• Report: #194504

Complaint Review: HOTEL IRIS

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  • Submitted: Fri, June 02, 2006
  • Updated: Sat, December 06, 2008

  • Reported By:Indianapolis Indiana
HOTEL IRIS
Avenue Yennega 1 Ouagadougou, Africa Afghanistan
  • Phone: 50-30-00-53
  • Web:
  • Category: Hotel

HOTEL IRIS was complicit in a plot to capture me, hold me hostage, and finally murder me. Nigerian terrorists Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Aferica

*Consumer Comment: Proper grammar does not make one a foreigner!

*Consumer Comment: I believe EVERY WORD of her experience!..ITS REAL...

*Consumer Suggestion: Of COURSE Abdul was a part of it!

*Author of original report: Reasons for being stupid

*Author of original report: Reasons for being stupid

*Author of original report: Reasons for being stupid

*Author of original report: Reasons for being stupid

*Consumer Suggestion: I Believe You, Claudia

*Consumer Comment: Does it matter if it's true or not?

*Author of original report: Hotel Iris, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso was complicit in holding me hostage.

*Consumer Comment: wow!!!

*Author of original report: FOR ELIZABETH

*Consumer Comment: Try this again

*Consumer Comment: Lies, lies, lies

*Author of original report: I GIVE UP

*Author of original report: LET'S BE SERIOUS

*Author of original report: LET'S BE SERIOUS

*Author of original report: LET'S BE SERIOUS

*Author of original report: LET'S BE SERIOUS

*Author of original report: I FORGOT TO MENTION

*Consumer Comment: Whoa...

*Consumer Comment: Whoa...

*Consumer Comment: keep working on it

*Consumer Comment: IT IS QUITE A STORY, CLAUDIA.......

*Author of original report: HOTEL IRIS: The Insanity Continues.

*Consumer Comment: Ummm...

*Consumer Comment: I'm glad I'm not the only one who read the ORIGINAL post

*Consumer Suggestion: State Department warning...

*Consumer Comment: ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

*Consumer Comment: ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

*Consumer Comment: ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

*Consumer Comment: ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

*Consumer Comment: Read it again, Robert

*Consumer Comment: The insanity continues

*Consumer Comment: Before the slammers begin

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I arrived in Ouagadougou on 10 May, 2006. I was met at the airport by someone whom I thought I could trust. I was taken to the Hotel Iris. Over the next six days the management of the hotel was complicit in preventing me from leaving the hotel. My room telephone was rendered inoperable.

The cell phone, given to me by one of my captors, recieved incoming calls only. No one at the hotel would explain how to unlock the phone, to enable out-going calls. When asked for the number of the American Embassy, I was first told there was none. When I showed evidence the embassy did exist, employees gave me fake numbers. Finally, being unable to go out over the weekend, I spent time looking through the Ouagadougou telephone book for the number of the U.S. Embassy. Everything was written in French.

One of the guests at the hotel, who sensed my distress, explained how to simply unlock my loaner cell phone. My cameras were stolen. I demanded the police be called. The hotel personnel refused. The man who seemed to be the manager, told me to call my "friend." He was referring to one of the captors. Within minutes the woman, called Rose, walked into the hotel with my cameras. All my pictures had been deleted.

I was told I had to eat at the hotel restaurant. I brought some food fom home, which was good. On Friday 12 may, 2006 I nearly died from an unknown poison. I had something in my suitcase to make me vomit. I became very ill. Boils appeared over my entire body. No one would assist me. Either I was poisoned by the hotel or my captors. I had eaten no where else. On Saturday the hotel allowed some of my captors to attempt to knock in my door. It was surprising for them to find me still alive. I could tell by their obvious lack of anything to say.

After reaching, by phone, the U.S.Embassy on Monday, someone from Interpol was sent to watch the hotel. On Tuesday the embassy stealthily moved me to a hotel of their choosing. This hotel was very lovely and cost me not much more than what I had been charged at the Hotel Iris.

The Hotel Iris refused to give me a receipt for payment. I had pre-paid for my room. I left before my entire stay was complete.

I have made a complete report to the Ouagadougou police. Air France extended my stay so that I might assist in the investigation. The reason for my captivity is unknown. Eight-thousand dollars in travelers checks were stolen, and I was forced, by threat of death, to countersign at the bank. The bank was in on the scheme, also. I was shown a box with a lock...a box in which I could actually fit. The next day, they attempted to steal mny passport. It was demanded I sign some bank papers. I refused. I was shown a trunk filled with stacks of hundred dollar bills. The bank finally had to admit their part.

I am writing a report on the bank also, because I do not want anyone to use this bank, anywhere in the world. They do business with terrorists...this is what I believe they were, becuase they were acting against the interest of the United states. It is my opinion the money in the trunk, at least in part, was counterfeit.

The Hotel Iris played an important part in the plot. If the hotel had not cooperated, it was a slam-dunk I would have been able to contact immediately, the United States Embassy the very first morning. I do wish to say, I learned these captors were Nigerian. In no way does this reflect upon the character of the majority of the burkinabe.

Claudia
Indianapolis, Indiana
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/02/2006 04:39 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/HOTEL-IRIS/Ouagadougou-Africa/HOTEL-IRIS-was-complicit-in-a-plot-to-capture-me-hold-me-hostage-and-finally-murder-me-194504. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Proper grammar does not make one a foreigner!

AUTHOR: Mandy - (U.S.A.)

This is to Timothy from Indiana. Your rebuttal to this person mostly states that she has to be foreign because she doesn't speak like you. This is a very narrow-minded view.

You expect your neanderthal-esque final statement to be an example of how people speak in Indiana? That may be true in your social circle, but I can assure you there are people in Indiana who would cringe if they read your representation of the entire state.

You go on to wish decapitation on this person. That's pretty low. Correction: that's extremely low. Even if it didn't happen to her, what kind of person wishes death upon someone they have never met, and hasn't attacked them personally?

Oh, I'm sorry. I must not be American, as I said, "wishes death upon" rather than "wishes death on". Feel free to call me a commie.

Oh, and if you had been paying attention when you read the story, you would know why they kept her there and alive so long. They needed her to sign documents so they could steal from her. But I imagine you aren't familiar with critical thinking.
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#2 Consumer Comment

I believe EVERY WORD of her experience!..ITS REAL...

AUTHOR: Globetrekker - (U.S.A.)

First let me say that I am from the USA..I live both in USA and Africa!
What happened to this woman is happening to so many foreigners...you just
don't hear about it unless it ends in death!
If any of you have ever traveled and spent an extended time on the continent
or lived in Africa then you would understand how foreigners are viewed. When
they see us, they see dollars!
Lets start with how she arranged her visit to such a dangerous region!..
Burkin Faso is located to the SE of Nigeria and Benin! 2 of the most dangerous
countries in Africa..The scams,fraud and violence associated with those 2 countries
is unimaginable..The Ivory Coast sits to the south! Not the safest place in Africa
either..

Anyone traveling to this region should be aware of the potential risks!..As a global traveler..having been all over the globe and in places like Kashmir(India),Middle East,Columbia, etc etc and many other war zones, although living on the continent of Africa, I stay far from this region near Nigeria/Benin!..

A single female planning a trip to Africa is NOT SUGGESTED!..She started communicating with a man she did not know on the internet with the intent to go to Africa TO BUY!..means that she will be carrying large sums of money..She was set up by ABDUL to be robbed...Africa is lawless!!..In some cases you can't even depend on the police!
What do you think this poor woman has to gain by posting this consumer alert? In case you are lucky in your life to visit this most amazing continent here are some advice from a Globetrekker.

1) No single female travelers
2) Do not travel alone and DO NOT plan your trip with people you do not know!
3) Bring your ATM card(Check out Thomas Cook/Visa Travelers Cheques)
ATM cards can be used all over Africa
4) Be wary of traveling to West Africa especially the region around Nigeria!
5) Do not accept drinks, food and gifts from anyone
6) Do not let even the friendliest person know what you are carrying on your person
7) Do not part with your passport for any reason
8) Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms(anywhere in the world)
9) Make sure your cell phone is tri band/quad band(850/900/1800/1900 MHZ FREQUENCIES) before traveling so that you can roam on your USA Carrier..or buy a local sim card upon arrival
10) Wear a money belt on your person hidden inside your clothes..No daypacks on your back in crowded areas


If you are a first time travelers to Africa the scams will shock you!..What happened to this woman is REAL..VERY REAL..She is lucky to be alive!
As for Amex not re
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Of COURSE Abdul was a part of it!

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

He's the one who got you over there and kept you going long enough to accomplish the gang's nefarious deeds. He's the confidence man of the group and appeared to remain above the fray, retaining your trust until the bank business was finished. Let's see...you were ordered around, manhandled, intimidated & terrorized all day and then you had dinner with him? You told him about everything and he just acted as if Oh well, let's go to the zoo tomorrow? Wouldn't that have struck you as odd, even at the time? And you STILL don't see that he reeled you in like a big fish to be robbed by the thugs?

I wouldn't have gone ANYWHERE with ANYONE I didn't know in the first place, and I most certainly would've yelled, screamed, been loud & assertive, and tried to get away every step of the way! Didn't it occur to you to just run or something? Even if it's a foreign country, if you let people know you're in distress surely you have a better chance of getting away than if you just meekly go along with them! Even if it took pushing her away/off of me, running out of the bank screaming & yelling "Help, help!" or "Police!" - wouldn't that be better than being abused? My God, woman! I wouldn't have let that go on for 2 seconds no matter how hot & tired I was!

Yes, I do believe it happened but the more you tell, the more appalled I am at how you didn't do more to defend yourself. EVERYONE knows that nowadays you must always be on your guard even here, much more in other countries!
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#4 Author of original report

Reasons for being stupid

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Really, Abdul was not a part of the scam...or did not play any physical part of my capture. He took me to eat dinner that first night after my arrival in Ouagadougou. My cell phone I discovered did not work. Abdul came by early the next morning to bring me his phone. He left for Ghana...or so he told me. I had been traveling for several days, carrying many bags through many large airports. I was tired.

When Abdul arrived, I thanked him and went back to sleep. Not until I woke up a few hours later, did I realize I did not have any idea HOW to operate the telephone. At that time, I was not locked in the hotel room. I went to the desk to ask how to operate the phone. I discovered I had no minutes to call out. Language was a barrier. I went back to my room to get ready to go out to find the American Embassy. The hotel clerk would not allow me to use the hotel phone.

Before I could leave on my own that morning, the knock by the woman who called herself "Rose," came at my door. I have explained all that followed and I did fight hard and thoughtfully. I knew I would die in the heat. My bags were physically wrestled from me by real force. At this point I really did not wish to die in a foreign country. My goal was to reach a situation where many people surrounded me. My wish nearly was accomplished in the bank...until I was physically dragged out after being beaten. I was in severe pain. My neck was struck very hard in the struggle. I have a metal plate with two screws in my neck. I was afraid. Until you are in the place of another, you can not know what you would do. It is just as if you are viewing a movie. It is surreal. I can look back now and think of things I might have done, but I also MIGHT have ended up in a ditch by the side of the road to be buzzard fodder.

The American Ambassador told me I was luck to be alive. Most are not so lucky. Originally, my son was to travel with me. That would have made a difference. My goal was to return to the US with art from Burkina Faso. I am not sorry I went. I have learned so much. Besides the purchase of African art, I had questions I sought to answer. Those questions have been answered several times over. I had questions about our world and about liberty and justice. Why were some peoples held back, while others allowed to succeed?

