Yesterday I had a great conversation with Séké over foufou and sauce d’arachide and Youki Moka, I asked him whether he feared a third civil war in this nation. He first proceeded to explain the extent of the war when he was living in Abidjan in 2011 “pendant que quelques gens se battaient, dans l’autre côté de la ville, ils étaient en train de fêter.” Meaning that while some were fighting, others were partying, highlighting the limited nature of the war in this nation. He assured me that he saw no chance in war returning, noting the ongoing construction, notably a few new highway routes meant to improve traffic, as proof that the country was progressing in the right direction.
He continued, “ils ont commencé la guerre pour voler, tu ne vas rien voir les businessmen qui préfèrent prendre armes, ils sont trop occupés! Et quand les voleurs ont finis de voler, ils vont arrêter la guerre parce que il faut vendre tous qu’ils on volé.” He impressed upon me the idea that war and poverty are inextricably linked, and that when the proponents of war had finished stealing everything they wanted, they needed to stop the war in order to ensure that they could sell their loot. He remarked that business people, or employed people in general, are significantly less likely to take up arms as their duties to maintain business had greater incentives.
I want to know more about the civil war that took place in 2011, largely affecting civilians and protestors rather than security figures, as I learn more I will share… Today I am looking forward to confirming my placement as an educator in a local school, I will update as much as possible!
I’ve been in Abidjan for a little while now, but I finally got a good internet connection at my brother-in-law’s office in Treichville. His name is Séké and he is the director of Royal Inspection International Africa, serving in Abidjan but also Takoradi and Tema, Ghana; Douala, Cameroon and Owendo, Gabon! He’s a busy guy who travels a lot, so we are really grateful that he has agreed to help SUAT complete our mission here in Côte D’Ivoire: to learn more about the realities of trafficking in this nation and develop tangible solutions based on the input of students and youth from the community.
Abidjan is a bustling city, full of life at all hours–and I do mean all hours. Due to the Ramadan season, and also the fact that we live near several mosques, my sleep has been pierced into promptly at 4 am, 5:30 am, and 7:00am due to calls to eat before sunrise and subsequent prayer times. After the imam finished, the rest of my attempts at sleeping were effectively neutralized by roosters and chickens who were determined to wake the city up. They also walk around the streets sometimes, but mostly in the slums across the bridge from downtown.
We live on the 4th floor of a neat little two bedroom apartment, and we take the stairs each time. The most interesting thing about Abidjan is the driving situation… There are actually ramps to help cars cross the sidewalk and get on the opposite street. Yes, cars drive on the sidewalk here sometimes, motorcycles are especially shameless for this. But don’t think the pedestrians are upset about their limited walking space, they have no problem walking through the main roads, especially when there’s lots of traffic. The president of France, François Hollande is visiting here soon, he’s picture side by side with the Ivorian president Allasane Ouattara on ads all across the city. People are also erecting the two flags side by side on the bridge leasing from the airport to downtown. It’s an interesting display of affection for a formerly colonizer nation, but hopefully all in good spirit. Today for lunch we had “foufou et sauce d’arachide” which is mashed plantain puffs and peanut sauce, very delicious!
I will add more photos later!! ❤ Sesa