Saturday, October 10, 2009

We're out

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!

*pictures from the BBC and NYT articles


Kansas Dude said...
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Kansas Dude said...

I had wanted to say something snappy about how it must really suck to be ripped out of your home and life as you knew it, but my mind went blank. I'll just say "That really sucks" and leave it at that. It's hard to say goodbye to a place when you've put so much of yourself into it in normal circumstances, but when you've grown to love the people you are with, it just gets much harder. Then you discover that some part of you doesn't want to leave at all. I think we leave a part of oursleves behind in times like that. I can only imagine what it must be like to leave suddenly, unexpectedly, with lots of uncertainty, long before the time you had planned on. Good luck. You are always in our prayers. Honestly, I'm just bummed that when you do make it home, that home won't be here. We miss you.

Be safe, and make the most out of what life gives you.

Zach and Sara

Becca said...

mary and dan! i'm so glad you guys are okay! thanks for the updates on your blog. i can't imagine having to leave everything so quickly! keep us updated. i had heard about all that was going on in Guinea so i'm so glad you guys are safe and well.

becca & bryan