The Importance of Being Ernest
Let me let the BBC explain: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20302544
So as you can see, Ernest is important. While the rest of you were wondering how Obama managed to forget to prepare for a presidential debate and just how rich Mitt Romney actually is, Sierra Leone has been wondering are they going to have to break out the tear gas and rubber bullets in my community (spoiler alert: if you live in Kambia or Kono district they already have) and is there any chance that someone will outright win with 55% of the vote so we can get back to school (spoiler alert: no). I mean, actually, maybe someone will win outright, the tricky thing about the election process in Sierra Leone is that because I live in a solidly APC part of the country I have no real concept of how the country as a whole is feeling and there are no Gallup polls to help me.
What I do know about the election process in Sierra Leone is that it is a little bit scary and not just because things could get violent. I’m almost equally scared of what will happen if things get jubilant. Let me explain with a story: a few weeks ago President Koroma came up to Kabala to do some campaigning and people around town were excited so to celebrate, the okada (motorcycle taxi) drivers got drunk and high and went speeding around the town without looking, sometimes without their hands on the handlebars, sometimes doing handstands and other acrobatics and this is all during a major rally so the streets are full of people. It really makes you reflect on crowd control tactics. The good news is Peace Corps gave Marc enough food that we can survive any outcome (happy or angry) by hiding in his house eating rice and beans.
Now that the big day is almost finally here I am excited mostly just to get the thing over with. It’s been interesting getting to experience an election in another country but it’s also been disruptive to school and the projects I’m trying to focus on my second year. Unfortunately, it could take over a week to get the results back and then with a runoff this whole election process might go on a month past election day. In which case, if it interferes with my trip home for Christmas I will throw a white girl fit (that’s the somewhat offensive, but it’s offensive to ourselves so it’s okay, term Chelsea and I use for when we hit our breaking point and start getting angry about stuff that no one has any control over like how long it’s taking your taxi to fill up or the rain).
In other news, my birthday celebration was a success, I went to the beach and enjoyed with my fellow Peace Corps volunteers. I have a semi functioning girls’ group going that I at least am learning a lot from if not the girls. I’ve started attending mosque and really enjoy it. For starters it’s a lot shorter than church so it’s much less of a commitment and for seconders the women get to sit in their own room in the back, which at first I was like “oh no, you did not just send me into the back room where I can’t even hear the imam” but then realized is like the absolute most relaxing time because there are no men around ogling you it’s just ladies and babies and relaxing and praying. But more than anything I like going to mosque because it makes everyone so happy. All of my neighbors are Muslims and many of my favorite people in town are too and I have never seen smiles so big as when they hear I’ve been to mosque.
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