Had a very tough time since arriving in Abengourou on 23rd December.
Wonderful trip from Abidjan to Abengourou; courtesy of one of the elders from the Cour Royale. He remembered me and found me a little bewildered in Adjame at 7am waiting for a 12pm bus, that was due to have departed at 7.30am! His clean, air-conditioned, 4 wheel drive vehicle made the dusty journey very easy; particularly with a breakfast stop in Adzope! Lovely warm welcome back to Abengourou from many people including friends and many police officers!
On arrival back at the centre, the day turned sour. News concerning an important local person hadn't been passed onto the team in France and I found that we had been put in a very difficult predicament. Added to which our Coordinator had already created a long list of problems that needed to be dealt with. Within an hour of arrival I told him to take the festive season as leave and asked for him to return on 2nd January.
During the day it became apparent all our documents were missing including the legal ones concerning the children in our care. After sending a message it was clear that a game was being played, one that could cause a multitude of problems for the future.
To cut a long and difficult story short, I found myself asking the Prosecutor for help prior to the new year. Christmas was a sombre affair, my mind going through the endless lies that had been woven, the divisions that had been created and worst of all, discovering that my room had been used as a 'chambre de passage' in my absence whilst children were in the centre!
The beginning of 2016 rang loud and clear, I was back at the Prosecutor's for his first day at work. Asked to return at 16h I discovered our Coordinator had filed a legal case against me personally. The Prosecutor wasn't in the mood to listen to another woven web of lies and asked for my complaints. I left his office feeling renewed and hopeful that the end had come but I had more to deal with the following day; email account password changed, paperwork still not returned and our Coordinator on a very slippery slope to trouble after yet another phone call to the Prosecutor!
Since 7th January, life is almost back to normal. My general opinion of people here in Côte D'Ivoire remains unchanged, there are good and bad in all societies. The Coordinator is unemployed and gaining a terrible reputation locally, but most of it I can put to one side.
The evening of 7th January, our neighbour Paul who is also a taxi driver had visitors at midnight intent on stealing a motorbike. He called the police and locked himself inside with his wife and small child, the visitors had a Kalashnikov and pistol between them ... They left & were not found by the police, so still at large. Paul is blaming FRCI and the arms that are still circulating in the country post the 2010-2011 crisis! On a positive note, had they had bullets they probably would have fired, so we hope they don't obtain any!!!
Life goes on, all will be well!