Finally, I have convinced my partner in village crime of the great benefits of getting out of town early, so that we can get our village work accomplished early, before the onset of the scorching hot afternoon sun.
Amazingly, for most of our scheduled village trips, we have now been leaving Sikasso at 5:30 AM. It is still dark outside, but there is little traffic, and the dust is not yet kicked up on the dirt trails.
However, best of all, it is oh so gloriously cool in the mornings, comparatively
At this hour of the morning, it almost feels like I am driving a motorcycle back in Canada. Where as driving in the afternoon heat often feels like a hot air hair dryer is blowing in your face. It is not one bit refreshing in any manner, if you ask me.
On these cool mornings I drive with a breathable tropical t-shirt, a thin nylon wind breaker, and my breathable tropical pants, while my friend wears a winter coat and a heavy turban around his neck and face under his helmet. Yesterday morning he arrived at my house with a heavy pair of socks on his hands to use as gloves for the early morning ride.
People are often surprised how cool it can get around the Sahara deserts Sahel region at night. The difference in temperature between the the direct afternoon sun of 50 degrees, to a cool 19 or 20 in the early morning, is a huge temperature variance.
The first early morning trip we had to swerve around a dead donkey carcass on the road. Obviously it wandered up onto the road at night and something nailed it. It would be a huge problem to hit donkey carcass on a motorcycle at 40, 60 or 70 km per hour. So that first near miss sent off alarm bells in my head to keep very alert, even at this early hour. The lack of traffic can fool you to the other lurking dangers.
Sure enough, on each of the next three village trips we had to avoid bloody, dead, donkey carcasses. The second trip we passed two of them.
Therefore, we are 4 for 4 right now, on our four village trips we swerved around dead donkeys every trip.
This also signals to me that our new early morning habit needs to not only be attentive to donkey meat already down on the road, but that we might slow down and keep a keen eye open for the live donkeys too. There are even more of those, and cows, and goats, and sheep, and did I mention cows…..