I Still Go To School

on teaching, learning, travelling


Leave a comment

Endspurt

It is done!

Friday, students were allowed to come in casual clothes, and they brought food for everyone.

Friday, students were allowed to come in casual clothes, and they brought food for everyone.

My year of teaching English in Abidjan has officially come to a close.

We had our graduation celebration last Sunday at the big event hall of the Police School. It was a nice event, a very positive vibe going on and lots of people (over 200). For me, it was an enjoyable occasion, though it also meant saying goodbye to the kids, whom I will miss a lot.

The last couple of weeks very quite intense, having to finish the report cards, and many of the kids finally waking up to the reality of school: If you don’t do any work, it will show in your results. Some understood that when I told them, others were honestly surprised. So most of the time in class I was moving from student to student non-stop, corrected their work during break and lunchtime and handed it back the lesson after. I did not sit down for a minute!

I have learned so many things this year about being a teacher and understanding African culture! These experiences will help me in my future teaching, and remain nice memories. My point system for discipline worked out quite well I believe, at least for 70% of the class. Some improved their behavior a lot during the year, some stayed the same, but none declined, which is nice! Additionally, I could make many connections and find really good friends in my colleagues, a fact which cannot be taken for granted!

I have only 10 days left in the country, 5th of July I will be leaving 😦

With my students: Maryvonne and Yan Ting

With my students: Maryvonne and Yan Ting

With my students: Maryvonne and Roseline

With my students: Maryvonne and Roseline

My students: Grade 8 Graduates!

My students from Grade 8: Graduated!

The Highschool graduates giving their speeches, and many tears are shed

The Highschool graduates giving their speeches, and many tears are shed

Pierrick and I

Pierrick and I

With my bro Willie

With my bro Willie

With the sports teacher, Eloge

With the sports teacher, Eloge

With my bro Armand

With my bro Armand

I will try to get more and better pictures of graduation when the official photographer arrives.

Meanwhile, the rainy season has started quite dramatically, from months without any rain during the day, to an entire week of torrential rain. The effect of rain on society here is immense! Think of it equivalent to snow in London: public transport stops, few people show up to work, markets are closed. When it rains, everything stops here. To top it off, sometimes electricity breaks down, so even working inside on your computer is not possible, unless your place has a generator (not many places do).

 

Moi et mon frere Wisdom, at his home for dinner

Moi et mon frere Wisdom, at his home for dinner

20140607_202529

His daughter, who tried taking pictures and succeeded after some tries 🙂

I visited the home of Wisdom, a friend I made in Palmerai. He is motivated to find a good job as a driver, and always on the search, but even with an agency it’s tough. If you have a car, you can hire someone privately for about 80.000 FCFA (€122,10) a month, to drive you around at any time to any place you want. You need to be lucky to find someone who pays decently. He told me he wants to work for white people, because they pay well and on time.

Anyways, he invited me for some spaghetti africaine. I think it’s amazing how easy people can trust you here and invite you into their homes, feed you and everything. And you find many who really just want to give out of a good heart, not because they want money from you.

What will I be doing until I go back to Austria? I want to try to visit different places, but most probably within Abidjan. I hope everything works out and I can tell you after 🙂

One thing that is sure:
I have started working on a website for the school, to give it more publicity and make the information for the parents more accessible. For now I’m gathering information and pictures.

 


2 Comments

The Old Gods and the New

The Old Gods

One of the many busses with "Dieu", many other have Bible verses on them. Ignore the bullet holes.

One of the many busses with “Dieu”, many other have Bible verses on them. Ignore the bullet holes.

At our school, we have kids who are Christian: Catholic, Protestant. We also have kids who are Muslim, also some with Jewish background. The dialogues are quite interesting, considering that the school provides a Christian American curriculum. Sometimes the Muslim kids complain about having to study about the Bible and Jesus. They tell me (mostly when studies are tough),

“I’m a Muslim, I don’t need to study the Bible!”

I ask them, “So then why are you at a school with a Christian curriculum?”

“My parents put me here.”

“Are your parents Muslim?”

“Of course!”

“Then they are wise people.”

As of 2008, 38,6% of Ivorians are Muslim, 32,8% Christian, and 28% African Indigenous (wiki). Generally speaking, in Westafrica, the North of the countries is majority Muslim, and the South mainly Christian. The cities, especially Abidjan, are completely mixed, though.