Man has been created to be equal throughout this planet. I found the Burkinabe even "more equa"l to Americans in many ways. They were polite, hard working, loving, honest people. Why is so much the world over allowed to be controlled by so few? I found the answer. I do not think too many want to know the truth. I had my suspicions; my trip took me head on to the truth. I have not been the same since, I am better off for having this knowledge.
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#5 Author of original report

Reasons for being stupid

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Really, Abdul was not a part of the scam...or did not play any physical part of my capture. He took me to eat dinner that first night after my arrival in Ouagadougou. My cell phone I discovered did not work. Abdul came by early the next morning to bring me his phone. He left for Ghana...or so he told me. I had been traveling for several days, carrying many bags through many large airports. I was tired.

When Abdul arrived, I thanked him and went back to sleep. Not until I woke up a few hours later, did I realize I did not have any idea HOW to operate the telephone. At that time, I was not locked in the hotel room. I went to the desk to ask how to operate the phone. I discovered I had no minutes to call out. Language was a barrier. I went back to my room to get ready to go out to find the American Embassy. The hotel clerk would not allow me to use the hotel phone.

Before I could leave on my own that morning, the knock by the woman who called herself "Rose," came at my door. I have explained all that followed and I did fight hard and thoughtfully. I knew I would die in the heat. My bags were physically wrestled from me by real force. At this point I really did not wish to die in a foreign country. My goal was to reach a situation where many people surrounded me. My wish nearly was accomplished in the bank...until I was physically dragged out after being beaten. I was in severe pain. My neck was struck very hard in the struggle. I have a metal plate with two screws in my neck. I was afraid. Until you are in the place of another, you can not know what you would do. It is just as if you are viewing a movie. It is surreal. I can look back now and think of things I might have done, but I also MIGHT have ended up in a ditch by the side of the road to be buzzard fodder.

The American Ambassador told me I was luck to be alive. Most are not so lucky. Originally, my son was to travel with me. That would have made a difference. My goal was to return to the US with art from Burkina Faso. I am not sorry I went. I have learned so much. Besides the purchase of African art, I had questions I sought to answer. Those questions have been answered several times over. I had questions about our world and about liberty and justice. Why were some peoples held back, while others allowed to succeed?

Man has been created to be equal throughout this planet. I found the Burkinabe even "more equa"l to Americans in many ways. They were polite, hard working, loving, honest people. Why is so much the world over allowed to be controlled by so few? I found the answer. I do not think too many want to know the truth. I had my suspicions; my trip took me head on to the truth. I have not been the same since, I am better off for having this knowledge.
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#6 Author of original report

Reasons for being stupid

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Really, Abdul was not a part of the scam...or did not play any physical part of my capture. He took me to eat dinner that first night after my arrival in Ouagadougou. My cell phone I discovered did not work. Abdul came by early the next morning to bring me his phone. He left for Ghana...or so he told me. I had been traveling for several days, carrying many bags through many large airports. I was tired.

When Abdul arrived, I thanked him and went back to sleep. Not until I woke up a few hours later, did I realize I did not have any idea HOW to operate the telephone. At that time, I was not locked in the hotel room. I went to the desk to ask how to operate the phone. I discovered I had no minutes to call out. Language was a barrier. I went back to my room to get ready to go out to find the American Embassy. The hotel clerk would not allow me to use the hotel phone.

Before I could leave on my own that morning, the knock by the woman who called herself "Rose," came at my door. I have explained all that followed and I did fight hard and thoughtfully. I knew I would die in the heat. My bags were physically wrestled from me by real force. At this point I really did not wish to die in a foreign country. My goal was to reach a situation where many people surrounded me. My wish nearly was accomplished in the bank...until I was physically dragged out after being beaten. I was in severe pain. My neck was struck very hard in the struggle. I have a metal plate with two screws in my neck. I was afraid. Until you are in the place of another, you can not know what you would do. It is just as if you are viewing a movie. It is surreal. I can look back now and think of things I might have done, but I also MIGHT have ended up in a ditch by the side of the road to be buzzard fodder.

The American Ambassador told me I was luck to be alive. Most are not so lucky. Originally, my son was to travel with me. That would have made a difference. My goal was to return to the US with art from Burkina Faso. I am not sorry I went. I have learned so much. Besides the purchase of African art, I had questions I sought to answer. Those questions have been answered several times over. I had questions about our world and about liberty and justice. Why were some peoples held back, while others allowed to succeed?

Man has been created to be equal throughout this planet. I found the Burkinabe even "more equa"l to Americans in many ways. They were polite, hard working, loving, honest people. Why is so much the world over allowed to be controlled by so few? I found the answer. I do not think too many want to know the truth. I had my suspicions; my trip took me head on to the truth. I have not been the same since, I am better off for having this knowledge.
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#7 Author of original report

Reasons for being stupid

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Really, Abdul was not a part of the scam...or did not play any physical part of my capture. He took me to eat dinner that first night after my arrival in Ouagadougou. My cell phone I discovered did not work. Abdul came by early the next morning to bring me his phone. He left for Ghana...or so he told me. I had been traveling for several days, carrying many bags through many large airports. I was tired.

When Abdul arrived, I thanked him and went back to sleep. Not until I woke up a few hours later, did I realize I did not have any idea HOW to operate the telephone. At that time, I was not locked in the hotel room. I went to the desk to ask how to operate the phone. I discovered I had no minutes to call out. Language was a barrier. I went back to my room to get ready to go out to find the American Embassy. The hotel clerk would not allow me to use the hotel phone.

Before I could leave on my own that morning, the knock by the woman who called herself "Rose," came at my door. I have explained all that followed and I did fight hard and thoughtfully. I knew I would die in the heat. My bags were physically wrestled from me by real force. At this point I really did not wish to die in a foreign country. My goal was to reach a situation where many people surrounded me. My wish nearly was accomplished in the bank...until I was physically dragged out after being beaten. I was in severe pain. My neck was struck very hard in the struggle. I have a metal plate with two screws in my neck. I was afraid. Until you are in the place of another, you can not know what you would do. It is just as if you are viewing a movie. It is surreal. I can look back now and think of things I might have done, but I also MIGHT have ended up in a ditch by the side of the road to be buzzard fodder.

The American Ambassador told me I was luck to be alive. Most are not so lucky. Originally, my son was to travel with me. That would have made a difference. My goal was to return to the US with art from Burkina Faso. I am not sorry I went. I have learned so much. Besides the purchase of African art, I had questions I sought to answer. Those questions have been answered several times over. I had questions about our world and about liberty and justice. Why were some peoples held back, while others allowed to succeed?

Man has been created to be equal throughout this planet. I found the Burkinabe even "more equa"l to Americans in many ways. They were polite, hard working, loving, honest people. Why is so much the world over allowed to be controlled by so few? I found the answer. I do not think too many want to know the truth. I had my suspicions; my trip took me head on to the truth. I have not been the same since, I am better off for having this knowledge.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

I Believe You, Claudia

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

There are many sites devoted to warning people about Nigerian 419 scams, and similar scams in general. People who naively travel to Africa at the invitation of an online "friend," penpal, potential business associate or whatever, ARE robbed, kidnapped or worse. Just Google these types of scams to read similar stories.

That being said, I can't understand why you would have gone along with their demands so easily! And why it took so long for you to realize that "Abdul" was a part of it! There were MANY things you could have done had you been more assertive - or just plain practical!

I feel badly for what happened to you, and I'm sorry to be so blunt.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Does it matter if it's true or not?

AUTHOR: Fabio - (U.S.A.)

419 is VERY real. Claudia's story might be fiction, but you got to be kidding me if you say that something liek this is unlikely to happen!

Those people don't waste time 24/7 on the internet emailing people overseas for nothing. They do it because they know that people respond, motivated by greed or good faith, it doesn't matter. Those people have networks in the goverrnment, local businesses and the police. West Africa is fair game, the government is non-existent, the police is up for grab and the local businesses are either scared or ready to make profit from the same scams 419ers use.

Claudia, i'm not saying i believe you, but at the same time i don't care if it's true or not. I know it CAN and it HAS happened. Kidnapping and murder are common practices over there and there is nothing we can do about it. whether you are american or you have cash to spare, there is always a reason to use deception and violence in Nigeria and in its neighboring countries.

Robert and the other people who so righteously feel it's important to point out that Claudia's story is fiction: go find a better hobby. The purpose of this site is to report fraud, scams and crimes. Claudia posted her story and it's a story about kidnapping and attempted murder. True or fake... does it matter? NO. Does it damage you to be informed that things like that could happen? Again, NO.

This site and this community needs you as much as a hole in the head, so go find something more useful to do instead of pestering people who do no harm and are simply looking for help or awareness on important issues.
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#10 Author of original report

Hotel Iris, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso was complicit in holding me hostage.

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

This message is for Theresa from Columbus, Ohio. Thank you so much for believing my story. It was an error, initially, that Afghanistan was included as the country. From reading the report of my ordeal, most people can see I was in Burkina Faso. Nothing else in my narrative reflects being in Afghanistan. Comments from understanding people such as yourself, do wonders for wiping away the horrors of my ordeal. It is now one year later and I am still living the nightmare.

I travelled to purchase art from the Burkinabe. That was my goal. I followed all the rules. I had a cell phone. Cingular Wireless assured me the phone would operate in Burkina Faso. They were wrong. This one fact is the sole reason for my "capture." IF the cell phone had worked, I would have called the American Embassy as soon as I had arrived. As a result, I had no way to communicate with anyone, but my captors. The hotel phone had been disconnected.

At the time of my arrival, I had in my possession, the telephone numbers to the American Embassy. I planned to notify them immediately of my presence in Ouagadougou. As of this date, June 24, 2007, I have not heard from American Express. During the last year, I have studied how to go after them. I have learned much. Soon, AMEX, The hotel, my bank, and Cingular will hear from me. There are ways to get to them. I would like to point out the hotel was aware I had travelers checks. I asked if I could put them in the hotel safe. I was told no one wants traveler's checks in Ouagadougou. They would be safe.
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#11 Consumer Comment

wow!!!

AUTHOR: Theresa - (U.S.A.)

i am so glad you have survived this. i think i would need many years of therapy to even begin living a normal life. i hope you can get out of this mess. be careful. i believe you. i have heard alot of simular stories like yours. ignore these idiots making rude comments.
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#12 Author of original report

FOR ELIZABETH

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

To Elizabeth:



I thank you for one of the nicest postings. It is difficult for me to see how some treat otherslike no one should make a mistake. Now, I do understand how the president must feel.



I will answer your questions. I had been E-mailing and speaking to Abdul for the better part of a year. His name was given (along with E-mail address) to me by an African bead trader with whom I had done business for at least ten years. I got Abdul's name in February 2005. I sent him the first E-mail, some time during the spring of 2005. I did not hear from him at first. I sent another E-mail a few months later. He finally answered me last fall. By Christmas I was talking by phone regularly with him AND his wife. Meena. I did not stop there. I attempted to hire a lawyer in Ouagadougou to assist me. I wanted to know if Abdul was for real. Hiring an attorney in another country is difficult. That is a story in itself.



