As we enter into a new season here in Guinea (still dry, just extra hot), I feel like an update is in order. Currently, I am at our regional capital, Kankan, for training about Malaria. When school ends at the end of May, I will suddenly have a lot more time on my hands at site, and I am eager to fill that time with secondary projects. The more I learn about the impact Malaria has on the population of Guinea, the more I have been gearing my projects ideas towards just that.
Since Christmas break, I have been getting back in to the swing of things at site. I have also been doing a lot of travelling through Guinea. That entails an 18k bike through the bush from my village to the main road and sticking my thumb out and hitchhiking my way to where I want to go. This is always an exciting gamble. Sometimes I strike gold with a truck that was built in the last 20 years and still has a suspension system. Sometimes, I end up in the back row of a van made of tin. During a recent trip to Kankan, Adrienne and I caught a paddy-wagon with two open seats in the back row! The van wasn’t made with windows, but lucky for us, the chauffer had cut diamond shape holes out of the sides. This became drastically unlucky when the guy two rows in front of me starting getting a little car sick. Every few moments, I had to dive behind the bench seat in front of me to dodge his lunch that was flying out of his window and flying back in through mine. Once I thought I was in the clear, the boy in the seat in front of me caught the car sick bug. Suddenly, I was in a war zone of vomit. Needless to say, I was quite pleased when the 4 hour battle to remain puke-free was over.
One of my trips was to the travel hub of Guinea, Mamou, for In-Service Training. All of the volunteers from my stage (G-22) came for the week to share our experiences at site and have sessions about things like getting grants, designing secondary projects, and coping with stress. As is expected when our group is gathered, Dante and I put together a game show for one of the nights’ entertainment. The week was so much fun and it was great to see people that I haven’t seen since we ended training.
School is going pretty well, and we are definitely in the downhill stretch now. With the high school entrance exam, the Brevet, at the beginning of June, we are working hard to make sure the 10th graders are prepared. I will be leading extra study sessions with the Brevet candidates for the next few months to prepare as much as we can. I have also met with a group of primary school girls called “les filles fieres”, or the proud girls, to see what their group does and what kinds of projects they would be interested in doing together. These girls were amazing. They meet every Thursday and Sunday mornings when all the rest of the students have the day OFF of school. We started the meetings off outside playing little games, singing songs, and dancing. It was really fun—they of course made me teach them a song and spend some time dancing alone in the middle of the circle.
I am starting a project with the women’s shared garden in my village. It is an already amazingly well run and productive garden split among the 4 neighborhoods of my village. The women are kicking butt on their own, but they asked if I could help them in finding new seeds to expand their variety of crops. I am planning on starting a seed bank with them, so as to keep a sustainable stock of many different vegetables. Future Banko markets may one day include carrots and potatoes!
That is some of what is going on here in Guinea. I hope all of you are doing great at home and in your own adventures! I would appreciate any input/expertise you ever have to share in relation to my projects!