Monday, December 29, 2008

Where's Dani???

Didn't sleep much the first night then at about 5.30 there was a torrential downpour, Grand Bassam was looking very wet + bedraggled but the sun came up and I had my morning coffee at a place that I swear makes better coffee than Starbucks; hygiene isnt quite to the same standards its a shack on the corner of the street just down the road from the internet cafe.

Saturday having sent the first of the mass e-mails; my phone didnt stop ringing ... I left the internet cafe + headed up the road to catch up with my airport pickup who said to me - I remember you were here last year but with your daughter - I explained about my goddaughter and he wondered what she'd done wrong to be left behind this time!

I then met up with some new friends who I'd been communicating with for a while. We went off to see their farm, very impressive, they have had to start from scratch having previously lived in Guinea until the strikes kicked off in January. They used to live outside a large town in Guinea + her husband was sure he saw me there just before the riots started when I managed to get out in time - whilst they lost everything and moved home to Cote d'Ivoire.

After a good lunch where I decided chicken was decidedly more appealing than agouti (you could say its a large rat but in fact its not - nevertheless Ive still not got round to eating it!!!) I headed back for a siesta to be woken up an hour later by a great friend who I now refer to as mon p'tit frere. Overjoyed to see him; hes been through a lot this year since losing his father last year + now has to manage the whole family including his fathers last wife; we went out for a few drinks with friend of his who said - wheres your daughter??? He had driven us down to Assinie from Samo a few times last year and remembered her; had to give him a bit of a geography lesson in the sand to explain Australia + NZ! Whilst we were drinking some guy came up and shook my hand saying hello - the other two were waiting for an introduction but I didnt think I knew this guy; who turned out to be one of the guys from EMSF; yet again I got 'wheres your daughter??"

The following day was lovely; went into the centre of town to have my 'starbucks' and then headed over to the centre. The kids were thrilled to see me and the 22kg of goodies I brought for them, the gate was opened and the kids almost pushed me back through it screaming Tatie ... they all sat down, said a prayer for me then we had a Question + Answer session - the first being "wheres your daughter?" they all remembered her and were thrilled when I told them that there were a lot of her old clothes in the bag for them!

That night in search of a friend who worked at a Maquis last year. I got there and found she'd moved on but of course the lady who is still there said 'Wheres your daughter?' so I sat + had a drink telling them about Dani + then waited for my friend's husband who had called to say he was going to join me as his wife works in Abidjan during the week. Together we went off in his car in search of my friend; whos got a job at a good restaurant here; she was delighted to see me but of course asked the obvious - where's Dani???

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