Mixture of Culture: beauty unity
I am what we call café-au-lait (mixture of coffee and milk), for being from both the south and south-east, and such face some inoffensive discrimination: with my mother family, I am called of my father’s ethnic group and the same thing on the other way.
But mostly, I am called Ghanaian because my father home town, Aboisso like Bondoukou share border with Ghana.
This way of calling you from your neighbourhood country is something that fascinated me since my childhood. It helped me locate the town and regions. I know that Touba is closer to Guinea, Duékoué, to Liberia, Ferkessédougou,Bouna to Burkina-Faso and and Tengréla to Mali.
This diversity comes along with a mixture of more than 62 ethnic groups, 62 cultures in the same compound with about 100 specific meals and the availability of food at any time. I love that mixture of people and culture especially those alliances among tribes.
I have always appreciated the fact that a person, during funerals of one of his allied tribe, can stand and block the burial ceremony until he is begged and some rituals performed before they continue. Dida people are said to be slaves of many tribes. And you will hear someone insulting another one in public without any reply or urging him to carry or do something; when asking you understand they are behaving according to their alliance.
But one thing I like about my country and people is their trust in a better tomorrow and their confidence in them. “Discouragement is not Ivorian” is a popular say that works as a catalyst in Côte d’Ivoire. The first line of our hymn calls the country: Land of Hope. Ivoirians are people of hope, or must I say faith. When they believe in something, it is for real and it is difficult to get them change their mind.
Joy is another name you can call us of. May be it is the line in our national hymn: Your sons, dear Cote d’Ivoire, proud workers of your greatness, gathered for your glory will build in happiness”. When speaking of Cote d’Ivoire in the neighbourhood, you hear “Abidjan La Joie”-Abidjan the joy- referring our economic capital to the centre of joy. Even in the crisis we are facing, my people find ways to turn any situation into joke. This easy-going life and happiness has built a net for foreigners. We count almost 8 million, 48%, foreigners. We are indeed “the country of hospitality”. This has both good and bad side.
Writing this assignment makes me realize that I am deeply impacted by my country. My best friend always fights me for being difficult to convince and my too big heart. If I plan something, you will have to tie me before you get me changing or not doing it. I keep trying or believing until the last hope vanished. Very difficult to convince and hard in my way of living, but a big heart when it comes to help and assist others. I am most of the time deceived by people I trust, but tomorrow you see me engaging myself with a big smile. I can’t help but opening up and giving a smile and building a relationship here, finding friends, starting project or involving in activities. My father often asked me if I were living and not passing through life.
Today I sit down and analyse how far I have reach and understand I needed those experience to orient and broaden but especially sharpen my horizon.
On the other side, I understand why my country is what it is today. We over celebrated instead of working. We allowed hatred to overtake solidarity. We took hospitality for laziness and sold our dignity and strength. And I will not change anything of this journey my country is embarked on. It was worth the experience. The lessons we are learning are better than any advice or wish.
But I also believe we are fulfilling our national Hymn. Today I can see and hear we are singing the last line. It will take time, but I want Cote d’Ivoire to “forge, united in a new faith, the country of true brotherhood”.
For us to be united, we needed to be divided today, so that when we unite we understand the meaning of this last sentence of our hymn and it will be for real with a common vision to build love, peace and development.