Yep, that's right, we are engaged.
We were in Burkina Faso, in the Sahel region (it borders the Sahara desert) in a village called Oursi. After sleeping out under the stars on a large sand dune with only our mosquito nets and a mat to sleep on, we woke up at 5:30 am to watch the sunrise.
The sun came up and Karin was furiously taking pictures of practically everything as I was down on one knee on the top of the sand dune, patiently waiting for her to turn around. About twenty minutes later, she turned around (ok, it was probably thirty seconds, but it felt like a while).
When she turned, she said 'really'? 'really'? I said, 'Karin Alexandra'... and she again said 'really'? 'really'?
I said 'Karin, why don't you just come over here.' Then finally she came over and I proposed. She said yes, and we sat and watched the rest of the sunrise alone for another hour or so.
Telling people our good news has been a bit more difficult. Our phone was broken and there was no internet for miles. Eventually we borrowed someones phone and called our parents. Several days later, we got to an internet and could email a few people. But we are still trying to tell our friends and family!
A friend of ours told us to be prepared to answer the same questions about the wedding for the next 30,000 conversations. So, I'll preempt at least a couple of those by saying that we don't have a place or date yet, and wont until September at least!
And now for Karin's take on things...
We were up in Oursi, a village in northern Burkina, north of Gorom Gorom- a city famous in West Africa for a colorful market- colorful because people come in on camels and donkeys from Mali, Niger and surrounding villages in the desert, all dressed in their colorful clothes and head coverings. Oursi also has a very colorful market that draws those same venders and shoppers.
Our last night in Oursi, we slept out on the sand dunes. Now, these sand dunes dont really compare to the sahara, but they are the biggest dunes in Burkina and close to the border with Mali, so very much the sahel, hot and dry, and ever so sandy. We had a mat and a couple of sheets as our mattress, and had a mosquito net held up by 4 sticks dug into the ground. Luckily it wasnt too windy that night, and so the mosquito net stayed up most of the night.
We slept relatively well, and woke up with the sunrise at 5.30 am, and watched it from there a bit, and then walked up to the top of the biggest dune, and watched as the sun slowly rose.
I was taking photos, quite distracted. And when I turned around Ray was down on one knee... all I remember sayin was 'really, really, reallly!' He was like Karin just come over here... he proposed, and I accepted. The ring is a basic handcrafted silver ring that he bought in Togo at an artisanal store (I can now pinpoint the time he must have bought it).
We spent the rest of the day at the Oursi market and then on transport back to a place with running water, electricity, and internet...