We arrived late in the evening at our hotel. The transit through the fairly modern airport in Abidjan was swift for those of us in the front rows of economy, and very slow for our one colleague sitting at the very back of the plane. The suitcases came in slowly and in the end we were all ready to go at the same time.

We arrived in the pouring rain – a good omen for people who depend on rain for their survival, annoying for those of us who do not. We are lodged at a small guesthouse, for our one night in Abidjan. I was given a room that required going down multiple steps, slippery from the rain. These things are now a source of worry for me.

My room was a duplex poolside. Duplex meant that I had to take some very steep stairs to my bed. I heavy iron pull-out gate like in old-fashioned elevators. It is supposed to protect me from intruders. I used it but then noticed the large bathroom window right next to it had, as only protection a mosquito screen. There was also a placard with instruction for what to do in case of a terrorist attack, with several options: (1) escape, (2) hide under the couch (there was no couch in the tiny apartment), (3) turn off the sound on your cellphone, (4) go to the roof and (5) hope for the best.

I didn’t think our small guesthouse would be a target. The placards are probably required now, after a tourist hotel in Grand-Bassam, was attacked a while ago.

I could look down at the pool or straight ahead, over the wall, at a car cemetery which looked festive because of the bright colors of the car wrecks.

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February 2017
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