Owo to Benin ( a.k.a. getting the #!*# out of Nigeria )

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Owo to Benin ( a.k.a. getting the #!*# out of Nigeria )

We had limped into Owo the previous night, feeling that it all was unraveling. Our lack of money after having been cleaned out by the scam artists meant we had to beg for a local hotel to accept dollars in lieu of the local currency. After hearing our story, they helped out, so we booked into the First Molac Hotel, on the other side of Owo. We spent a miserable night sharing a meal of “chicken” (looked more like a rat!) and salad. We had a look at our finances and realized that it will be impossible to still do the volunteer work we planned to do in Ghana as our tight budget will just not allow it. This made us feel even more depressed but we had to let Edward Adeli of The Volunteer Corps know as he has been a pillar of strength through all our troubles with Stan. We phoned him and besides being a great shoulder to cry on, he ensured us that a plan will be made and that he still wants us to do the program.

 

A new day brings new hope and new beginnings and this is especially true in Africa. So we started the day giving thanks to all the good things in life, to all the angels we met along the way and most of all to all of you out there that are supporting us. What made us finally realize that it is worth carrying on is the unwavering faith that our boys and Chrizel have in us, their unfailing support and love have carried us through many dark times and made us aware of the goodness in life.

 Our biggest inspitration THANK YOU guys and to al of you that care so much xxxxxx

 Stewart wandered off to beg a cup of coffee out of the receptionist, and then transferred the last of the diesel in the jerry cans into Stan’s tank, before chatting to the locals about the problem of Stan’s failing brakes. A local “prince” staying at the hotel offered to send his mechanic, but said as today was “Environmental Day” , no none  was allowed to travel on the roads until 10am,  so we would have to wait until after then.  The prince’s mechanic must be very environmentally conscious, as by 10h30  he had  not arrived. Another hotel patron, whose mechanic was literally dismantling and rebuilding his vehicle’s engine in the car park, offered his services, and the breaks were repaired to a state where they at least worked, even though the sounds emanating from the wheel the scam artists had worked on continued to be a worry. Most amazing thing was that this guy wanted NO money……a first in Nigeria!!!

 

We had decided to push on as far as we could that day, in the hope we might make it out of Nigeria. We made good time initially, but the sprawling mass of the city of Idaban took almost 2 hours to traverse.  We stopped at Abeokuta to spend the last of  our local currency on some more diesel, and pushed on  towards  the border, having decided to  try and make the border that evening.  Despite several wrong turns, we eventually found the road out of Nigeria.

 

With 5kms to go, we were again stopped by the local   “constabulary” and given a working over. Realizing we actually indeed had no money to give them, they let us go, and we made the border in the gathering gloom.

 Our final goodbye to Nigeria......how appropriate! CONOIL>>>>>CONLAND!!!

The border crossing on the Nigerian side was like watching paint dry, made worse by the constant stream of motorbikes and cars passing through the border  without even stopping, simply slowing down to hand the guy manning the boom a fistful of money!

 

We eventually made it through, and quickly passed through Immigration for Benin, who was as laid back as can be, did not even check for visas, just stamped our passports and told us;

1.      the Customs office was in the next town , Pobe, just 20kms ahead

2.      there were plenty of hotels to choose from in Pobe

 

So off we headed to Pobe, in the dark and on a deteriorating road – sound like deja vu?  By the time we made Pobe, we had decided to book into the first hotel we found, and to find Customs in the morning. A helpful local, when asked for directions to the nearest hotel, jumped on his motorbike and led us to probably the ONLY hotel in  Pobe, going by the grand name of Molotov Hotel! Besides a problem with the water (there was none), the night guard playing his music all night long, no curtains (the beach towels came in handy), no bedding (Kikois), we got a few hours’ sleep, happy to be out of the clutches of Nigeria.