An Wato Guinea, Det!

So we're doing it- heading back to Guinea. Stay tuned for details of our journey back to a place we love.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


We had planned to leave KanKan today in order to get to wherever it is we're going before a strike cuts off our transportation options. The problem is that we don't know where we're going. Here we are with plane tickets out of here and no place to go.

Yesterday was a rollercoaster. I'm just now calmed down enough to write about it. The embassy told us not to go to Conakry. The airport was shut down and flights were cancelled. A millitary barricade was set up right outside the airport. The man at the embassy told us to look into flying out of another airport. Royal Air Maroc, however, was not very helpful on this front. The woman at the international call center said she was "100% sure" that by June 4th (the date of our departure) all the problems in Conakry would be solved. Hmmm....Meanwhile we learned that trying to fly out of Mali (our closest option- a 24 hour bush taxi ride) would require a visa and one can only get a Malian visa from Conakry. Great. Other major airports are in Senegal and Ivory Coast. Both are several day car rides away and Air Maroc cannot guarentee that we'd be able to fly out from there. The man at the Malian visa didn't understand our situation and said to just "get a visa." The embassy in Conakry understood our situation but didn't know what to do about it. We're still waiting for the head of the consular section to call us with some sort of magic solution. People around town were talking about an impending strike. Stories coming out of the big market here were that merchants were locking up their shops, trying to secure their merchandise, etc. We learned that a Peace Corps volunteer in our neighborhood was evacuated from her home because it's near a military camp. This seems excessive as KanKan is calm and quiet at the moment. It was disturbing none-the-less.

So yesterday we were running all over town burning through cell phone calling cards to get information and advice and trying to visit our friends here to say goodbye. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Meanwhile we're hosting Na and Max. As is customary we're expected to greet Na's family and friends here. So we were out with her past dark, flashlights in hand meeting her family, cheerfully explaining that we weren't sure when or how we were leaving. I'm not sure I've ever been this stressed. And I'm prone to stress as many of you know. Around 6 pm. we gave up the good fight and decided to do as the wise, politically savvy folks at Air Maroc had said- "Wait it out." So we're here. We had already packed so today I had to dig through the entire backpack just to find a clean pair of underwear. Things were so hectic yesterday that really important things like old journals were on top and underwear was on bottom. On Monday I'll pack again.

The good news is that today we've heard that negotiations have started and the conflict *might* be coming to an end. Still no word on the status of flights today.

The last time we left West Africa was in 2002. We were scheduled to leave out of the Ivory Coast but there was a coup. The whole thing was a mess and involved a ton of fancy footwork- travel to Ghana, a flight out of Togo and someone finding our passports in a trunk in the Ivory Coast in time for our flight. A nightmare really. But I've remembered the whole thing as a crazy adventure. Maybe my memory is off. Maybe I've romanticized the whole thing (Bosnian gunfire style). All I know is that I'm not enjoying this latest installment of "adventure." Not one bit. Yesterday I felt sick. I can't imagine ever storing this in my memory as a crazy, fun adventure.

We're here at the cybercafe with Max and he's hungry and bored. Time for rice. I'm feeling much better today. It's a relief to not have to take action until Monday.

I'll keep you updated.


Anonymous said...

Be careful. Eager to see you both.
Love, EBR & NKR

Jonathan said...

I hope you all make it out!! Furthermore, I hope to see you walk through the store's doors someday soon!

Oh, and tell Smatt I sold the Northern Upright chess set today!!