The Longest Week
Back to Home Page

Upheaval in the life of ICA began on September 18, 2002, with the unexpected death of David Golding, a Canadian staff member of ICA. While jogging on the school's track, he collapsed from an apparent heart attack.

With hardly any time to absorb that shock, political upheaval began less than 24 hours later. Rebels overtook the city of Bouake, the home of the school, on the 20th of September. ICA found itself literally in the crossfire. For five tense days after that, students and staff at ICA were in lockdown within the school compound's walls waiting out the battle between loyalist troops and the rebels.

The impact on student and staff families was made worse by media reports filled with misinformation about the welfare of the students during the lockdown.

French military safely evacuated the ICA students and staff on September 25th. The ICA evacuees left with the clothes on their backs and one carry-on size bag of personal possessions.

The destination was Yamoussoukro, normally one-hour south on the main highway. Due to the fighting on that route, a more circuitous route was taken which took 10 hours. This included several stops to siphon fuel between thirsty vehicles. The final fuel stop was in the night when the French flew in fuel by helicopter for the evacuation vehicles.

After Yamoussoukro, the priority was to get all students safely back to their parents. This happened over the course of the next two days.

In a mutual arrangement, for the rest of the 2002-2003 school year, Dakar Academy in Senegal, W. Africa, has together with ICA, made accommodations and space available for approximately 90 of ICA's students and 22 staff members.