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Scribblings Online – Apr 2003

Torn Apart!

{mosimage}Can
you remember being woken by an unexpected sound in the night?

In more rural locations in Africa, we have been woken by many strange
sounds – rats running around in the roof space of our house; the
blood curdling screams of tree hyraxes and once, by what sounded like
someone walking around on our corrugated iron roof!

Since moving to the city of Abidjan it's more often been loud music
from neighbours, all night parties, the bin men clattering and banging
at 1 a.m. or telephone calls from friends who are unaware that most
Westerners don't get up with the sun at 6am on Saturday mornings!

Since 1999 though we have become more familiar than we want with a
more deeply disturbing sound:

19 September 2002 5 a.m. Again we
wake to the rattle of automatic gunfire in the distance, but it doesn't
seem to be stopping after a few shots as it usually does with armed
robberies. There are also occasional louder booms which sound like heavy
artillery.

I get up and switch on the two-way radio provided by the embassy. Nothing
but crackles until with classic British understatement a fellow warden
says: "This is 'Plateau
Two' to Base: Um…there seems to be rather more gunfire than one
would expect at this time of the morning… over.
"

7 a.m. Initial radio reports suggest a rebellion by
discontented soldiers who are about to be demobilised, but a number
of key political figures have been killed in attacks on their homes
suggesting that this is another coup attempt – the fourth since Christmas
1999.

7.30 a.m. We certainly can't drive Christopher and
Emma to school today. But getting to the SIL office takes only a quick
sprint across the grass. Our night guard there says he heard the first
shots at around 4am from the direction of the police training school
a couple of miles away.

10 a.m. Local radio is telling us that loyal government
troops have the situation under control and that occasional shots in
the distance are just part of 'mopping up' exercises. The reality of
the threat is driven home when we find a broken windowpane and a stray
AK-47 bullet on the top floor of our SIL centre.

We hope that things will soon return to normal as on similar occasions
in the past, but news from our workshop centre in Bouaké is worrying
– the city is still under rebel control. More than twenty friends and
colleagues are currently attending a workshop or living there.

23 September Government forces are trying to retake
Bouaké. Paul calls frequently and can hear the gunfire and explosions
of the battle raging in the immediate vicinity of those at the other
end of the line! Although we feel powerless we know that God is all
powerful and in sovereign control of the situation.

{mosimage}26
September
Finally rebels allow French soldiers to lead a convoy
of expatriates out of Bouaké and back to Abidjan. Many tears
of relief are shed when they finally arrive safely at the SIL centre.

Over the next few weeks, life in Abidjan begins to return to normal,
but there are still frequent reports of fighting in the North and a
continuing 8pm-6am curfew, which limits social and church activities.
Paramilitary police destroy large areas of 'shanty' housing in Abidjan,
claiming this is necessary to root out rebels who are hiding there,
but it leaves many thousands without homes and further increases ethnic
tensions. It is encouraging to see some churches witnessing powerfully
and effectively as they help these people.

Paul attends regular wardens' meetings, which along with the Internet
and the radio help us to keep up to date with developments.

16 October Paul is called to an urgent meeting at
the Embassy where the ambassador asks wardens to contact British people
in their area advising that they should leave the country as soon as
possible. The same advice is given out by most other embassies since
the situation is deteriorating and unpredictable. Our mission's contingency
plan states that this would be a trigger for us to leave, so after consultation,
Paul as the director tells all our members that we must leave. Over
the following five days everyone works very hard to ensure that everything
is left in order and that arrangements are in place to provide as much
support as possible to the Ivorian colleagues we have to leave behind.

Bamako

22 October About 30 of us fly to Bamako in Mali where
the other half of our branch is based. We thank the Lord that we get
to the airport before violent demonstrations begin outside the adjoining
French military base.

With the sudden release of pressure we begin to realise just how much
stress we have all been experiencing. But Paul is still acting branch
director, so there is little time for resting. Individually and as a
group we must consider what we will do until a return to Côte
d'Ivoire becomes possible. For the Shaddick family there are several
significant considerations:

  • We are expecting a new baby in May! Whilst Margo felt prepared
    for a delivery in Abidjan, Bamako is much less developed and we don't
    feel at all confident about remaining there for the birth.
  • Christopher and Emma have been warmly welcomed into a mission school,
    but switching yet again, this time to an American curriculum, is hard
    on them.
  • Paul feels uncomfortable about leaving the heavy directorial responsibilities
    for others to carry.
  • Margo's responsibilities as project funding coordinator will also
    need to be covered by others if we leave.

18 November Finally, after having weighed up the situation
and consulted with others, we conclude that we should return to the
UK at least until the end of the current school year.

