Thursday, March 05, 2009

Looking back: Cote d'Ivoire

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire 2002

We moved to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in October 2000. It was less than a year after a coup d'etat. Political unrest was evident, but life was pretty good there. There was electricity nearly 24/7, running water, and delivery pizza! We lived about 200 ft. from the ocean, well, the smelly lagoon, really. We operated the regional guesthouse for West Africa. While we had some definite hardships (armed robbers with machine guns), we desparately miss Abidjan. We left for furlough (STAS) in August 2002 and a civil war began in September. We felt a release from our position, so we started looking elsewhere. We were disappointed the leadership at that time wouldn't work with us to stay in West Africa, but God provided a new opportunity on a new continent.

Some of my favorite things that I miss about the Ivory Coast are:
  1. Chez Abou's Lebanese restaurant! There are many, many nights that "Chez Abou's" is the answer to the question, "what do you want for supper?"
  2. The warm French croissants were to die for.
  3. Grand Bassam beach is only about 45 minutes away. The Grand Bassamoise Hotel had the perfect pool.
  4. Portifino Pizza. Hussein thought my name was Charlie. When I ordered pizza for delivery, I simply told them "chez Americaine" (the American's house)]
  5. The rain forest was just outside Abidjan, to the North. The trees were as big as houses.
  6. I knew all the guys at Hamburger House. And all the guys knew me, too!
  7. Ivory Coast has termite mounds as big as buildings. They are HUGE!
  8. Some of the sweetest, best tasting fresh pineapple is to be had in Cote d'Ivoire.
  9. We had some of the prettiest little Rain Lillies that bloomed right at the start of rainy season.
  10. Most of all, from all the places in West Africa, I miss the people. I miss Amadou, Ibrahim, Lamine, Abdou, the waiters at Snack Almadies, Rudy and the rest of the teachers at the Baobab Center, Samuel, Pascal, Seraphim, Selah, Santos, Mamadou, and perhaps, most of all, Adja. She and her husband named their firstborn after me.
Many evenings around our table, we talk about Africa. My younger was born there. West Africa has changed us forever. We still aren't "over" it. It was hard. It was fun. It was beautiful. We learned so much about God and about ourselves. We miss Africa.

Emily and Audrey with the Rain Lillies.


Anonymous said...

Those girls are precious. The flowers, beautiful. I can tell a piece of your heart is RIGHT THERE in that spot.

Tim Tillinghast said...

Come on back anytime, Rick! For a visit or to stay!