Especially these days when you hear about groups such as Boko Haram terrorizing in the name of God, and the killing of Muslims in Central African Republic, having kids of different background, nationality, ethnicity and faith in the same class truly crosses borders. With the right sense of mediation, this kind of coeducation helps to prevent future misunderstandings and conflicts.

Quite striking when arriving from Austria is the quantitative jump of church attendance here. Sunday morning is Church Time. The pastors are like rockstars here. The Archbishop Duncan from Ghana has an own police escort plus three Escalades and a Hummer. While we were stuck in traffic, police ploughed his way through the masses. Truly a man of God, with the purse of a King (the former may be debatable). On TV you may watch some preachers putting their congregation into trance and people fainting when he touches their heads. They have definitely developed their own style of worship, with dances, drums and chanting. I would recommend to anybody to partake in a service like this, even just for the experience. As the pastors are rockstars, the service becomes a rock concert 😉

The New Gods

“And the white man comes directly after God!”

is what a friend told me recently. “Because they can do so many things that no black man can do!”

“But what is it they do?”

“They can build roads; all the companies for construction, they are not from here!”

The new God: Jack Bauer!

The new God: Jack Bauer!

 

"Thank you, mother". You may not fear God, but you better fear your mother ;)

“Thank you, mother”. You may not fear God, but you better fear your mother 😉

papa_lacoste

Lacoste, Gucci and DG are popular brands to show off your money. Of course you can buy them at the market for 2 €.

While the tourguide at the national heritage museum was mourning the disappearance of African Indigenous religions, others welcome the change and see it as development.

So I ask the questions:

  • Concerning the growing middle class, who try to copy the “European (middle class) Dream”, how will secularisation affect the local culture?
  • Is the decline of spirituality inevitably connected to the rise of wealth? Why (not) in Africa?
  • In the perspective of diversity and preservation, should indigenous religion and culture be encouraged and developed?

 


Leave a comment

It’s half-time, not break-time!

March 2nd marked the completion of my 27th year of life, and 6 months of living and teaching in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, – a perfect occasion to reflect a bit and update you on what I’ve been up to.

1. I went to visit the big Universite de Cocody (which is – guess what – named after Felix Houphouet Boigny) together with my colleague and friend Armand. It’s a huge campus, with nice gardens, lots of nature and places to relax. Having studied at a site that’s somewhat tiny and has no outsides to relax, I could really envy the students passing by. But that feeling changed quickly when hearing of all the troubles students are facing here on a daily basis.

abandoned student accomodation

abandoned student accomodation

student apartments left empty

student apartments left empty

student appartments -  "Access prohibited for students" hmmm

student apartments – “Access prohibited for students” hmmm

The spacious gardens of the campus

The spacious gardens of the campus

Lecture room for economics

Lecture room for economics

University tract for middle- and highschool teachers. They earn quite well (CFA 250.000) and are needed everywhere!

University tract for middle- and highschool teachers. They earn quite well (CFA 250.000) and are needed everywhere!

So what might be the problem? Basically since the new presidency, students cannot use the university grounds for accomodation anymore. Nobody could tell me why, but anyways the new president said so. So half the campus is actually empty and it feels like a ghosttown.

2. How’s school?
It’s been seriously intense. But let me show you a bit of the work, that my students are doing. All books are to be done by the students on their own, with teachers supporting when needed. It’s the homeschooling system, and directed towards native speakers… which most of the class actually aren’t. Some don’t even have A1 proficiency, honestly speaking.

Grammar books grade 7 (age 12-13)

they are not shy to use the proper terms. Around 5% of the kids actually understand what they mean.

The authors are not shy to use the proper terms. Around 5% of the kids actually understand what they mean.

Go on, fill out the exercise! Mind the antecedent!

Go on, fill out the exercise! Mind the antecedent!

Civics, Grade 8 (age 14)

Amercia, the land of opportunity... the ONLY one, and BEST

America, the land of opportunity… “There is more ambition in America than in any other country in the world. That is because every boy and girl has a better chance in America than in any other country in the world.”

Spelling grade 8 (age 14)

I honestly haven't seen most of these words until after highschool. Plus they serve them without any kind of context or hint.

I honestly haven’t seen most of these words until after highschool. Plus they present them without any kind of context or hint.

