Friday, July 18, 2008

Driving in Abidjan

John driving, Sue on right and Stephen in back seat

From the look of Sue's grip on the dashboard, you might think they are heading for a head on collision. However, John and the oncoming taxi are just waiting to make a left turn. Stephen seized the moment and took this photo.

-Mike

Read more bloggeries about Abidjan, John, Stephen, and Sue at the following labels:

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hospitals in Abidjan

During one of our days, the first week in Cote d'Ivoire, Mike, Ashley, and I were given the opportunity to tour one of the public hospitals in Abidjan. Being in the medical profession I found it both encouraging and a bit sad at the same time.

During our interaction with several of the doctors we were able to see both passion for improving the health of Cote d'Ivoire and also the amazing needs that this country has. When a person shows up at the hospital with a condition, they are given a list of things that they need to go buy before they can be treated.

Coming from America where health care, especially emergency life saving health care, is given no matter what condition your finances are in, made the idea of prepaying/buying your supplies strange. This may be compounded when a patient shows up without family or is unconscious and therefore cant buy supplies. Trying to put this together in my head is a bit hard as health care as i have experienced is a quite different.

One thing is that I am now more thankful for what God has blessed me with, and secondly, given me a bigger heart for working outside of the United States when I graduate from college.

-david

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Ivorian kids



Christine took this joyful photo of kids playing after church at the Abobo Abidjan Baoule and Bambara Church.


-Mike

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Monday, June 9, 2008

John's departure to USA


Abou and John
John said goodbye to Abou. He flies out tonight at 10 PM on Air France Flight AF0703. He arrives in France in the morning and then makes his Delta Flight DL0029 connection to Atlanta. He should arrive at Omaha Eppley Airfield on Delta Flight DL4604 at 4:52 PM.

-Mike

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Kira's photos

Kira posted a lot of fun photos for us to enjoy. The links below will take you to her photo albums at Facebook.com. She did a great job organizing them by category. Hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

Africa un 39 photos of our flights, Bateau Bus, Boulay Island beach, and the Abobo Abidjan CMA Church
Location: Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa deux 59 photos from the Alliance West African Theological Seminary
Location: Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa trois 38 photos of days at the girls orphanage
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire

Africa quatre 42 photos at the Modeste Village/Assoyam Hotel
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa cinq 30 photos of last day at the orphanage
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire

Africa six 22 photos at the crocodile farm!
Location: Assini, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

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Monday, June 2, 2008

reflect on your trip - photos

Hey everyone! Its been a day and a half since our plane touched down at epply airfield and 5 of our team returned. Please keep Christine, Dina, Ashley, and John in your prayers as they return in the next week.

This has been my fourth time returning from a missions trip and it always is the same. You find yourself caught somewhere between a very intense and exciting situation and what you feel is a normal life. This has always been difficult for me as it has for others. It, however, is a key time where you reflect on your trip and draw upon lessons learned, deciding what impact that has on your life here in Omaha. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we all transition back to the states in the next several weeks!

As promised, here are some more links to pictures:

Album 6 - 51 photos of the highway sights, orphanage, and the work at the Modeste C&MA church

Album 7 - 28 photos of Modeste C&MA church, beach and pool at Grand Bassam hotel

Album 8 - 51 photos of the orphanage

Album 9 - 33 photos of orphanage, crocodile farm, Modest church benches and highway sights

Album 10 - 21 photos of ice cream, baptisms, streets, airport

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Team is back in Omaha

Most of the team is back home in Omaha. We're praying that they make it to church today!

John is still home in Abidjan, until June 9th. Dina, Ashley and Christine are taking some time to visit Europe!

Christine and Dina arrive on Monday, June 02, 2008 on flight DL4604 at Omaha Eppley Airfield at 04:18 PM.

Ashley arrives on Monday, June 09, 2008 on flight DL4214 at Omaha Eppley Airfield at 09:26 PM.

