Visit to Galébo
Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
23Trip End Feb 04, 2013
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I was a little frustrated with all the time we’d wasted so far, and as we left Abidjan, another delay occurred. We were stopped at a police roadblock and the policeman went through all the car’s papers, then we told the driver to open the trunk. Then he came to me and said he wanted to search my suitcase. I asked him not to hassle us and just let us pass. He insisted and said he was only watching over my security. I asked him how it made me more secure for him to rifle through my suitcase. He didn’t have an answer but I had to get out and open the case so he could search my clothes. He could probably tell I was not happy about this needless hassle, and he let us go without needling for a bribe.
It was slow going at times because we would bottle up behind overloaded cocoa trucks carrying harvested cocoa to Yamoussoukro for processing. Most of the world’s cocoa comes from Côte d’Ivoire and much of next year’s supply is on these highways now.
We hit another checkpoint, and the soldier had his spiel all ready to go. He demanded the car's papers, and immediately asked if this was a rental car. He claimed that all rental cars needed a franchise tax sticker, which we didn't have. He ordered us to park in the sun to warm us up and disappeared with the papers to let us think it over. The driver went over to him and explained quite reasonably that there was no such thing as this franchise tax sticker. He still ended up having to pay bribe before we were allowed to leave.
We finally arrived in Yamoussoukro at 12:30 and drover straight to a little hotel, with simple but air-conditioned rooms for about $30/night. We paid for the rooms and then left immediately for our visit which was to be in the village of Galébo, which we had been told was about 55km/33 miles away. It was supposed to be 40 kms on blacktopped road then 15 km on dirt road.
We finally arrived in Galébo after 3:30, after more than three hours on the road from Yamoussoukro. At the entry to the village we stopped a boy of 12 and ask where our contact man – who works at the local school - lived, he pointed up the road. Paul told him to get in the car and showed us, and the boy did without question. We couldn't allow our children to do such things in the States any more.
We met the contact man at his house and he introduced his wife. I had hoped to be able to leave the village by 4:00 so we could try to arrive back in Yamoussoukro before dark, but we were too late for that now, so we said we shoot to leave by five and hopefully have at least the dirt-road portion over before dark. It took half an hour to introduce ourselves and eat some food they offered us, as local custom required. During that time the little group gathered. The men were colleagues from the school who worked and studied the Bible together. They came in contact with us through a colleague who has since been transferred to Man for his work, we’ll see him later.
They were very eager to learn but very new. They understood the Sabbath, but not our other fundamental beliefs. So I took twenty minutes to explain an overview, then I left them time to ask their questions.
Some of the questions included:
- You say your church observes the 10 Commandments, don’t all Christian churches believe in the 10 Commandments? ( in response, we discussed the 4th one)
· Don’t we have to accommodate ourselves to the times? Most people keep Sunday…
· What’s the difference between Passover and Easter? In French the words are very close (la Pâque and les Pâques); Passover is singular, Easter is plural?
· Will human people still exist after the return of Christ? What will happen to Christians?
· How is your church organized in Côte d’Ivoire?
· Aren’t you going to ask us for an offering? No. They were surprised.
As 5:00 approached we stood to leave and the group presented me with a basket of yams as a thank you gift. It was very generous of them.
The African night was full of pungent smells. The air cooled quickly, we’re at altitude now. We passed a group of passengers from a wrecked bus that we had seen on the way out. They were still sitting forlornly on their piles of goods, waiting for I didn't know what.
We arrived back at the hotel at 8:00 pm, and had dinner. I asked the driver to try to have the car properly prepared; it shouldn't take long with the proper nuts and bolts, and be ready to go by 10:00 in the morning.
I probably won't have Internet access for the next week, so don't be alarmed if there are no entries for a while.