I sent an E-mail first to the Burkina Faso Embassy in Washington, D.C. I wished to know if the address Abdul had given me was correct. It was then; I learned people in Ouagadougou do not have street addresses. Actually, I made a few telephone calls to the embassy in Washington. It was the same man I spoke to, who ended up signing my visa for entry to Burkina Faso Mr. Pasgo. I think his title was minister. One thing I needed to know was if there was a certain bank in Ouagadougou. In discussing my plans with Abdul, I asked him for the name of a good bank in Ouagadougou.



I knew I was not going to take cash with me. I needed to establish a relationship with a bank in that city. I asked the minister if there were such a bank. Everything checked out. He even told me the name, Musa, was very common in Burkina Faso. I discussed all this with my husband. He was fine with everything, but suggested I take my 28 year old son along. My son was thrilled about the trip, but got into some trouble with the Marion County Sherriff here in Indy, due to a marijuana charge. He got probation and was not even allowed to leave the state. Plans were pretty much made. I could have waited a couple months for my son to be able to travel; however, the rainy season begins in June in Ouagadougou. I got a small taste of the terrible rain on my last night in the city. Not a good idea to go then.



My doctor did not believe me, because he is just a doctor taking money. That is another story. I had asked him about immunizations, before leaving the US. It is not easy to find a yellow fever shot in Indiana. I went to a travel doctor on the Southside of Indy. I received, in addition, some pills for malaria, polio vaccination, and various forms of Hepatitis vaccines, meningitis, and some medicine for dysentery. He told me to buy different items for my trip. One of them was syrup of Ipecac. This last item was a life saverreally. The cost of this consultation was worth the $450 I paid him. He also gave me a packet with much information on Burkina Faso, most from the State Department web site..stuff I already knew. My own doctor has an attitude issue, because I used to be very ill and ended up curing myself. It turned out to be preservatives in the food.



The boils came on my skin while I was in Ouagadougou. I was still being kept to the hotel. I first noticed them when I was awakened by Rose and her husband attempting to get into my room. No one would assist me. I had no phone at that point. I had brought with me many aspirin. Aspirin acts as an anti-inflammatory on the outside. If made into a paste. I had some antibiotic ointment. When I got to the US Embassy I arrived with socks on my arms and hands. We discussed this briefly, but I was rather hysterical and was mostly concerned about getting away from my captors. I do not remember feeling really sickperhaps a bit of nausea. I am losing weight still, but the nausea could be nerves. By the time I left Ouagadougou on Saturday, my scabs were falling off. Most were on my upper legs and body. When I returned to Indy, I called my doctor immediately. I could not believe he was out of town. I finally saw him last week. By then I looked just fine.



My family is a disaster story. Everything is my fault. They ran out of food. Like one can buy food even in Ouagadougou. By the way, it was a good thing I took some food with me. I took nutritional barsa big box from Sam's Club; I had tablets for purifying watera huge bag of naturally dried fruit energy drinks. In fact, I devoted most of my space for essentialsjust in case. I worried little about clothing. I had one pair of shoes. The large suitcase was filled with gifts for Abdul and his family. I planned to return with fabric, beads, and masks, predominately. My son is really angry at himself. He tells me I am stupid. Now he is trying to be nice, because he wishes to get the beautiful old wooden mask I bought. It is worth quite a bit more than I paid for it.



Of course my husband is very angry. I have lost much money. AMEX is not yet paying. I believe they are waiting for the police report.which the US Embassy is helping to get for me. Quite an investigation has begun. Now, I discover AMEX does not pay claims as well or a quickly as they advertise. I used to work for Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, which was a division of AMEX. I was under the impression AMEX was as good as the insurance division.



Certainly, Elizabeth, you can tell I am extremely upset over this. I am devastated. Words are not written to express my despair. If I had not come so close to death and learned for sure, I do not want to die at this stage of my life, I would be thinking suicide. I will figure out something. My real anger is over my fact my cell phone company, Cingular Wireless, does not give a darn, what they did, I went to a foreign country and I went relying on what I was told at the store before leaving the USA. I have since learned I have a free cell phone owed to me. That was my one lifeline. I even toyed with the idea of taking my laptop. Bad idea! It would have been stolen for sure.



I hope I have answered your questions. Please feel free to ask anything. I am trying to figure what I could have done to prevent the disaster. It is my wish that others NOT have similar circumstances. The State Department agrees Rose had covered her bases. To bring back as much as I intended, I would HAVE NEEDED AN EXPORT LICENSE.



Oh, the African traders will be in Indiana, near the Ohio River, this week and weekend. I am going just to see if the man is there who gave me Abdul's name. Many of the same people travel around the country. In February some are in Tucson; in the Spring and Fall they come to Friendship, Indiana.



Also, I have sent to this website, pictures to post. I will see if any are shown. I would really like some to see the Iris Hotel. It was not really bad from the outside, but the room...
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#13 Consumer Comment

Try this again

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

I posted once but it didn't seem to make it so let me try this again.



I have a couple of questions for you, Claudia.



1. How long did you email back and forth with this person you were supposed to stay with when you got to Africa? Did you have any documentation from this man to prove he even had a wife, children or was who he said he was?



2. Why did your doctor not believe you went to Africa? Did you not see him before you went to check on any immunizations you should have before your trip? If you came home with boils and such on your skin did you not go directly to the nearest emergency room to get checked out? If not, why?



3. How is your family coping with this whole situation? I saw on one of the postings you had done that your family was angry with you. Why?
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#14 Consumer Comment

Lies, lies, lies

AUTHOR: Timothy - (U.S.A.)

I didn't need to read much of your awful story to realize that your tale is ten pounds of horseshit in a five pound bag. I don't know what your angle is, but you can take it somewhere else, because we're NOT buying it. And for those of you who are buying this, read closer and use your head. Some Americans are getting screwed overseas. This ain't one of them.



Your excuse for what you call your awful writing? You shouldn't have been typing so late. Sorry sis, but the time you post is available for all to see, and noon isn't all that late.



And your continuous excuses for your oddball writing style are just one clue (just like the whole "Afghanistan" thing was but one little clue).



You assure us that your IQ is in the "top 2%," but somehow you're stupid enough to fall for the Nigerian "trunks full of moneys scam"? Only this time, I suppose, it's "trunks full of beads."



And for an American, from Indiana, with an IQ in the top 2%, you sure talk alot like the "trunks full of moneys" scumbags that allegedly held you hostage. For example:



"Still, I have never learned to type in the correct fashion"



Any Americans here know anybody who refers to typing skills as a fashion? Or how about this one:



"he was quite happy and promised to present me with a wonderful time"



Maybe you'd like to actually visit Indiana and I can "present" you with a wonderful boot to the head! And this one:



"The bed was comfortable, but I had to fiddle with the AC much to get it to actually cool the small room"



Maybe you should have fiddled much with a book on how to talk like an actual American! And here's my favorite:



"I had paid the hotel for two nights what I thought was too high a price for such a an unappealing space. I wondered if I was being too picky, being used to American Hotels. It was costing me $40 dollars a night as far as I could determine."



Could you please tell us what American "H"otel you are staying in for $40 dollars a night that isn't unappealing?



You're a liar. You're trying to pull some sort of scam, but you're too frickin' inept to pull it off. I hope you get decapitated by a real terrorist, you f'in scumbag.



And that, my friend, is how we REALLY talk in Indiana.
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#15 Author of original report

I GIVE UP

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

I know I should not write a report so late at night. I did believe I had tackled the problem of my lousy typing. I first put my comments on my word processing program. I re-read it. Now I am ashamed to see what appears to be an ignorant statement. The report posted above, appears to be the report posted BEFORE the corrections. This I am unable to explain. I know my eyes are not a good as they used to be, but this writing is horrendous. I deserve a big fat "F." My apologies to all. My fault.
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#16 Author of original report

LET'S BE SERIOUS

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Look. I have aleady changed one number. The other cannot be changed without affecting my husband's business. It would be impossible to contact all his clients. We have had the number for years. My new cell phone number is already changed. I still get calls. What do I do...run away, change my name, grow a beard and join the circus? Your sugestions are more ridiculous than I admit my story sounds to the average person to whom nothing strange has ever happened. I was you once. I know many like you. Most are unaware of current events. Those of you who fail to have a "willing suspension of disbelief for the moment"...as STC suggested in the Rhyme of the ANcient Mariner...kust will never believe, no matter what. I won't take it personally. I write because I sooths my mind, after the terror has come to be reality. The FBI were called. This is not for them, Thois is for the Secret Service, Syaye Department, and the Department of Justice. I am waiting to kear from the DOJ. I finally reached someone late FRIDAY. Does anyone have any idea on how to stop looking over my back? How do you keep me from seeing Rose's face in my dreams.? I can't sleep anymore. These people do not hibe up!
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#17 Author of original report

LET'S BE SERIOUS

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Look. I have aleady changed one number. The other cannot be changed without affecting my husband's business. It would be impossible to contact all his clients. We have had the number for years. My new cell phone number is already changed. I still get calls. What do I do...run away, change my name, grow a beard and join the circus? Your sugestions are more ridiculous than I admit my story sounds to the average person to whom nothing strange has ever happened. I was you once. I know many like you. Most are unaware of current events. Those of you who fail to have a "willing suspension of disbelief for the moment"...as STC suggested in the Rhyme of the ANcient Mariner...kust will never believe, no matter what. I won't take it personally. I write because I sooths my mind, after the terror has come to be reality. The FBI were called. This is not for them, Thois is for the Secret Service, Syaye Department, and the Department of Justice. I am waiting to kear from the DOJ. I finally reached someone late FRIDAY. Does anyone have any idea on how to stop looking over my back? How do you keep me from seeing Rose's face in my dreams.? I can't sleep anymore. These people do not hibe up!
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#18 Author of original report

LET'S BE SERIOUS

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Look. I have aleady changed one number. The other cannot be changed without affecting my husband's business. It would be impossible to contact all his clients. We have had the number for years. My new cell phone number is already changed. I still get calls. What do I do...run away, change my name, grow a beard and join the circus? Your sugestions are more ridiculous than I admit my story sounds to the average person to whom nothing strange has ever happened. I was you once. I know many like you. Most are unaware of current events. Those of you who fail to have a "willing suspension of disbelief for the moment"...as STC suggested in the Rhyme of the ANcient Mariner...kust will never believe, no matter what. I won't take it personally. I write because I sooths my mind, after the terror has come to be reality. The FBI were called. This is not for them, Thois is for the Secret Service, Syaye Department, and the Department of Justice. I am waiting to kear from the DOJ. I finally reached someone late FRIDAY. Does anyone have any idea on how to stop looking over my back? How do you keep me from seeing Rose's face in my dreams.? I can't sleep anymore. These people do not hibe up!
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#19 Author of original report

LET'S BE SERIOUS

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

Look. I have aleady changed one number. The other cannot be changed without affecting my husband's business. It would be impossible to contact all his clients. We have had the number for years. My new cell phone number is already changed. I still get calls. What do I do...run away, change my name, grow a beard and join the circus? Your sugestions are more ridiculous than I admit my story sounds to the average person to whom nothing strange has ever happened. I was you once. I know many like you. Most are unaware of current events. Those of you who fail to have a "willing suspension of disbelief for the moment"...as STC suggested in the Rhyme of the ANcient Mariner...kust will never believe, no matter what. I won't take it personally. I write because I sooths my mind, after the terror has come to be reality. The FBI were called. This is not for them, Thois is for the Secret Service, Syaye Department, and the Department of Justice. I am waiting to kear from the DOJ. I finally reached someone late FRIDAY. Does anyone have any idea on how to stop looking over my back? How do you keep me from seeing Rose's face in my dreams.? I can't sleep anymore. These people do not hibe up!
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#20 Author of original report

I FORGOT TO MENTION

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

The reason the country was first incorrect, was perhaps partially do to the fact I have never posted before. The country name is in a "pull down." I pulled down the list looking, hopefully, for Bukina Faso, and was actually surprised to see it. I clicked on the name of the country. I saw it in the report. I noticed the error the very same day AND the correction was made that very day. THANK YOU VERY MUCH not eight days later. If you notice, the report states in the title the incidents did happen in Africa although I failed to notice my typo! They speak Freanch in Burkina Faso; not Afghanistan. The last line says the burkinabe are great people and these events should not reflect upon them. It should have been clear to the careful reader, that something was indeed, amiss. STILL, THE CORRECTION WAS MADE AT MY REQUEST TO THE WEBMASTER THE VERY SAME DAY, NOT AS YOU STATE, EIGHT DAYS LATER!!
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#21 Consumer Comment

Whoa...

