May 16, 2000: Headlines: COS - Ivory Coast: PCVs in the Field - Ivory Coast: Lariam: Personal Web Site: This site expresses the views of Côte d'Ivoire Peace Corps Volunteer, Terry Turro

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ivory Coast: Peace Corps Ivory Coast : The Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast: May 16, 2000: Headlines: COS - Ivory Coast: PCVs in the Field - Ivory Coast: Lariam: Personal Web Site: This site expresses the views of Côte d'Ivoire Peace Corps Volunteer, Terry Turro

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This site expresses the views of Côte d'Ivoire Peace Corps Volunteer, Terry Turro

This site expresses the views of Côte d'Ivoire Peace Corps Volunteer, Terry Turro

This site expresses the views of Côte d'Ivoire Peace Corps Volunteer, Terry Turro

You can look but don't Touch! 16 May 2000

It's been two days since we landed in Abidjan. I haven't written in a while because I just needed a few days to get used to acclimated to the weather. My impressions of Cote d'Ivoire are 48 hours old now and quickly changing.My first impressions of Africa began on the plane. We had a stop in Dakar Senagal before flying on to Abidjan. The Senagalese were dressed pretty sharply. After stressing for a month about taking just the right clothing to make me comfortable, I realized on the plane that I looked like I was ready for the jungle.
We arrived in Abidjan and got through customs very quickly. It's nice traveling with Peace Corps. We took a bus to a Catholic Mission in Bonoua just an hour east of Abidjan. There are 54 Stagieres (trainies) and we will stay here for five days to get us ready to interact with the locals. When you realize you are here for 27 months culture shock can be pretty devistating.

We have a lot to learn in the next few days to keep us from freaking out when we live with our host family for three months. There's a lagoon at the mission where we can get a glimps of local kids swimming. Interaction with Ivoirians has been limited to our (formatures) language teachers / cultural facilitators. They are pretty modern and a good way to ease us into Ivoirian life. I'm pretty good with dealing with other cultures, but I have to say the stress of the heat, humidity and limited hygene is enough for now.

Home Afrique 20 May 2000

I've just received my host family (for three months during training)

Front: Ettima, Eric, Nado. Back: Florence, Tantie, Baby Guy.
Evariste Kouakou Yao (Father)
Augustine Amenan Konan (Mother)
Gilberte A'da (Aunt/Servant) a.k.a. "Tantie"= Auntie

Eric Tossie Yao (Son) 11yrs
Florence Ahou Kouadio (daughter) 9yrs
Nado Bessly Yao (daughter) 8 yrs
Ettima Margeline Yao (daughter) 6 yrs
Guy M. Yao (son) 2 yrs

I live in one room of a three bedroom house with a 15' x 15' courtyard. The bathroom and kitchen are off the courtyard. My room is also off the courtyard and is a concrete room with aqua painted walls. I had a few things made like a desk ($2.50) to make my stay a little more comfortable. Being comfortable has been a challenge. But relatively, I am living in luxury. I have electricity and running water.

I even have a fan.
I put the net up after sleeping with a frog and a cockroach.

Lizards are everywhere!

The first week here was difficult. The combination of taking classes from 8am-6pm in unbearable heat and humidity, eating futu and bush rat, breathing pollution all the time, having diarrhea with no toilet, and feeling light headed and disoriented from the Methloquine( anti-Malarial drug) took it's toll the first week. I couldn't deal with it anymore and just wanted to get on a plane and go home. We all went through similar attacks the first week and realized we just have to take it day by day and accept the fact that we're not all meant to be here.

Classes are going well. I'm very impressed by the Peace Corps commitment to language; We have 1-3 people per french class. Last week we met with the Mairie to ask some pretty tough questions-- like why do you let the trash piles around town just pile up? It was a bit discouraging because we will each be assigned to a town with problems not unlike Alepe. Trash piles up because the truck broke down three years ago and there's no money to fix it. The chickens, goats and sheep eat from the trash pile all day the enters the food chain. Did I tell you I become vegetarian again? I'm proud to say I tried. I ate bush rat and trash pile chicken the first week. When we (the Urban Environmental Management Volunteers) get to our site we will have our work cut out for us. It's been difficult to watch kids with large stomachs from worms bathing in run off water after a rain. I have a lot to learn just to keep myself from being shocked.

Methloquine Dreams 21 August 2000

My nights of vivid hallucinations will soon come to end as I change Malaria medication. Methloquine is quite a drug. I can only speak for myself, but my hallucinations are getting a bit out of hand. Methloquine is a drug taken every week to counter any exposure to Malaria.
My hallucinations started the first week here. It's always in dim light lust as I lie down to sleep. I thought I'd tell you about some of them since they're quite interesting.
One night in Bounoua I was lying in bed looking at the ceiling and started to see a black and white image of an intricate African carving. I think it was a wood carved door from the Dogon Country of Mali. I have no idea where the image came from but It was so intricate and I could just lie there and look at it up and down as though it was right there in front of me. In front of the image was a light monochromatic layer of swirling gas. The image slightly warped as though looking through calm water. I've had similar images or landscapes that come to me at night. I usually lie calm and try to figure out where my subconscious retrieved this image from.

Sometimes, It's not so harmless. I have to sleep with my flashlight now because I've found rats climbing my mosquito net, sheep in my room, and huge cockroaches-- no wait...those were real. Last week, I turned over to go to sleep to find three huge holes in my mattress eight inches in diameter and I could see through to the floor. I was sure rats were in my bed eating my mattress. I knew this could be another Methloquine hallucination, but I freaked when I actually felt the hole. Quickly, I grabbed the flashlight to find nothing there. That concerns me when it's so strong that I can feel the object I'm hallucinating.

I called medical in Abidjan and I think it's time to change to Doxicycline. That's an antibiotic that has to be taken everyday and there is now room for error. I'm a bit concerned about that.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ivory Coast; PCVs in the Field - Ivory Coast; Lariam



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