West African Nations - 2012

For the 22,000,000 people living here, French is the official language but literacy is very low- -around 35%. The median age of the citizens is 20 and life expectancy is only 57. Muslims make up 38% of the folks, Christians 33% and indigenous religions the other 12%. However, conflict among the religious faiths is NOT the cause of the constant unrest--that problem seems to stem from greed and corruption (diamonds and oil are indeed a mixed blessing for these countries with no experience of government where the rule of law is in force).

Abidjan Abidjan is the capital of the country as well as its chief port and about 4,000,000 people are crowded into this typically overcrowded city. The coastline is 320 miles long, longer than most of the other West African countries, but there is only this one developed port. The city looked more modern than most of the “capitals” we had just visited before. There were more high-rise buildings and more westernized businesses operating. As hard as it was to believe, there were more cars and trucks on the road but much fewer motorcycles. If anything, the streets were even more congested. Signs of progress I guess. The River Laundry The first place we were taken as a tourist attraction was the town “laundry!” That should tell you something about the state of the economy here. However, it turned out that the laundry was quite interesting and different from anything we had seen before. But first you need to know that the country near Abidjan is nearly bisected by a large lagoon with inflow from the ocean as well as water from springs and rivers emptying into it.


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