Saturday, May 19, 2007

Encounter at dusk, Odienne border, Ivory Cost part (II), Bougoulla border post, Guinea

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.Encounter at dusk, Odienne border, Ivory Cost part (II).




..The Forest Leopard turns, his tail still twitching, and in a sudden movement towards the edge of the forest, it disappears into the thick.




In the time that follows, everyone in the vehicle is silent, deep sunk in his or her own thoughts, figuring out what could have or could not have been, was it not for some greater power protecting them.




The night drags along, with no one moving out of the vehicle, in fear of being eaten by the large cat.




When morning breaks they dare leaving the vehicle, but the fear will never leave them as long as they stay here.




After three days of no food, their stomachs are empty, their moods are changing fast. Desperately hoping for the return of their comrades, each one hoping for a quick end of their plight, to get out of this dense jungle. After the incident with the predator they have no interest to explore their surroundings any longer, they stay near the cabin.




In the morning of the fourth days they notice a movement over the creek. Noticing the familiar features of their comrades, they sigh in relieve, breaking out into jubilation, in typical African fashion. Immediately they set off to fix the welded radiator tank, so they can make their way further to reach the border.




In an hour the car is moving again, amidst the cheering of everyone. They exchange their experiences, without realizing the dangers that besieged them. Great is their surprise when they arrive at the border post, a mere 1 hour drive from where they had the break down.




The danger is past, the guardian saint derided, full of courage they face the Guinean border guards' viciousness for the first time. Unknown to them, the Guinean Customs unleashes the first attack whilst inspecting the goods. Like a predators prey they are now at their mercy.. Same frowns on their faces, same story all over, same tactics used to extort money from the unwary, calling for an amount of 70 000 000 Guinea Francs, about 33000 U.S. Dollars of Duties and Taxes. Quick to demand and eager to extort, the usual procedures begin. Bargaining is the way to survive here.




After nearly four days without proper food, they search now frantically for something edible. The border has some stalls where food is being sold and they go for it.




The negotiations have started, and they do not end for another three days. Without success the Guineans do not budge away from their demands. They remain stubborn, their leader being the root cause. He wants the biggest cut for himself. For unknown to the people, border posts have their own laws and rules. They will not declare the taxes to the Finance Ministry, they will share it amongst themselves. This fact is known to the government in Conakry yet they have no means to stop these mal practices, corruption reigns in Conakry and spreads throughout the country




continued : The confiscation ..




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