I cross the border to Benin just as it opens. Ahead of me is a challenging 230+ kilometer road to Nigeria, to manage in less than the 48 hours that my visa is valid for. All on dirt roads, locally called ‘le rouge’ (the red) from the earth’s characteristic, brick-red color. I cycle maybe nine hours effective time and reach Bori at sunset.
There is no hostel, but I’m given a bed at the local hospital. Fortunately, there are no patients so I can also get the only bed which has a mosquito net. I’m dead tired, and happy of being spared pitching the tent. An elder man who says he is the night guard at the hospital sleeps outside on the porch. He walks into my room every now and then during the evening, and shouts something in French with his rough, harsh voice, that I cannot understand. I’m relieved when he finally falls asleep himself.
Water is to be found only from a small tap at the bottom of a huge concrete cistern behind the house. A thin squirt of water slowly fills each bottle. I make some spaghetti with canned tuna for dinner. Wash the dust off my face with the little water I have left, before I go to bed. As usual, there is no light. I scan the room and its bare walls for mosquitoes. Then the inside of my net. My whole body is aching; I fall asleep quickly.