08 June 2005

Alone in Bouaké

Yesterday I dropped off Angelika at the airport in Abidjan so that she could get her flight on to Paris and then the train to Germany. We had an interesting week and a half traveling as far as Ferké where the mission hospital is operation and spending the night in Korhogo where Kéo and his wife are living and Kéo is directing Bethel Bible Institute. It was a great time to get caught up on their lives and how God is working through them and the school.

The meeting with the our RCI Team went reasonably well. We have been asked officially with conditions, to oversee the ICA campus for the next two years. As most of you know, the ICA campus is in Bouaké and it is where my folks worked as teachers and administrators for over 27 years. I had never worked at ICA until just before our current home assignment which makes this new ground.

Right now there are about 250 French peacekeeping troops lodged on the campus. We have helicopters, troop carriers, tanks, and all sorts of other materiel parked everywhere as there in a mandate change going on at the moment. Slowly but surely I am getting to know those who I will need to interact with once the current director leaves the end of this July. Needless to say I view this as a daunting task and I pray that God will give me the wisdom to manage well the campus and at the same time impact both the French troops on our campus as well as those we will work with in Bouaké.

This morning was the "prise d'armes" or presentation of arms in English parlance. It was impressive as it generally is when 250 soldiers start to sing, march and slap their weapons. Lots of ceremony and then plenty to eat and drink afterwards. It is at times like these that one has occasions to meet and talk informally with different chiefs concerning the way things are run and how it maybe should be. Last night was a reception to which everyone who is anyone in Bouaké showed up to say their goodbyes to the roops which are leaving and to greet the new troops coming. Lots of discourse and small talk. One does meet interesting people however.

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