Thursday, February 27, 2014

Security in Abidjan

Before coming here, I kept hearing about how terribly unsafe this place was.  When I first told some relatives (who had never been to Africa) that I was moving to Abidjan, the first question was:
"-Where is Abidjan?" 
After a couple seconds of furious typing, I could hear an audible gasp.
It turns out, he'd been googling and the first image hit was something that looked like this:


--Is there war over there?  Why can't you just stay home?

I guess, the bottom line is many people are nervous about the security situation in Abidjan.  I think that this fear is misplaced.  While there must be some level of petty theft, I have not experienced any kind of crime.
In the beginning, I did notice the heavily armed military personnel, local police, and UN police walking around.  There are also private security guards at every bank ATM, and most businesses, apartment buildings and houses. This can make people feel unsafe, but as someone who has been out at night, who is in taxis everyday and who spent the better part of an afternoon wandering through Treichville, I find the concern overblown.

Does Abidjan have crime?  Yes.  Have I seen it?  No.  Does this mean you should go to Adjam√© market on your own with your camera around your neck?  Well, that's just inviting trouble.

There are many issues in Abidjan, quality of schooling for English speaking kids, cost of living, and availability of housing.  That's a lot of real issues to focus on, don't waste headspace on the fake ones.
Security Guard at the local supermarket
 




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