AUTHOR: C - (U.S.A.)

I am sorry I asked. All of this over beads?

C'mon, now...
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#22 Consumer Comment

Whoa...

AUTHOR: C - (U.S.A.)

I am sorry I asked. All of this over beads?

C'mon, now...
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#23 Consumer Comment

keep working on it

AUTHOR: D - (U.S.A.)

This sounds like a pretty good fiction novel in the works.
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#24 Consumer Comment

IT IS QUITE A STORY, CLAUDIA.......

AUTHOR: Sherri - (U.S.A.)

However, I believe it is quite a work of fiction that you should peddle to a publisher, not to the RoR. You may have had some credibility had you gotten the country right on your first try, instead of the "modification" eight days later.



If you are still getting text messages and phone calls from these people you are claiming conspired to murder you, (a) Change your phone number, both home and cellular; and (b)Report it to the FBI.



The sad thing is that bad things do often happen to Americans overseas. Your story is not emotional, is is more like you are transcribing a manuscript than relaying an actual happening (especially your follow up). If this is a hoax, as I strongly suspect, then you should be ashamed.
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#25 Author of original report

HOTEL IRIS: The Insanity Continues.

AUTHOR: Claudia - (U.S.A.)

This is to all who have posted their replies. LOOK ALSO AT American Express, Cingular Wireless, and ECOBANK.



Never before did I "post" anything to the Internet. Initially, when I found this website, my intention was to caution others who may find themselves in my position. Since, reality has set in. I have become frightened and am suffering from a kind of PTSS ( Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome)Also, may I add that AIR FRANCE could not have been better. It is the bast airline I have ever flown!!!! Truly supurb service and delicious food.



Yes, it is important to know why I was there in the first place. The story is so very long. When I was being kept to my room and had nothing better to do, I began to write...to make notes of my experiences and feelings...in case my dead body were found, hopefully, someone would have a chance to read what I had written by hand. None of the criminals would have found it...it was hidden well within my belongings.



I had written over 100 pages in a small hand printing. By the time I was rescued, my notes only covered part of the first day of my captivity. My first posting last week was about the blameworthiness of the Hotel Iris. I had a bit of trouble with the posting. I had scrolled down to pick out Burkina Faso as the country. I re-read the report. All seemed OK. When one types, the type is small and easy to overlook an error...particularly, for a first time user. The first report DID state Afghanistan. (That was an error which was repaired by the kind webmaster of this site.), which anyone may determine if my entire report is read. I doubt French is the language of Afghanistan. Also, at the end of the report I request others not to judge the burkinabe ( should have been capitalized). The Burkinabe, I came to later know are truly terrific and a wondrous, extraordinary people. In the dictionary a new word should be added, "burkinabe, to mean anyone who is gracious, kind, loving, altruistic, calm, thoughtful and affectionate. Never during my stay did I see Burkinabe fight. The only altercation was among my captors.



I am not an idiot. I am not stupid as the American Express adjuster told me. May it be sufficient for this story to explain my IQ is in the top 2%. Still, I have never learned to type in the correct fashion. Last week, unknown to me, my computer keyboard was about to betray me. A new keyboard was purchased. This computer was rebuilt by me, who never had any experience re-building computers. Obviously the keyboard was neglected during the re-building process. I apologize. Any errors from this point on, please attribute to me, unless I point out otherwise.



American Express asked that I supply them with a summary of my ordeal. Approximately thirty typed single spaced paged were sent to them. I have decided to post the entire report on this website. Anyone who has questions should read the report. Possibly all questions would be answered for any reader.



Before posting this report, I should like to point out a few circumstances: 1) In addition to the report on the Hotel Iris, I posted yesterday, reports on ECOBANK, AMERICAN EXPRESS, and CINGULAR WIRELESS. In all reports, I have made every attempt to be a brief as possible.



2) Before leaving for Burkina Faso, I visited the Department of State website. I took what I though was every page I had printed. Missing was the page with the numbers to the Embassy. It would not have been beneficial. I had no working cell phone. It was Saturday night when I was able to discern how to use my "loaner" cell phone. I was kept in the Hotel Iris all day Sunday, when I found the telephone numbers of the American Embassy. On Sunday, the Embassy was closed. First thing Monday morning I called the Embassy. The only item which would have saved me was, if I had been given by Cingular Wireless, a cell phone which would work in Paris and Ouagadougou. I had been led astray by Cingular...and they do not care!



3) Some had written something to the effect, if my captors had wanted to kill me, they would have been successful. See, all the details are not known. A doctor had suggested to me I take a bottle of Syrup of Ipecac, an emetic of great value and strength for me. This was the first time used in my life. I wholeheartedly urge anyone in a similar situation to try it. Without this bottle in my suitcase the terrorists would, no doubt have been successful! In addition, I packed nutritional bars, died fruit, and pills to purify water. For days, this was all I had to eat.



4) Both the Department of State pages I had, along with a folder made for me, by my doctor explained the fact it would be necessary to have an export document to take out of Burkina Faso what I had planned to buy. The Ambassador (The head Ambassador is a woman.) at the Embassy has even written to me, in an E-mail, that he wrote what is on the website. He stated to me what Rose told me was very credible. I am not disclosing this wonderful Department of State employee's name, because I do not wish for him to be inundated with unnecessary E-mail. I am causing him enough trouble and trouble for my wonderful country. He needs no more.



Anyone who reads these pieces of information, I need your help. So very much happened and I need to leave out so very much detail, that the entire story cannot be told in this format. I am considering writing a book. Does anyone think there are enough persons out there who would read it? It is important for me to know. I should say the book may end up being nearly 400 pages.



5)The "short version" I am blanking out the names of special persons.



6) Most likely next week I am going to upload the pictures I have. Most are gone forever; however, I do have pictures of Hotel Iris and the second hotel, plus some scenes from Ouagadougou. Most of you may be surprised at the state of the country.



HERE IS THE SHORT VERSION OF MY EXPERIENCE



MY TRIP TP OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO in MAY,2006

(HOW I CAME TO BE CAPTURED BE CRIMINAL TERRORISTS)





Ever since I have been a small child, I have wished to travel to Africa. In addition, not only do I love beads, I also make them and am a member of ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers). African trade beads are one of my favorites, with their many colors and varied patterns. African trade beads are among the first lampworked beads. I also sew wearable art. Ethnic fabrics have special interest for me. I am 1/8 Native American and love the Native American designs which happen to have many of the same patterns and colors as the fabrics from countries in Africa. I had a store several years ago, but opted to sell my handmade items at art fairs. For the past ten years, with the exception of 2006, I have traveled to Tucson, Arizona, in February for the International Gem and Jewelry Show. This year, I saved my money with the hope of actually traveling to Africa. For the past 2 1/2 years, I have been very ill. Since having back reasonable health, I decided to "go for it." I am not young. I will be 62 in two months



During many years of going to bead shows, I have seen the same people year after year. Many bead vendors from African countries would bring there wares to sell. The beads were very costly, especially the trade beads, which actually were made in Italy and brought to Africa and became used as moneymany years ago. After asking numerous questions, one of the bead vendors one day about a year and a half ago in Tucson, Arizona, gave me the name of someone who lived in Africa. I had indicated I wished to visitto take my long sought after trip to Africa. The contact was in the form of an E-mail address: abdul_musa211@yahoo.com. I wrote to him as I was told he spoke some English. It was a few months before I heard from Abdul, but when we finally began corresponding he told me much about himself. To be brief here, I will only state Abdul told me he was married with three children. In my opinion I believed we had become quite good friends.



When I told Abdul I wished to visit Burkina Faso, he was quite happy and promised to present me with a wonderful time. I had done my research and by that I learned Burkina Faso was a good African country to visit. Crime among the Burkinabe was very low, they were poor but, nonetheless happy, out-going, and very friendly. I even corresponded with a young man who is in the Peace Corps, who spend two years in Burkina Faso. He loved the people. I was going to Africa to buy some African arts and crafts for resale (either on the Internet or at art shows), learn of the people, and mostly to satisfy my long held desire to visit Africa. Burkina was perfect because there were no civil wars in the country. Abdul told me I was welcome to stay with him and his wife, Meena. I applied for my passport and Visa, rather in a hurry, because I learned June was the beginning of the rainy season. If I were to go, I had to make the trip in May. Initially, my 28 year old son was to accompany me. At almost the last minute he learned he could not make the trip. I decided I was capable of going it alone.



My flight on Air France/Delta left on May 9th. I arrived late in Ouagadougou on May 10th. On the flight from Paris to Ouagadougou I had some serious concerns over being by myself. I was not too worried. Before leaving Indianapolis, I had visited the Cingular Wireless store on East 96th Street, in Indianapolis, to ascertain if my cell phone would work while I was away. To be able to contact someone in an emergency was extremely important. On that day, I also added my son to my wireless account. The man at the store assured me I would have no problem. A few days before visiting the Cingular Store, I went to my own bank to obtain travelers checks. Every time I travel, I use traveler's checks. I would have been a crazy person to visit a third world country with several thousand dollars in cash. I validated only one credit card for foreign travel, as I did not believe I would have many opportunities to use a credit card. As it turned out my credit card was my only accessible source of money.



Abdul met me at the airport. He looked as his picture, but a bit older and without glasses. Ouagadougou was very hot that night, nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Since I had a problem not being able to perspire properly, I suggested I stay in a hotel. Abdul agreed, because he told me his wife was away in Ghana, with their new born baby who needed emergency surgery. I had brought a suitcase full of gifts for Abdul and his wife, and four children. He took the gifts for him and his wife, but left the gifts for the children. I was bothered by that one observation the first night. The hotel I finally checked into was called Hotel Iris. We had tried several hotels, all filled with persons from the United Nations. Abdul seemed very friendly with those who ran the Hotel Iris. After leaving my bags Abdul took me to get a bit to eat. We ate some fishtilapia. He then took me back to Hotel Iris.



The Hotel was clean, but very unappealing. It appeared safe. The door was strong and needed two twists of the large old key to close and lock completely. I became very concerned, if not frightened, when I saw that the room telephone was inoperable. My first night was nearly sleepless. The bed was comfortable, but I had to fiddle with the AC much to get it to actually cool the small room. At least I had my own bath.



