Building a Food Supply in Abidjan during COVID Times

2020-6-4 Food Storage Abidjan (4)

Our Abidjan Kitchen

We are passing through some interesting times.  At the beginning of March we traveled to Accra, Ghana with church members to attend the temple.  We had a glorious week there with them, then they returned to Bamako and we flew to Abadjan for what we expected would be a couple of weeks.   Bamako is our main residence, Abidjan is our other home.  We come and go between our two apartments.

After a day or two in Abidjan, our world changed.  We were not able to get a flight out to Bamako.  Borders closed.  Missionaries were sent home.  Lockdown felt imminent.   We were in an apartment with no food supplies and the world around us was in a panic.  We didn’t know how much time we’d have to stock up on some food before that window of opportunity closed.

On the evening of March 17th we went to the finest supermarche in Abidjan to do a little shopping.  We found a ransacked store with panicking shoppers filling carts with whatever they could grab and afford.  It was frightening.  We purchased a few things to sustain us for the coming week.  We had no idea what the future held.

Gratefully, in the weeks that followed, we were never required to go into apartment lockdown.  We continued to go to the mission office every day, helping there as dozens of missionaries exited for their homelands.

We are still here.  We don’t know how long we’ll be here.  The country borders are still closed.  The Abidjan city limits are also closed to contain the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.  There are not many cases here, which is good.  The stores have restocked their shelves and we are able now to buy the things we need.

What crazy times!  I’ve been thinking a lot about FOOD and what essential food items are most important to us here.  I thought it might be fun to chronicle the list of things we are eating during this particular time here in West Africa.

Here are my cupboards filled with our food supplies–a few things here came all the way from America to Bamako to Abidjan, and we ration them for special occasions.

2020-6-4 Food Storage Abidjan (2)

We also have a fridge with a freezer.  The small freezer space is filled with frozen chicken, ground beef, frozen peas, cheese, butter, bread, and our homemade frozen yogurt.  The fridge holds water, yogurt, cheese, butter, eggs, some condiments and our fruits and vegetables.  We are so grateful to have a fridge and freezer to preserve our food.

This is my food storage pantry in the other room:

2020-6-4 Food Storage Abidjan (1)

And here is our water supply–on top are bottles I’ve refilled with filtered water with a few drops of bleach.

2020-6-4 Food Storage Abidjan (3)

Here’s my list of things I can purchase here that I like to keep on hand:

flour and yeast
brown sugar, white sugar
eggs, butter, yogurt, cheese
dry milk, canned milk
raisins, dates
popcorn, oil
granola, cookies, crackers, chips
spices & herbs:  Mexican, Italian, bullion, curry, salt & pepper
baking powder, soda, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon,
seasoning and soup packets
condiments: mayonnaise, mustard, hot pepper paste
canned goods:  corn, white beans, kidney beans, mushrooms
canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste
lentils, split peas
rice, pasta
meat:  chicken, ground beef
fresh vegetables:  carrots, potatoes, zucchini, leeks, onions, peppers, cucumbers
fresh fruit: pineapple, papaya, mangoes, bananas, apples, coconut

We are happy and healthy and we eat well (in spite of losing quite a bit of weight).  It’s a trying time for the people around us who have been impacted by the COVID restrictions.  We still don’t know what the future holds, but we hope we’ve dodged the worst of it here in Cote d’Ivoire.  We’re happy to be here.

You can read more about our ongoing experiences in West Africa here: 

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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