09 June 2005

Alone Again

9 June 2005
Monday morning I dropped off Angelika at the Airport in Abidjan. During her short stay we traveled from Abidjan to Bouaké, Bouaké to Korhogo and Ferkessédougou, back to Bouaké and then back to Abidjan. All of that to meet with different and various persons whom we needed to see concerning our future in Côte d'Ivoire and our return to this country in September.

As many of you have read in earlier postings on this blog, we had been asked to return to the field to discuss our involvement in the oversight of the former site of the International Christian Academy which had been evacuated in September of 2002 and then again, after opening for the 2004-2005 school year during the month of November. Because of the second evacuation and the reduction of students it was deemed necessary to close the school indefinitely due to lack of students and more so due to the lack of security in the region. This of course has lead to our being asked to oversee the Bouaké campus for our organization.

After talking with our colleagues in Ferkessédougou last week we decided that we would take on the job for the next year. This means that our time in the US will be cut short and that I will be making a second trip to Côte d'Ivoire the end of July to be here at the time of the transfer of the school from ICA to MBCI (World Venture in Côte d'Ivoire). It is very likely that we will return to Côte d'Ivoire by mid-September of this year. If you are the praying kind, do pray for us in this regard.

Now, about the fun stuff. I need to come clean and let you know that our first day back in Côte d'Ivoire was spent at Assini, a long sandy island/peninsula east of Abidjan where we like to go to swim in the surf. Good fish is usually available but it would seem that the other day both Dave (Dan’s son) and I got too much bad fish and we got the runs. Not a bad case but enough to make us both feel a bit off. He is in the US now and I hear he is better and I am doing great. Before Angelika flew out the Grudda family, Welch family (SIM) and we all went back to Assini to spend the night in a camp/hotel. Nice accommodations and great beach. We arrived a little before noon and stayed until just after noon the next day. We had a great time looking for West African sand dollars, digging for sand crabs, boogie boarding and body surfing, and generally getting burned to a crisp. Needless to say, we had a great time and we will remember it as one of the great times spent with the Dan Grudda family. It is hard to see them go but I have a feeling our paths will cross soon enough.

Well, I am going to try to post this thing today. Yesterday the internet connection was too slow and I was frustrated at every turn. Hoping that today it will work better.

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.