First view of our centre
Exciting times flying back to West Africa in July, our first long-term volunteer Rachel & I flew into Accra keen to see the centre that Tony had arranged to rent for C.R.E.E.R at minimal cost in Abengourou.
It was a long journey by road with a night in Bibiani then another night in Ghana’s Bia National Park before reaching Abengourou, 28km over the border from the park’s HQ in Debiso, Ghana.
We were thrilled to finally be in Abengourou; meet our new Outreach Coordinator Thierry Tapsoba and see the centre for ourselves. However, the photos didn’t make us realise the extent of the work needed until we were on site. Thierry was living in the only room that was habitable, the rest of the building needed a lot of work to make it ready for our purposes.
It soon became clear that paying 200CFA (0.30€) per taxi journey for Thierry was going to stretch our budget, Abengourou is Cote d’Ivoire’s 10th city & lies on quite a wide expanse of land, Thierry was averaging 10 taxi trips per day to see builders & organise materials. The centre is on one side of the city and getting into the centre of town on foot wasn’t feasible. We were delighted when a friend Dave of Adventure-Spec offered to buy us a bike, so ‘Katie’ the KTM joined C.R.E.E.R & is worth her weight in gold with all the trips she makes locally.
Before the I left Cote d’Ivoire, we did a risk assessment for the Ebola virus and made contingency plans should it start to cross into the country. Rachel & I then made a trip down to Abidjan (4hours on a bus due to the road conditions) to start making enquiries at a government level for support for the centre. News of all this will be discussed over the coming months.