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Cote D'Ivoire, Auvoire!


For those who are thinking of moving to Africa, Cote D’Ivoire is not a bad choice. The country was under attack no more than 6 years ago as France imposed its political will on the country in 2011. Considering that Cote D’ivoire was engulfed in a major war with the French and most of the infrastructure destroyed, the country has made a lot progress in rebuilding itself. The development is occurring slowly and mainly in the capital Abidjan. The sad part is the development is occurring around those living in poverty with little to no concern about meeting the needs of those living there. The major concern for many Ivorians is the need to avoid more conflict over the next couple of years while they try to rebuild. Through ventures with Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, France, and other nations, major projects such as revamping the waterfront lagoon, building a university, and numerous real estate ventures are taking place. Hopefully, the country will also focus on building in other areas of the country as well.


Getting a history lesson on Cote D'Ivoire 

Being in the Ivory Coast was hard due to the French language barrier. Nevertheless, we were not prevented from moving and shaking like we normally do. Over the past three weeks, we have picked up enough French to get by or at least act like we knew what people were talking about. Although the weeks flew by, the stay was a very enjoyable one to say the least. The neighborhood we stayed was centrally located and close to a lot of amenities. Whether it was going over to the local open air restaurant for some delicious pepper soup, going to the pastry shops for fresh baked breads, or chatting with guys at the stands for phone credits, we didn't have to leave the neighborhood for much. 

We spent most of our time in the capital city, Abidjan. Yet, we managed to make our way around the country quite a bit with the help of our Ivorians friends. We traveled to the second most populated city in the nation, Yamoussoukro, and another city near the Ghana border called Assinie. Abidjan is a very busy, fast paced city, and much more industrial. It is considered the business capital of the country. Yamoussoukro is much slower with a mix of small city and village life. The city is the political capital of the country. It may be a better choice for someone looking for lush green fields, tranquil surroundings, and an easy environment to get around in. Whereas, Assinie is a beach front city for all the beach bums out there. This place almost reminds you of South Beach in Miami with beach resorts, nightclubs, and beautiful homes along the beach and lagoon. No matter where we traveled to in Cote D’ivoire, it was relatively clean as a whistle and well kept. However, to get to the beautiful views, we had to pass through the dilapidated villages which sit right behind these resorts. Travel around enough and you start to see a pattern of an extremely nice areas surrounded by the poverty that most people live in. This is the hardest part about traveling Africa. With time we believe this will change but it will take all hands on deck to do so. 



Coucoue Lodge and Restaurant Assinie
Ivorians are extremely nice, hospitable, and patient people. Except of course when they are driving (it’s seriously bad here) and if you are not paying attention they will cut you off in a heartbeat and cause an accident in the process. Ivorians really embrace families and children quickly. No matter where we went Dj was everyone’s child! There were always kids around for DJ to play with and learn French from. Of course, having a society where kids are not an afterthought, is very important to us. Thus, this was a check mark on the “we could live here list!”

Dj and his friend enjoying pool time in Yamoussoukro. 
On many occasions, we were welcomed into the homes or businesses of various Ivorians to either break bread or have thought provoking discussions. One conversation led to the adamant request for Africans born in America and other diasporians to return home to bring our love and our knowledge/skills. Ivorians seriously desire us to come back and work closely with them to not only to improve the nation, but to possibly take control of it. During the conversation, we couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion. To think that in America, we felt like caged birds never able to fly the way we wanted too. However, now that we have had the chance travel a bit and do things on our own terms, we have more of a sense of freedom. There are opportunities at our disposal but natives feel very limited in what they can accomplish in comparison to us. It’s a bit heartbreaking, but our reasoning for returning home is to encourage, be educated, and educate our African brothers and sisters. We must work along them create solutions to some of the issues they want to see change.

While in Yamoussoukro, we got a chance to meet with the Dean at the Institute National Polytechnique (the largest university in the country), to discuss the technological advances the school is making in developing biodegradable plastics. Creating such a plastic would go a long way in helping many African nations solve the problem of waste from plastics. The Dean insisted that we add this information to one of our blogs to show everyone that they are working to solve problems here in the country and on the continent. The sad thing is that he stated, “I bet Americans don’t even think we have universities, much less the ability to create these types of materials.” We spoke to another brother about the opportunities to help develop jobs or provide training in a vocational trade (i.e. Electrician, Plumber, constructions method.) He also talked about starting a council to educate continental Africans (mainly the students) about the plight of Africans from America while educating us about their struggles here on the continent. So much to be done, but not enough people willing to join the fight.


Our Bnb in Abidjan
Our time in Cote D’Ivoire came to an end yesterday as we made our way to Dakar, Senegal. Our journey, although not filled with thrilling and breathtaking tourist attractions, has truly been one about mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Our knowledge on Cote D’Ivoire, its history, and its people was very limited prior to arriving. We left more informed, having established valuable relationships, precious memories, and an overall positive mindset about the country. We advise anyone considering the move to Africa to visit this country. If you don’t plan on moving to Africa, definitely put Ivory Coast on your visit list. There’s a lot to be learned from Ivorians about their culture, their struggles here, and the works they are doing to make the country better. Don’t let what you hear discourage you. Until next….

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2 comments:

  1. So loving your blogs and hearing your perspective of living abroad with a family! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very Well Said Myra. I think you should put together a travel guide. Safe travels

    ReplyDelete

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