First day of Motorcycle Training in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

It was a good day here in Lake Ouagadougou where all the women are strong, the men are dressed well, and the kids are beautiful. We went to breakfast at the SIL Center where we are staying and found out that you must sign up ahead of time if you want a meal. So we did not eat there and instead we signed up for tomorrow’s breakfast and ate some of the granola bars Judy sent me. Thank you, so much Judy.

We were to be picked up at 7:45AM and the driver showed up exactly on African time at about 8AM. Arriving at the Wycliffe center I could see there were another 7 motorcycles in the storage area. Nice, but, still missing 8 motorcycles. We had a short meeting with the director and his immediate staff. The one responsible for getting the bikes here gave us a great story about why they are not all here, but I couldn’t understand her. Oh well, we will make it work. We then joined in with the morning prayer and devotional, taking place in our classroom. One of the national translators was speaking, but I could not understand him. Oh well. Then he lead us into the prayer time where everyone prayed out loud at the same time for several minutes. It was an interesting time, something like I imagine heaven will sound like, or already does. Then there were introductions of Ken and I, then they asked us to introduced ourselves with the actual details. Trying to remember my French I muddled through. Then there was about a 30 minute break where we set up the classroom and the students and staff wandered about getting to know one another.

Our 8AM class started right on African time at 9:20AM. We did an introduction of the course, some safety discussion about working around a shop, power equipment and safety practices. Then I did my, “serious/fun ” talk about how motorcycles are dangerous and safety is the key to riding into the future. I have ridden them for over 50 years and consider riding to be a very enjoyable experience as long as you follow some safety rules. I tried to scare them into wearing helmets by showing all kinds of video accidents, but it’s just not their culture, see the picture below. I hope they will break culture for their sakes. From then on Ken and I bounced back and forth leading. Ken did the maintenance demonstration/discussion and I did the riding discussion. We broke for lunch about noon, telling them we start again at 12:45.

We still have not been able to exchange U$ Dollars for CFA’s (Central African Franc) in a reasonable quantity. So the director took us to a bank he was sure would do the exchange for us. Five banks later, we still didn’t get our money. Not sure why they don’t want the American dollar right now. So he took us to a cheap (inexpensive) local place and bought our lunch once again. You guessed it, rice and chicken bone sauce*. The three of us ate for 3500 cfa- $7 US. Eating local really is the way to go. We got back to the class room right on African time of 1:15PM. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the students were there waiting. Since we did a really short morning review, I did some more riding safety instructions and Ken did more maintenance. We brought one of the motorcycle’s into the classroom to use for a demo. They are very inexpensive (cheap) motorcycles, what we might consider disposable motorcycles, like razors. But they look and smell new. I love all the plastic wrap they come in. Many will leave that on for extra protection from the dust and dirt. 

I was shown the location for the riding practice, but didn’t get a chance to mark it off for the different practices. I am hoping we will be able to find powdered field marking lime (fat chance) in the morning before getting the teaching started. Tomorrow we’ll split up; Ken taking half the class for hands on motorcycle maintenance, and I’ll take the other half and start the riding practice sessions. 

After today’s course we got back to the SIL center to find the finance office closed. Hrump! Thankfully down the hall we found a nice gal who made arrangements for someone to give us exactly what we needed for CFA’s. They brought it right to our door. So nice of her. We do get to have dinner tonight!

We did not have dinner plans, but were told about different eating options from the SIL freezer. Frozen food, directly from the freezer. Pizza and ice cream. Just fill out a form and drop cash (which we now have) in an envelope,  heat and eat, what more could a man want? (Well, someone to do it for him I suppose) We worked on tomorrow’s lessons, ate some snacks and went to bed.  It’s been a good day in Ouagadougou.

*Highlight of one of my other motorcycle training meal events from my blog: Motorcycle Training, African Style-Chad. “It’s the number one Chad special, couscous with fish bone sauce. Oh my, how many meals to go? I ask for a half portion, they laugh, it’s still four times more than I could eat even if I was near starvation. I sit with the guys and listen to them crunching the fish bones like candy. I think of my mother telling me to be careful of fish bones; if they get stuck in your throat you will die a slow and agonizing death. I look at the dog, looking at me. No, I decide, and slowly pick out each and every bone, which greatly helps reduce the volume of food I actually get to consume. Thank you mother!”

Author: jimjudywycliffejourney

Jim and Judy have been with Wycliffe since 1984. They have served in aviation maintenance/management, motorcycle, and 4X4 training, recruitment, and facilities maintenance in multiple locations in the US and Africa. They currently work with America's Area, North Region, Scripture Access services team. They are a mobile USA team using the internet and face to face encounters with churches, ministries, Native American communities, Diaspora communities, refugee aid organizations, and individuals, introducing them to Through this website, those who did not grow up speaking English can access the Bible and other Scripture resources in the language they understand best. Would you consider becoming a part of their Wycliffe ministry partnership team? You can join their prayer or financial team by clicking on

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