Too early on Thursday morningabout eight A.M., came a knock on the door. It was Abdul. He had brought me a phone, because I had expressed concern I could not use mine. He told me not to call him at his old number, but, instead gave me a new number to call: 76-02-97-07. Abdul did not remain long, only about five to ten minutes. He said he had to go to work. Abdul supposedly had a job as a teller in a bank. Which bank, I am not certain. I, then went back to sleep. I slept uneasily for about an hour, awoke, took a shower, got dressed with the intention of going out. Abdul told me he would contact me after work. I would go to the city, find the American Embassy, and get some information from them about where things are in Ouagadougou. I needed to cash a few travelers' checks. I had some cash. At the airport, the night before, I had converted $200 into Burkina Faso CFA's. Out of that money, I had paid the hotel for two nights what I thought was too high a price for such a an unappealing space. I wondered if I was being too picky, being used to American Hotels. It was costing me $40 dollars a night as far as I could determine. Before I had even the slightest chance to leave the room, a loud knock came at my door. It was a voice of a woman. Who is it? I asked. It is Rose, I heard the reply in English.



Who are you? I wished to know.



My husband is an attorney. I understand you expect to export some artistic items out of Burkina Faso. You need an export license. My husband will get you one. It is simple. Rose told me in a very friendly and polite voice.



I don't understand. I was still talking through the door. How did you get my name?



Rose indicated someone from the hotel may have told her husband. She was not certain. She told me she was sent to pick me up, so I might avoid a taxi. It was a courtesy for visitors to Burkina Faso to make the stay pleasant. Where is your husband's office? I wished to know more. She slipped a card under the door.



After you read this, Please pass it back. She was not hurrying me. I took a metal engraved plate from under the door. It read: MALIK & MALIK CHAMBERS, SOLICYTOR NOTARY & ADVOCATE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF JUSTICE. 01 B P5042 OUAGADOUGOU, 01 BURKINA FASO, TELE+226-76-41-16-02 FAX +0022-5031 6982. I quickly wrote it down on an index card and slipped the plate back under the door to the woman.



So where do you plan to take me? I was not certain if I should open the door. How do I know I can trust you? I wished I could call someone. I picked up the phone Abdul had given me earlier that morning and tried to place a call to Abdul. I could not get the phone to work. What was wrong here, I asked myself.



Are you going to let me in? I could not care at all if you get your export license. My husband sent me here to get you. I will call him. Rose was being very polite. I thought there may be something to her argument, because, I had read in the literature given to me by the travel doctor in Indianapolis, and I had read information on the Department of State web site. Both places stated the Burkinabe were strict about certain art objects taken out of the country. I decided to open the door. In front of me stood an attractive, but overweight woman of undetermined age, dressed in an elaborate African dress. Her body was adorned with real goldI was absolutely certain of that point. Are you coming now? Her English was very good. She told me we were going down town to see her husband at the address on the metal plate she had showed me. I had no way of knowing whether to trust the address was real. We walked down the stairs to the lobby. The manager smiled at Rose, as if in recognition. Seemingly they knew her. The hotel people seemed OK at that point. Perhaps I was just being paranoid. Rose took me to the car she had waiting. I could not tell the make of this one, but it was air-conditioned and had a small crack in the right side of the front windshield.



Put your bags in the back. Rose told me. I did not. The backpack remained on my back, uncomfortable as it was to sit in the car, and my purse was over my neck and sitting on my lap. That is when I noticed the crack in the windshield. I inquired whether she got the crack by a run in with a cyclist. She just laughed and began to tell me about herself. We did not go to an office downtownwe had passed town long ago. She must have sensed my concern for she told me she was taking me to her home, where we will be met by her husband. It was nearly the time for mid day meal and he wished to come home where he could properly great me to his country.



(Note: Up to this point I have tried to explain just how I came to be into the position of being in the company of people I did not know in an unfamiliar country, where I did not speak the language. I did come prepared. I took pictures and made notes, in addition to carrying a small recording device. Every day, I would be in my room alone for several hours, at which time I would write down what was said, from comments on the digital recording. There was no tape. From this point on I will only emphasize the main points.)



When we arrived at her home, we were greeted by two persons. One was an older man, and the other a very young girl. The girl attempted to take both my backpack and my purse. I voiced strong objections. Rose remained at ease, and tried several times to allay my concerns by telling me these people were her security. Nothing I said seemed to make any difference. My bags were forcibly taken away from me. I might have run out into the street, but did not. The temperature was at least 100 or MORE degrees Fahrenheit and at that time I had no clue where we were. It was near noon and the sun was high in the sky. I could not discern into what direction we drove. Round one went to Rose and the gang.



Rose got me some water in a large bottle. Never did I hear her husband enter. Within five minutes Rose told me her husband was ready to see me. This strange Barrister was sitting in a room with only a chair and a desk and a picture of Blaise Compare, the Burkina Faso President. I was told to take the seat. The man in front of me asked me how many bank accounts I could open in the United States. I told him I did not know, but never did I hear of any restrictions. Then, the man introduced himself as Barrister MALIK of the Supreme Court of Justice. He told me he was obliged to obtain for me an export license and then held up the large envelope, I recognized from Fifth Third Bank, my bank of many years, and the place where I had obtained my travelers' checks. He wanted to know why I came to his country with no money. I told him travelers' checks WERE money. He made a call to someone and spoke in French. I had no clue. In English he told me his wife would take me to the bank to exchange the travelers'' checks into CFA, the money of Burkina Faso. How much he had I did not know. I had simply made two piles of travelers' checks and put them into different parts of my backpack. The receipts which came with the checks were in my suitcase and the list of checks was written on an index card, which was in my purse. I kept another list at home.



My backpack and purse were returned to me. Rose had my travelers' checks. I was told to get into her car. Off we went to the bank. This time I paid attention to landmarks. This was a difficult task because everything around me seemed similar to everything else. We did pass a circle with a fountain. We seemed to stay on the same paved road, which went around the fountain.



The bank she took me into was ECOBANK. I think that is the spelling. We parked across the street from the bank. I held my backpack in my hand and my purse strap was across my shoulder. My first instinct was to make an attempt to escape or to attack Rose with the heavy backpack. We were in what appeared to be the center of the city. I started to run. She could keep the checks. I still had my passport, hopefully a few more checks and some cash money. I darted off to the left towards what looked like office buildings. Bicycles and motor bikes were heading towards me like bugs in headlight beams. I was going to be splattered or I was going to be splatter. Either way I could not run, Then, I tripped due to one of many holes in the street, which gave Rose the opportunity to grab me by the right arm and part of my blouse. She actually ripped my blouse a bit. She told me I could not get away and took me into the bank. If I had not stated before, let me say it now. I am a petite woman and Rose was Godzilla.



The bank was very busy. Good for me. I could ask for help in the bank. Rose told me to sit, but there were no chairs. I just stood and watched. A tall man came up to Rose, hugged her on both sides. He had to know Rose. I knew people were friendly in Burkina Faso, but I felt this was not the way one normally greats a bank customer. I watched as other customers entered the bank. No hugs. Several minutes passed. Rose came to me to tell me to take a seat in front of one of two desks on the back right side of the bank. Rose walked down towards the end where I saw the Western Union sign. She returned to tell me to get up and go into the only office of the bank. As we walked in she must have seen the lady in the office had a customer. Rose told me to sit down again. There were no chairs. My previous seat had been taken. Someone got up from a small chair in front of a desk just outside the office. Rose told me to sit there. The girl behind the desk appeared pleased that no one could take a seat in front of her. She got a break. Rose walked away, and as she did, she told me to stay where I wasseated in the chair out side the office. Rose returned to see if the customer had left. I already knew he had. Now, I was told to go into the office. There were two chairs. Rose told me to sit in one. She stood for a short time. The woman behind the desk was pretty and she was smiling.



Rose called the pretty woman Mariam. I remembered that because my mother's name was Mary. There was a name sign on the desk; however, it was blocked from my view by a pile of papers. Mariam and Rose had some conversation in French. Rose had opened the Fifth Third Bank envelope and took out the travelers' checks. She handed them to Mariam. More French. Rose then asked where the slips were that went to the checks. I told Rose they were at home. A big lie. The slips were in a pocket in one of my suitcases! I had another listing of the checks at home. Evidently this revelation was causing some problems. They wanted my passport. No way, would I give them my passport. Without my passport I was a good as dead. Miriam wanted to make a copy of it, because I would not leave my passport with her. By this time it was becoming very clear to me some people in this bank were complicit in this deception and thievery.



I went with Mariam when she copied the passport. Rose, oddly enough, stayed in Mariam's office alone. Miriam passed my passport through a window to be copied. I took a chance, but I felt not everyone in this bank could be involved. Miriam handed my passport back to me. We had no words between us. We spoke different languages. Back in her office she handed Rose some paperplain white typing paper. They spoke in French. Miriam left Rose and me alone in her office. Rose, then told me to write the numbers of the travelers' checks on the paper. The first column was the listing of numbers387-560-420 to 429, for example. Next was the denomination times the number of checks $100X10. The final column was the total: = $1000. Per Rose, I did this for all the packs of travelers' checks. Now, let me say I was not cooperative. I deliberately began transposing numbers and making mistakes. I told Rose to do the job. Rose did not like that idea and soon went about clobbering me on the back of my head and neck. I had pain for many days, for I have a metal plate in my neck, plus two screws, a result of being rear- ended in a traffic accident. After approximately three attempts, Rose accepted my list. She went to get Mariam. Some conversation in French flowed from both, then, I was taken by the arm by the hand of Rose, and pulled gently out of the bank.



Rose ordered me to get into her car. There was no point in running, because she told me we needed to return by 3:30 P.M. to have me sign the checks. Never was anyone going to get me to sign away my hard earned cash. It cost money for the trip and if I did not have the money, the reason for my journey was ended. I knew I could contact American Express to get the checks replaced. Let her do with them as she wished. What these people were up to I did not know. I was confident what they were doing was malevolence and against the law. On the journey to Rose's house, this time I took pictures and attempted to pay careful attention to where we went. This time Rose tricked me. She drove past her turn off, thereby, taking me on a convoluted trip backtracking the way to the place where she stayed. I was lost. She apologized for passing her turn. She was deliberately throwing me off.



We were back at the house, but this time we had no servants, nor security. Rose announced I should sit on her couch. I began going through my purse with many pockets. I soon discovered to my horror, I was missing a packet of cash in American dollars$600 to be exact. I told Rose, who made me remove everything from my purse. She wanted to go through my purse by herself. No way. I gave her so much opposition, she finally quit bothering me. I mentioned something like money is not everything. Rose thought that strange. Losing any amount of money is not good, Rose suggested. I would rather lose my money than my life, I thought in silence. This is important for I had no idea about what was to soon happen.



Rose's phone rang. She told me her husband was coming with people from the bank. Why, I wondered. I thought we were to back to the bank at 3:30. Rose said she could not tell me why. She told me to help her move the car, because the bank needed the driveway. More questions popped into my mind. First of all, why could she not move the car by herself? As it turned out, she did need my helpher objective was not to drive into the sewer. Rose was not expert at parallel parking and nearly ran over my foot and almost forced me into the sewer trench. Without my standing in place she would not have known where to drive. The car was parked. We went back inside to await the bank's arrival.



Within ten or fifteen minutes a car pulled up into the court yard through the entrance gate. I did not get up to look, but glanced around, only to view a rather large, boxy shaped, light colored (either beige or gray) car. Three large men came into the house without knocking or announcing their arrival. One of the men was really big. I was actually apprehensive by his appearance alone. Were these the Burkinabe Mafia? They came in and first closed the drapes. This had to be show, for one could see just as well out the window, drapes open or closed. The drapery material was very sheer. Were these actors? They were being so dramatic.