To sum up, it’s an understatement to say the books are bad. They seem like they aren’t even made for kids! There is nothing on actual writing of coherent texts, no reading exercises connected with the new vocab, no examples. There are barely any illustrations either. The only mark counting on the final grade is a multiple choice test in the end of each unit, or in the case of spelling it is to spell all 20 words of the unit correctly. Many pass the grammar test with 100%, but have not a clue what an action verb is.

So much for the academic side of the school. I will be writing more about student behavior and local teaching culture in my next post.

3. How’s Africa? Are you African yet?
So I’ve been here half a year. I can truly say it’s been a very good decision to come here, and that both professionally as a teacher as well as personally I have learned a lot and now see things from a different angle as well.

Some examples…

  • Colonialism has ended in the 60s, but the phantom continues within people’s mentality. Whites are seen as superior. Even among blacks there is racism against those with a darker skin.
  • There is such a great diversity between the countries and tribes in Africa. By now I can differentiate between some of the tribes, like the Malenke and Baoulé. Abidjan is so different from Accra, and probably other cities have a different feeling as well.
  • Everything is about relationships and being social. Strangers call each other “older brother/sister”, “mama”, “friend”.
  • Kids imitate their peers and elder, in the good and bad ways. In a way a classroom is a miniature of society, reflecting cultures and norms, but without the adult ability of adequacy. They speak out freely what their parents think and do at home. If they get beaten at home, they often beat their schoolmates in class. This is how they think respect works, by physical superiority.
  • Teaching takes your entire self. If you are distracted by other things in your personal life, or overwhelmed by how different things are, or distracted by the heat –  you will fail miserably.
  • Teaching is a FULL TIME JOB, even in my free time, everything focusses on how to improve my teaching and on preparing lessons, revising my policies for classroom behavior, classroom English, and so on. I sometimes don’t even feel I am living in Africa, but I am living at school. I leave the house every day at 6am and come back at 6pm.

I will be staying in Abidjan until the beginning of July, so there’s still much to learn and to see. I will keep you updated 🙂


Leave a comment

Chronicles of a Goat

I’ve made a new friend: Panda! But actually, it’s a goat.

When we first met in the backyard at home, he was screaming and baaaahh-ing all the time. I just patted his head, and he immediately calmed down and laid on the ground.

Here he's already relaxing again

Here he’s already relaxing again

I found out the following day that Panda was a gift to Papa Aka, the dad of my homestay family. So for those who don’t know what to get me for my birthday… a goat would be pretty cool!

There he’s out on the front yard munching fresh grass and some hay as well.

There he’s out on the front yard munching fresh grass and some hay as well.

He recognized me!

He recognized me!

and the next day…

*****THE END*****

yummy!

yummy!

To avoid any misunderstanding, I absolutely do not enjoy animal cruelty. Unfortunately it’s not a dimension considered much here in Africa. The killing of a goat requires a specialist who cuts the throat of the animal with one clean cut while it’s still alive. It looks (and sounds) horrible, makes you think twice if you really want to eat delicious goat soup.

One kid told me with a glowing smile, “Goat-meat is the beeeest!!” Probably it’s my cultural setup that taught me not to see a goat as meat, but as a cute animal in a zoo or a farm animal for milk and cheese.

If you’re interested in how they prepare the goats, I recommend watching the documentary “Workingman’s Death” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhpNeG2MlaA


4 Comments

The Emperor’s New City

This weekend I finally had the opportunity to get out of Abidjan and explore Yamoussoukro. Despite Abidjan being the main venue and biggest city of Cote d’Ivoire with a population of almost 5 million, Yamoussoukro with just about 250.000 people is the political capital of the nation. It is located 230km North of Abidjan, and easily reached via a recently completed, modern highway.

The upgraded highway from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro. Official limit 120 km/h, but 190 was also ok hehe

The upgraded highway from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro. Official limit 120 km/h, but 190 was also ok hehe

Beware, there is only one single gas station between the two cities. Concerning food, it’s easier, as the nearby villages are selling their goods like fruit and vegetables and also water and soft drinks right at the curb. We took the car, which is much faster than public transport. The official speed limit is 120km/h, but there are barely any speed controls. 😉

Here we just passed the entrance to Yamoussoukro. Left and right of this majestic street you can see the city.

