Friday, December 26, 2008
A very Merry Christmas and a happy Coup year...
all I want for Christmas...is coup....baby
Just a few days before christmas, we heard the news that the President of Guinee, Lansana Conte' had died. Now, there had always been rumors that he was dying but most people didn't give them much credit as he had been dying for the past 10 years or so. But with his death, the military took power and the constitution was dissolved and the civilian government disbanded. A military official, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, declared himself president and has appointed a 32-member council to rule untill the country can hold free, credible, and transparent elections in December of 2010. He is calling his new regime the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD). As the country had already begun the process of registering voters, I hope that the international community with which President Camara is to be meeting with today will convince him to hold elections earlier sometime in 2009. Despite all of the hubbub and worry, we are being told that many Guineans are very happy with the change and the turnover of power has been very peaceful thus far. The late president Conte' was buried today and the Prime Minister,Ahmed Tidiane Souare has ceded to the military president.
Through all of this, Jon and I have been safely swaddled (not unlike the baby jesus) in the volunteer house in the capital with air conditioning, electricity, and internet. We passed a lovely, though slightly unreal christmas, together with other volunteers. And amazingly we were able to bring in a lot of the christmas spirit with decorations, food, and even a christmas tree and eggnog! we spent a few late nights stringing ribbons, decorating the tree, and cutting snowflakes out of paper and I must say that we did very well. Jon even got into the spirit by playing Guinean RISK with the fellows in Santa hats.
My friend Isy and I carried on my christmas tradition of making sugar cookies. We quickly realized however that we did not have any cookie cutters at all. So what did we do...we improvised like all good PCVs and made cookies cutter trees and santas and candycanes out of ...what else: beer cans. I must say that I am very impressed with everyone's christmas spirit and wonderful creativity.
I was able to get a nice call on Skype from my mom, dad, bro, and my aunt and uncle. It was so wonderful to hear all their voices through the magic of the interwebs. Its always so nice to hear the voices of friends and family always, and especially at christmas. There have been many troubles with our cell phone reception and we have missed many calls so I was glad that they were able to get through. For anyone who has been trying to reach us, keep trying and hopefully you will get through!! We love you!
At this time, we are allowed to leave the compound during the day but there is a government imposed curfew from 8:00 PM until 6 in the morning. Most likely we will all be going back to our site a smidge early, most likely the beginning of the week. Although Jon and I were really excited to spend some time out on the islands off the coast, it seems that until things are a bit more stable, we will be passing our time back at site.
Hopefully we will have the time for one more update before we leave but for now, Merry Christmas to Everyone. You were in our thoughts and very missed during this holiday.