They left the house and returned with a giant box. I had nothing with which to measure the box, but my first reaction was that the box was big enough for me. There was even a lock on the box and keys attached. I tried to tell myself this was a ruse, a planned maneuver to scare me to death. If they put me in the box, I wondered who was going to sign the checks. Did they bring the checks with them? Sorry, but I could not help feeling sick. The barrister came into the house and began to have a conversation in French with the three thugs. Rose pretty much stayed out of this conversation. The large man put the keys on the table, after opening the large wooden box. Yes, I would fit in there. I began to feel dizzy. The men were loudly arguing in French with each other. I asked to go to the bathroom and Rose gestured the way, as I had been once before. I fell towards the table, but stopped shot of falling on it. If they could act, so could I. I gracefully swiped the keys. No one seemed to take notice. I went through the bedroom and into the bathroom where I immediately through up nothing. I had eaten nothing that day. I took my time; however, upon my return I began to witness the only fight I had witnessed in Ouagadougou. They appeared to be looking for keys. Two of the men were on their hands and knees on the floorapparently looking for something. No one addressed me. Time had passed. Rose told me we had to return to the bank to sign the checks. What was this show for? Would these people have put me in the box? To this day, I still have the keys.



I got into the car with Rose. This time we had to take another car. This car was not as nice as the first car. It was not air-conditioned. Also, on my side it was missing the handle to roll up and down the window. Rose took the handle from the glove compartment to roll down the window. This car was a Nissan, Rose told me. I got the license number of this car: 11 P 4321.

I thought I was very clever until JOHN SMITH ( not real name) from the American Embassy, told me a few days later; it takes three weeks to track down a plate number in Burkina Faso



When we arrived at the bank, I did not have any plan. I knew I could not trust certain bank personnel; however, I could not fathom all bank employees were in on this plan. I had learned the last time at the bank; they had $8000 in travelers' checks. With all involved, Rose, her fake husband, Abdul, the hotel, the bank personnel, no way were they doing this for only $8000 in American money. There was not enough money to make this elaborate scheme worthwhile. There had to be another goal for these criminals. This money was much to me, but I knew they had to pay too many to make stealing my money a worthwhile enterprise. What was all this meaning? I had no clue.



Even before Rose and I entered the bank for the second time, I realized my only hope was to get the money and run. With customers in the bank, I felt reasonably correct in assuming I could demand the police. These crooks would not risk being exposed in front of a bank full of bank customers. It would be the same in this third world country as it would be, under similar circumstances, in the United States of America.

The bank was very busy still. Good. Rose went to Mariam's office. Mariam was not in her office. Rose articulated her desire for me to take another seat. One or two seats were available along the wall of the front of the bank. I sat down, while Rose went to seek out one of her partners in crime. Within a minute she returned with bad news for her. The money was not going to be ready until 4 P.M. Rose now had to sit down. She could not sit still. Clearly she was nervous and agitated. Too bad. It had to be before 4 P.M. when we were summoned to a back room of the bank. I did not have the time, because I no longer had my watch. Someone had taken it off my wrist between now and the last trip to the bank. It was only a watch. Rose had my wrist, which was getting smaller and smaller, from lack of food and lack of fluid. She pulled me down the small corridor to another door to the right of the corridor, and into a room filled with unorganized bank equipmenttable, desks, chairs and machines stood in seeming chaos. Rose and I were too large to fit in comfortably. We stood in the corridor while items were moved out of the way and a place was readied for us to do what I have been told to do all daysit.



A tall black man, who I recognized from earlier in the day, told me to sit at the desk. Rose was given a chair in a corner of the room by the door. After we sat down, a young man, who appeared to be oblivious to the situation, sat to the left of me at the desk. On the far right corner of the desk was a stack of papers that were attached to what looked like the travelers' checks which had been stolen out of my backpack. The young man spoke only to Rose. Rose translated the request for me to countersign the checks. I signed the first one, and the young man compared it to the original signature. I felt it would do me no good to write in a different manner. These captors were not going to allow me to get away with that trick. Even when I was in the bank the first time, I tried, unsuccessfully, to use my eyes to signal my distress, by moving the eyes back and forth quickly. The only result was an exercise for my eyes. I did sign the checks slowly. Rose became testy. She told me to go faster and make a mistake I asked her, smiling. I refused to hurry. The longer I took the longer I remained on this planet. What could Rose do to me? Nothing. I was totally counting upon receiving the money in my own hands.



I don't know just how long it took, but finally I completed my terrorized task. I had spied a stack of money, almost a foot high, stacked in the back of the room. I remember thinking there was so much money in the stack, someone needs to put it away in the safe. I did not realize that stack was the conversion of Dollars to CFA's. I think it was someone else who brought the money to the desk. My attention was on the money and not on just how it arrived. It was given to the young man who managed the signing. He had been separating papers. Now he was counting the money, using a calculator, and speaking to Rose. I fell fairly certain he was assuring her the exchange rate from dollars to CFA's, and counted the money to assure Rose she had the exact amount of money stated on the calculator read out. The young man, then, took the large stack of bills and handed it to Rose. Rose objected, said something in French, and soon the young man took the money from Rose, placed it in a large envelope, and then handed the money filled envelope to Rose. I mentioned the money was mine. Rose began speaking loudly in French, and grabbed my wrist once again, only to pull me all the way out of the bank. That was the wrist my watch was on prior to its disappearance. On this last pull I surmised Rose must have taken it during a previous pull. Now I was truly down in my mind. I had no chance. Rose had my money. I knew I was going to be dead by their hands. If I screamed, she may run. I just did not know. My thoughts also went back to the box. What part did the box play in this fiasco? I was ready to collapse, physically. I had already collapsed mentally. Rose took me to the car and we drove back to her supposed house. I did attempt to watch the way she drove. I was terribly depressed and hungry.



(Now that I have explained just HOW I came to be parted with my money and how and why I counter-signed the checks, I will make every attempt to be brief with events which took many twists and turns.)



Rose asked me if I were hungry. I would not eat anything from her house. She had been cooking a "soup" made from various animal parts...no one would eat. I mentioned my family was certain to worry about me. I had had no communication with my family since leaving Indianapolis. Rose agreed to take me to an Internet place where I could E-mail my family. I continued to ask Rose about my money. She still had it, but I could tell it was no longer in her bag. Her husband had not yet arrived. She said she would take me back to the hotel, but on the way, she promised to allow me to send the E-mail. We went to the Libyan Hotel, as in the country Libya. Rose went behind a counter to watch me write my E-mail. I used an E-mail address I rarely use. I wrote to my daughter, Nina. All I told them was Mommy is fine and all is good. More later. I knew they could not help me now and I did not want to worry my family.



After the hotel, Rose took me back to my hotel, Hotel Iris. We said little in the car. She told me I would get my money and the export document on Friday. Rose came into the hotel to speak with someone at the desk. They spoke French. She then told me to stay in my room and speak to no one. Rose told me other people were dangerous. Rose assured me she would call me in the morning. Also, I might mention I asked her how to work the telephone she was calling. She said she had no idea how to make an out-going call. After she left, I asked the same question of the hotel clerk, who also was ignorant on this issue. I went up to my room to await a call from my friend, Abdul.



Abdul called within an hour. He was going to be late. Abdul was going to take me to dinner. By the time Abdul arrived, it was nearly ten P.M. We needed to hurry before restaurants closed as they did the night before. We went to a very nice outdoor French restaurant. I had a very delicious tomato salad, couscous, and a very cold beer. Anything actually cold in Burkina Faso was unusual. Naturally all I spoke about to Abdul were the events of the day. I wanted his help. He must get me to the American Embassy. I expressed concern over my general purpose in coming to Ouagadougou: buying handmade items from Burkina Faso. I wanted to see the sights. Tomorrow was Friday, on Saturday, when Abdul was off work, he would take me to the SIAO art center and the zoo. I learned the SIAO art center was not open until the fall. This was not even the correct name which was given to me by Abdul.



Rose called the next morning. I spent my spare time looking for the American Embassy, in the Ouagadougou telephone book. The book was large; however, most entries appeared to have mostly to do with Burkina Faso and the governmentall the ministries. Rose told me to meet her downstairs. I was to watch for her car. She was in a hurry, for today she was working in her husband's office. What a convincing tale she told. I think she believed it. We were going to her house where she would feed me. She thought I must be very hungry. I told her I had brought food from home, so she would be unable to starve me quickly. She appeared not to understand my meaning. I watched as she drove and took more pictures. I even took pictures of her home and of Rose herself. She even posed for me. Her food was disgusting: some soup made of animal intestines and fish. She was cooking that yesterday. I declined, but accepted a large bottle of water. Her electricity had been repaired sufficiently for her television to work. She had a satellite dish. I was actually pleased to watch an English speaking movie from the Hallmark Channel. For nearly an hour, my mind was taken away from my troubles. Then, Rose received a telephone call from her husband. The bank was coming once more. Why? Not the goons from yesterday with the big box? She did not know who was coming, she told me. She thought I would get my money and the proper documents.



Soon, the identical scenario as yesterday was recreated before my eyes. The same three gangster types, but the box was not there. No, instead they brought in an old trunk. I saw no lock and I knew I could not be put into the trunk in one pieceseveral pieces maybe. What happened next I cannot explain; all I can do is tell what happened. Rose's husband came in. He spoke only in French to the three men. The large man held some papers. The barrister told me to please fill out the papers and sign all. The first paper was mostly in French, but I could understand it. I was to fill out my name, address, passport number, etc. The other forms were in English and had the name of banks on them. They were all different. I remember only one and that is HSBC, because I had seen the name at the Paris airport and knew the company had a mortgage company in the United States. I refused to sign any of these papers. I did not understand why I was to just sign my name. They had my travelers' checks yesterday and could have saved a few, if they wished to keep my signature on file. One of the smaller men, walked to the trunk, opened it up for the world to see the contents. Inside was filled with $100 dollar bills, wrapped in packages like money is wrapped with a band. Rose clearly appeared shaken. She was surprised. She was not faking. Rose immediately got down on the floor, started pawing the money, picking as many packs as possible up with her hands. She had a bunch of the money in her lap, when husband said some to her in French. Rose stood up, after replacing the money from the trunk, but not before taking an entire pack. She had placed it somewhere under the African dress she wore. It was the same blue dress as she had worn the day before. Barrister told me to look at the money. I did, but he wished me to actually go look into the box. There was dirty plastic wrap of some sort on top and in between some of the layers. I did look down fairly far to be sure the trunk was filled with money. It appeared to be real. In other words, there was not just money on top and the rest fake. I did not examine many packs, nor do I have any idea how much was in a pack. I was scared to death and was just barely aware what was going on. This was not reality, I said to myself. I could not believe what I was seeing. Someone asked for my passport. Many times I refused. I refused to do anything they wished. Someone was going too much trouble for some unknown reason and I was not going to cooperate. If I did not do as they asked, I knew they needed me for some reason. Never, except in the bank was I physically beaten. Rose did that. The men left with the truck. I wanted my money and my document. The barrister told me I would get my money and the document as soon as I did as they told: what that totally entailed, I did not know.



