Page 3 of Skyfire24x Travel Blog Posts

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 » 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

Africa » Guinea » Conakry May 21st 2008

22 April 2008 - Random Notes My boss was here for a day a is was wonderful. I was able to vent all my frustrations and worries. She calmly reassured me that they were all normal and I'd been handling them the best I could. She said she picked me for my village because I was a little more outgoing, a little more prepared, both of which surprise me. I don't care if she said that about all the volunteers, it still meant a lot to me. A random kid just showed up at my house with 4 mangoes. I don't think I've ever met him. Mamadou Sadiou, 12 years old, 6th grade. He's sitting in silence watching me write now. I was craving mangoes, so it was a pleasant surprise. But, I think I'm allergic ... read more
I don't like bikes.

Africa » Guinea » Labé April 11th 2008

24 March 2008 I’ve been having some bad days and getting dis-spirited. I often feel like my French is getting worse and that I’m not learning any Pular. I always feel like I’m not doing enough and often that I’m doing nothing at all. I was horrified when I realized in one week I’d finished reading 3 books (compared to the 5 I read in the first two months.) But then there are little signs of success here and there. My elderly neighbor, Nenne Kanne, who only speaks Pular (to others, but mostly to herself) has started using some French with me including “merci” and “c’est bon.” This may seem insignificant, but if you knew this woman ... The little girl who lives with Nenne Kanne, also named Oumou (that’s my name here) use to run ... read more
Health Center
Cafe Where I Hang Out
Cell Phone Service Tree

Africa » Guinea » Labé March 16th 2008

24 February 2008 Abdelrahmane just told me that heaving breathing outside my window every night was sorcery and that when he hears he runs away. Scared out of my mind, I kept asking him questions After about 20 minutes and thanks to the English-Pular dictionary that some missionaries made, I learned that “bird of sorcery” means owl in Pular. This revelation made me feel better until I remembered that I was taught that owls go “hoo,” not breathe heavily. But then again, I’m not an owl expert. Maybe Guinean owls don’t go “hoo” and just breathe really loudy and creepily. 6 March 2008 Things I’m doing that don’t surprise anyone at home * Not using toilet paper * Reading lots, re-reading Mountains Beyond Mountains for the 18th time * Trying like hell to learn Pular * ... read more

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