Sunday, June 26, 2005


I made it, I'm in Senegal, great! It is a nice country, nicer than Guine Bissau I would say, just that they speak French here and don't really spek French. Well I'm only going to be here for a day, because I made a deal for tranzition visa with the custom officers, so I'll be in Gambia by tomorrow. Now I regret going home in 10 days :)

Do you want to laugh?

The political situation here is now calm. They revealed the official results of the elections, which are the same as the unofficial ones and a political party (well their candidate Kumba Iala, ex-president) that held the protest yesterday didn’t win. Actually the whole situation is very funny. Kumba Iala had to resign from his presidential position because he was no good but around two months ago he just entered presidential palace claiming he is the official president. People have different opinion about the situation. Some claim he is just being a good guy, but they don’t let him, because of political reasons (then he would held the control) other say he’s always just making problems. I can’t judge, but imagine this situation; yesterday while supporters of Kumba Iala political party held protests, few of them were arrested by the police and while a police was taking them to jail people who were not protesting came and beat the guys(not the police). So police was taking poor guys to prison, but at the same time they were beaten by the people observing the situation, like they (the observers) would want to punish them for making problems. ;)

Do you know how those two guys died yesterday? Police was shooting into the air, but the bullets fall back down and killed that guys. Weird.
Ok, enough of politics. As I said I wanted to go to Senegal, but because I agreed to go with one photographer that lives in Signicure and she was taking photos of the protest (that were unexpected), I was obliged to stay another day. We are leaving tomorrow morning, but ha ha, it only came to my mind today I might need visa for Senegal. I went to check it out on net and unfortunately it’s true, I do need it. Shit! ;) We’ll I bought my way back to Peru when I was on a border with Bolivia, so it might work the same way now. If not, I’ll just have to come back to Bissau and make a visa here. Well it’s Sunday anyway and I don’t have any more important thing to so I’ll just go for one day trip to the border of Senegal.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Trip postponed

This country is incredible! I was never so terrified as I was today. People here don't really accept the results of the elections (there should be a second round) so the protests arose around 12 o'clock today, just when I was at post office. I tried to escape, with the first taxi that passed by, but anyway we had to go through the croud that was protesting. One (some people say two) people are dead and 15 of them badly wounded. I'm alive ;) OOOOO My trip is postponed (incredible what can happen in two hours)
Miss you all!!!!

Gambia & Sengal

Dear friends! I am leaving Bissau and going to Senegal and Gambia. I’ll go to Signicure (have no idea how to spell that place, all I can say is it’s in Senegal) with one American girl that came to Bissau to take photos of the elections that were taken here last Sunday (she’s a photographer). She lives in Signicue so I’ll stay in her house for a day and then continue my way around Senegal and Gambia. Of course I won’t take my computer with me, but I’ll find a way to let you know I’m still alive from time to time. I plan to come back to Bissau around 5th of July and I’ll give you some details about the trip then. I also booked a plane to come back to civilization on the 8th of July, so everyone that want to meet me in Lisbon, 8th of July is the date. So hurry up buying a ticket and see you in Lisbon! Else? Wish me luck!

P.S.My camera still didn’t arrive to Portugal so I’ll just buy “one-time use” one. If in case you see my sister please tell her to go check her e-mails

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Do I like it?

One month is gone. I have seen the country from different aspects of view; how locals see it, how well-off family sees it, how employees see it and finally how foreigners see it.

How do I see it?

A bit “disappointed” figuring out that saying “He works like a black guy” is not really true, but at the same time being aware I can’t blame them. How can I if the don’t know alternative way, they can’t work as if they had. But if they had only moved a bit faster, if they had worked only a bit more, if they had saved that cent they earn instead of wasting it immediately…

And so the story continues. Those who do have a job will remain being dishonest (to be able to earn extra money) what is not going to help them in a long term, those who have nothing will continue selling little things on the market in order to earn money for a bit of rice they will eat for their lunch.

Giving them money is not going to help; we all know this because they would have just spent it to buy sweets or the first thing that passes by.

Do I like it?

Yes, I am happy I had a chance to see how these people live, to see unusual things, to be part of Guinean family. I am happy to see my ideas are being implemented in a firm I work for, even if small drop in the ocean, like implementing savings in Micro credit firm might make someone a better day. Yes, I adore eating mango 5 times per day and yes children of Africa are adorable when they all came and hug you when you come back from work.

