First few days in Guinea-Bissau

This is the first time I’ve blogged by candlelight. I’m watching the shadows flicker on the wall as I draft this post – something like what 18th Century authors must have felt like, except with a computer instead of a leather-bound book. But this is what life is like in a country of contrasts: a place where the only people with electricity are those with generators (which we don’t have) – but also a place where the information age is making rapid advances and for $80/month you can remote access to the Internet. That’s what I’m using right now – a borrowed Internet thumb drive – to send these dispatches from Canchungo.

My first few days in Guinea-Bissau have been far from uneventful. At the end of the first 24 hours, I think I had a pretty good sense of how Jack Bauer felt like after a hard day on the job. After my five-city, tri-continental journey to Guinea-Bissau, I landed in the capital, Bissau, at 2 a.m. and was picked up by the school’s English teacher. We stayed the night in Bissau – though I didn’t get to bed until 4:30 a.m. because I spent two hours catching up with my friend John Klit, the school’s computer instructor.

Sadly, the next day a close friend and relative of John’s died in the hospital – he was in his early 20s and was well-respected by everyone in the Canchungo community. The next couple days were a bit chaotic for everyone who knew him, including many people at the local Canchungo church and at the WAVS school. Then, today, we found out that a young woman in the church also died unexpectedly, which meant that many of the same people are going through the same grieving process again.

In some ways, this has made things a bit chaotic, but it’s also given me the opportunity to see the WAVS staff show courage and faith in a time of tragedy. Please pray for the close-knit Christian community here in Canchungo as they deal with the deaths of two young and well-liked people.

Despite the difficult circumstances, I’ve had a pretty good time here so far. I’ll be sure to add a post soon that has more details.