Monday, May 16, 2022

Travel the World - Cote d'Ivoire

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

Cote d'Ivoire

The Republic of Cote d'Ivoire (previously known as the Ivory Coast) is an African country bustling with resorts and sandy beaches, making it a great tourist destination for people from all around the world.

Although the country was previously referred to in English as "Ivory Coast", the country has requested that it be called "Côte d'Ivoire" (the equivalent in French). Pronouncing it "Coat di-VWAR" is close enough for an English-speaking person.

It is bordered by MaliBurkina FasoGhanaLiberia and Guinea.

Previously a French colony, the country gained its independence in 1960.

The official language of Cote d'Ivoire is French.

Geographically, it is slightly larger than the state of New Mexico.

It has 370 miles of coastline.

Cote d'Ivoire is mostly flat with mountains in the northwest and a forested interior.

Cote d'Ivoire has two capital cities. Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, but Abidjan remains the administrative capital and the officially designated economic capital. Most countries maintain an embassy in Abidjan.

With a population of 4,800,000, Abidjan is the world’s third-largest French-speaking city after Kinshasa in DR Congo and Paris in France.

Abidjan, one of the many trading ports built by Europeans along the African coast, is located on a lagoon rather than on the sea. 

There are more than 60 ethnic groups in Côte d’Ivoire.

About one-half of the population lives in rural areas.

Agriculture provides a livelihood for more than half the labor force, and locally grown subsistence crops meet most rural domestic needs. Main crops include yams, cassava, plantains, wheat, and corn.

Cocoa beans are the main export crop, cultivated by more than one-quarter of the population.

Most of the country's cocoa beans are grown by farmers of small farms (12 acres or less).

Cote d'Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans, exporting over $3.8 billion worth of beans in 2019.

In addition to chocolate, the Ivory Coast produces bananas, pineapples, fish, coffee, lumber, cotton, palm oil and petroleum.

Cote d'Ivoire is the world's 3rd largest producer of coffee.

The largest Christian church in the world, Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, is located on the Cote d'Ivoire. It can hold up to 18,000 people.

Rural housing in Côte d’Ivoire varies among people and locations. Many houses in the southeastern quarter of the country are rectangular in shape and made of reeds, poles, or dried clay. Traditionally, roofs were thatched; corrugated iron sheets are now more frequently used. Houses among the Kru and other peoples of the southwestern forest zone may be either rectangular or round, varying according to place. Dwellings are clustered around a central open area, which often serves as an evening meeting place and is where councils of elders dispense justice. The Malinke of the northwestern part of the country build round houses of mud and sun-dried brick covered by a conical thatched roof. Fences surround the dwellings, which are clustered in compounds. In the northeastern corner of the country and as far away as northern Benin, distinctive rectangular houses that somewhat resemble castles are built out of mud or brick and are crowned with crenellated parapets built around a flat roof.

Music is a vital part of Ivoirian culture. There is a strong tradition of griots who use music to help tell historical stories. The Senufo use marimbas and tuned iron gongs, among other instruments, to make their music.

Traditionally, singing is a past-time activity that most family members participate in as part of the folklore sessions. Welcoming guests, new seasons, fresh harvest, the birth of a newborn, rights of passage, deaths, and other events involve music.

Cote d’Ivoire was the first non-English speaking country to win an Academy Award. The winning film was entitled Black and White in Color.

As in many other African countries, football (soccer) is a major sport in Côte d’Ivoire. A football field exists in just about every town and village, and there is at least one football club in every city. Côte d’Ivoire also has a baseball federation, and many Ivoirians play basketball and rugby. The chocolate industry in the country forms a huge part of its culture and heritage.

Animal life abounds in Cote d'Ivoire. There are forest buffalo, bongo (a reddish brown antelope), dwarf antelopes, giant forest hogs, red river hogs, lions, elephants, leopards, green monkeys, just to name a few.

There are already over 400 species of birds identified in the country.

Cote d’Ivoire is home to what may be the smallest spider in the world. This is the symphytognathid spider Anapistula Caecula.

By nature, the Ivorian are known for being humble no matter how high their achievements are.

It is said that the people of Cote d'Ivoire are always smiling.

The Ivorians are kind people who enjoy inviting others for dinner.

Ivoirians eat yams, plantains, rice millet, corn and peanuts as staples for their diets. The national dish is fufu (foofoo) which is plantains, cassava or yams pounded into a sticky mass and served with a seasoned meat and sauce called kedjenou (KED-gen-ooh). Kedjenou is made from peanuts, eggplant okra or tomatoes. A typical side dish is a porridge made from grated cassava called Attieke. Meat, chicken and fish are popular among those who can afford it. Many dishes have hot peppers and fresh fruits are a typical dessert.

A popular snack is aloko, fried banana served with onions and chilies.

Maquis (open air restaurants) can be found almost anywhere across Côte d'Ivoire and is the ultimate meeting place for everybody. These eateries are the favorite hang-out spot of the locals whenever they want to unwind with friends, relatives or colleagues after a busy day. Service at the maquis is quite slow and expats should know that the locals eat with their bare hands instead of using utensils. The servers usually offer a bucket of water and soap for hand washing before and after the customer eats.

Only 48% of adults in Cote d'Ivoire can read.

At an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, Mt. Nimba is the highest peak in Cote d'Ivoire.

Lake Kossou is Côte d'Ivoire's largest lake. This artificial body of water was created in 1973 by damming the Bandama River.

Christmas Day (December 25) is celebrated by local Christians with all-night church services that start on Christmas Eve (December 24) and end at 6:00 a.m. During worship, you can expect singing, group dancing, poetry recitation, skits, testimonies, prayers, and a sermon. Ivoirian Christians do not exchange gifts on Christmas, they wait until the new year to signal good prosperity.

Ivoirians always great each other and inquire about a person's health, family, or work. It is considered rude to conduct business without first greeting. Men shake hands with one another; women instead kiss each other three times on the cheeks, alternating sides. At social functions, it is polite to shake hands with everyone upon entering and leaving. Eye contact is usually avoided, particularly between father and child, and it is considered rude to stare. Gift giving is customary, especially to those who are respected in the community.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Cote d'Ivoire... While the country produces more than one-third of the world's cocoa, chocolate isn't a traditional food there. It is a commodity to be sold.



Here's the inside:


Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: Kat Scrappiness I Love Chocolate and MFT Dip Me in Chocolate A la' Mode stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Gina K Master Layouts 2, MFT Stitched Rectangles, and Pink & Main Stitched Arches

Embellishments: SU Old Olive Brads

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