Blogs from Guinea, Africa

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Africa » Guinea » Conakry October 27th 2012

I am leavng the Africa Mercy for Vermont in a few minutes. This is my last messge. Thank you for visiting.... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry October 24th 2012

Last Sunday, my friend, Saliou, invited me to meet some of his family and his Imam. Saliou is a Day Worker in the Dining Room. We took a cab from the port and then walked about a half mile. This was followed by another short cab ride and more walking. Saliou knows I do not like to ride on motor scooters so fortunately he did not suggest that mode of transport. Cabs here are collectives. Find one that is going your way using the correct hand signal and pay a set fee. It is shared along the way with others who are going in the same direction. Saliou knows French and English well and acted as my translator. I met his sister, husband, and young son. They share a house with other people. We were invited ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry October 20th 2012

“Move Your Body for Jesus” was sung by our lead singer when we visited the Solidarity Village for the Handicapped. Even though that is what Africans do here, I had not heard the expression sung before. The children joined in first. They were not shy. They jumped up and down and moved to the rhythm of the drums. There were also praise songs in French, English, and the local language. One handicapped man danced on his hands, others with crutches. We taught them, “Celebrate, Jesus, Celebrate”. (They were probably Muslems. Only 8% of the country is Christian.) During a music break, we played “Duck, Duck, Goose”. We held the children and played hand-clapping games. It was dark with only a sliver of a crescent moon and occasional heat lightening. It is dark at about 6:30 these ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry October 13th 2012

The orphanage I visited this week was about an hour away from port. It is easier to get out and about now. There are no demonstrations or unrest at present. Traffic is still a nightmare. But it is easier for the venders to go from car to car selling everything from peanuts to plungers. The older children living at the orphanage were in school so we played with the little ones for a couple of hours. There were seven of us from the Africa Mercy Crew and a translator. We arrived via Range Rover. The concrete house seemed to have about six rooms on the ground floor. There was a mosquito net over each crib. Some of the children have HIV and/or other medical problems. Malaria and cholera are on-going problems especially during the rainy season ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry October 7th 2012

The babies were beautiful, healthy and well cared for at the orphanage for abandoned babies. Three will be on their way to homes very shortly. There were twin boys who have been adopted by people in Ohio and a girl who will be going to Alberta, Canada. It takes about a year before an adoption is completed. When babies are abandoned on the street, they are most likely to be taken in by people who will eventually use them as servants/slaves. They will get no education and will not be considered part of the family. The director of the orphanage is trying to make information known about the place so that unwanted babies will come to them directly. Now, it is mostly police or other officials who will bring them in. The Home is about an ... read more

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Africa » Guinea » Conakry September 17th 2012

There were demonstrations scheduled for today in Conakry to protest a U-Tube video. I don’t know any more than that. We are under curfew and only the Dental and Eye Teams were allowed to leave port. At about seven his morning, I went to the Dental Screening Site to help with crowd control. There were five of us who had the time off from our regular jobs along with some hired security people, who were local and spoke the language, who went on site. We went via a Mercy Ship Land Rover though the place is about a 10 minute walk from the port on a side street. It was partly cloudy. (It is still the rainy season here.) I looked very official in my yellow vest with the Mercy Ships logo. There were about 300 ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry September 4th 2012

The lines extended around the block. Fortunately, it was a sunny day with no rain at all. I was told that there were 3500 people lined up around the block. There were about 500 crew members and day workers doing security, taking histories, doing vital signs, escorting, clean-up, etc. Yesterday was screening day for Africa Mercy. It was held at a large building called the People’s Palace. A Palace it is not! There were three floors. We use a part of each floor. In the center was a large auditorium. There was a long narrow table in from of each row. It reminded me of a college classroom. We used several large open areas for the surgical screenings and we had tents outside for the dental and eye screenings. There are also offices and a large ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry August 26th 2012

I first stepped on Guinea soil last Thursday morning. I walked down the gangway with a bag of trash from the dining room. It was raining lightly. Though I loved the sail here, it was great to arrive after many delays and six days at sea. I like taking out the trash so I can go out. I tie the large black bags up when they are half full so I can carry them out myself. It has rained every morning since arriving, sometimes a drizzle and sometimes a down pour. The afternoons have been bearably warm and humid. Yesterday, we welcomed the day workers aboard for an orientation to the ship. The advance team did some training before we arrived. 85% of them are from Guinea which is required as part of our agreement with ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry August 17th 2012

It is a clear sunny day at sea. I am sitting on the bow. It is just awesome. There is a super tanker in the distance. There are crew members who do pirate watch. Hopefully we will only see more tankers or fishing boats. We left Tenerife after some minor delays yesterday about 11.00. We have moved ahead one hour for Conakry in Guinea. Will be arriving on Wednesday. We will get briefings starting next Monday. I have been at the end of a mission. Now I am looking forward to the beginng of a new one... read more

Africa » Guinea » Kankan August 16th 2012

The rain continued to thunder down as we pulled in to the Guinea border police check point. We jumped out the car and made the dash to the immigration office but our efforts were wasted as we were soaked to the skin within seconds. By now the spray from the rain hitting the road danced up to our knees and we looked fairly pathetic as we entered the dark immigration office looking like drowned rats. Guinea is a desperately poor country with barely functioning infrastructure evidenced by the lack of electricity for up to 20 hours a day. The gruff police officer processed our passports using a feeble torch that barely lit up the huge battered ledger that he was writing our details into. We trudged back into the rain and walked back to the car, ... read more
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