The coup in Guinea-Bissau


I want to give you an important update about what is happening in Guinea-Bissau. Two days ago, soldiers lobbed grenades at the home of the former prime minister and presumed next president. They also stormed the ruling party’s headquarters and the national radio station, imposed a curfew, blocked off the capital’s downtown district, and shut off public electricity. Since the country is in the middle of an emergency presidential election, this coup makes the leadership gap all the more worrisome.

The good news is that our school is in a town more than an hour away from the capital city and everything is pretty calm here.

The hope is that this coup will end peacefully like other military uprisings in Guinea-Bissau have in the past. The fear is that this coup will provoke a bloody power struggle similar to the civil war here in the late 1990s where thousands died.

As a freelance journalist, I’ve been writing stories about the coup for McClatchy Newspapers. You can read the latest story here. For the latest updates, you can follow WAVS on Twitter and Facebook

Meanwhile, the WAVS school continues to operate uninterrupted. We don’t anticipate having any problems unless things deteriorate.

It has been very disheartening, however, to hear from our students about how frustrating it is to see their country take a step backward after a few years of relative progress. Our students want to stay in Guinea-Bissau, invest in their education, and help change their country for the better – but the constant political and military crises make it difficult for them to decide whether to stay here or try to leave.

Please pray for our students and our teachers – that they will not be discouraged during this time of turmoil and uncertainty in their country. And please pray for wisdom and safety for myself and my friends here as we wait to see what happens in the next few days. Finally, please pray for peace and stability in this country that I have grown to think of as a second home.


Chris Collins