A second return, the second month of 2015
Another return to Cote d’Ivoire via Ghana again in mid-February for a month. Incredibly lucky to be assisted by an old friend with discounted airfares, the funding comes from our pockets. The same as all the other transportation and other associated costs each time a trip is made; malarial drugs, visas, accommodation etc! It isn’t a cheap trip each time but we’re very thankful to have friends who are able to help us along the route to Abengourou!
Initially a few days were spent in Abidjan with our Outreach Coordinator, Ibrahima who had just returned from a Save the Children seminar on Child Protection & Trafficking in Bondoukou, a few hours north of Abengourou. He also attended all the meetings in Abidjan for C.R.E.E.R’s future. Visits to the UN agency IOM (International Organisation for Migration) who work alongside Interpol during their anti-trafficking exercises, as well as Ivorian government offices to ensure a future for C.R.E.E.R as a transit centre for trafficked children. Just prior to heading north to Abengourou there was a meeting with Ange Aboa of ‘Dark Side of Chocolate’ to see how best to move forward in terms of funding; after these meetings we felt proud that Ibrahima had represented C.R.E.E.R so well.
The centre’s problems had been resolved during the month that the team were alone. Doors shut properly, locks were fixed & the final piece of security along the exterior wall had been finished. The gate is kept firmly closed to all these days and the regulations for staff were being adhered to; their committment to the transparency of the organisation was pleasingly clear to see.
It was back to work to ensure that the regional community were aware of our efforts, excellent meetings with the Regional Procurer, the Regional Préfet and with the Secretary General of the Regional Council, who is luckily Ibrahima’s older brother.
The monitoring of a young girl from Togo continues, she’s 7 or 8 years old, carries about 30litres of water on her head during the course of the day whilst walking an estimated 10kilometres. Apparently she lives with her aunt but doesn’t speak any French or local language. C.R.E.E.R is following this up with the local police to determine if she has been trafficked, however she should be at school!