We talked a bit more about the trip, and about the issues, especially the security points. We agreed we could look at this in two ways: if we join the trip, we assume that we have a responsible group leader, Alonso himself, who knows the area, but being a group makes us quite visible, and thus a potential target for kidnapping. If we travel alone, we are more nimble, move quicker, less obvious a target. On the other hand, if we don’t join the trip, we will never make this journey; others, yes, but across West Africa? Highly unlikely. Because we don’t have the local knowledge that you need for such a trip.
A look at the map with terrorist activities shows that the route through Niger is actually not such a bad idea, it does avoid the hottest areas. And in any case, we have lived through curfews in Haiti, and through a civil war in SE Turkey, and survived all this. We went to Erta Ale in Ethiopia, three months after the kidnapping of tourists, and experienced no trouble, either. What could possibly happen to us?
You know, let’s call Alonso, and talk to him. Alonso was possibly even more enthusiastic than Sofia was. And my concerns about Plan B? “Don’t worry, in Niger we will have a military escort”. Whether that takes my worries away is debatable. But he explains further, he is now a father of a young child, would he take unnecessary risks? Of course not. We talk a bit more, in a mix of English and Spanish, and tell Alonso that we’ll think it over a little longer. But I know already, there is not much more thinking to be done. We will go.
Next: 29 Dec.