John still needs his itinerary from the travel agent, but he leave here on Monday, June 09, 2008 and arrives in Omaha on Tuesday, June 10th.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Goodbye Team!


All but John are at the Abidjan airport for their departure to France and USA. We waited until all their bags were checked and they were off to the boarding area to leave the airport. They had problems again with getting their seats. By the grace of God they got through eventually. The plane should take off for Paris in about 10 minutes. Their arrival is about 6 AM Paris time. Those who continue on to USA Saturday will be on flight DL0043. It will depart around 11:45 AM for Cincinnati, OH. Then on to Omaha on flight DL5157 for arrival at about 6 PM. The team would be thrilled to have you there at Eppley Airfield to meet them.
-Mike

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

beautiful africa

Overall the scenery here is amazing. Even though it is pouring outside right now it still looks beautiful out. It's a mixture of green plants and red mud. i feel bad for all the people we saw on our way back to Abidjan walking in the rain. Our time in Grand Bassam was awesome and as i look back on helping in Modeste and at the orphanage i feel a great sense of contentment with how God used us all. Thanks for all your prayers during the whole trip, traveling is pretty rocky and dangerous because of huge potholes so we needed all the prayers we could get.

-Christine

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hut-O-Stuff

the market in Grand Bassam was quite a sight. hut after hut after hut after hut with everything you can think of all along the road. it's different than the market where we got fabric from in Abidjan. here people are selling carvings and paintings and hand died blankets. Things look so delicate and it's amazing with the amount of trash we also see along the road that the things they sell look so clean. They start the price of stuff three times more than it is so Sue helps get things down to the right price.

One hut even had an elephant carving that was as tall as the hut (probably 7 feet)! it was huge!

- Christine

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cirlcle of Prayer


Today was our last day painting at the seminary. After we finished painting and cleaning up we prayed with the children who had been following us around all of these days.

Here are some of the highlights of the last 5-7 days.

Album 1 - 21 photos of flight and the day on the bateau bus and at Boulay Island

Album 2 - 17 photos of the Abobo Abidjan C&MA Bambara Church and tea party with Abou

Album 3 - 43 photos of the work and people at the FATEAC C&MA Seminary

Album 4 - 33 photos of the children and farewell prayer circle at the Seminary

Thank you for your continued prayers as we move into our next week of ministry in Grand Bassam.

-david bebee

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What I've Learned...

If you've been keeping up on our blog you probably know, by know, what we've been spending our time doing these past few days...

To be honest, it was a bit hard for me to focus on being full of joy while breathing in paint fumes and sweating all my body's water content out while scraping and painting all day for three days in a row. When I saw the eagerness of the children that lived there to help us paint, clean up, take all the tape off the walls after we were done, and whatever else we were doing at the time, it made me motivated to finish our duties with a willing heart. They wanted to do all the work, right along beside us. This is exactly what our hearts should be constantly yearning for. We should be constantly yearning for an undying willingness to serve our Lord with open hearts. Gavin gave us a pep-talk after lunch today before we started and said something that we should totally be constantly we thinking of... "paint this building as if Jesus was living here, it's for Him." It truly made me more motivated to go on and finish the job. Jesus is our reason for coming to Africa and Jesus should be the reason we live our day to day lives. Whether it be painting for a seminary that focuses it's time on teaching the word of God and raising Godly leaders, or playing games with children that don't speak your verbal language but can still translate the language of love, or simply driving around town to a great meal prepared by people that want to bless you. All these things should be done with the heart of Christ in mind and all things should be done to glorify Him.

Please pray that our hearts are focused on such things and that we continue to have uplifted spirits. I pray that you shall be able to focus your day to day life glorifying the One who gave His life for you.

If anyone has requests or prayers please let them be known to us. Mike fixed the features, so you should be able to post comments now.

May you seek Him in all you do.

