One of the reasons for this trip was to scout the location and figure out some of the logistics for future missions teams that may come here. Much of the 16th and part of the 17th was spent learning two important lessons for the future: 1) Wait until you get here to buy a SIM card for your phone, and: 2) When coming to Burkina Faso, definitely leave home without your American Express card (but bring cash or a Visa card).

The highlight of our day was our visit to the crocodile compound. According to legend, the crocodiles are the protectors of the nearby village. If you are from the village you can even swim in the water with the crocodiles and supposedly not be bothered.

After arriving we walked a good way in the heat (it was about 100 degrees) until we came to a small marsh off to the side. This is where “the aged one” lives, the one who is king of the crocodiles. He was coaxed out of the water with the sounds of a live chicken. When he was fully on land the guides said “Go ahead, it’s okay to sit on him.” Say what? While admittedly a bit apprehensive, since Joseph said all his children had done it I figured it was reasonably safe.

Joseph went first and then it was my turn. I lowered myself until I was hovering about 2-3 inches above his back. They guides said “No really, you can sit on him.” So I just plopped down on his back, all 250 lbs, of me, thinking about what a great life I’ve had. The crocodile didn’t even move. Jim and I talked about it later and figured “the aged one” knew the drill by now – that if he just lets these idiots sit on him he gets a whole chicken afterward. Which he proceeded to swallow whole and then slowly back up into the water.

It is good to be the king!