Welcome to Yamoussoukro

Welcome to Yamoussoukro

After we arrived at our Hotel, “Concorde”, we met with our local friend, Roger, who took me on a tour on his motorbike. We stopped at the side of the road. We were in the city centre. Here we have the town’s hall, the prefecture, and, just around the corner, the engineering universities.

my tourguide explaining the place while we're motor-biking through the empty streets.

my tourguide explaining the place while we’re motor-biking through the empty streets.

I asked him where all the people were… and the cars, and buildings. I felt like the young boy exposing the Emperor’s New Clothes. He responded they were there, everywhere.

Orange is the most powerful and omnipresent company in Cote d'Ivoire

Orange is the most powerful and omnipresent company in Cote d’Ivoire

the city center, with the prefecture on the right. The prefect's hous is right next to it, and the grounds are the same size.

the city center, with the prefecture on the right. The prefect’s hous is right next to it, and the grounds are the same size.

Here we are in front of La Basilique, said to be the largest church building in the world. We got a tour by a friendly guide who kept saying, “Now please excuse me, let’s continue there…” when he was moving on to the next point of information. I don’t know if I can trust the measures he was explaining, for example the cross in the middle of the altar being 2.5 metres when it was clearly shorter than I.

Foreigner students get a special deal of paying quadruple price, yay!

Foreigner students get a special deal of paying quadruple price, yay!

The Basilique. Looks tiny, but it's like an optical illusion because there are no other buildings round

The Basilique. Looks medium sizes, but it’s like an optical illusion because there are no other buildings round

at one of the 12 stained glass windows, which are also the gates into the main dome

at one of the 12 stained glass windows, which are also the gates into the main dome

inside the main dome

inside the main dome

the tour guide insisted on taking a picture like this. so i complied...

the tour guide insisted on taking a picture like this. so i complied…

exterior with gardens designed by some French guy

exterior with gardens designed by some French guy

tour guide pointing at the top of the dome: it's not made from gold, but copper, but it weighs 120 tons and was lifted by hydraulic pumps.

tour guide pointing at the top of the dome (above the roof) : it’s not made from gold, but copper, but it weighs 120 tons and was lifted by hydraulic pumps. The cross’s top is 158m above ground.

30 metres above ground, a view into the dome. 7000 can be seated here, and 11000 additionally standing, so the tour guide said. Inside of each column of the altar there are 40 speakers

30 metres above ground, a view into the dome. 7000 can be seated here, and 11000 additionally standing, so the tour guide said. Inside of each of the four columns of the altar there are 40 speakers

spot the tour guide in white shirt in the back on the left. Gives you an idea about the size of the building

spot the tour guide in white shirt in the back on the left. Gives you an idea about the size of the building

Roger and his bike in front of the main entrance of the Basilique

Roger on his bike in front of the main entrance of the Basilique

We passed the main spots of the city: The Hotel President, Maison Houphouet, the town’s hall, the Peace Foundation, and the prefect’s office. Roger and Mr. Doumbia know the prefect very well, so we visited him at home to present Abraham, the birthday boy.

The artificial lakes in front of Houphouet's house. Spot the crocodile in the center of the picture. There are loads and they have eaten two of their care-takers already... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXNuYyYV_X4

The artificial lakes in front of Houphouet’s house. Spot the crocodile in the center of the picture. There are loads and they have eaten two of their care-takers already…

If you’re up for it, watch the video of the crocodile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXNuYyYV_X4

Refreshing coconut drink on the way back home.

Refreshing coconut drink on the way back home.

the Peace Foundation building, which is now mainly used for research and conferences.

the Peace Foundation building, which is now mainly used for research and conferences.

some good salad :) i was actually happy about something light to eat, but it was just the first course

some good salad 🙂 i was actually happy about something light to eat, but it was just the first course

Birthday Boy Abraham and I, having some couscous and chicken

Birthday Boy Abraham and I, having some couscous and chicken

When we passed by the Hotel President, we happened to bump into the Minister of Construction (Amon Tanoh) with his police escort. Roger knows him, so we also just shook hands and went our ways.

Hotel President. The top restaurant was supposed to rotate, but due to forseen maintenance problems it wasn't built that way.

Hotel President. The top restaurant was supposed to rotate, but due to forseen maintenance problems it wasn’t built that way.

