I am a technician for medical equipment and recently got the opportunity to work in Ivory Coast. I received my visa, flight tickets and a mission. I am on my way to Ivory coast (Côte d’Ivoire) for work. I was asked to go and help at a dialysis center. We had no idea what the setup was like at the center and what the technical issues were.

Boarding the Aeroplane to Côte d’Ivoire

My trip started in South Africa at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and it was my first flying experience in business class on a Boeing 737. The seats were spacious and the service was incredible. I had a layover in Ethiopia and had to wait 2 hours for the next flight to my destination Abidjan, Ivory coast. My flight arrived and I boarded a Boeing 787. This was the best flight I ever had; you had your own seat which could be converted into a bed. So, I slept for a few hours to be awaken to some delicious food.

Arriving in Abidjan

It was a Monday morning and I arrived in Abidjan. I rushed to my driver’s car for the aircon as it felt like 45 degrees outside. As it is in many parts of Africa, the traffic was extremely busy and everyone seem to be fighting for their own lane on the road. As we stopped at the hotel, the driver helped me to book into my room since my French skills are not that good yet. I received my room key, went upstairs and just relaxed with the aircon on maximum and caught up with some sleep after the long trip.

Flying in a Bombarder to Korhogo

The next day me and a colleague were on our way to Korhogo, above is a photo of the aircraft we flew in. It was my first experience flying in a Bombarder and luckily it was a quick flight since it was a bit noisy.

 

This picture below shows the whole airport for Korhogo. As you arrive, you walk into a small room where you can collect your baggage.

Working Experience in Korhogo

The inland was not as hot as the coastal area and it was very dry. I liked the hotel in Korhogo more than the one in Abidjan. The rooms were bigger and felt more secure. The Wi-Fi even worked in Korhogo, which was important for me as I did not have a local sim card yet. The television was only in French and this helped me to catch up with my French skills. The food was something for me to get used to and I slowly started to get tired of the same food every morning.

After we were settled in our hotel rooms, the driver phoned and said he will be picking us up shortly to go to the hospital where we are going to work. Upon arrival at the hospital, we saw a lot of broken dialog machines and a problematic pre-filter tank. So we knew that we had a lot to do.

 

The next day we had an early start and as soon as we were done with breakfast, we were on our way back to the hospital where we worked for the next 7 days.

I started to clean the dialog machines and my colleague would run a test on the machines to see what the problems were and started to replace the broken components. We were running out of time; at this pace we were not going to finish all the machines in time. My colleague showed me a few things on the machines so I could help with the maintenance work. Above is a photo of a machine we worked on and it also shows the workspace we had. We managed to fix almost all machines except for two and the local technicians were very pleased and happy about that.

 

For me personally it was a good experience. I learned a lot from this trip, it was my first time working on dialog machines and to be able to fix it was very satisfying. I was delighted every time I saw a green light on the machines which meant it was working the way it should again.

After Work Experience in Korhogo

After hours was interesting as well. The driver took us to local restaurants and introduced us to different local food and drinks. One night the driver and one of the hospital staff also took us out for dinner. We ended up in a dark alley. I did feel unsafe for a moment, but as soon as we sat down, I immediately felt welcome. The guy that invited us out quickly went to order food for everyone at a BBQ on the other side of the street. Soon we were served meat on a silver platter. At first, I was a bit sceptical as it is not something that I am used to, but it was delicious. We were served mutton chopped up in small little blocks so that we could eat it with a toothpick and dip the meat in sauces they added. This was a very interesting and funny experience.

Personal Impression of Ivory Coast

People from outside of Africa consider Africa as one whole country, but people are misinformed that Africa consist of 52 different countries. As I am from the very southern part of Africa it was an incredible experience for me in Western Africa. My expectations of Ivory Coast were exceeded by its uniqueness and it was a privilege to have helped improve the country’s health sector.

 

Keywords: Ivory Coast, Côte d’Ivoire, Africa

Author: Danie Brink

 

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