July 23, 2008


On the way to Bouake, we drive through a town called Yamassoukro. It's a bit odd because after miles of fields and forests, the road is suddenly quite wide, and there are huge sidewalks on either sides of it. Apparently, the current president (check) wants to move the capital from Bamako to Yamassoukro (coincidentally it also happens to be his home town), and there are impressive, half-built Government buildings begging to be finished and filled with bureaucrats.

We also catch a glimpse of the Basilica of Yamassoukro - a monstrously oversized basilica that seems completely incongruous in its bare setting. I see electricity poles along the way and apparently remote cities in Cote d'Ivoire receive mail. Bouake springs out of the grassy expanse and cement shacks, and proves to be a booming little town with impressive large apartment buildings, shopping arcades, water towers, proper residences and hotels, mixed in with bare roads and shanty houses of a typical village setting. Apparently, there was quite a large population of French people there, and only two stayed behind after the crisis. This definitely comes to our advantage since one of them is the owner of a simple, little hotel that serves great food.

On the way back we drive slowly to observe men using rough, wooden looms, making thick, cotton “pagne traditional”. I buy one that has been dyed indigo blue, with tie-dyed spot of bright orange. It stains my feet blue as I pull it over me as protection against the chilly air conditioning in the car.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's actually the largest church in the world apparently!