Monday, December 23, 2013

December in a Nutshell

Here are some recent political and current events that were happening in Guinea Bissau in December:

As of Decemebr 7th TAP airlines has stopped their direct flight into Guinea Bissau due to a security breach in Lisbon. The Guinean transportation Minister falsified Guinean documents and Visas for some 70+ Syrians, allowing them to enter Lisbon
More of the story can be read here:

This completely shuts down air traffic into Bissau and makes transportation to and from Bissau even more difficult. Since the Coup in 2012, Cape Verdes airlines stopped running flights to Bissau. Now TAP, which had the only direct flight from Bissau to Europe, is also shut down. Air Senegal has taken over TAP airlines flights into Bissau, so all flights in and out of Bissau stop in Senegal. However, they are also are in the process of declaring bankruptcy! This extra traffic might be good for them. The alternative route many people are using is the 4 hour car ride north to Zuguinchor, in the south of Senegal and taking the Ferry (14 hour ride) from there to Dakar where they can catch flights direct into Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America.  

From December 16th- 20th  there was a general strike across all public services due to the government  debt owed to public service workers. That meant everything was shut down! For four days there was no traffic on the roads, all public service offices were closed, many restaurants were shut down, the usually populated and lively markets were deserted, and banks and other institutions were closed. Literally all forms of commerce and daily activity were brought to a stunning halt! The only activity you would find around town were police officers patrolling the streets to make sure that the Taxis and toca-tocas weren’t on the road. They were supposed to be supporting the strikers, but lots of folks saw this as an opportunity to make a few extra bucks sense people where still trying to get around.

This is so incredibly stunting for the economy. Everything was at a stand still. No one was making money, so no one was spending money. And this happens frequently! Never had I experienced it for 4 days in a row, but one day strikes are as common, if not more common than sighting the full moon


This is entrance to the immigration building on Day 2 of the strike. The note on the door reads as follows:

General Strike
December 16th - 20th 

"The non-payment of public workers salaries 
  is a violation of human rights"

On a lighter note:

My mom, brother and sister will be coming to Bissau for the holidays!! I am super excited and can’t wait for them to get here. It has been over a year since I have seen them. They will be staying for 3 weeks and so we are busy trying to find activities to do even though the month of December is pretty quiet. The Holiday plan is looking very similar to last year: Christmas Eve at my Aunt’s house, Christmas day at my Cousin’s house, and New years will be with the hommies!  Happy Holidays  Everyone!

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