost and rather relaxed and friendly immigration officers. Though Ghana is much wealthier than Burkina Faso there was only a hotel with bucket showers and toiletes squat styles without light.

Gradually the heat showed severe consequences for Hendrikīs health, his circulation went crazy, he had bad stomach pains, nausea and diarrhoea. Therefore we decided to continue by bus. First we went to Kumasi, the second biggest town in Ghana and the former capital of the Ashanti, where we were able to get decent food again. By now both of us felt too weak to cycle. 200km before Kumasi we finally left the Sahel area and went into the tropics, which was rather frustrating because everywhere you see only left overs of the once rich rainforest. Nearly all of the rainforest has been cut.

When we reached Cape Coast the former capital of the British, Hendrik was so weak that he had to stay in bed for 24 hours. First nausea, then diarrhoea and finally fever (it was difficult to measure the body temperature when it was so hot outside). Malaria? The next day we went to hospital where they made a malaria and typhus test, which was luckily negative but they couldnīt help any further.

By now it was hot and humid, cycling was unthinkable, therefore we took a taxi (like nearly all (used) cars this was a German one still with the country sticker of Germany on it) to get to Accra, the capital of Ghana. Hendrik was still not doing well, just getting the bikes into the taxi was too exhausting for him.

The same day we met Inge and Jeroen, the two Dutch cyclists we had met in Tan Tan / Marocco, in downtown Accra. We knew they would be in Accra the same time and there was a big hello. The two had cycled all the way and were pretty worn out and had lost quite some weight. They hadnīt enjoyed this very much , especially since they got sick as well. They had already made a decision to leave West Africa and to fly to Uganda instead.
We also had to make a decision since we didnīt want to risk Hendrikīs health any further. First we had the idea to fly to South Africa in order to finish the trip in a much milder (winter-) temperature. Unfortunately Hendrikīs health situation got even worse, so that we decided to fly straight back home on April 20th.

>> 14th story: Flying back home on