I'm sure you've all heard or read about the current situations in Guinea. At an opposition rally in Conakry on the 28th of September, there was violence and shootings killing at least 157 people. Naturally, the Guinean people, and everyone that cares, was upset by the shootings and worried for where this meant Guinea was headed. Supposedly the presidential guard is assumed to have played a large role in the unnecessary attacks. Naturally, the Guinean people were concerned with the fact that their President could allow, or instigate this to happen. Who knows.
Unfortuately, "eye witnesses," etc are sometimes not trustworthy with press in Africa, so no one really knows for sure how all the events ended up going the way they did. Things were calm after the "massacre," as the news was calling it. I was at site and everything was fine and normal in my town. We were all getting ready for the school year to start (in theory, it would've been starting this Thursday), and just living life as usual. The new group, G18 had just been moved into their sites, so I had a new neighbor and, like I said, there was no threat or anything to us in our towns, etc.
But, the Peace Corps has/had 94 volunteers spread out over all 4 regions of Guinea, and with so much unknown in Guinea, they chose to be safe rather than sorry and told us they'd be picking us all up and taking us across the border to Bamako, the capital of Mali.
So, naturally, we were all miserable and completely lost. Abruptly uprooted from our homes, families, friends at site with 2-5 days notice without knowing when or if we'd ever be back. I, along with probably 93 others, was pretty depressed. I remained hopeful for a while that we'd be back, but the practicality of it all, and everyone around me, have made it pretty evident that we won't be back to Guinea. At least not with Peace Corps and not within the next month or so. No matter what, I will be back to Kankalabe, but now the question will be when and how.
It's a total bummer, but as it turns out, it seems to be part of the plan for me. Since realizing we probably wouldn't be back, things seem to be falling into my lap at the right time and place, not coincidentally, I'm sure. So, I went from depressed and just really miserable, to realizing that whatever is next has been planned for me, and is becoming more and more apparent to me as I continue my Peace-Corps paid vacation here in Bamako.
Since our arrival here, we've been kind of spoiled (at least by PC standards). So we eat well and have nice places to stay, and lots to do in Bamako. We went to the National Museum and to the Sudan v. Mali soccer match on Sunday. It was really nice to be at a professional sporting event. It's been so long! Even if it was soccer, it was still nice to be at a big stadium.
My group, G16 went out for a nice dinner last night and we had drinks and went dancing. Great times. And on Saturday, we're all going to a Habib Koite and Bamada concert. They're apparently pretty good and well known, so that should be a good time. Mali has a pretty big music scene and is just, generally speaking, rich in culture, so I look forward to exploring that for however long we are here.
So I'm not sure how long we're here for. PC hasn't officially told us we aren't going back to Guinea, but they've pretty much un-officially told us we aren't going back. So whenever they officially announce it, that will determine how soon/when I'll be home in the states. I think I may have a job lined up for me in Baltimore, so the timing is right. My best estimate is that I'll be home by November. No guarantees, but that's how things are looking right now.
So, as it is, the past week has been a whirlwind of emotions, etc. I'm past the depressed stage and have moved on to the excited-for-the-next-step stage, even if it wasn't what I had in mind a week ago. So, seems I'll be seeing a lot of you sooner rather than later!
Keep in touch and I'll try to keep you updated on what's happening here in Bamako.
Love and miss you all