Archives for category: Côte d’Ivoire

End of week 12, and we’re done at last. It’s been a long haul. Traveled down to Abidjan yesterday, and am lying low today in decompression mode.


This has been home for the last three months.


End of week 11 and the end is in sight. This week we recorded 22 volunteers reading their language using two different spelling systems, then scored the results syllable by syllable.

2017-03-14 10.17.51

End of week ten, and the training phase is over. Altogether we’ve trained 68 volunteers in four different versions of the orthography.

The daily visit to the pool is paying off in more ways than one. Yesterday I dived in and found a 5000 cfa note (£6.50) on the bottom.

End of week 9. Yesterday morning we recorded 13 people reading versions three and four of the orthography. Then I slept for the entire afternoon. This research project is a marathon!

End of week 8. We’re at that point in the marathon when it already feels like we’ve been here for ever, but still have a long way to go. Only swam twice this week, by Wednesday the water was lurid green.

End of week 7. I’m amazed at Emmanuel and Josephine’s ability to juggle four different ways of spelling this language. This week’s training, timetabled to take five days, was over in one and a half, so we’re taking the day off today. That’ll make it easier to fit in 90 lengths of the pool.

End of week 6, so we’re halfway through. The instruction couldn’t have been clearer: I asked my assistant to make one photocopy of a 90 page document. He returned with 90 copies. No choice but to pay for a mountain of waste paper.

End of week five. This week we trained 30 Dan volunteers to read and write their own language in two versions of the alphabet.

I’ve also set myself a personal challenge to go swimming every day at the Hôtel Amoitrin, adding 10 lengths a week. Funny thing is that 70 lengths this week was far easier than 30 when I first arrived.


Odile learning how to read her own language for the first time.