Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh , Conakry

I am both underwhelmed and overwhelmed by the state of Conakry.  I feel like boycotting the city until something better is done.  The trash, the turning the beach into a dump, the exhaust, the utter disrepair of buildings, the chopping down of the few trees that are left etc etc.  Really, its disgusting.  How can people go about as if this is 'progress'?  What do the elders think?  I ask myself every time i visit.   I'm sitting in 9am traffic, and trying to get downtown to work.  If there's no traffic it takes 15-20min. but with traffic it can take even 3 hours.  Lets hope it doesn't come to that this morning! However, all i can see are cars, trucks, vans, and more cars 'parked' on the road in every direction (traffic rules don't really apply here).  From the car window I can take a peep at life on the street as I pass, but most of the goings-on lead me to the question of, "why?!?!"  I'm sure it wasn't even this bad 10 years ago, but the thing is, once the ball starts rolling, its hard to turn the momentum back.   People want and need and desire without end - but also without reason. 
Education Now.  This is my new slogan.  Consciousness Now.  : )  Lets see what happens
      I watch a guy dump out his pushcart of trash into the green-space that connects with the RR tracks. But then I look in his pushcart and see that it's still full of trash, leading me to wonder how full it was before he dumped it.  I watch people walk up and down the RR tracks as if it was a sidewalk.  Flanking the tracks it almost looks like a park because plants have been allowed to grow (since its not any one's property), and even some people have made little gardens in this no-mans space.  We pass Medina Mkt and I realize that most of the traffic is held up because of here.  This is the main market in all of Conakry and daily resembles a zoo, with all the animals gone wild.  You can find anything here, and now that i think of it,  it would be kind of fun to stage a scavenger hunt in the market.   I see a young girl strolling along with bucket on her head, baby on back, and has swapped her panga for tight yellow jeans - both modern and traditional, the new 'femme Africain'.  Another woman has a huge sack on her head that's so big it flops over like a mushroom.( : ) Guys hawk cell phone cards, cds, maps of Conakry, anything and everything.  The market is the lifeblood of the city.  I watch one woman walk with a bundle on her head, trip, and keep the bundle balanced - amazing !  I gave her a standing ovation, but I don't think she saw through all the traffic and smoky haze.  If I don't get to work today, I think I'll just hop out here and get lost in the mayhem and maybe practice my bucket balancing (when in Rome, right? )       

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