This morning we left the hotel at 07:00. It was Sunday morning so there was little traffic. We drove to Treichville so I could change some dollars into CFA francs. The money changers sometimes argue with each other when a client drives up: whose turn is it? The guy who won didn't strike me as very agreeable, but business is business. We haggled over a rate of exchange until we found one mutually acceptable. Through my slightly opened window, I was handed a wad of bills which I counted carefully on my legs in plain sight. Then I handed over several new hundred dollar bills and watched while they were counted. The money changer smiled and gave Kramoko a tip for bringing a client to him. He pointed at his own face and said "you’ll remember me no?"
We then started out on the road to Yamoussoukro, stopping on the outskirts of Abidjan to put diesel in the tank. Filling it cost just under $100. Then back on the road.
We hadn’t eaten anything since early, so we drove to the Hotel des Cascades, where I took a room. Then we went to the restaurant, and asked what could be prepared quickly. Roasted chicken or fish, we were told. Two of us ordered chicken, the others carp. It was ready pretty quickly, and was well prepared. We ate quickly and returned to the vehicle, we had many things to do.
We stopped at the supermarket to buy tissues (we’re going to be mopping our brows a great deal), detergent (so I can wash out my clothes), and two six packs of water. We’re going to be going through a great deal of water in this heat. Then we drove to the hall reserved for the Passover service. It’s the same hall we used two years ago when I was here. Things were pretty well set up already, according to the instructions I had left.
I was dropped back at the other hotel where I prepared for the service in the evening. At 5:30, they came to pick me up and we drove to the little room. The air-con had stopped working; I hoped it was something easily repairable or this trip would take on a new character.
We finished up the preparations, and let the members in about half an hour before sundown. We were 17 people to participate. It was very hot in the room. We could have opened the doors toward the street but so much noise comes from that direction. We would have had big diesel trucks and other traffic passing just 15 feet away. So we kept the door closed. Within certain bounds, concentration is more important than comfort at important times like this. It was good that we had a fan to help make the temperature a little more bearable.
I wiped my face, head and arms almost constantly as perspiration ran in rivulets. Still the ceremony was, as always, very meaningful. We had to translate phrase by phrase, because about a third of those present didn’t understand French well enough to follow.
We finished up about 8:00 pm and said goodbye to everyone until tomorrow when we’ll spend the day visiting all the individual villages groups. Then we’ll see each other again on Tuesday which will be a high day. We drove back to my hotel, where we agreed to meet at 07:00 in the morning. We said goodbye for the night. There was a very noisy wedding celebration going on the pool terrace, where I would have preferred to sit, so I went to the small bar and allowed myself a cold beer; ah those first few sips were ambrosia!
Then I headed to my room to dry out in the air conditioning. This took half an hour during which I caught up on some electronic “paperwork.” I won’t stay up late because I’ll be up at 06:00 tomorrow morning. We’re going to make the rounds of the little congregational groups in the region.
Into the bush for a solemn evening
Sunday, April 09, 2017
Man, Montagnes, Cote D'Ivoire