-Dina

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Seminary Success


Today we finished our large painting project at the C&MA Seminary. We had plenty of paint to use and had time to paint hallways and several rooms in the main Administration Building in much need of attention as well as the Student Residency Building. The Dean invited us to his home to enjoy a wonderful African meal. It has been such a joy getting a vision of the Seminary meeting the team, students and faculty. It is amazing to see just how important this Seminary is to spreading the gospel in Africa as it fits essential specific needs for up and coming church leaders. Thank you so much for your continued prayers!

- Stephen

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worshipping in africa

yesterday we went to chapel service very early in the morning. it was at the seminary and one of the students lead it. laura livingston (who's house we have been eating lunch at) translated for us but at times i found myself just listening to the french speaking pastor. i could tell just by his body language and intensity that he was bringing it. my favorite is singing all together. they had french song books and i tried my hardest to pronounce all the words correctly but i'm sure i butchered most of them. i sat next to a student and another woman. the man next to me noticed it didn't have my bible when the pastor was reading out of hebrews so he offered to share his french one. i thought i was so considerate of him so i looked along with him and tried to see if i could pick out any of the words. after service we all stood in a line out the door and every person comes by and shakes our hands. everyone is so grateful and welcoming. it makes the hot weather and painting easy when you know the people you are blessing with the work.

i hope the kids remember us when we leave. i know i'll never forget their precious faces or laughter. we played some more games with them when we had a break and i just can't get enough of them. they each have such different personalities, some show off, some are shy, some are fierce competitors when playing games with us and some and just so sweet. one little girl was carrying a little baby on her back that was trying to sleep when she was playing a game with us.

thanks so much for all your prayers. it's awesome to know how much support we have back home. w couldn't be doing all we are if it wasn't for your support and prayers...so thank you again.

-christine g.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh What A Sweaty Day!

Today we put a second coat on the stairwells of the apartment building at the Seminary and touched up some on the main halls. One building down, and another to do, which we got mostly done, and there wasn't as much either. Again, we had lunch at the Livingstons, which is so nice of them to have us over to replenish us before going back out to work. It was after lunch that we started on the main building and then that it was also the hottest. Yesterday, not so bad because the hallways are open at the apartments, the main building was more closed off. The kids at the seminary are always great and so anxious to get their picture taken and see how it turned out; I even let them take pictures of each other until they would fight over it and that's where it was time to take it back.

Tonight we took a walk after dinner for some ice cream that Mike has been looking forward to probably since we arrived. It was well worth the walk! On the way there (and back for that matter) we came across something you wouldn't think would be on the street or crossing the road- it was a crab! Yes, you heard that right. It scared Dina and I think it was scared all of us too.

So far it's been great here and everyone is so kind and welcoming and I feel blessed to interact with the people. Everywhere you go you give a wave and "bonjour" and every time you see them you get closer to becoming friends.

For now,

-Kira

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Painting in a Parachute

Hello from Africa on Day 4! Well I think today was the hardest we've worked since we got here. We were back at the seminary today painting the dormitory for the students. I'm proud of everyone for putting in so much effort. We are way ahead of schedule! God blessed us today with cloudy skies for most of the day and a great breeze that blew through the hallways and stairwells keeping us relatively cool, well, for Africa.

Actually, that leads me to the title of this post because although I am truly grateful for God bringing the breeze, to my horror, my $3.99 floral print skirt from the Salvation Army, thought it would be fun to see how it could fly in the breeze. It was ridiculous trying to hold my skirt down and at the same time paint with a roller. Fortunately the skirt liked to watch itself puff up rather than reveal anything inappropriate. I won't be wearing it tomorrow! Another favorite part today was meeting students and kids in the hallways. I met a young lady named Nina, who came out and thanked me and introduced herself in English. I introduced myself in French and we had a good laugh. Sadly, though that is all the French I knew and all the English she knew so the conversation ended there. I loved trying and the victory in connecting in the small conversation we had!

