Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hey all Im back!

Thank you Grant for that fantastic and complete update on the situation. the president has been sick for a long time and so his vice president type person constitutionally took over when he died but then one of the heads of the military decided he wanted to take over so that was the coup; but it seems like everyone was pretty much ok with it. it sounds as though they will let him stay in power until the elections that are scheduled for 2010. we are still in wait and see mode though and are instructed to run the opposite direction if we see any large gathering of people, peaceful or otherwise. this is the first time we were allowed to leave the house since tuesday so it is very freeing.
we have been allowed to dance but our drummers are not allowed to play; however they have been singing the beats with their mouths which is basically the coolest sounding thing ever-6 different beats acappela
when the events went down we were in the woods in Kindia dancing at a rundown tropical resort at the foot of a waterfall complete with a decrepit and treetaken over cabana and mice which were not happy we had taken over their huts
on christmas we had a mock dance performance for the family and the drummers and then gave them all little gifts. surprise^^guinean kids dont like peeps; they tried them and then gave them back to us haha
tomorrow-God willing we will get to go to Roume-a tropical island for a little rest and relaxation and dance class on the beach.
sorry to hear about all the ice and crappy weather in the states; hope it is better now!
thanks again grant and happy travels in peru
if i dont post before HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Update on Tricia

Hey gang,

I hadn't quite ironed out the details of how I was going to abuse my highly sought-after and awe-inspiring blog co-author power (I was sort of planning on using it to make fun of Tricia while she wasn't around), but I certainly didn't plan on being called to blog duty by the serious and unpredictable nature of our world.

Guinea's political leader, the long-time dictator Lansana Conte, died today of natural causes. The government has been seized by a group called the National Council for Democracy in what is being called a military coup. Here is the AP report, and here is the BBC report. So far it has been a non-violent transition, but there are concerns that political or military pressure could strain existing ethnic relations and possibly lead to something as serious as a civil war. HOWEVER: Conte was old, so this is not completely out of the blue, and while the NCD might not necessarily be the most powerful and well-backed military institution, at least it is not extremely radical or divisive. As far as coups go, this one seems pretty mild.

Tricia and her rag-tag band of dancing superfriends are currently safe and sound and on their way back to Karim's hometown from some sort of crazy island getaway. (If it sounds like I might not be very clear on the details, you are very perceptive.) Being that the country is in mourning for their departed leader and in a state of tenuous flux for an incoming military government, it sounds like Tricia and her group might be temporarily suspending their dancing activities until things settle down a little bit.

Anyway, I'm sure Tricia will have a lot more relevant details shorty, but this special blog PSA is just to let everyone know that for the time being she is OK.

Also, I just decided to abuse my co-author power by suggesting that everyone wish her a merry Christmas by sending her 40 emails.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

weekend update

thank you for the great updates!
i am sad i am missing the snow but glad im getting the summer weather that i missed being in temperate seattle
thing are wonderful here
it has been hot humid and sunny every day
we have a pool in our compound/mansion so we are going to have a pool party mlater
karim has 5 brothers and 4 sisters i think? plu a bunch of adopted siblings to from age 30 something to 5ish
they dont keep track of age here so they dont really know how old they are
some of the younger ones are in school (hooray quite an honor)
but they are with us this weekend so we are going to pool parety with them today and ee if we can teach them to swim
a few days ago we went to see a practice of les ballets africans the best dance group in the country it was amazing
then we went to the market and bought fabric
as we speak lanzanzi our taylor is making me a KICK aSS outfit for 400000 guinea francs which i approx 8 dollars REDICULOUS
the air quality is very poor here and polio is still a big problem
i have been taught How to litter as there is no trash pickup system
i will say most people are wearing shoes though; which is big for hookworm and a million other problems
my mind is in overload trying to figure out how to react to all of this; but hopefully it will come in time
tomorrow we are going to Kindia which i a little village about 3 hours from here
guinea is the size of michigan but because the roads are so poor it takes a lot longer to get not as far here.
we will shop and dance and swim in waterfalls there
ok thats all for now
miss you all
eat some snow for me
safe travels to all yall heading home for the holidays

