26 December 2004. There had been an earthquake measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale off the coast of Sumatra, then a devastating tsunami had struck Indonesia, the coast of Sri Lanka, southern India and the west coast of Thailand with unprecedented force.
4 a.m.: I opened my eyes. My alarm hadn’t gone off yet, but my subconscious had dragged me from the arms of Morpheus. I looked at my mobile phone: four missed calls, two messages and a voicemail. The Ambassador had tried to call me at 11:30 p.m., as had the Minister’s diplomatic adviser. The press review would have to be ready for 7 a.m..
On returning to France and searching for a place where my children could continue to learn Arabic, I was faced with the problems one might expect in such a situation, regarding distance, class times, and quality of teaching.
I arrived in Lomé on 8 September 2014, a neophyte on three counts: a new ambassador, new to Africa and new to Togo. A triple shock, and therefore a triple challenge in terms of adaptation, and above all, a triple reason for humility and caution.
By a happy coincidence, top quality French bread is making its grand entrance on the Cambodian market just as Cambodian rice goes on display at the SIAL food fair in Paris. And only a week after the annual food festival La semaine du gout!