30-Mar-2002 -- Saturday the 30th of March: my son David who was home from boarding school, Sharon, my sister-in-law who was visiting from Chicago, Boureima, one of my colleagues, and I set out to find the confluence point 14N 2W.
The reading on our GPS said that this confluence point was located about 76 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of our home in Belehedé. After leaving our home we drove the only secondary dirt road in the area, which we call the Canadian, (because it was built by a Canadian NGO) to Baraboulé. Baraboulé is located northeast of Feto Ney, which was the closest village on the map to where 14N 2W is located.
Arriving in Baraboulé we had to ask someone where we could find a path that would take us south to Ouandapoulé. According to our Burkina Faso map, Ouandapoulé looked to be about 12 kilometers north of Feto Ney. We asked several people in Baraboulé how we could get to Ouandapoulé, none of whom could help us. Finally we ran into someone who pointed to a hand dug well and said that next to that well we’d find a path to take us to Ouandapoulé.
Well, we were not long on this path before it split into two smaller paths, of which we took the wrong one. We found this out because we stopped at the only habitation we saw for miles around to ask directions. They indicated that we were to cut across the open field before us till we picked up the right path. After finding the right path we continued on. We passed several more villages asking for directions each time.
Arriving in Ouandapoulé with the help of two men we picked up along the way, we began to inquire were we could find the path that would lead us to Feto Ney. After asking several people, one person seemed knowledgeable enough to convince us that his directions were correct. So off we went.
Since the going was quite slow (average speed 20 mph), I asked my 15-year-old son if he’d like to drive to Feto Ney, and without hesitiating he said, "Yes!" From this point forward David took control of the wheel and Dad had the GPS. The reading at this time was about 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) to go. Outside of being chased by a few crazed dogs, the last major leg of the trip was slow going and uneventful. David did fine.
Once we found Feto Ney we noticed that we had gone too far East. The GPS read that 14N 2W lay about 3 kilometers southwest of the village. Since there were no longer any more paths to follow, we headed off in the direction of our confluence point, using our GPS, crossing what seemed to be no man’s land. As David wandered to the left and the right, the terrain became a bit too uncertain, so Dad took over as driver and David did the navigation.
At this time we had managed to cut the distance into two. So now we were about a half of mile to our destination. As the terrain was at times slow going, we debated if we should get out and walk, but since it was almost high noon and the temperature outside the truck was 110° F (43° C) or better, we thought it best to try to eek our way toward 14N 2W inside the air-conditioned truck. Our persistence paid off. We came within 50 yards of 14N 2W. We stopped the truck, walked a bit and discovered a piece of no man's land known to us as 14N 2W.