After painting we came back and jumped in the pool and I am proud to say that a recouped Gavin now holds the record for holding his breath underwater the longest. 2 minutes 15 seconds! Steven holds a close second and is ruthlessly preparing to take the lead. Good Luck to all the participants.

-Sarah

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Give Me Five


Today we went to the Alliance Seminary. We prepped and cleaned the resident student housing complex for painting. We had an amazing lunch with two of the professors from the seminary. It was great to hear stories of their experiences in Africa and learn more about the work that they are doing at the seminary. We weren't able to start painting today because the paint still needs to be tinted and mixed. However, we were able to play with some of the kids of the ministry students. One little boy seemed quite shy and I greeted him in French and received no response. Later as I passed I stuck out my hand and he gave me five as big as he could! Thank you for your prayers!

-Stephen

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Garb and Grub

The beginning of our Monday began with the girls going for a little shopping spree for "tissue" (fabric) to bring to the tailor for our African dresses! (and John tagged along to be our body guard :) ) It was very fun to go through the market and find the shops that sold fabric. When we found two little shops, right across from each other, it was hard to choose which fabric would be perfect for our dresses... well, it was hard for me, anyway. I guess you could say I'm not one to make decisions fast. :) Needless to say I was able to pick one out, with Ashley's help, and after the ladies running the shop measured three meters and we paid off we went to the tailor. The tailor shop was very tiny and we managed to squeeze about seven of us in there. We all picked out what style of dress we wanted and then got measured. Hopefully all four will be ready by the time we leave for Grand Bassam on Friday morning so we can wear them to church on Sunday.

The food these past three days has been marvelous. Every meal = a new adventure. Every meal = deliciousness. Culinary student approved. :) We never have left overs because if there is anything left on the table near the end of the meal we shove it towards Stephen and he will be sure to make it disappear. Last night we went to a Lebanese restaurant called Al Bakwat. It was by far one of the most amazing meals I have ever consumed! I don't think I could get tired of Lebanese cuisine. Everyone around us smoking hookah gave some great atmosphere, as well.

I have also found that my love for mangoes has greatly increased! Fresh, ripe mangoes are the absolute bomb! It's unbelievable. I wish I could just bring a whole suitcase full of them home with me, but I'm not sure how well that would work out. Another culinary thing I learned was that usually when you eat something with banana in it such as "fried bananas" or "banana foutou" it isn't really bananas, it's made from plantains. (which, they believe to be a kind of banana, but I beg to differ... what do I know, though...)

Everything has been wonderful, even through all the heat, humidity, and sweat. I love it. Thank you, once again, for all your prayers. Continue to pray for our safety, health, high spirits, and team unity. Merci, merci, merci. (a little of the French in me coming out. haha.)
Bon Soir.

-Dina

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another day of cute african children

we went to the seminary today that we will be painting. while we were waiting to get started with taping edges of the walls and doors, i started playing with two adorable little boys. we were throwing a mini soccer ball back and forth. i was taking lots of pictures and these two gorgeous little girls came out to play and loved having their picture taken. actually, all the kids love it. they laugh so hard when you show them pictures of themselves on your camera. their spirit is contagious. they're so pure and loving. i also took a few photos of a group of some girls and one guy that were probably a little younger than me. i was nervous at first to ask them if i could take their picture but they were just as sweet about it and also loved seeing themselves. i'm even more excited about serving the people there by doing some painting tomorrow because of our interaction with them today.

-Christine

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Day Three!

Hi, everyone back home. It's day three in Abidjan and everything is going great. I couldn't be more proud of the team. Everyone is adjusting well and in great spirits and serving with all their hearts. I was a little sick the last two days but feeling a lot better now. Thanks for all your prayers.

Tomorrow we're back at the Seminary for day two of painting. It's going to be quite the project. We're really happy to serve there. This is where great theological and ministry training is happening for the future church leaders in Africa. Students and families travel from several surrounding countries to grow in the depth of understanding of God's word and their skills for ministry.

