Minor Lessons Learned Three Months In:
sorry, this has been sitting in my drafts for months now
Know your local pharmacy. This isn’t just for medical things; many taxi drivers only know landmarks, not streets, so your nearest pharmacy will be your best friend. If you have any luck, your home will be a straight shoot down the street.
Illness is inevitable. So always have digestive biscuits, ginger ale, straight ginger, and some sort of easy, bland meal for when you get sick. When I was sick, I ate unseasoned instant noodles and a plain egg when I was feeling icky. That, bananas, and crackers got me through my stomach bug! Also either come with some basic meds or stock up once you get here
If you have never traveled to a place like Ivory Coast or you’re commonly susceptible to illness, pack a small bag for the hospital with comfy clothes, socks, some cash, and anything else you might want if you have to spend the night at the hospital.
People will stare at you. Especially if you are visibly foreign. Don’t worry, they’re just curious
Always keep a bucket/several bottles of water for water outages. Even in the more cosmopolitan parts of town, the water can and will go out. You’ll need drinking water and flushing water, and keep those supplies separate.
Same thing about power. Keep candles, matches, and a hand fan in case of a power outage. Neither the water nor the power has even been out for more than ten hours.
The food here doesn’t have preservatives. Refrigerate anything that isn’t a dry non-perishable.
Check your dry non-perishables for pests, partially at the seasonal change in November.
Markets are SO much cheaper than supermarkets. Just be prepared to negotiate and maybe even get adopted by an aunty.
When in doubt, bring official documentation. Many places in CDI are strict about fraud, so you’ll need an acceptable form of ID. I suggest your passport. Bring it to the bank, the phone store, COVID testing sites, government buildings, and any other place they may need to confirm your identity.
Please come with some French. CDI has many local languages, but generally French is the universal language (at least in the South). While some people want to learn, English, many don’t speak it. You seriously cannot navigate daily life without French. I genuinely think it is one of the few places I’ve visited where English gets you nowhere, which I personally think is great.