NWV: Ivory Coast Enjoys Peace

NFVS brings period of unprecedented peace and prosperity to African nation

(Abidjan) – Awa Drogba, 12, carries a bucket of water from the communal well located four kilometers from her home village as she has every day over the past four years. Eight is age when Awa says she was strong enough to make the walk with the group of local children who take this trip each day. Eight is also the age at which Awa saw someone murdered for the first time and the age at which she was first raped.

“The men would sit near the well with nothing to do. Sometimes they would let us pass with no problem, but sometimes they wouldn’t.” Awa recalls as we walk together in the blistering Ivorian summer heat. She doesn’t recall how many times the men she referenced took her, nor which man infected her with HIV, but it’s clear that since the beginning of NFVS, her life has improved significantly, “Now we walk to the well and bring back water, no one can hurt us. Life is much better now.”

When we reach the well, a man approaches us and makes a half-hearted grab for Awa, who sidesteps him and walks by to calmly fill her bucket. Appearing defeated and resigned, the man turns to me and identifies himself as Fabrice Toure. I ask the man why he stays at the well when he knows he can’t inflict any violence on the children. He shrugs and responds, “Maybe one day it will change back.”

Awa’s success is reflected all over her country, where happiness, good fortune, and bounty are in abundance for the first time in the nation’s history. No one is being exploited, no village is being looted, and no ethnic group is being massacred. These are exciting times for the formerly troubled developing nation.

“NFVS has been wonderful to us!” declares Estelle Kalou, the Ivorian Economic Minister, “As soon as people could go about their daily lives without horrific violence threatening from all sides we saw a remarkable spike in productivity.”

And truly, The Ivory Coast has never been more productive. Without the conflict, disease, and strife that wracked the nation for decades after the imperial powers looted and destroyed the fabric of their society, an economic boom has taken place. This trend has been reflected across the continent, with the notable exception of South Africa, where white rioting and terrorism has crippled the nation’s infrastructure.

Moussa Gnanhouan, director of the Ivorian Committee for Tourism, says business is booming, “With our warm, peaceful beaches and gorgeous landscape, previously wary westerners and easterners alike are eager to explore a land that just months before felt too dangerous. It’s like a whole new world has opened up to them and we are delighted to be their guide!”

Back in the small villages still scattered across the countryside in which the residents seem content with their customary way of life, Awa and her family seem appreciative of the changes, but also cautious, “It seems too good to be true. I’m enjoying each day of this paradise, but I’m trying not to get used to the luxury. When I have to go back to the old life, I want to be ready.”

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