Blogs from Guinea, Africa - page 3


Africa » Guinea » Labé July 3rd 2009

Ok kids, here's the deal. I'm still hanging out in Guinea (18 months down, 8 to go). A year ago I started fundraising through Peace Corps to renovate the elementary school in my village. This thing was built by the French, back in the day when colonization was still in style. In the 50+ years since then, no repairs have been made. So basically, it looks like a bomb hit it. If it were in the US, it would be demolished as a public health risk. But this is Guinea. So the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders have class there. Cool, right? So. My commnunity asked Peace corps for help. Around $8000 worth of help. Through a series of small miracles, a little less than $2000 actually came through. With that money, we took off what ... read more
"Petit a Petit"

Africa » Guinea » Conakry June 24th 2009

Gute Fahrt und viel Glueck - das war das Motto vorgestern auf der Fahrt von Kankan nach Conakry, einmal quer durch Guinea. In den meisten anderen Laendern bekommt man nur eine gute Fahrt gewuenscht - hier in Guinea reicht das wohl offensichtlich nicht. Zu bewaeltigen waren ca. 600km, angepeilte 10-13 Stunden im'taxi-brousse' (Buschtaxi), meistens ca. 20-25 Jahre alte Renaults oder Citroens mit drei Reihen, die voll sind wenn 10 Leute drinsitzen, sodass die Bewegungsfreiheit sehr stark eingeschraenkt ist. Losgehen sollte die Fahrt eigentlich zwischen sechs und sieben uhr morgens, aber da die Taxis grundsaetzlich warten bis sie voll sind, wurde es mit der Abfahrt dann doch acht uhr. die ersten 100km gingen relativ zuegig vonstatten, danach fingen die schlagloecher an. und zwar von einem ausmass, wie man sich das kaum vorstellen kann. zum glueck ist auf ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Labé February 21st 2009

I’m going to try to be as respectful as possible while writing this; however I’m sure that at some point I’ll fail. For this I apologize to whomever I offend. A year and half ago, if you asked me, I would have told you that hardline feminists annoy the hell out of me. They still do, most anyway. (That is to say women who said the only reason they wanted Clinton for president was because she had a vagina; women who only apply their “principles” to white upper or middle class women therefore excluding the majority of their supposed constituency.) However, much to my ire, I know find myself constantly talking, thinking, writing, crying, and screaming about gender. (Sorry college friends, there is no difference between “sex” and “gender” here.) It’s with me when I go ... read more
The 11th Grade
Bridal Gown

Africa » Guinea » Conakry February 20th 2009

AFRICA I am having difficulty paring down my emotions, thoughts and experiences from Guinea into a single blog entry, which may undoubtedly become more of a novel than a light read on an experience of only 4 weeks… Therefore, I’ve decided to start at the end of the trip and remember that less is more…I hope this short read does justice to the intensity of this journey… For Photos, Please see the following links until I have time to upload them here: Final Thoughts Jan 7th, airplane, Conakry to Brussels Distance to destination: 2784 miles, 4479 kms… Air Brussels en route from Conakry to Brussels…the TV shows random facts in English, French and Flemish…Ken is asleep beside me… This morning we ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Forecariah December 26th 2008

Tuesday 23 December 2008 - The death of General Lansana Conté, the President of Guinea for the past 24 years, is announced on the radio. Wednesday 24 December 2008 - The military takes over Guinea. They celebrate by shooting into the air throughout the night. We were scheduled to go to Conakry for Christmas, but for safety reasons we stayed in Forecariah. We had a Christmas Eve party at the office. Most of the trainees were planning on spending the night there. This was good because around 9 PM gunfire was going off throughout the town. The military is celebrating that they’re in control of the country. The party continues amid gunshots, except now under cover of the overhang. The other volunteer training with me, Julie, and I sit apart from the others and contemplate what ... read more
Christmas Lime Tree

Africa » Guinea » Forecariah December 19th 2008

Apparently a year has passed since I left the US. I’m marking the anniversary by spending three weeks where I got started in Guinea: Forecariah. I’m helping train a new group of volunteers that got here at the beginning of the month. For all there friends and family that may be reading, they’re doing really well and I know I can speak for the other volunteers and say that all their energy and enthusiasm is inspiring and it’s rubbing off on the rest of us. I didn’t think I had changed much since I’ve been here, maybe just learned to deal with things better. But being with the new group has shown me some things about myself, and I’m not necessarily proud of them. Yesterday, two trainees, Caitlin and Ben, came over looking for help. They’d ... read more
More Mudstove
After the Mudstove ...
Painting a mural

Africa » Guinea » Conakry November 6th 2008

I just heard someone mention off hand on the radio that Senator Obama won Indiana. As with the entire election, this is nothing short of a miracle. The impossible can happen. I know everyone's tired of hearing about the election, but please indulge me a little because this story needs to be told. On November 4th at 10 PM about 20 men and myself gathered in my mayor's living room. I must emphasize that I live in the middle of nowhere, if this was happening in my tiny village it was doubtlessly similiar in villages throughtout West Africa. A $3 liter of gas was put into the generator and tuned to France24. It was an hour before any polls closed, 2 before there were any results: Vermont, 3 votes for Obama. Applause for this not surprising ... read more

Africa » Guinea » Conakry September 20th 2008

Hanging out in Guinea for more than 9 months now. Things are going relatively well, I'm still healthy, and Ramadan is almost over (alhamdulilah!) Last Saturday I took a taxi directly from my village to the town of Kissidougou. The ride ended up being 19 hours. We broke down a couple times, and had to stop to break the fast at sunset. But even then it shouldn't have taken that long. When I take trips like that, I begin to realize why everyone in the US thinks I'm crazy for being here. But that's how things are here. I made a lot of friends in the taxi. It really wasn't that bad except that whenever I started falling asleep the driver would yell and ask me why I wasn't sleeping. Anyway, I went to Kissidougou to ... read more
Guests Galore
Doing the Dishes

Africa » Guinea » Conakry August 8th 2008

Typically Amazing Travel Story: Because there are no taxis that go from my Regional capital to my site, I thought I'd try taking a taxi to my prefecture capital first and then to my village. I got to the taxi stand at the late hour of 9 AM and became aquainted with 3 girls from the prefecture capital who had just finished Terminale (we run on the French education system here which means everyone goes to Grade 13, which is called Terminale or, the last year). This was truly a blessing as the night before I couldn't sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about the plight of girls in my village. Around 10:30 we finally got going. The girls took care of me the entire time and made sure I was fed (cookies, avocados, and oranges: ... read more
Best Friends
Spires of the Mosque
Playtime in Guinea

Africa » Guinea » Labé July 11th 2008

Sorry for the late entry everyone (and it won't be a great one at that ... I have to run and get to the taxi stand). I went down to Conakry for the 4th of July (and gorged on lots of American style food), but was asked to leave immediately afterwards to show the new Country Director my village. We've have a great staff here in Guinea, and the new director and his wife are only adding to it all. So I'm still alive, don't worry. I wanted to upload pictures, but it seems that their might be a virus on my card, so you'll all have to wait until I get it sorted out in August. Sorry! Things are going well. There was a stint there were I didn't leave my village for 5 weeks ... read more

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