No, people’s passivity, laziness and complaining are things that make me crazy. Imagine forcing someone to work or giving them extra work … This makes me a boss they wouldn’t like (and I don’t want that). I don’t like to live in such a dirty town, full of rubbish and to live in a town, where believe me or not you really don’t have much to do (remember electricity is a bonus). I don’t like people responding to my questions with “yes” all the time and agreeing all the time, when next day they come with a totally different idea mine was; they could have said it a day before they don’t think so. Yes, yes, I know, cultural differences, but they still make me angry ;)

Monday, June 13, 2005


Electricity I made some investigations and found out where electricity problem is. They don’t have any kind of electricity facilities. They don’t use the water-power (hydro-electricity), they don’t have enough wind to build wind hunters as they have it in Spain, not that I mention nuclear-electricity … Capital Bissau, uses one big generator (similar to the one we for example use in case of emergency (when electricity goes) out in a bank in Slovenia), so you can imagine we only have so called “Electricity from the city” once per 3 weeks. Those who have money buy their own generators, or even put sun cells on the roof (but this is already very rear), those who have no, use candles. Now try to imagine; people walking around the city in dark (of course there is no public electricity), brightened only by cars passing by ;) Very funny! One very weird thing is people try to sell things on the market also late at night. They use candles, so when you pass by a market during the night, you can see tiny little candles brightening up the dark; nice!

Safari trip

On Saturday I went to Buba, small town on a south of Guinea Bissau. I went there as a driver ;) of Monika, Peruvian girl that works here for one Spanish organization. It was great! Driving a cross county car for around 6 hours, on these incredible roads, with palm trees all around, passing “Tabankas” (villages), with both windows opened,… juhu, fantastic! I guess as soon as I get a chance and escape from the capital I start enjoying “Africa”. We slept in Buba and in the morning went to see rice fields, because EU is plans to donate some money on this area. Buba is quite a distant place, so you can imagine Tabancas we went to see were a real cross country drive! To be honest, it wasn’t a real safari trip (but a closer version), because we didn’t see any elephant, zebra, tiger or any other kind of “African animal” because they simply are no; they all escaped to the east Africa.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My new job

After the second day I must confess I am probably a “difficult case” for my boss. While quitting my first job I had to face the reality which is that people don’t hire volunteers in order to do voluntary work where it’s really needed, but rather to take advantages of the “no need to pay” workforce. People that really need help don’t even know how to ask for it. The result of my conclusion was I became very careful, strict, and the second day of my new work I doubted everything my boss said, just to give him hard time if in case he is just using “no need to pay workforce”. I guess I am putting the rules now. If I won’t like it or I will see no progress I will simply leave. I’ve seen enough and I guess I found what I’ve been looking for; a confirmation that my ideas do have sense, that people do need help and that certain organizations provide resources for them and that they need Economists for that, so jobs for Economists that are not really “economists” in that meaning of the word do exist.

We're getting somewhere

I must say I had quite a nice day today. Looking back the reason why is funny. Since we’re going to have elections for the president of the state on the 19th of June here, people are already taking advantages of it. For three days now we’re without water. Why? The responsible ones didn’t get their salary for a long time, so they just use pre-election fights. The house where I live has some extra supplies of water, but after 3 days it ran out, so we went to vodnjak, witch is around 500m away from the house. It was great! Finally I was really helping them. I was carrying around 20l of water on my head, surrounded by 15 young girls with jugs of water on their heads too ;) You should have seen that!

Do you remember what games we played when we were “younger”? Remember the game only two people are playing it with rope on the hand? Well actually one holds the rope, the other one stitches it, than the first one stitches it… I don’t know the name of that game in none of the languages, neither in Slovenian, but the point is they know exactly how to play it, like I do. It’s amazing how people on the other part of the world know exactly the same game. They were asking me why I know this game and I was wondering why they know the game. Do you know?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


