Our coach from Ruanda
Trainer Pherouse from Ruanda | © Marianne Dötzer, 2014

Our coach from Ruanda

Pherouse, OneDollarGlasses optician from Rwanda, traveled to Benin to act as one of our trainers. It turned out to become  a journey with obstacles. The flight from Kigali to Lagos went smoothly, just as scheduled, but the onward flight from Lagos to Cotonou was pure chaos. The airline Pherouse was supposed to  fly on with, no longer existed, they had gone bankrupt. He tried to get a replacement for the already paid flight. He didn`t get anywhere though.  After 2 days he was still sitting in the airport. We tried to solve the situation and sent a friend who has very good contacts to the local police and to customs at the airport in Lagos. He  drove down to pick  up Pherouse. Unlucky, Pherouse was not allowed to leave the airport though as he had no transit visa. This visa can be applied for only in the capital Abuja – 520 km away.  But how could he possibly get there, if he wasn`t allowed to  leave the airport? In the end,  a new flight ticket from Lagos to Cotonou (106 Km) had to be bought ...

Marianne Götzer went to Cotonou airport to pick him up:  "His plane landed on time at 9 pm.  I was waiting  and waiting at the arrivals hall . One passenger after the other left  the terminal,  only  Pherouse did not show up.  My arm that was holding up the sign with Pherouses name already began to hurt. Eventually there were no more  passengers exiting the gate – instead my mobile rang.

"Marianne, where are you?"

"I'm standing right at the entrance."

"Where at the entrance?"

"There is only one wing door and there you will see two white women with  silver-grey hair."

 "No, there are no white women."

 "That can not be true. Look around you,  maybe you're standing on a door that does not lead to the exit."

 "There is just this one door and there is a sign on it, something with Lomé City."

 "Pherouse, please do not say you got off in Lomé!"

 "Oh my gosh,  it looks like it -  I did not know that the plane would go to Lomé first and then to Cotonou. No one told me at the check-in! "

 "Well, you will have to spend the night  at the airport,  because in the dark the road from Cotonou to Lomé  is quite unsafe and dangerous. We will pick you up tomorrow."

Pherouse finally arrived in Cotonou the next day   four days late  and completely exhausted.