On top of the Hotel you have a nice view of the whole place.

view from the restaurant at Hotel President

view from the restaurant at Hotel President

In the far back you can see the Hotel Parliamentaire, and new government building, plus a road in the making. It was decided by parliament in 1983 to relocate the entire administration plus embassies and therefore also UN offices to Yamoussoukro. Seems like bit by bit it’s even happening, with 21 years delay…

So… what’s the deal? Why is there this skeleton of a city, with 6 lane streets, a Basilica bigger than Vatican’s St. Peter, and more trees than people? Well, I was told that Yamoussoukro was the home village of the late president Felix Houphouet Boigny. He is affectionately referred to as “Pere de la nation”, the father of the nation. His vision was to create a city in the center of the country. He himself created the design of the street system, with Washington D.C. as a point of orientation. He, being the heir of a family of Kings, also had the Basilica built by 11.000 workers in just three years. When asked about the building expenses, Houphouet responded, “If heaven gives you something, you don’t ask for how much it had cost.” Estimates are around $300 million.

President Boigny had a vision for Cote d’Ivoire. He built three engineering schools and universities in Yamoussoukro to improve the agricultural sector. Yamoussoukro was to become the new center of the country, and attract people from the villages and Abidjan to move there. But that just never happened. While Abidjan and Bouaké are growing and industrializing, Yamoussoukro merely carries a title without much meaning.

Can it be that, despite their love for Boigny, his people could not catch his vision?


2 Comments

The early bird catches the flight

And time flies bye; it really does. So I thought in the early morning hours the airport would be nice and quiet. Surprise! 5:30 am – endless waiting lines!

Endless waiting lines at Vienna Airport. Very similar situation in Hamburg and Paris

Endless waiting lines at Vienna Airport. Very similar situation in Hamburg and Paris

Silly internet spots. Once again it proved useful to have multiple email accounts and get 15 minutes free couple of times ;)

Silly internet spots in CDG, Paris. Once again it proved useful to have multiple email accounts and get 15 minutes free couple of times 😉

My journey took me from Vienna (free Wifi) via Hamburg (free Wifi) to Paris (expensive wifi! Why??), and finally to Abidjan (super cheap wifi). The journey lasted round 25 hours. When I arrived at the exit at Abidjan airport (like every place of importance named after Felix Houphouet Boigny), immediately a flock of helpers spotted the solo white boy and offered me taxis, SIM cards, a hotel and to change my Euros to CFA. The taxi driver wanted to charge me CFA 10.000 for a journey that I paid 3000 when I took it before. Then I knew I was back in Cote d’Ivoire.
When I finally got back to the house in Riviera Palmerai, I was immediately welcomed by my host family with hugs and African hugs. What are African hugs? Not sure if that’s what they are called, but they are similar to the in-air-kisses left and right, only without the kissing and you only touch each other’s foreheads on the sides with your temples.
I really felt like I was back home – at my second home! After some breakfast and a 4 hours “power-nap” (I couldn’t sleep during the journey) I made my way to Jina School! I’ve been told that we were getting a new classroom and another floor. The building was planned to be finished in a week, but… it doesn’t look like it will be done by that time.

Inspecting the work. The change is much bigger than I had expected

Inspecting the work. The change is much bigger than I had expected

Here’s the wooden frame. They use a wood they call “piemont” (pepper), which smells spicy when dry. It’s cheap, because foreign markets are not interested in it. So the classroom for high school will be larger, and on the second floor there will be office space. It’s a much needed extension, as the classroom was already uncomfortably packed.

Building material at the basketball field.

the floor and sides of the new classroom and offices.

the floor and sides of the new classroom and offices.

Here’s my classroom. Seems like I will not be able to teach here this week…

Well... my classroom turned into a storage room!

Well… my classroom turned into a storage room!

I wanted to activate mobile data on my mobile phone, but they let you purchase the internet on the mobile without telling you that you have to activate it first in a shop. My unlimited Internet USB stick seems to have a limit after all, so it’s not working either. “Cyber Cafés” are closed on Sundays. Am I addicted or is it normal to miss something that you are so used to and depending on?
Gloria, our secretary at the school, had a birthday party, which I was invited to and I attended. It was nice, with much singing and cake and sweets and dancing.


This time I brought five laptops to school, all donated to me by family and friends (Thank you all!!).

yay, laptops for the school!

yay, laptops for the school!

I really would like to test Moodle in combination with the home schooling system. I think it will be a perfect match. How much effort and financial investment would it take to transform an analogue into a digital classroom? Is there a market for blended learning in Africa? The shipping of the books from the US takes 3 months, and it’s expensive. I will look further into it after talking to the headmistress.