Continue to pray for divine opportunities to share the gospel and join the Spirit's work happening here. Thanks for all your support!

One note of interest: Christine did beat Stephen in a water treading competition after painting today -- 20 min to 21 min. Congratulations, Christine. ;)

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Sunday is just a Sunday.

A road is just a road
until you want to get somewhere.

And a Church Service is just a service
until you have a choir sing blessings over you.

The sun is just the sun
until you feel it beating down on your shoulders.

Gods love is just love
until you realize just how amazing his grace really is.

Blessings.

-david

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Their faces light up


Bon jour! We have begun our trip adapting and preparing for our time here in Cote d' Ivoire. It has been amazing to see how friendly and courteous the people are here. One of the coolest things so far has been learning some more greetings in French. It is evident that the local people really like it when we take the effort to address them. Their faces light up in a such a warm smile and they become quite animated. Thank you for all of your prayers!

-Stephen

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Abobo C&MA Church

It took us 90 minutes to get to church. We spent a lot of time waiting for the pastor at a gas station, then wound our way through muddy roads to the Abobo C&MA church. It was a long service. Gavin was feeling under the weather, but did a great job preaching! We got home around 2 PM.
-Mike

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Home from Ile Boulay

We had a great time on our bateau bus ride and stay at the Boulay Island beach. I was so proud of the team's great interaction with the Ivorians. They played a lot with the kids.
-Mike

The amazing journey continued today here in the Ivory Coast. Getting a look at the city in the light this morning really put us into a bit of culture shock. The kids at the beach were really fun to interact with.
-david

Today was a great day relaxing at the beach and taking in some sun, while trying not to get burned, although we all got a little too much sun. We also got to interact with some kids while also enjoying our first African meal. Delicious!
-Kira

Today was a fascinating extension of my stay in West Africa. After being so long in Koutiala, Abidjan seemed like New York City, Paris and Bamako all rolled into one. I was wondering where all of the donkey and push carts went! :) So far Cote d'Ivoire has been pretty much the exact opposite of Mali but I had a blast kickin it under the scorching Saharan sun with the team and some hungry clams. Lunch was regular West African fare - chicken, fried bananas and frites - my favorite!! I'm super excited to interact with some Ivorians over the next couple of weeks and discovering how they compare to Malians.
-Ashley

Most of us haven't had a problem with jetlag. My parents got us going this morning so we got on the sleep schedule for this time zone in no time. We just finished some singing getting ready for tomorrow at church and now we are just hanging out passing computers around. Thank you all for your e-mails. We love to hear what is going on in your lives. Keep up the praying.
-John

the kids in abidjan are soo cute! i loved writing in the sand with them and playing ping pong with some of them . although i couldn't really talk much to them i think i made some friends. even when we got done with our boat trip and got back to our cars a bunch of kids were outside and ran up to us and started shaking our hands and LOVED stephen! the Farho's have been more than hospitable, they're amazing. it's also super helpful having john with us to answer all of our questions about how to say things in French. please keep praying for more interactions with people and for the Farhos to be blessed after being such a blessing to us.
-Christine

Well, I rocked a sweet headache today from a lack of diet coke, malaria meds, and too much sun and humidity. However it was nothing that ibuprofen and a quick nap couldn't fix. Today's tour was great to get to know this great city. Kind of in sensory overload trying to take it all in but it's going to be a blast! I think that God has some amazing things planned for us so I can't wait to experience more.
-Sarah

Mike and Sue knew just what we needed today -- a day to rest after 41 hours in airports and on planes. The beach was great, the food was even better. There's nothing like seeing a chicken clucking one hour and on your plate the next hour. That's fresh chicken! Tomorrow we go to a Bambara church and the preacher is... me, I guess. They found out a pastor from the states was going to be there, so they asked if I would fill the pulpit. So, here goes nothing. I'll have a translator who will translate into both French and Bambara. We appreciate your prayers as our ministry projects begin this week.
-Gavin

