We left Ouagadougou with Omar on Friday the 1st of November on the late flight to Brussels.
There were tears. Not from Omar, he was almost driving the plane, but from everyone else (and of course, ME) including the people we met in the hotel, the owners of the hotel (and baby sitter), our lovely lady in Burkina, and just about everyone else who we were lucky to meet during our stay.
Omar, on the other hand, started getting agitated and withdrawn from around 5pm, (we were due to leave for the airport at 8pm). Livio and I started worrying about whether he was suffering, having second thoughts about leaving his country, life and everything he had known until that point.
He laid on the floor of our room, whilst I prepared the suitcases and would not talk. When Livio tried to rally him to going out to play with his friend, he refused, and although eventually accepted to leave the room (on the promise of a Fanta) he clung to Livio and would not let him out of his sight. It was only when the hotlier’s wife suggested it he might be scared we were going to leave him behind did we think to show him his new passport and reiterate (again) that he was really coming with us. It was like magic. He changed from a sullen, clinging boy to a beaming, excited angel. He literally ran around the pool shouting OMAR EN ITALIE!!.
At the airport we said our painful good byes to Tante Mama, our agency lady (read angel) whilst Omar almost ran through passport control, organized our baggage drop single handedly, and pushed aside the security staff. Once on the plane he did not know whether to look out of the window, pull down the table, play with the video games, or watch the penquin film, take his shoes off, leave them on, undo his seat belt or keep it on. He lasted around 20 minutes doing just about all of it and then fell asleep. Only to be woken up 6 minutes later by the strong smell of Air Brussels food, and ate the entire tray (pure joy for him to have his own tray, steaming rice and meat (his favourite), butter and bread, laughing cow cheese, and cake, and a packet with a knife and fork!. The same thing happened on the flight from Brussels to Venice, although this time, having slept just 3 hrs in total, food did not wake him. All in all, it went very smoothly and we arrived bang on time to Venice on Saturday morning at 12.45 to a hugely excited Nonna Marta (Livio’s mum) in the airport and an ecstatic grand-mère Carol on Lido.
I should add that although we had prepped Omar on the whole journey back to Venice from Burkina, i.e., books, drawings, “car, plane, plane boat, maison”, etc. we had omitted to mention that when you get to the airport 3 hrs prior to your flight, you dont immediately get on a plane, that there is a bus ride to the plane (which is terrifying when you have never been on a bus, that at Brussels aiport we had a 5 hr stopover. These were the only downsides of travel for Omar (and clearly the beginnings of him not trusting what his parents tell him) but that were quickly forgotten once he had discovered escalators and lifts in the airport in Brussels.