Bokin

Updated (26 February 2006)


BASICS

 

Cultural atmosphere and local geography:

Located at the center of the Mossi plateau, Bokin is a strictly Mossi village, with the occasional Peuhl intruder. Bokin has lots of millet and people and not much else. If Gaoua is the armpit of Burkina Faso, then Bokin is its hole.

 


How to get there and away:

 

-- Ouaga - Bokin Taxi Brousse --
From Ouaga take the first transport that leaves the Gare de Tampouy to arrive before nightfall. The Bokin-Ouaga car leaves Ouaga everyday at 14:30, though on days when there are multiple cars, catching a car is possible as early as 10:30.  Expect to spend three hours and change on what I am convinced is, kilometer for kilometer, the worst transport in Burkina Faso.  (At this time, the Ouaga-Kongoussi road is still the last unpaved major road leaving Ouaga, but is being worked on starting in Kongoussi.)

 

To get from Bokin to Ouaga, be at the Bokin Grande Mosquee at 7:00, perhaps a bit earlier, to catch transport back in.  Cost in either direction is 2000 CFA, add 200 CFA for a bicycle.

 

-- Yako, Kaya, Ouaga camions --
On Bokin market days, you can come into Bokin from Yako or Kaya on the marche camion.  In Yako, go to the Yako marche by 7:00-7:30, expect to pay 500 CFA, even with a bike.  This came camion will leave Bokin for Yako at 15:30 roughly.

 

Also on Bokin marche days is a Kaya-Bokin camion, leaving Kaya and Bokin at roughly the same times above, 7:00 and 15:30, respectively.  Expect to pay 2000 CFA for this transport (not a typo).

 

There are always camions running the Ouaga-Bokin route.  There is always one the day after a marche that leaves Bokin really early and costs perhaps 1500 CFA.  This same camion can be picked up in Tampouy in Ouaga to come back to Bokin, but is prohibitively slow in coming back to Ouaga for some reason…

 

 

Places to stay:

The Vulture Bar (see “Recreation” section) can put you up, but it’s pretty doggone dingy, and if there’s a fete you won’t be able to sleep until like 5:00 AM anyways.  Bokin sucks in this respect.  Essentially, do what you gotta do NOT to spend the night in Bokin, if not staying with a family.

 


Post Office:

Located on the hill by the antenna.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00-noon, 15:00-17:00; Saturday 8:00-11:00
You can take money out and receive packages.  The mail clerk, Mandé Seïdou, is a pretty cool guy who will, if asked nicely, give you your withdrawls in whatever denominations you desire.


Internet:

There is nothing yet, but the Onatel building near the large antenna threatens future internet access (containing a room full of computers).  Word on the street is that it is coming, as well as a CELTEL tower, potentially as early as this year.

 

 

SHOPPING

 

Marché:

Large and in charge and once every three days.

 

Boutiques:
All surrounding the marché, quality and selection changes but you can always buy Lotus, sardines, pasta and Maggi.  Horribly unimpressive, yes.

 

Tailor:
Aly does good work. Normal prices, and he can do anything. Located due West of the Total Station on the left, perhaps at 200 – 300 meters from said Total Station.

 

 

FOOD

 

Restaurants:
Sometimes, sometimes, you can get an omelette sandwich at the kiosque. They’re kinda oily, but damn cheap.

 

Street food and snacks:
That is the only food to be found. Brochettes, porc au four, samsa, fruit, coconut, salads, rice, dried fish and all other types of normal street food are plentiful.

 

 

RECREATION

Bars:
Lin Ti’s I by the Grande Mosquee is a mainstay of any Bokin-region Volunteer’s life. Lin Ti is a 3-pagne tanti who will treat you right.

 

Bar Wende Konde (a.k.a. Vulture Bar) was nice for about two months, and sometimes comes through in the clutch, but in general is not as nice as Lin Ti’s.

T

he Post Bar, according to Raoul, a primary school teacher, is “more romantical.”  The guy who runs the place, Lassané, is a helluva nice guy.

 

Recreational activities:
Video club across from the marché is guaranteed to please, as long as you appreciate Kung Fu movies and Champions’ League Football.

 

Tourism:
Bokin is the home of former president Thomas Sankara.  Kind of.  He’s actually from a Bokin satellite village, a nearby Silmi-Mossi encampement (but pureblood Mossis will threaten your life if you hint that Sankara himself might have been of Mossi and Peuhl origin.)

Bokin is home to the finest collection of Burkinabè fous/folles. These include but are not limited to:

[credit to Ian Priest (Bokin, 2002-2004) and Phil Barnes (Kirsi, 2003-2005) for hilarious list above]