Saturday, July 20, 2013

Africa III - Gabon

Gabon and its capital Libreville lay at the Bay of Guinea. Tourism seemed to be thriving, stands with good art work were everywhere. Yet the back streets and the open air market required a strong stomach. We were treated to an impressive cultural evening with wonderful and powerful dances. Even the President and his wife assisted. What I wondered about  were the huge hard wood trunks on the coast. Not standing trees but trunks breaking the waves. Probably as efficient as building a concrete defense against the rolling waves. It made the beaches look wonderful and provided a  natural playground for children. Yet I always wondered whether it was ecological a good choice to thin the  forest in this way. We were there on St Patrick's day and we had our one afternoon off. So once again we got into a taxi to drive to a not so local animal park. The taxi broke down, in a small village. They had cola cola and Guinness in the local bar. Since one has to avoid drinking water  that was a good thing. It took a while before with a few local guys the car was fixed. Life seemed good and peaceful. The Park wasn't much, but I loved the drive, seeing the shades of grays, feeling the gentle breeze. Seeing the food stands and hearing the language just made me feel good. There were problems in the country and rumors about a special collection the President cared for,  nothing substantial one can spot easily but people weren't quite willing to talk 'politics'. usually that is a bad sign since it points either to deep divisions in the country or a rather harsh regime which will not allow criticism. In asking about the health situation people spoke about Ebola. but at least 600 km away.Of course we had pens and pencils and empty books to write for the children. We alway collected quite a lot of stuff, also books in French or English depending on the country we went to. What I learned is that big corporation make money everywhere and that poor people can't afford their stuff. About the rampant corruption nobody spoke. Silence is meaningful and isn't hard to hear. That is what I learned.

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