I fell in love in a hopeful place

Four years ago I left my former home in Brazzaville for a new life in Abidjan. A year in Brazzaville had been memorable – never the centre of world news, but an intriguing country and it was a great experience shining a torch on what one American human rights professor told me was his vote for the world’s least significant country. I was the only foreign correspondent living in Brazzaville, and to my knowledge no-one has been their permanently since.

On the morning of the 23rd Nov (my birthday), I took an airline from another forgotten country (Togo or Benin I forget) to Pointe-Noire, Libreville, Lome/Cotonou and then Abidjan. On arrival there was an immediate shock. Unlike Brazzaville, there weren’t a crowd of people fighting for my bags and shouting at me to get a taxi. When I left the airport the road was wide and the bright lights of shopping centres lined the road. From there, I crossed the lagoon and saw the neon lights of the commercial district. I realised this would not be the Africa I had experienced up to now. I had come to a place that was relatively developed, comfortable, exciting, and unlike my previous home, a place that felt it could go somewhere. These four years haven’t been plain-sailing for the country, but I’m staying and I don’t want to be anywhere else.

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One Response to I fell in love in a hopeful place

  1. Martin says:

    I think my vote for the world’s least significant country would be Nauru. It’s a 21 square kilometre island with 10,000 people in the south pacific far from anything.
    But Congo-Brazzaville and Togo are up there too.

    Anyway, happy birthday!

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