As the last one to update (Stephen went to bed early) I'm having a hard time finding something new to tell you. Today was a great day! It was so nice to just relax and get acquainted with the bright African sun. Our venture, beginning out of Omaha was a rocky one for me as I forgot my yellow card with proof of immunizations that I would need to enter Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). It was 5:00am and our plane was leaving at 5:45. I had to call my dad and ask him to find it and rush it to the airport. (We live about 30 minutes away.) He brought it just in time for it Sarah and I (the last two of our team waiting to get on the plane) to run through the terminal, the check point, and the lady at our gate yelling, "Johnson! Miller! Run faster! Your plane is leaving!" We got on just in time and off we went. After a 6 hour layover in Atlanta and a 9 hour flight to Paris another adventure took way. When we went to get our boarding passes to Abidjan after arriving in Paris they couldn't find us in their system. After many calls to Nebraska (where it was around 1:30am in Omaha) we figured it all out and 7.5 hours later we were off to Abidjan. It was interesting to drive through the crazy streets of Abidjan where there were no street rules. I was very glad I was not the driver. Last nights rest was amazing and today was a great day to unwind after a long trip. Thank you for all of your prayers and continued support. We greatly appreciate it! I can't wait to see all that God does through this adventure.
-Dina

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Team here safe and sound

All nine members are here now. Thanks for praying for their safe travel. The flight from Paris to Abidjan was one hour late arriving. Ashley made it safe from Bamako, Mali. Saturday, we ride the boat bus to Boulay Island.

Bateau bus at the Treichville station
Bateau (boat) bus on the Abidjan lagoon approaching the Treichville Station

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Ashley Schmidt arriving from Mali

Ashley Schmidt will be the first CCC 2008 team member to arrive in Abidjan. Her flight arrives at about 3 PM. She is currently doing an extended short term mission in Mali. We look forward to hearing about her ministry there. We might be mistaken, but we think she is working at the Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children.

Hospital sign
The Koutiala hospital, located in Mali, West Africa, is being built to meet the physical and spiritual needs of women and children.

-Mike

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Team left Omaha at 5:45 AM

Modeste church bench
A photo of airplanes in West Africa

The Christ Community Church College Team flew out of Omaha this morning at 5:45 AM CST. They catch their international flight to Paris out of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport at 3:35 PM EST
Time Of Arrival: 6:20 AM in Paris France Friday, May 16, 2008
Time Of Departure for Abidjan: 1:25 PM Paris time
Time Of Arrival in Abidjan: 5:50 PM GMT

With adjustment for time zones, their total trip duration from departure time in Omaha to arrival time in Abidjan is more than 41 hours.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seminary Women's Center

FATEAC seminary Women's Center
FATEAC Women's Center in 2005, in final stage of construction

The FATEAC Women's Center had 27 students in the women's adjunct program during 2006-2007. It provides classrooms for the women and housing for visiting students and work teams.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Abidjan Bateau Bus

Bateau bus at the Treichville station
Bateau (boat) bus on the Abidjan lagoon approaching the Treichville Station

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Abidjan Commercial District

Commercial district of downtown Abidjan
Downtown Abidjan. View from Marcory Residential, with lagoon in foreground

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Abidjan The Paris of West Africa

Catholic cathedral downtown Abidjan
Catholic Cathedral in center of downtown Abidjan

The skyscrapers in the background are the governmental offices. Abidjan now claims a population of about 4 million. Some believe the actual figure could easily be 6 million, nearly twice the population when we moved here in 2002. The water in the foreground is the lagoon that surrounds the city.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bateau Bus Station

Bateau bus at the Treichville station
Bateau (boat) bus on the Abidjan lagoon at the Treichville Station

The team will spend a few hours on the bus as we travel to and from the island where we will have orientation with them on their first day in Cote d'Ivoire.

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