Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Elephant's Nest

We did something different. In Côte d'Ivoire we based the whole of our stay in one town, one hostel. It was a lucky choice because we got to commune with a particularly sympathetic group.

Chloe, Chris, Michael, Me, Max, Lara, Willow, Pelagie, Quirin, Angelika, Sen
Here's a little about each of our winter-holiday-season companions.

The Irish proprietor of The Nest has featured in earlier posts telling of her charity work. She's also an aviation consultant and self-appointed travel ambassador for West Africa to travellers everywhere. A huge presence and a priceless character.
... and Jacques (with Pelagie)
A French, one-time Hindu monk, he also has been mentioned earlier. He generously delayed his departure to spend a few days talking to me about meditation. He's now in Saly, Senegal staying with a friend while he considers how to redesign his charity mission to teach cultural tolerance to schoolchildren. 

Her new job, researching into the cocoa industry on behalf of Mars, brought Nicole to CI. Interestingly, she paid for herself to come. She visited Chloe's charity and has now returned to her home in the US.

Michael & Kendra
A young, bright Austrailan and his American friend. Michael was my backgammon student for our time together. A chess player, he learned quickly. Kendra flew in to spend a week with him. She's back in Geneva now, where she works in public health. Michael has been travelling for over a year and intends to fly to Mexico. They were great company.

Another Australian, this time on a push bike, his trip is impressive. He'll continue to travel south from Grand-Bassam when his Ghana visa comes through.

A Swiss/Canadian multi-linguist and motorcyclist, Chris has now left to visit Chloe's charity en route to Ghana where he's meeting up with his father. A naturally empathetic young man, he helped bind the group together.

Max on the malaria couch
Another motorcyclist, a German, Max arrived with Chris. They met on the road and seemed to have become temporary riding companions. I got the impression that of the two, Max prefers more challenging terrain. We saw a little less of him due to his malaria. He's an easy-going, quick-to-laugh young man.

Quirin at work
Quirin & Lara
Travelling in an old VW camper-van, this young couple are also from Germany. They're engaging and pleasant. They have an attractive gentleness about them. Quirin speaks French fluently which, they explained, helped them travel this far without parting with bribes. This was a trip objective for them. I had a couple of long talks with Quirin about dyslexia. We may have more. He's a talented mechanic, having worked long and hard on the van prior to setting off.

Although he joined us latterly, Sen made his presence felt in the group. He's of Chinese stock, born in Brazil. A seasoned traveller, he's funding himself through Bitcoin (but don't ask how many he has).
Marie-Jocelyn, Chloe, Pelagie, Angelika, Lara, Ange
The Staff
We were beautifully cared for by the local staff in friendly, idiocratic, relaxed, Ivorian style.

Beers were brought by housekeeper Pelagie or her daughter, Ange. Beautiful meals were cooked by Marie-Jocelyn. Caretaker and odd-job man Yannik, was a breezy presence around the place and Sonata and Aline came in every morning to sweep and clean.

Staying in The Nest was a change of pace. We heard many stories and had an audience for ours. I played and taught backgammon, Angelika organised evening games. We had companions when we needed them and a room to relax is when we wanted solitude.

It was great. 

Other matters
The young girl from the village we offered to help was on a course of antibiotics when we left. She needs more care beyond that and Chloe will try to arrange it. Her requirements were probably greater than we could have provided for, but at least a start has been made. We hope things work out for her

Ezile Bay
We're in Ghana now on a one month visa. We'll return home from here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guys

    What an amazing and incredibly honest blog and one of the best.In 18 months of research for my own UK to Cape Town trip yours has been one of the most enjoyable, thank you.


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