Back to the UK

9 December We fly back to the UK and spend a few weeks
with family.

New rebel groups are emerging in the west of Ivory Coast near the Liberian
border.

3 January We move into a rented house in Bradley Stoke
close to where we spent our furlough. Christopher and Emma are delighted
to pick up with their old school friends and we are glad to be in a
stable and familiar environment.

25 January Negotiations in Paris finish with an agreement
on a government of national reconciliation, but loyalists in Abidjan
are angry that key posts have been promised to rebels. Intense anti-French
feeling leads to violent protests and looting of French interests in
Abidjan including Christopher and Emma's school.

April In spite of further talks and international
pressure, rebel and loyalist sides still cannot agree on the composition
of the new government. There is a growing hope for peace, but still
a fear that the situation could suddenly deteriorate. Areas near the
Liberian border seem to have become completely lawless.

What Next?

Over the coming weeks we are facing major decisions about our future.
When we returned to Africa last year, we planned to be there for three
years before moving back to the UK so that the children could complete
their critical final years of schooling in English. The situation in
Ivory Coast is such that we must now face the prospect of not being
able to return there as we had hoped. So we are asking what we might
do if we remain in Britain.

We know that the Lord is fully in control of all that happens in our
lives and that our situation is no surprise to him. Please pray with
us for his leading as we carefully consider the way forward.

We realise that Margo is going to be busy with the new baby for a while,
but for Paul there seem to be three possible directions which he could
take if we cannot go back.

  • Continue working with Wycliffe in the UK. He has been specifically
    asked to consider taking on responsibility for computer training of
    other members preparing for assignment overseas.
  • Apply his skills and experience to work with another missionary
    organisation based in the UK. We are making enquiries in this direction.
  • Try to return to secular employment in computing and be a witness
    there.

{mosimage}Christopher: Just before we left Bamako
I was ill. I had really bad pains in my tummy and I kept being sick. At
the hospital they looked inside me with an ultrasound machine. The Doctor
said it looked like there had been a stone in my kidney, but it had now
passed out. She wanted me to stay in because I was dehydrated, but I didn't
want to. In the end they let me go home, but I had to stay on a drip overnight.
A kind missionary lady, who is a nurse, helped put the needle in my arm,
and daddy woke up and changed the bottle in the middle of the night. By
the morning I felt fine.

{mosimage}Emma: When we evacuated we went to
Mali, which is just above Ivory Coast on the map. I was sad to leave Abidjan,
but I liked Mali too. For a few weeks we went to the Bamako Christian
School. It is a small school with only 18 kids before we got there. I
made some friends there, but they gave us much too much homework! One
of the funnest things we did was putting on a really funny play called
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Bhete News

We
enjoyed having the Goprou family visit us in the UK last April. Since
then Carlos and Mariam have completed their studies in Kenya. In July
they returned to Abidjan and later moved to Gagnoa for Carlos to begin
work with -A "Zo "De on Bhete translation. The transition
has been hard for them, please pray that they would know the assurance
of the Lord's faithful provision as they face an uncertain future.

Eliezer too has been through tough times over recent months. His fiancee
broke off their engagement, his mother has been seriously ill and he
has been suffering again with a stomach ulcer.

{mosimage}
We are thankful that so far fighting has not reached the Gagnoa area,
but the ongoing Bhete work is now seriously affected by the absence
of SIL from the country. Without the usual support structures in place
SIL is advising Carlos not to begin translation this year as we had
originally hoped. The other reason for this is that as yet, no suitable
Gbadi dialect speaker has been found to work with Carlos. Of course
we hope that these delays will only be temporary. Meanwhile Carlos will
be aiming to complete the doctoral thesis in linguistics that he was
doing before he left for Nairobi.

Communication with Gagnoa and Abidjan have become increasingly difficult.
The SIL e-mail server in the Abidjan office has stopped working and
telephoning is an expensive and often frustrating alternative. Let's
keep praying for them. 

Prayer Pointers

Sunday For the church in
Côte d'Ivoire to grow through these trials and to witness consistently
to God's love.
Monday That peace, justice and unity
would soon be restored throughout the whole country.
Tuesday For a safe delivery and good
health of our new baby due in the middle of May.
Wednesday For progress in the Bhete work
in spite of the ongoing difficult circumstances.
Thursday For clear direction from the
Lord about our personal future whether in Côte d'Ivoire or the
UK.
Friday For wisdom for our branch colleagues
who are having to make tough decisions about ongoing work in Côte
d'Ivoire.
Saturday That God would keep our Ivorian
friends and colleagues safe and continue to supply their practical
needs.

