April, 2002

The mayor was in town this weekend.  We actually have four mayors - the real mayor and 3 adjuncts.  Only the third adjunct lives in Taabo.  He's called the resident mayor.  The others only come in for meetings.  The mayor is a teacher and author who lives and teaches in Abidjan.

He came into town this weekend to visit all the villages and say thank you for voting for him.

The election was in November, 2000, but he couldn't say thank you before now because the city budget wasn't approved and available.  He was busy getting the city's funding straightened out.  You see, the last mayor cleared out the city's bank account when he wasn't re-elected, so the city had no operating funds.

But the new mayor, Maurice Bandaman, finally got that all straightened out and came home this weekend to thank the voters.

The voters lined up to talk to the mayor, each with a story about how much money they needed and what for.  $10 to pay the medicine for my eye infection; $15 to pay the hospital bill for the birth of my daughter; $50 for a hernia operation.  And the mayor was there to hear the stories, give out the money, and thank the voters.

It's hard for me to write that Cote d'Ivoire is a poor country.  Could this city money have been better spent bringing clean tap water to the villages?  It's not for me to judge.  I have my priorities, but other people have theirs.  But I'll tell you what, next time they tell me there's no money for gas for the trash tractor, we'll be chatting about those priorities.