Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Initially, I planned a series of posts on our eventful trip to Fougamou, but the most extraordinary thing happened to me today, and so I feel inclined to write it up and tell you the story, thus interrupting the travelling theme.

It all starts with me being an excellent housewife, never ceasing to look for opportunities to spoil her little Chouchou (that's Jandro, in case you're wondering). This morning, excellent housewife that I am, I decided to make a pizza for lunch. By now you probably suspect that I excel in pizzas, and, consequently, you can imagine what a wonderful prospect it was for Jandro and myself.

As I needed to pick up a few things from the supermarket, I took a taxi there and back and set to work. The pizza turned out - surprise! - excellent, and we were both in high spirits when Jandro asked me to give him some change, as he had none. I opened my bag to take out my wallet and... well, my wallet was not there. To make matters worse, I quickly established that it was not to be found anywhere in our flat, and the last time I'd seen it was in the taxi. Either it had been stolen from me or I'd simply dropped it - whatever the scenario, the result was that I lost my treasured, my one and only, my precious carte de séjour. The thing I dreaded ever since I came into possession of the invaluable document became reality. I was now illegal. I had no option but to beg for mercy at CEDOC.

We were advised that the best way of going about the begging was to report the robbery and show the report to CEDOC. We were thus on our way to the police station (me having my third heart attack of the day), when Jandro's telephone rang. It was the EU Chief of Administration's secretary, informing us that somebody had called him saying that... they'd found my wallet. They left a phone number and we called back, rendezvousing with the man tout de suite. Heading for the church where we were supposed to meet him, I received a phone call from the receptionist of my gym, who had also been called about my loss. Both my gym card and the Chief of Administration's business card were in the wallet, together with my carte de séjour and around 40000 CFA (60 euros).

It turned out that a young Togolese man saw a wallet in the ditch by the road and picked it up. There was no money in it but he found two phone numbers which he subsequently called. He is not Gabonese, and so he knew what a nightmare it was to obtain a carte de séjour. Because of this, and because he is an honest man, he decided to take the trouble and find the owner of the wallet. He probably knew there was some money in it for him (we reimbursed the money he'd spent on the phone calls with 5000 CFA or 7,5 euro, which will also pay for a good dinner) but I will be eternally grateful that he didn't just give the pretty wallet to his wife, throwing all the unnecessary papers away.

All's well that ends well. And this particular experience makes me believe in people. And a little bit in the spirits of the forest. But that's a whole different story.

The picture comes from here.

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