 

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Scribblings Online – Apr 2003

Torn Apart!

{mosimage}Can
you remember being woken by an unexpected sound in the night?

In more rural locations in Africa, we have been woken by many strange
sounds – rats running around in the roof space of our house; the
blood curdling screams of tree hyraxes and once, by what sounded like
someone walking around on our corrugated iron roof!

Since moving to the city of Abidjan it's more often been loud music
from neighbours, all night parties, the bin men clattering and banging
at 1 a.m. or telephone calls from friends who are unaware that most
Westerners don't get up with the sun at 6am on Saturday mornings!

Since 1999 though we have become more familiar than we want with a
more deeply disturbing sound:

19 September 2002 5 a.m. Again we
wake to the rattle of automatic gunfire in the distance, but it doesn't
seem to be stopping after a few shots as it usually does with armed
robberies. There are also occasional louder booms which sound like heavy
artillery.

I get up and switch on the two-way radio provided by the embassy. Nothing
but crackles until with classic British understatement a fellow warden
says: "This is 'Plateau
Two' to Base: Um…there seems to be rather more gunfire than one
would expect at this time of the morning… over.
"

7 a.m. Initial radio reports suggest a rebellion by
discontented soldiers who are about to be demobilised, but a number
of key political figures have been killed in attacks on their homes
suggesting that this is another coup attempt – the fourth since Christmas
1999.

7.30 a.m. We certainly can't drive Christopher and
Emma to school today. But getting to the SIL office takes only a quick
sprint across the grass. Our night guard there says he heard the first
shots at around 4am from the direction of the police training school
a couple of miles away.

10 a.m. Local radio is telling us that loyal government
troops have the situation under control and that occasional shots in
the distance are just part of 'mopping up' exercises. The reality of
the threat is driven home when we find a broken windowpane and a stray
AK-47 bullet on the top floor of our SIL centre.

We hope that things will soon return to normal as on similar occasions
in the past, but news from our workshop centre in Bouaké is worrying
– the city is still under rebel control. More than twenty friends and
colleagues are currently attending a workshop or living there.

23 September Government forces are trying to retake
Bouaké. Paul calls frequently and can hear the gunfire and explosions
of the battle raging in the immediate vicinity of those at the other
end of the line! Although we feel powerless we know that God is all
powerful and in sovereign control of the situation.

{mosimage}26
September
Finally rebels allow French soldiers to lead a convoy
of expatriates out of Bouaké and back to Abidjan. Many tears
of relief are shed when they finally arrive safely at the SIL centre.

Over the next few weeks, life in Abidjan begins to return to normal,
but there are still frequent reports of fighting in the North and a
continuing 8pm-6am curfew, which limits social and church activities.
Paramilitary police destroy large areas of 'shanty' housing in Abidjan,
claiming this is necessary to root out rebels who are hiding there,
but it leaves many thousands without homes and further increases ethnic
tensions. It is encouraging to see some churches witnessing powerfully
and effectively as they help these people.

Paul attends regular wardens' meetings, which along with the Internet
and the radio help us to keep up to date with developments.

16 October Paul is called to an urgent meeting at
the Embassy where the ambassador asks wardens to contact British people
in their area advising that they should leave the country as soon as
possible. The same advice is given out by most other embassies since
the situation is deteriorating and unpredictable. Our mission's contingency
plan states that this would be a trigger for us to leave, so after consultation,
Paul as the director tells all our members that we must leave. Over
the following five days everyone works very hard to ensure that everything
is left in order and that arrangements are in place to provide as much
support as possible to the Ivorian colleagues we have to leave behind.

Bamako

22 October About 30 of us fly to Bamako in Mali where
the other half of our branch is based. We thank the Lord that we get
to the airport before violent demonstrations begin outside the adjoining
French military base.

With the sudden release of pressure we begin to realise just how much
stress we have all been experiencing. But Paul is still acting branch
director, so there is little time for resting. Individually and as a
group we must consider what we will do until a return to Côte
d'Ivoire becomes possible. For the Shaddick family there are several
significant considerations:

  • We are expecting a new baby in May! Whilst Margo felt prepared
    for a delivery in Abidjan, Bamako is much less developed and we don't
    feel at all confident about remaining there for the birth.
  • Christopher and Emma have been warmly welcomed into a mission school,
    but switching yet again, this time to an American curriculum, is hard
    on them.
  • Paul feels uncomfortable about leaving the heavy directorial responsibilities
    for others to carry.
  • Margo's responsibilities as project funding coordinator will also
    need to be covered by others if we leave.

18 November Finally, after having weighed up the situation
and consulted with others, we conclude that we should return to the
UK at least until the end of the current school year.

