Monday, October 3, 2016

Back to my second home

Deposited by my Ghanaian Immigration official near the Tatiekro border just a kilometre or so from Dormaa Ahenkro I discovered without any surprise that transport was sorely lacking.  There was a minibus without any passengers, the village was incredibly quiet apart from two boys who offered me a ride to Agnibilekro on the back of a bike.  "How much" I asked, 15,000CFA Madame ... well this Madame doubled up laughing and kept walking with all the luggage to find the Ivorian immigration post!

I got to the post, a run down dwelling with the ubiquitous steel framed bed with it's ever-present filthy foam mattress.  A few officers were standing outside whilst two uniformed officers were behind the desk. Upon opening my passport, seeing all my Ivorian stamps I got a hearty welcome back and received an entry stamp with the minimum of fuss and no mention of espionage!

Back outside I was offered a chair and we discussed transport options, a few taxi's were due to come to the village.  It was a Sunday afternoon so I didn't hold out much hope, but having done the journey from Ouaga in 3.5 days at this point I was raring to get back to the centre in Abengourou.  The most senior officer (an anti-drugs gendarme) asked me what I was up to in Cote d'Ivoire to be in and out of the country so much.  I told him about and we had an excellent conversation about trafficking, he and some of the others took my business cards for the centre and promised to spread the word in Bondoukou where they were based.

Finally a few taxis went past, I was told to ignore them but five minutes later small car pulled up, my new found friend asked him to return when he had dropped his passenger.  I got in and was told it was 4,000CFA to Agnibilekro, after a lot of goodbyes we set off down the dusty road for a tense 40 minutes to reach Agnibilekro, the road is known for 'coupeurs de route' ambushes by bandits.

We got chatting and I arranged for him to take me onto Abengourou, I was too tired to get a minibus in Agnibilekro, wait for it to fill up before we would set off again.  He gave a very fair price for the final 40 kilometres on newly tarred road and we had a long chat about his dreams, a young guy of 24 with an entreprenurial head on his shoulders.  Finally around 4pm in mid-July 2016 I was in front of the gate at the centre, with a very surprised children's assistant thrilled to see me back!

PS.  In August, Abengourou sadly lost it's Head of Customs, he was assassinated near Tatiekro for what reason I don't know ...

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