Monday, December 10, 2007


Myspace Mood: Frustrated

One of the goals of this term in Guinea-Bissau has been to get an internet connection established at the youth center. The connection is really important because the network we have here is sometimes difficult to maintain, and an internet connection will allow me to connect from the U.S. and help fix problems as if I were here. Secondarily it will save us a lot of time running to the internet cafe every few days to send emails, download virus updates for the center, and look up solutions to problems.

The project has been a long time coming, and it's still not completely done, but we are closing in on the end (more details on the rest of the project in the future). The very last peice of equipment that we need in order to finish the project is a tiny little antenna cable adapter that isn't available here in Bissau. I ordered one from the States and my dad sent it over in a package. So, we've anxiously been waiting for the package to get here (along with about six or seven other packages that have been sent by various people that we haven't received yet, many with equipment I need for the youth center computers, others with Christmas goodies!) It's seemed like we haven't had any mail for the last three weeks even though we know so many packages should be getting here soon. We started to get suspicious... (and a little worried, because packages do sometimes "dissappear" permanently.)

On Friday, I found out what's been going on. The post office was on strike for three days this past week (this much we knew) but the strike ended on Friday. Of course they weren't actually doing any work on Friday (where do you think we are?), but the workers were at least there. So I chatted up someone we know who works there and found out what the deal was. Apparently, for the two or three weeks leading up to the strike, no incoming mail was being processed! I had noticed last time I was there that there were twenty or so giant burlap bags with the names of different countries on them in the room where we normally go to pick up our packages. I was suspicious, because I didn't think there was that much outgoing mail - and my suspicions were vindicated on Friday. Those giant bags have been coming in for the last three weeks (while I've been checking the mail every other day desperately waiting for the boxes) and just sitting - so close, but so far away. :)

So, the worker told me to come back on Monday. I don't expect them to get all of that mail sorted in one day (if you had seen them work for a few hours you'd know what I mean), but hopefully we'll at least get a *few* of the packages. The strike was because they haven't been paid by the government for a while, so I'm kind of wondering if a $4 bill might get me into that room to look through all of the bags marked "USA" and just find all of our packages myself! We'll see what happens, haha...

UPDATE: We got to the post office and had three packages ready for us! There are still bags and bags of mail to sort, so I was a little worried that this package with the antenna adapter that we needed wouldn't get opened until next week when they finally finish up the last bag. However, their disorganization paid off, and apparently since the recent bags were on the top of the pile, those were the ones they opened first! So, we got our treasured box with the last peice of the internet puzzle on the very same day that the radio tower was put up. Sweet, huh? We also got a pair from Grandma & Grandpa Atkins with some very tasty snacks! So, it looks like the post office is going to come through afterall. We' heading back on Weds to check and see if anymore of our stuff has been unburied. :) Here's Em proudly displaying the haul.

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