Back to the UK

9 December We fly back to the UK and spend a few weeks
with family.

New rebel groups are emerging in the west of Ivory Coast near the Liberian
border.

3 January We move into a rented house in Bradley Stoke
close to where we spent our furlough. Christopher and Emma are delighted
to pick up with their old school friends and we are glad to be in a
stable and familiar environment.

25 January Negotiations in Paris finish with an agreement
on a government of national reconciliation, but loyalists in Abidjan
are angry that key posts have been promised to rebels. Intense anti-French
feeling leads to violent protests and looting of French interests in
Abidjan including Christopher and Emma's school.

April In spite of further talks and international
pressure, rebel and loyalist sides still cannot agree on the composition
of the new government. There is a growing hope for peace, but still
a fear that the situation could suddenly deteriorate. Areas near the
Liberian border seem to have become completely lawless.

What Next?

Over the coming weeks we are facing major decisions about our future.
When we returned to Africa last year, we planned to be there for three
years before moving back to the UK so that the children could complete
their critical final years of schooling in English. The situation in
Ivory Coast is such that we must now face the prospect of not being
able to return there as we had hoped. So we are asking what we might
do if we remain in Britain.

We know that the Lord is fully in control of all that happens in our
lives and that our situation is no surprise to him. Please pray with
us for his leading as we carefully consider the way forward.

We realise that Margo is going to be busy with the new baby for a while,
but for Paul there seem to be three possible directions which he could
take if we cannot go back.

  • Continue working with Wycliffe in the UK. He has been specifically
    asked to consider taking on responsibility for computer training of
    other members preparing for assignment overseas.
  • Apply his skills and experience to work with another missionary
    organisation based in the UK. We are making enquiries in this direction.
  • Try to return to secular employment in computing and be a witness
    there.

{mosimage}Christopher: Just before we left Bamako
I was ill. I had really bad pains in my tummy and I kept being sick. At
the hospital they looked inside me with an ultrasound machine. The Doctor
said it looked like there had been a stone in my kidney, but it had now
passed out. She wanted me to stay in because I was dehydrated, but I didn't
want to. In the end they let me go home, but I had to stay on a drip overnight.
A kind missionary lady, who is a nurse, helped put the needle in my arm,
and daddy woke up and changed the bottle in the middle of the night. By
the morning I felt fine.

{mosimage}Emma: When we evacuated we went to
Mali, which is just above Ivory Coast on the map. I was sad to leave Abidjan,
but I liked Mali too. For a few weeks we went to the Bamako Christian
School. It is a small school with only 18 kids before we got there. I
made some friends there, but they gave us much too much homework! One
of the funnest things we did was putting on a really funny play called
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Bhete News

We
enjoyed having the Goprou family visit us in the UK last April. Since
then Carlos and Mariam have completed their studies in Kenya. In July
they returned to Abidjan and later moved to Gagnoa for Carlos to begin
work with -A "Zo "De on Bhete translation. The transition
has been hard for them, please pray that they would know the assurance
of the Lord's faithful provision as they face an uncertain future.

Eliezer too has been through tough times over recent months. His fiancee
broke off their engagement, his mother has been seriously ill and he
has been suffering again with a stomach ulcer.

{mosimage}
We are thankful that so far fighting has not reached the Gagnoa area,
but the ongoing Bhete work is now seriously affected by the absence
of SIL from the country. Without the usual support structures in place
SIL is advising Carlos not to begin translation this year as we had
originally hoped. The other reason for this is that as yet, no suitable
Gbadi dialect speaker has been found to work with Carlos. Of course
we hope that these delays will only be temporary. Meanwhile Carlos will
be aiming to complete the doctoral thesis in linguistics that he was
doing before he left for Nairobi.

Communication with Gagnoa and Abidjan have become increasingly difficult.
The SIL e-mail server in the Abidjan office has stopped working and
telephoning is an expensive and often frustrating alternative. Let's
keep praying for them. 

Prayer Pointers

Sunday For the church in
Côte d'Ivoire to grow through these trials and to witness consistently
to God's love.
Monday That peace, justice and unity
would soon be restored throughout the whole country.
Tuesday For a safe delivery and good
health of our new baby due in the middle of May.
Wednesday For progress in the Bhete work
in spite of the ongoing difficult circumstances.
Thursday For clear direction from the
Lord about our personal future whether in Côte d'Ivoire or the
UK.
Friday For wisdom for our branch colleagues
who are having to make tough decisions about ongoing work in Côte
d'Ivoire.
Saturday That God would keep our Ivorian
friends and colleagues safe and continue to supply their practical
needs.

 

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>