Today we’re introducing and getting to know one of our tour guides, Ladji Koné (or Koné Ladji as names are written in Côte d’Ivoire), who has lived his life in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Ladji has been coordinating our September 2019 tour efforts in Abidjan, and is Alicia and Sekou’s nephew. Recently, Ladji flew to the U.S. – his first time on an airplane – to get to know the rest of the Koné Consulting team and continue his work on tour logistics.
The Koné’s are originally from the town of Odienné in northwestern Côte d'Ivoire, and are Malinké from the Mandingo group. Ladji is the father of a 4-year-old son, Koné Adam Christ Ardiles.
In Côte d’Ivoire, there is not a distinction between sibling and cousins, or parents and uncles/aunts – all are considered siblings and parents; if a grandparent, aunt or uncle has good fortune, they will provide for grandchildren, nieces and nephews as their own. When Ladji’s father lost his job, he was initially reared by his grandparents, then went to live with his Uncle Adam, a former professional soccer player who worked at CNPS (Caisse Nationale de Prevoyance Sociale – Social Security Administration) and provided for many family members’ education. While Ladji is one of six siblings, by Malinké standards, he has a multitude of siblings and parents.
“Non-violence is a big passion for me,” says Ladji, “I always wanted to participate in non-violence education movements, especially helping for peace and harmony between peoples and communities.” Being a part of Koné Consulting International is a great start toward building relationships and bridging communities.
With educational and work experience ranging from electrical and mechanics, agricultural food transport, and sheet metal manufacturing, Ladji has a variety of interests, explaining he is “many people.”
“After work I love to relax and watch animal documentaries, informative shows, and cartoons with my son. I like good music, especially RnB, Reggae, rock, pop, Mandingo music, and all different sports.” While visiting the U.S., Ladji was able to fulfill a dream – to see a live WWE competition.
In comparing his U.S. experience to home, Ladji explains that like Seattle, WA, Abidjan is located on the edge of an ocean (Atlantic Ocean). Inside Abidjan is a big lake called Ebrié Lagoon, which winds through parts of the city, similar to Lake Washington and Lake Union in Seattle. While infrastructure is more developed in the U.S., Abidjan has a port and industrial area also like Seattle.
In Cote d'Ivoire Ladji likes to eat a lot of grilled meat, fruit salad, foutou and alloco (foutou is Côte d’Ivoire’s national dish, made from boiled cassava and plantain, mashed to a paste and formed into balls or small loaves; alloco is made with fried plantains and often served with chili pepper and onions). Here in the U.S., Ladji “loves the bacon, the hot dogs and dishes made with vegetables.”
Ladji is looking forward to sharing his country with tour participants, especially Côte d’Ivoire’s legendary hospitality, diverse gastronomy, cultural diversity, and flora and fauna. Ladji also notes the ethnic alliances between communities, which constitutes a real strength of stability and peace for the Ivory Coast; the traditional clothing styles, loincloths and fabrics; and the mild climate which contributes to rich agriculture.
Ladji invites you to “venez vivre l'eperience d'une visite inoubliable en Côte d’Ivoire!” — come discover and enjoy the Ivory Coast!