Always in the deep woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is an ancient fear of the unknown and is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. -- Wendell Berry

The TRIP: GUINEA - wonkifong --> MALI - bamako, djenne, douentza, Dogon Country --> Burkina Faso - ouagadougou, bobo-dioulasso, bala, ouagadougou --> GHANA - tamale, mole national park, tamale, yeji, volta lake ferry, akosombo, accra, green turtle lodge, elmina, cape coast, accra, hohoe and wli falls --> TOGO - kpalime, atakpame, lome --> BENIN - cotonu (transport stop) --> NIGER - niamey, tahoua, agadez, camel trek in aiir mtns, niamey --> BENIN (abomey, grand popo, ouidah, ganvie, cotonou) --> CAMEROON (douala, buea, top of Mt Cameroon, limbe, sangelima, yaounde, kribi, douala) --> MAURITANIA (nouakchott, atar, chinguetti, camels into the sahara, terjit, choume, ride the coal train, nouadhibou) --> MOROCCO (western sahara, dakhla, agadir, essaouira, marrakesh, imlil, summit of jebel toubkal, fes, chefchaouen) --> cross the Strait of Gibraltar --> Malaga, Spain --> fly to Geneva, Switzerland --> Les Grangettes, France
Click for a map. Updated April 30, 2007

mercredi, août 09, 2006

Wonkifong? (July 28, 2006)

Cool name? For sure. Cool place? To be determined. Today was the big day for everyone. After lunch, we all (stagieres, volunteers and trainers) gathered in the gazebo at my family’s compound. On the tiles, a map of Guinea was sketched in chalk. The map contained major cities and the future sites for each of us. Oh, what would the future hold? This announcement was critical for our lives over the next two years. For each site, a description was given and the person assigned to the site announced.

Though I tried not to get mentally attached to an area, I was hoping that I would be assigned to the “mountain” region. Unfortunately, I am not there. Wonkifong. Where is it? Well, I will be the closest volunteer to Conakry, at just under 60 km away. I have been told that Wonkifong is a small village, though it is 7 km from Coya, which is a major stop on the road from most of Guinea to Conakry. Hopefully, this location will bring me visitors.

I have been told that my site has many creature comforts such as electricity and a good water supply. Maybe brining my laptop was a good idea after all. Communication should be easier since I am close to Conakry. I will try to get there at least once a month if not more – it’s still too early to say.

On August 6, I will go on site visit. This is when everyone heads to their site to have a look around. I will visit site and then go to my regional capital, which is Conakry. Whenever I ask a Guinean about Wonkifong, I get a positive response so I hope that it is a good place.