Sometime later, I can't remember exactly when, a woman came to the door. She was Rose's friend. I do not remember her name. Rose decided to go out to eat, since I refused to eat her home cooking. I did taste the soup juice; however, it was extremely spicy and was out of place and unacceptable in 100 degree heat. Rose grabbed my backpack; I kept my purse. I sat in the front seat where I was told to sit and Rose's friend took the back seat. We went to a restaurant. It was nice. I remember little, except that I did eat. What I ate, I don't remember. I do remember taking out one of my cameras to take a picture of this new lady. I do remember putting the camera back into its own bag and placing it back in the backpack. On the way back to the Hotel Iris Rose stopped at an electronics store where she took out the pack of $100 dollar bills from under her dress. She asked the man to change some of the money into CFA's. Rose also gave me one of the $100 dollar bills. I wrote down the name of the store from a bag, when I purchased the battery charger: ELECTROMENAGER, AVENUE PRINCESS YENNENGA, 01 BP 2090 Ouagadougouy, BF. The name of the store may have been Merveilles S.a.r.l. ( The paper I on which I wrote the name had been partially eaten by my dog, since arriving home. I attempted to tape the paper together.) I was told to go first as I needed to exchange some money. I did not mind taking this money, because Rose had swindled me out of more moneyless than a hundred dollars, but she owed me. When the bills passed through the man's machine, Rose let a sigh of relief out from under her breath. I heard her say to her friend, C'est verities or something sounding like it. I think the word is French for real. Rose exchanged her money without a hitch. I bought a battery charger for a camera, and a large vase, which was not allowed on the plane home. I gave the vase to a wonderful benefactor



By the time we were at the Hotel iris, I was barely able to stand. All I could do was make it up stairs to the room. I looked into the bag, saw the bag of the one camera I had used, and thought I feel too sick to charge batteries today. Suddenly I had the sharpest pain in my stomach, as if I were being stabbed, I felt. What did I eat? Perhaps it did not agree with me. I was still thinking. It was suggested to me, before leaving for Africa, that I pack some syrup of Ipecac. I had never used it, except for keeping the stuff at home, in case my kids ingested poison, when they were small. It was terrible stuff. The purpose was to make me be sicker. It did the trick. The next recollection was noise. Someone was attempting to break down or in my door. I listened and finally called out. If I let them in I do not remember. I do remember lying on the bed, flat on my back. I was staring into the faces of Rose and her husband. I wondered what time it was. The barrister told me it was nearly 8 o'clock in the morning and asked me indignantly, why I was still in bed. We were going to get my money and documents for exporting. Since I was not ready, and he was in a hurry, all will have to wait until Monday at 4 P.M. How convenient! Rose said nothing this time. They left.



I went back to sleep. What time it was when I woke up I did not know. I had no watch. I could use my cell phone to see the time, but I did not. I had no energy! I thought about charging the batteries so that I might continue to use my better camera. When I looked into the backpack I saw the individual bags. They were empty. Could this be? My recording device was also gone. I had the third binocular camera but the batteries were gone, rendering it useless and void of all pictures I had taken to this point. I began to really get angry---no mad, is the word now. All was coming together for me. Either someone stole my camera during the night or Rose took them. Immediately, I went downstairs to demand the police are called. I knew nothing would be done, but I could, at least, try. The hotel had refused to call anyone, anyone in authority. I was not quiet. I was loud. The hotel management indicated it was not impossible for the hotel to have stolen the cameras, because I had the only key. The man actually said in English, Call your friend. What friend? Abdul? No! The lady! Before I could even finish the discussion, as I was still demanding the police, Rose appeared walking in through the glass doors of the Hotel Iris. In each hand she carried a cameramy cameras. Rose said as casually as she could, Oh you dropped these out of your bag last night. No she had stolen them. I learned, as I had suspected, she had deleted all the pictures. She brought the cameras back because she would rather return the cameras than have the police arrive. If they had fallen out of the bags within the backpack, which did not happen, she would have returned them when she had been there to break down the door early that morning. I took the cameras; there was no recording device, and returned to the room. I put the batteries to charge. Suddenly, everything came to me. Not only were my cameras stolen, they tried to kill me. I was certain that is why they were breaking down the door. Most likely, this evil duo expected to find a corpse. Still angrier, I went downstairs with my telephone Abdul had given me. I began demanding answers to my questions. Not everyone at this establishment was in on this. The young man behind the desk put his finger to his mouth and pointed toward the door to the restaurant. At first I did not get his meaning. I went to look through the tiny window to the restaurant. What I saw inside shocked me, even though I was not surprised. I was shocked because I knew I was in terrible danger. Rose was seated at a table talking with the manager of the hotel and restaurant. Was I pleased I had not eaten there often and what little I did eat would have been impossible to poison. No longer did I take even one bite of the food prepared in that kitchen. How do I escape? I went outside to look around. Someone from the hotel staff told me to return to my room. I asked again how to use the telephone. No takers to tell me. Later that evening a nice young man from Benin knocked on my door. He spoke no English, but conveyed to me he was a friend who wished to help me with the telephone. I had seen him that day and I know he had nothing to do with Rose. In fact, he was one of the individuals Rose wished for me to avoid. I opened the door to let the young man in. I needed help and I had to trust someone. He knew of my distress. He explained to me how to unlock the phonea very simple function, but one I would have never guessed. He went out to buy me something to eat and some telephone minutes, so that I might make calls, and secured a telephone charger from somewhere. He told me to return it to him the next morning. He wrote his name on a piece of paper. My first call was to Abdul at the number he had given me. No answer. I called the number I had always called to reach Abdul. Now, someone stating he was Abdul's half-brother, answered the phone, was polite, but told me never to call him again. I sat up all night looking for the telephone number of the American Embassy, for the only one given to me by the hotel, turned out to be a fax number. Abdul called to tell me he was in Ghana, waiting for his little girl to have an operation. I was angry. He sent me a text message designed to make me feel as if I were the evil doer. One would need to see the Ouagadougou telephone book, to truly understand how confusing it is. The book is not arranged in the same manner as a phone book of an American city. Most information concerned the government. In fact the telephone book WAS government advertising.



Sunday was the longest day of my life. I was waiting to be able to contact the American Embassy. I was not permitted out of the hotel, except to stand in sight of the front door. I took pictures. I hated myself for coming to this terrible place. I hated Burkina Faso. On Monday, the first thing I did was call every number in the book, which had anything to do with the United States Embassy. After six or seven calls I finally reached a person with whom I could easily communicate. I explained someone had told me if I dialed a Burkina Faso number beginning with 70 the charge would be far greater. All the calls to the Embassy began with 70. I explained this to the person who answered the telephone. Her name was SANFO ( not real name) and I knew I had reached an angel. She gave me the number for the third ambassador. I think she told me to wait a bit before calling him. Before the time to wait had passed, my phone rang and Mr. Ambassador was the caller. I attempted to explain the situation to him, as best I could. Mr. Ambassador said he would arrive at the hotel to pick me up to take me to the Embassy. I would be permitted to call home and to call American Express. After explaining all it was decided I would be safer in another hotel. I told him my door was strong enough to keep Rose and the barrister out on Saturday. It was Monday and at 4 P.M., this barrister was to call me. I thought I could locate the house where Rose had taken me. Mr. Ambassador and thge Embassy security man, and I drove around that part of Ouagadougou, looking for Rose's house. I also learned from the Embassy I had been dealing with Nigerians, the scourge upon the people of Burkina Faso. I though we had not traveled far enough down a particular street. 4 P.M. had passed and no call came from the barrister. It was time to quit when the telephone rang. The barrister. He inquired where I was and what I was doing. I explained I could not wait for him; I had come to see the sites and to buy art. I told him I was in a taxi. Embassy security became the taxi driver. He spoke to the barrister as he wished to know where we were. Embassy security told him. I took the phone to demand to see him. The barrister told me to return to the hotel to wait for his call. I refused. I told him I was coming to see him. For a second, I think he was buying what I was saying. This barrister suddenly changed. If we went to him, the police would have been there also. The barrister told me he would contact me in 90 days, at which time, if I complied with his requests, I would have my money returned. He then hung up. That is the last time I know I have received a call from him. Mr. Ambassador took me back to the Hotel Iris. He wished to put me in another hotel. I knew I had not enough money to pay high hotel prices. On Tuesday, Mr. Ambassador explained in no uncertain terms, he knew I was in danger. He also told me the new hotel would take charge cards, something I had never seen during my stay in Ouagadougou. I agreed to change hotels. The transfer was done quickly and with no delay. What a fantastic place was the Hotel Independence, and the cost was only a few dollars more than what the Iris was charging me. That was a rip off, too.



I explained to Mr. Ambassador and to his assistant, I wished to extend my stay, if Air France would allow it, to file a police report with the Ouagadougou police. I really wished to have the criminals caught and punished. I was told, if even one was caught, the police would be able to extract all names and where they could be found. By this time, I had totally realized the Burkinabe were, indeed, truly wonderful people. What I had read was true. Never, would anyone wish to visit Burkina Faso, if no one came forth with the facts.



Air France extended my flight home to the following Saturday. It was originally scheduled on Wednesday. No flights leave Ouagadougou on Thursday. Friday was filled. The soonest flight was Saturday. With an official stamp from the police, taken by hand to the Air France office, the extension was granted.



In the meantime, Mr. Ambassador had spoken to someone in the Embassy. Apparently, the United States Embassy used the identical bank as the criminals. Naturally, they were concerned with my allegations. Mr. Ambassador confronted the bank officials. At first there story was different on two points only: 1) the manager did not admit she left the office while I wrote down the numbers for her. 2) They insisted the bank employee gave me the money.



Mr. Ambassador told me he could not make me go to the bank, but thought going was a good idea. I did not wish to enter that bank againever. Mr. Ambassador thought about the situation. He decided the bank need to come to the Embassy. Mr. Ambassador told me he could not compel me to be at that meeting; however, nothing would have kept me away. The main director of the bank would also be present. I went to the meeting. The first one to speak on behalf of the bank was the director. He told Mr. Ambassador, he was told the bank employee gave me the money, which I immediately put into a money belt which I have around my waist. I almost laughed, but did not. First of all, the pile of bills was so high; one could never stuff so many bills into such a belt. Secondly, I had been keeping my passport and money in a neck pouch, of which all were aware in the Embassy and even less money, could have been put into this pouch. The Director of ECO BANK had been caught in an obvious lie. Now that he was caught he proceeded to play politicsoffering much B.S. about how the bank always follows procedure. It got to the point the money was given to the translator who was with me, because money is given to the translator in such circumstances ( like theft). I pointed out to the director, I had been to another bank to cash a few travelers' checks the day before. I took a translator with me. Same circumstance. The exchanged money was given to me and not my translator. The director made some remark which meant what can I say. Palms up as in defeat!



In addition, the woman who was the manager, and whose name I had remembered,was sitting across my me. I faced my criminals. Mr. Director attempted to defend her actions. I had said everything pointed to the fact both Miriam and Rose were acquainted. He could not accept that Rose knew her well. He suggested it was only recognition to a prior bank customer. I asked him why a bank manager would leave two strangers in her office for nearly half an hour. That is not bank practice in any part of the world. The director was not insisting she had remained in the office and he caved in on the recognition issue apparently with me present. Mr. Ambassador thanked me for attending. He explained his bosses were very interested in the events during this meeting. The meeting with the bank was on Friday, before leaving on Saturday.



