22 December 2010

Safe and Sound

Just to put everyone's mind at ease, we are indeed in Belgium. We've even been evacuated! That was exciting. Here's the story.

We were planned to leave Ivory Coast on the 5th of November, after the second tour of the elections.
The first tour went smoothly, we just had to stay on the plantation for a while. We all foresaw trouble at the second round, but as we were leaving permanently, my husband had some loose end to work through on his job and of course we had all this packing to do.
Come friday the fifth, we had packed and wee living in an empty house, but Ivory Coast closed it's borders. No way in, no way out.
By Saturday, the company had decided to evacuate all women and children and we tried to get a plane... to anywhere, because Brussels Airlines had stopped landing in Abidjan as soon as Laurent Gbagbo (previous Ivorian president) had launched curfew.
We ended up having the Sophia airplane land on the plantation, because it was too dangerous to take the road with all these people to San Pedro airport.
We said our goodbyes to all our staff in a wave of tears and emotions, because we had a really close staff, and I know that I will forever miss Mariam, our nanny/cook, who had become a close friend, and just about the only person I really talked to.
Here's a picture of our car and the plane on the plantation's landing strip. 
Here we are all waiting for the last people to arrive. 14 of us left, leaving only 4 other expats on the plantation.

Our evacuation experience took 52 hours. We Took off on the plantation, landed in San Pedro to pick up some other people. Then we landed again in Abidjan, where we would be taking the same small plane to Accra, Ghana. 
The plane was scheduled to leave just after lunch. We all waited in the 'lounge' with the seven kids and five women and two men. 
When we got on the plane again, there appeared to be something wrong with the radio, so out we went again.

We waited another six hours in that sad excuse for a lounge to eventually find out that plane would not be taking us to Ghana. 

So of to the hotel it was, which meant we had to drive through the entire city. We didn't want to take the risk of multiple cars, so all 14 of us with our ton of bags squeezed into the hotel bus.

The morning after we took an Ethiopian plane that came from Monrovia direction Accra.
And finally we were safe!
We spent another day in Ghana, in a hotel, where we ate and changed our clothes and even went for a swim, and in the evening we took another plane first to Frankfurt and then - many security checks later - yet another one to Belgium.

It was quite an experience. 


  1. Felt nice to read your post after long time Laura... keep writing :)

  2. Good to hear you made it safely to Belgium...the BBC News headlines today was not uplifting.
    Happy Holidays!