Well nearly a week has gone by since my suitcase went missing, and once again I phoned the lost luggage office in Abidjan today to ask for news. The response was that they had not found the case and I should try phoning again in a week. I asked whether it was still in Conakry and if so what was the problem, and was told they have no idea if it is in Conakry, they do not even have any phone numbers for anyone in Conakry... Clearly they are simply sitting there in Abidjan (probably still playing computer games as they were last week) waiting for my case to turn up. & as the case has a luggage tag with the destination Conakry there is of course no reason why it should ever turn up in Abidjan.
In despair I have emailed a couple of colleagues in my Dakar office to see if they can make any more progress than I am. I can just envisage my case sitting lonely and dusty in a corner of Conakry airport, by now emptied of all desirable contents. Oh maybe I should not be so negative but the response I have been getting does not encourage hope.
I have purchased the very bare necessities to keep me going (toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, comb and four cheap Tshirts off the market). No-one here knows that I am still wearing the same socks and underwear but I probably cannot continue with them for another ten days until I go home!
I'm trying to forget about it and focus on my work here but my mind keeps going back to what is in my suitcase. If the case is never found I can do without the fleece and replace the insect repellant, but most of my clothes will not be replaceable, not even the lovely airforce blue linen shirt from Hobbs, nor the bikini from a sale in Brussels airport, both bought in June. In fact most of my clothes are not easily replaceable as they were bought in the UK and such things are not available in Dakar.
I do have a trip back to the UK at the end of this month, but I fear I won't know by that stage whether or not the case is lost, even though some things (such as my Rough Guide to West Africa) will have to be replaced then as I cannot be without one on my travels. It will be frustrating to spend some £20 on a new one if the old one turns up a few days later. But that will be my last time in Europe until next March so I may have to go ahead and shell out on replacements just in case. With very little likelihood, of course, that the cost of any of this loss will be reimbursed.
Meanwhile I suppose I should say that the region of Cameroon that I am in (the Grasslands) is beautiful, and like my last visit to this country the food is 'interesting'. Hedgehog for Sunday's dinner, and yam with lumps of cow skin for lunch today. The cow skin did at least take my mind off my luggage for a while...