So I will start teaching again on Monday, in small spurts, as the building is still going on. It will be nice to see my students again 🙂


Leave a comment

Bonjour, Le Blanc!

Most of the residential areas in Abidjan, at least the more wealthy ones, have gatekeepers for their streets. It’s kind of a communal decision, and everybody within the “cité” pays their tribute. Anyways, this one gatekeeper kept calling me “Le blanc” (the white guy) and saluted me every time I enter or exit my cite. Saluting, not figuratively, but literally – putting his hand up to his head and standing straight, as in military. It was funny in the beginning, but when I realised also outside the cité I was being called le blanc, I started to sense there is a certain image or expectation linked to it.

The old President as painted at the garden of the University, which carries his name

The old President as painted at the garden of the University, which carries his name

As a white person in Cote d’Ivoire, you have already won the minute you set foot in the country. People will treat you with respect and friendliness unparalleled in your home country. You will be offered marriage multiple times a day if you’re among people, you will be offered food and drinks everywhere you go, people have been asking me to visit them at their homes and to meet their families. When you leave your friends’ places, they ask you to give them a call when you arrived home safely. Taxi drivers will offer their services as soon as they spot you from hundred metres away, up to the point where it gets annoying. Security controls will let you pass without any questions asked.

But why this favouritism, unconditional trust and respect? The situation in Cote d’Ivoire is very special. There still is a big French ground force in zone 4 of Abidjan, and in total there around 10.000 men of UN troops in the country. During the reign of President Felix Houphouet Boigny, the country opened its borders to foreign immigration from far and wide, and especially drew in experts and entrepreneurs from France. His policy was that “Cote d’Ivoire is a friend to all and an enemy to none”. The result was a great rise of economy in the private sector. Unfortunately, the 90s were a tough time due to financial mismanagement, economy collapsed and didn’t rise again. The country divided into south and north, and ten years of civil war followed. During war, a country cannot develop. People are focussed on survival in the moment, instead of looking into the future. This way of thinking still persists up to now, when times are peaceful.

A picture of the younger Felix Houphouet Boigny, when he became President in 1960 at age 55.

A picture of the younger Felix Houphouet Boigny, when he became President in 1960 at age 55.

 

When President Laurent Gbagbo came to power, his approach was to get the whites out of the country. “Go home, French!” was one of the mottos. When he lost elections to Alassane Ouattara in 2010, he didn’t accept the result and still “crowned” himself President. One cannot follow two masters, so unfortunately an armed conflict broke out. Many of the families that I know here escaped to Ghana, others withdrew to safe zones like the hotels which were hosting foreign workers and ministers, and were defended by the national army. During this time though, a great part of European, American and Asian immigrants fled the country, never to return again. As a result, many companies collapsed, and the unemployment rate rose. Furthermore, about 65.000 ex-combatants were left without a job, but with their weapons, mostly old Kalashnikovs, imposing a great threat to public security. Who in his sane mind would return to a country in such a condition? Only the bravest did.

After Gbagbo’s forces diminished due to his not being able to pay them anymore, he was brought before the ICC (International Criminal Court), and peace once returned to this country. President Ouattara now speaks of “regaining our former glory”, and he is opening up again for foreign investors and immigration.

So, that was a bit of a background info. Unfortunately in other places there is such strong resentment, such as The Gambia and The Republic of South Africa, where politicians and even Presidents openly degrade and speak against “European Colonialism”. Cote d’Ivoire is very different in its approach toward whites.

I’ve been reading the “New African”, a pan-African magazine in English. Going through the interviews, my heart is split. The general agenda is anti-UN, anti-Europe and anti-ICC (from most authors). There is pride and ambition to develop a strong Africa, but often the scapegoat or source of inspiration is hate against whites, against Europe and the US. One reason why I came here is to help the country develop and for it to improve the living conditions of its population. But if many African countries rise to power and become prime countries of the world, will this spirit of anti-Europeanism result in anything good? Will the former slave turn against his former master, once he feels the power to do so? Are nationalism and racism an inevitable crutch on the path to a profound African identity? Whites have exploited and still are exploiting Africa to this day. I am only wondering what I can do to apologize and bring reconciliation. Is it enough to buy fair trade products? What can I personally do?

So what I thought I’d do is that I tell the gatekeeper my name. He still salutes me, but we also shake hands now. 🙂