It’s time to say some more words about people. This would be my personal opinion, so you might hear different stories from other people visiting Africa, but as I said I find them very unenthusiastic, a bit lazy, but with special feeling for a people. They would accept someone to live in their house, give them food without demanding anything in return. And as they want to take advantage of foreigners and people they don’t know, they are in this respect very honest. I mean people don’t take advantages of someone that kindly offers what he has, but do take advantages with other things. Besides this, as a friend of mine said, they are waiting for white people to do things and do complain how poor they are without really doing things that would improve their position. Of course everything again depend on who are you dealing with. Once my student said he wants to go to Slovenia. I said he is welcomed to visit me in my house, whenever he decides to come. Of course, he said he doesn’t have money to go there (for him it would be normal that I would kindly offer him to buy him a flight ticket). They quite often complain to me how busy they are, but if they only had move a bit faster, they would succeed to do much more things. “Wait just a second” mains wait and wait and wait. When they meet each other, they say hi, how are you (kuma), respond ok (esta bem) and than they just look around. This is what I meant with “unenthusiastic”. Or for example ;) I asked them what they are doing during their free time, during Sunday or…. Well, believe it or not, they are not doing anything. Things like reading books, playing football, going for a walk, visiting friends don’t really exist. They sit out-front and comment football, making each other stylish haircuts and that is about it. The majority of people earn money with selling all kinds of things on the street, from water in plastic, fishes, bread, bananas, mangos, palm oil, anything you can imagine. There is enormous amount of food markets all over the place. People carry things on their heads and not in bags. Some people work in all kinds of stores, most of them of them for clothes stores; other people work in different kind of organizations. I haven’t seen anyone begging for money jet what is in a way “normal” because only locals and a few foreigners, who came to work here, actually live here. This country is not tourist destination (haven’t seen anyone jet). Local women more or less wear their typical dresses, long skirts with typical top. Men in general wear long trousers and a t-shirt. If you know what the temperature is here, wearing long trousers (also jeans) is quite amazing, but on the other hand because of mosquitoes quite reasonable. Relationship between men and women is unfortunately still an issue. Lots of women are unemployed and treated as less worthy. There is a woman, called Filipa in our house. In a last war she lost a leg and her husband told her to leave, because she will not be able to do things around the house. “No one wants to marry woman with only one leg” she said. Now she lives with us, with her niece, Celestine, my hostess. One guy noticed something else. They don’t have houses with two or more floors; everything is built horizontally and not vertically, as their relations are. Quite reasonably, few people are educated and the question of higher importance of someone is not a jet a real issue.


I resigned from the school I worked for. Since only friends of mine read these pages I’ll give you some more details. I wanted to come here first of all because of a wish I had for a long time; voluntary work in Africa. Secondly to learn some more Portuguese and to get some experiences that would widen possible area of my future job. I paid quite a lot of money for the flight ticket and everything that comes with it to come here and help people that don’t have anything. School is profitable, meaning students have to pay for their classes, like normal language school. Teachers are being paid, whereas I am a voluntary worker. In my opinion I at least deserve to be paid for the food Celestine kindly gives me (if not for letting me stay in her house). They said they would pay, but they constantly avoided that topic. After lying to me for two weeks, finally saying they already paid which was not true I decided to quite the job. I found a new job; actually Marike a girl I met on a plane helped me to find it. I will work with microfinance, meaning giving credits to people that can’t even afford to go to a bank and get a loan. It sounds interesting, but as I started today we didn’t do much. It all works in their slow way. Let’s see what the time shows.

Monday, June 06, 2005


On Sunday I went Celestine, my hostess to the countryside. She was a god father to two girls from the villages around Bissau and as we took them home, I had a chance to see how people there live. This actually meant “Africa” for me, at least as I knew it from TV; people with big stomachs, living in harmony with pigs, dogs, chickens…., houses without the doors and windows, “special” kind of houses for cows and so on.

I had a felling like “vaw, I’m really here”. When I get my photo here, I’m goanna attach some photos…. They live in some kind of communities; relatives together build houses in a shape of a square. They share the same “garden”. When we got there, they brought a table outside, put a nice napkin, roast chicken, a cake (very similar to Peruvian one; only biscuit and cream on top of it) and 3 bottles of Fanta (0,33cl) on the table and the party began. People started coming from all over the place. I heard some sounds of African music, and admired every single thing around me. After 15 minutes we left. I can’t say if I liked it or not, of course things were new for me and were interesting just because of this, but as I observed people, they were very calm, unenthusiastic, living for a day. If I compare them with people from Latin America, I found them (Latin Americans) more “alive”, if you know what I mean.