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a bit more

ok it worked
did i mention i am on a european keyboard
apparantly there is no mail system here
so all those postcards i promised you guys... theyll have to wait sorry!
i will be able to call on christmas hopêfully but apparantly thats a huge ordeal too so im just gonna call the fam then
tomorrow we are going to watch a practice of la ballet africans the coolest dance group around gonna be great
im attempting to learn susu which is the local language
its hard though
i wish id learned my french better cause they know that more than english
the electricity is sporadic so our headlamps or totally coming in handy§
its pretty funny seeing us wander around this big house in the dark and then jumping and screaming when the lights suddenly come on!!!!
ok our drummers are staring at me bored so i gotta go (they accompanied us here because the taxi situation is super sketch)
oo i heard there is a blizzard in the states§ save some snow for me!
its bloody hot here but our dance floor is under shade so its not so bad
ok bye!
i will try to write again in a few days

we made it!!!

Im hereeeeee
made it here in 38 hours and have had a rediculous amount of adventures already!
we are staying in a fricken mansion! with our mosquito nets hanging from the ceiling we call our bedroom the princess suite.
we have dance class at 9 to 11 drumming from 3 to 5 and dance again from 5 to 7
its exhausting but i can feel myself getting better already.
the view fromp our room is of vast expansive rice fields and beutiful exotic trees.
the drummers who are karims (one o f my guinean teachers who lives in seattle now) friends from childhood; but are proffesionals!!! they are so good!!! we even have a balphone player.
ok i am going to end this post before the internet dies on me (skkkketchy system) but ill write more i a minute if it doesnt take too long to load
love you all; hope everything is good wherever you all are

Friday, December 12, 2008

Its 2:28am and I'm sitting here trying to stay awake.
Judy (trip companion) and her friend will be here to pick me up in less than 2 hours, and I just think that sleeping at this point would be a bad idea.
My bags are mostly packed, but I have the innate feeling that I am forgetting something.
And unfortunately, if I forget something, I'm not really going to be able to 'run to the corner store to grab a replacement' I actually, for real, realized that I will be entering a new world as I know it in a matter of hours (or rather 30 or so) and panicked at about 11:47pm.
Fortunately I had this freak out while in the knowledgeable care of my fantastic roommate Leah, who has been to Africa twice and knows exactly what I'm feeling at this moment.
She convinced me that I really do want to go on this trip, and that though my bed feels super comfy, warm, safe, and bug free right now, I will be so exhausted and happy from all my adventures that the bed I sleep in really won't matter.
So I am now post-freak out, and I think I am excited again...either that or just jittery from lack of sleep and this cold that has continued to fill my sinuses and blocked some balance-helping senses.
This will hopefully not inhibit my plan to waddle into the airport with a ginormous backpacking backpack, duffle bag, backpack (turtleshell style) and purse!!!!
Wish me luck!

There may happen to be some co-authored pieces on this blog by Grant.
He helped me make my blog, and in my nerves of it being my first solo blog experience agreed to watch over it. Maybe he'll post if my writing gets too mundane or he has a fantastic Africa related topic to discuss, or my writing becomes nonexistent if i don't find any internet service! He is Seattle, but will be traveling to Peru in a week or 2 so it sort of makes sense...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An introduction to my trip

So I'm going to Africa.
If anyone is wondering who they have to thank for this it would be Lois, my dance teacher Sophomore year at the University of Vermont, who offered a West African dance class as gym credit.
Who would want to take 'walking for fitness' when you can embrace your inner self, learn part of a new culture, work out harder than you ever have AND have 5 live drummers playing for you for 2 hours?

Heres my itinerary for the trip:
December 12 6:30am: Leave Seattle, fly to JFK: 5 1/2 hrs
Fly 7 hours to CASABLANCA, MORROCCO! And 15 hour layover sweet
Sleep for a bit, shower, explore hopefully without getting into too much trouble
Back to the airport
4 hours to Conakry, Guinea arriving at 3am Sunday December 14

December 14-18
2 a day dance classes taught by members of Les Ballets Africains
1 drum class a day by our host Karim and other professional drum instructors

December 18-22 Visit Kindia - a Village that is beautiful....that's all I know

December 22-27
Ass kicking 2 a day dance classes and drum class
+ Christmas in a foreign country

December 27-29 Visit Roume - a tropical island off the coast of Guinea

December 29-January 3rd
More dance shakin
+ New Years Eve!!!!

January 3rd leave at 3am
arrive home 20+ hours later at 5pm Saturday night Seattle time

Thats it for now.