I believe it was Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Ambassaqdor's assistant from the Embassy, took me to the Ouagadougou police department. Initially, we spoke to the Commissioner of police, himself. We would have been with him for days on end, for the Commissioner spoke no English. Everything needed to be translated. His name is Commissioner C. Belea Amade, with an accent on the e. His telephone number is 226-70-26-55-95. (These nbames are accurate.) Eventually, we started over with the Assistant Commissioner, Kabre Maimiuna. Her telephone number is 226-70-26-83-94.( real name and telephone number) We were with her for at least three hours. This extremely beautiful police woman was very interested in every detail of the statement I gave. I had also written out a very short handwritten statement, which I understand from an E-mail I received last week from Mr. Ambassador, the Ouagadougou police department is in the process of translating.( Since writing this the report has been translated and returned to the American Embassy.)



Other things happened which I have omitted from this chronicle. I have tried to be detailed, but have also attempted to leave out unnecessary details. Since returning to the U.S.A., I am even more certain I had been given some sort of poison. From my skin, I have been oozing orange colored fluid. The first day I entered the American Embassy in Ouagadougou, it was necessary for me to wear long socks on my arms, for, even at that time, I was covered with boils on my arms, legs, and torso. The one boil I had on my face was nearly gone. I wore long pants to cover my legs. These boils did not appear until the day after Rose took me out to eat with her friend. Ever since that Saturday, they have decreased in intensity until they were completely gone on my flight home to Indianapolis. I did call my doctor last week; however, I was informed he was out of town. I was in no apparent danger, but I do have an appointment to see him in a couple weeks. By that time, I am positive all traces of whatever I ingested will be eliminated. The more water I drink, the faster it has cleared.



NOTE: Yesterday, I saw my personal physician. What a waste. He does not even believe I went to Burkina Faso. He did not even know where OUAGADOUGOU, is! So much for him.



The following was written for American Express Claims by this very stupid and ignorant lady. One had to actually be killed for anyone to believe something bad happened. What a shame:



I am unable to think of anything else or any information you may need. If you are to need a copy of the police report, Mr. Ambassador has indicated one will be available. I am positive the report will be written in French. I wish to stress the Burkinabe are wonderful, friendly people. I have been told by the Ouagadougou police and the U.S. Embassy, they believe my good friend, Abdul Musa, is the head of this ring of crooks or terrorists. Logic tells me he conveniently disappeared. There were ONLY two possibilities which could have initiated Rose's visit to me. Abdul knew I was going to export some Burkina Faso art from the country. The ONLY other potential for discovering my purpose of visit was the hotel, where our conversation may have been overheard. Since I have not received an E-mail from Abdul, since my return, I suspect he is the culprit. I was asked to write down my purpose for entering the country for the police, as soon as my plane landed and before I was allowed to do anything. I toyed with the idea of writing business or buying, but believe I discarded that notion as an invitation to disaster. I did not know who had access to such a paper. There are crooks on every police department.



If I have omitted any documents you requested, please let me know. I hope all the original slips which came in the travelers' checks are present. I know I was desperate to hide them and stuffed them many places.







I might add while I was at the Independence Hotel, very strangely, at about 7:00 A.M. someone came to my room and kicked and pounded very hardhard enough to loosen the door from one of the dead bolts. At that time, I tried to call the front desk. My hotel phone would not work and it had worked the night before. I looked around the room for the paper with all hotel phone numbers printed on it. There was no paper to be found. Later that nightreally the next morning at 2:00 A.M. a strange call came on my cell phone. The conversation was not in French. Also, Abdul's brother called me to threaten me to not say anything bad against his family name. Also that night I received a very peculiar phone call from an unknown number. The call was to the loaner phone given to me by Abdul. No one spoke to me. I heard several voices talking in a foreign language, which was not French. I could make out but two words...not spoken together: "million and dollars."



Since being home, I have been getting calls from Nigeria and from a fake bank. The Nigerian calls stopped and the fake bank calls began at the same time. I also just received an E-mail from someone in the UK, asking me to cash checks for their ethnic fabric company. I was to put the checks into an American account. Then I was to send them the money after taking out my fee. I forwarded that E-mail on to the State Department and the DOJ. These people asked for my passport number and picture. Not all Americans have a passport and not all Americans are as interested in ethnic fabric as am I. I suppose they were going to make their own passport. As it turned out, none of the terrorists in Ouagadougou, were able to retain a copy of my passport. The Director had the copy made in his bank. The cash money I saw was real or a super good counterfeit. I could swear I heard someone say, in all of this, the words "La Core du Nord" which I think, with my bit of French means "NORTH KOREA". Perhaps they were trying to find a way to get fake dollars into the US. If they were successful, in their attempts to scam me, I have no doubt I would have been killed. The man from Radford, Virginia is correct. What he writes is true. I was only guilty of being backed into a corner and was forced to make a quick choice. If I had not allowed Rose in on that Thursday morning, nothing would assure me these people would have left me alone. I was their MARK. They are clever. Using their talents and ingenious methods, surely I would have succumb to some plot sooner or later, in my desperate attempot to get out of the hotel room and go about my intended business. Remember, the hotel was part of the plan. Only God knows. By the way, the Embassy kept the "loaner" cellphone given to me by Abdul.



Hopefully, all questions are answered. If not, post a question. I will try to respond to the best of my ability. I understand better now this website. As soon as I recharge my batteries, I plan to download my pictures to my computer. I will select a few to post on this website. I just, as I write this, received a text messge to my cell phone from 01122997602377. All the message said was "OK." I do not know the number; however, if 226 is the country code for Burkina Faso, 229 has to also, be in Africa. I shall look it up. This is real. I am NOT crackbrained, maniacal, crackers, loony, loose-a-screw, beserk, demented, derranged, or touched...or as my dad would say. "teched." This proves truth can be decidedly, "stranger than fiction."
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#26 Consumer Comment

Ummm...

AUTHOR: C - (U.S.A.)

Claudia,



You failed to mention WHY you were there in the first place. I, personally, would think this is important.
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#27 Consumer Comment

I'm glad I'm not the only one who read the ORIGINAL post

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

"HOTEL IRIS was complicit in a plot to capture me, hold me hostage, and finally murder me. Nigerian terrorists Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Aferica" ORIGINALLY said "HOTEL IRIS was complicit in a plot to capture me, hold me hostage, and finally murder me. Nigerian terrorists Ouagadougou Afghanistan, Aferica".



I made note of the fact that the city in question is the Capital of Burkina Faso.



Thank you Sherri, for verifying I am not completely nuts...yet.
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#28 Consumer Suggestion

State Department warning...

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

Burkina Faso is indeed a real country in western Africa, near Nigeria. The Nigerian scam is truly global in it's reach, though much of the in-person activity is conducted in Nigeria or nearby countries. They may like a place where English is not spoken as it makes it harder for the victim to ask for help from the locals.



From the U.S. State Department's "consular information sheet" on Burkina Faso is this warning:



"Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including Americans. While such fraud schemes in the past have been associated with Nigeria, they are now prevalent throughout West Africa, including Burkina Faso. The scams pose a danger of both financial loss and physical harm. The business scam may appear to be a legitimate business deal, often requiring advance payments on contracts....



It then goes on for 3 more paragraphs describing typical examples of the "Nigerian-style financial scam" Note the sentence about "danger of both financial loss and physical harm." It is well known that victims who meet the scammers in person are likely to be kidnapped and/or extorted for money with threats of death. In one or two documented cases the victim called their bluff on the threats and found out they were not bluffing.



I don't know if the poison theory is true because usually it would be easier to just take the victim out into the countryside and off them there. But overall Claudia's report is typical of what to expect if you travel to meet Nigerian (or Nigerian-style) scammers in person.
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#29 Consumer Comment

ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

AUTHOR: Sherri - (U.S.A.)

It originally DID say Afghanistan, as I saw the exact same thing Robert saw. I wasn't aware that original reports could be edited, but I guess that they can.



Things do happen sometimes overseas, but this story is way out there. Believe me, if her "captors" wanted her dead, it wouldn't have been the long, drawn out process that she dramatizes.
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#30 Consumer Comment

ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

AUTHOR: Sherri - (U.S.A.)

It originally DID say Afghanistan, as I saw the exact same thing Robert saw. I wasn't aware that original reports could be edited, but I guess that they can.



Things do happen sometimes overseas, but this story is way out there. Believe me, if her "captors" wanted her dead, it wouldn't have been the long, drawn out process that she dramatizes.
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#31 Consumer Comment

ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

AUTHOR: Sherri - (U.S.A.)

It originally DID say Afghanistan, as I saw the exact same thing Robert saw. I wasn't aware that original reports could be edited, but I guess that they can.



Things do happen sometimes overseas, but this story is way out there. Believe me, if her "captors" wanted her dead, it wouldn't have been the long, drawn out process that she dramatizes.
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#32 Consumer Comment

ROBERT ISN'T GOING BLIND...

AUTHOR: Sherri - (U.S.A.)

It originally DID say Afghanistan, as I saw the exact same thing Robert saw. I wasn't aware that original reports could be edited, but I guess that they can.



Things do happen sometimes overseas, but this story is way out there. Believe me, if her "captors" wanted her dead, it wouldn't have been the long, drawn out process that she dramatizes.
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#33 Consumer Comment

Read it again, Robert

AUTHOR: Kiley - (U.S.A.)

First of all, I have no idea whether this truly happened to Claudia. I wasn't there. If it did, I am very sorry for her experience. My comment is for Robert. He states that Claudia does not know her geography. Wrong!



Nowhere in her report does Claudia state that Ouagadougou is in Afghanistan. That was actually submitted by Aafes from Europe. I think Claudia makes it clear that she knows Ouagadougou is in Burkina Faso, Africa. First of all, look at the title. It clearly says Africa (even though it is spelled wrong). That's okay. Everyone makes mistakes. I know it does NOT say Afghanistan.



Secondly, she refers to the fact that everything was written in French. That is the major language in Burkina Faso. I don't know what they speak in Afghanistan, but I don't believe it is French. She then ends by referring to the citizens of Burkina Faso as "the burkinabe," which is what they are called. My boyfriend is from Ouagadougou. A fine example of the burkinabe!



Well, I just wanted to clear that up. I see so many people on this site getting slammed because consumers do not pay attention to the original report. It seems the original poster gets blamed for what other people write. A little advice to people like Robert. Read the report of the original poster thoroughly before you degrade them!



Thanks for letting me speak my thoughts!
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#34 Consumer Comment

The insanity continues

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Ouagadougou is NOT in Afghanistan, nor is it anywhere near that country. It is the capital city of Burkina Faso, in Africa.



This post is just nonsense all the way through. I suspect Claudia doesn't know her Geography, she also doesn't know some of us do. Nice try Claudia, but to make this story sound more realistic, try getting at least one fact right next time. You should always have the city/country correct.



I give it a 2. It made for a wonderful 2 minutes reading before being completely dismissed as phony.
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#35 Consumer Comment

Before the slammers begin

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

Before the slammers begin to tear your post apart, I for one believe you. I am happy you are now safe.



From the State Department:



"The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. There is an ongoing threat to kidnap and assassinate U.S. citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country. The ability of Afghan authorities to maintain order and ensure the security of citizens and visitors is limited. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the terrorist al-Qaida network, and other groups hostile to the government, remain active. U.S.-led military operations continue. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, is unsafe due to military operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry among political and tribal groups, and the possibility of terrorist attacks, including attacks using vehicular or other Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and kidnapping. The security environment remains volatile and unpredictable."



I don't know the reason for your trip. But for the most part, I wouldn't go there for a free trip and monetary compensation.
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