|By Admin1 (admin) (22.214.171.124) on Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 1:49 pm: Edit Post|
Peace Corps Volunteer "Walking Africa" writes: We're out
"Considering all the political trauma and difficulties, they pulled out all of us Peace Corps volunteers. We were brought to Bamako, Mali to consolidate and wait. Even so, after the incidents of last week, things have been calm outside of Conakry. It was life as normal where we were. Not unsafe at all. Everyone was just a little tense about what was going to happen. (Gas stations closed, black market gas price skyrocketed and some shops had little in stock.) But for now it is mainly political, not safety issues that they're worried about. Either way, it was difficult to have to rush off as you watch everyone going about their daily routine. Everyone said they understood why we had to go, but I know they were questioning why. And none of our Guinean friends have the option to leave like we did..."
Peace Corps Volunteer "Walking Africa" writes: We're out
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Caption: Guinean police arrest a protester in front of the biggest stadium in the capital Conakry during a protest banned by Guinea's ruling junta on September 28. The United States condemned Tuesday the "brazen and inappropriate use of force" by Guinea's ruling junta, after scores were killed in a crackdown on an opposition rally. Photo: AFP/File/Seyllou
Well, for those of you who haven't heard, things are not going well in Guinea right now. Bad enough that it even makes the front of the NYTimes? Maybe it was just a slow news day...
In a Guinea Seized by Violence, Women Are Prey - Front page NYTimes article
Guinea's Capital Fades Into a Ghost Town After Soldiers' Rampage - Another good summary article from the NYTimes
Eyewitness Report - BBC report
People are calling the events a massacre. It shocked everyone.
Considering all the political trauma and difficulties, they pulled out all of us Peace Corps volunteers. We were brought to Bamako, Mali to consolidate and wait. Even so, after the incidents of last week, things have been calm outside of Conakry. It was life as normal where we were. Not unsafe at all. Everyone was just a little tense about what was going to happen. (Gas stations closed, black market gas price skyrocketed and some shops had little in stock.) But for now it is mainly political, not safety issues that they're worried about. Either way, it was difficult to have to rush off as you watch everyone going about their daily routine. Everyone said they understood why we had to go, but I know they were questioning why. And none of our Guinean friends have the option to leave like we did...
We're not really sure whats going to happen next. They told us we are going to wait here in Bamako for 2 to 4 weeks to see how things play out. Unfortunately for us, we were supposed to be out in two months any way. Even if they give us the all clear to go back soon, we don't think it will be worth it for us. We had already started packing our bags. Literally. Going back at this point for a month would just be painful in more ways than I think we could handle. It was hard getting ripped out the way we did, without real closure and goodbyes, but going back just to rush out again wouldn't make it easier.
Leaving itself was... well.. crazy and exhausting. A Peace Corps car came to pick us up early Tuesday morning and we were off. We had 27 hours of traveling over two days, even though it was only about 750 miles. I had a GPS on, so I'll post the stats later so you can see our voyage. It could have been worse. No real problems, just the typical African headaches of terrible roads, crammed cars (11 people in a Toyota Land Cruiser...), police roadblocks, miscommunication, tedious 3 hours of ordeals at the border, etc, etc, etc. We brought Charlie our parrot through it all too. He was a trooper. If we actually get him back to the US, its going to be a miracle.
We'll wait around here for as long as they let us and then probably travel for a bit. Maybe a couple weeks here in Mali, maybe other neighboring countries, then a bit in Morocco, then home by the beginning of December? We'll see. It's all up in the air. We'll keep you updated as we figure it out.
We're staying in a pretty nice place (ok... nice for our new standards... picture summer camp.) But we've got running water, electricity, ceiling fans in our huts, good food, wifi... all a hard-up PCV could want. We're going to the American club today for swimming and cheeseburgers. Amazing. Museum and a Mali vs Sudan soccer game on Sunday. Should be fun times. It's almost kind of an all expense paid vacation by Peace Corps. Even though its a terribly crappy situation, they're making it the best they can for us. In any case, we'll have daily internet access, so I'd love to hear from all of you. I'll write more later and post some pics, so keep in touch!
Links to Related Topics (Tags):
Headlines: October, 2009; Peace Corps Guinea; Directory of Guinea RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Guinea RPCVs; Blogs - Guinea; Safety and Security of Volunteers
When this story was posted in October 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:
Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
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