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Cote d'Ivoire Travelogue
Cote d'Ivoire - visited in January 2006
We travel from Bamako (Mali) to Abidjan by flight because of the tense security situation in Cote d'Ivoire. It is our first flight since we left Séguéla... what a contrast with the travels by bush-taxi!
The arrival at Abidjan airport is a quite brutal: the customs-officers aren't that nice and literally remind us that the country is at war, and ask us why on earth are we visiting their country?
We are gently welcomed by Ali, at whose place we stay for a couple of days. We profit from his knowledge to understand, or at least try to learn a bit more on the Ivorian conflict... indeed the information received from western medias is as usual very poor and bad.
The school we are working with is located in Anyama, a district outside Abidjan. It is a very nice primary school, and which kids are very lively and communicative! We arrive around 8 in the morning, just at the beginning of the traditional Monday flag ceremony.
The whole school gathers in the schoolyard, and a small group of children sings the national anthem while a privileged pupil has the heavy duty of hoisting the flag at the same rhythm and pace as the national anthem. It is quite funny to see the variations in hoisting the flag, as the kid realizes he is going too fast or too slow compared to the anthem!
Our class has about 40 children (which is globally a small under African public schools standards!). We divide it in two groups: the first one goes outside with Anthony for the photography session, while I work inside on the drawings and poetry with the others. As soon as they finish their work, we interchange and I go out with my group of students... they reveal themselves as wild as lions in front of the objective!!! ... just check the second picture on our gallery (the only picture in colours) to get an idea of their enthusiasm with the pictures! Even though the photographic activity is always the most successful, it is the first time I witness such an enthusiasm and fever for photographs!
The kids are so happy that they don't want us to leave anymore! They are really cute.
The pictures we take of them are among the best ones, and our online gallery for Cote dÂ´Ivoire is also one of our favourites.
Before heading to Ghana, we allow ourselves a day off on Sunday, and choose to visit Grand Bassam, the former colonial capital of the country. It is nowadays a very nice bathing city, still hosting beautiful colonial houses.
We have lunch at a Vietnamese Maquis (Maquis is the local name given to small restaurants and bars). It is a very small and humble place, but whose cook soooo talented! The cuisine is as refined as in Vietnam... Since the cook seems to be from Cote d'Ivoire, I wonder where he has learnt to cook such a genuine Vietnamese cuisine!
I get an answer as I head to the toilets, and see through a wide open door an old Asiatic woman watching TV, sitting on a chair next to her husband (I presume), lying on a bed and watching TV. The vision of this couple, resting in the quietness of the city, and of the life warms my heart. The two of them, are so cute!