Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Travail's of living and working in Africa

In addition to the hardship factor - lack of amenities, poor infrastructure etc. there is also the possibility of 'situations' developing either as a result of a crack down on protests or in fighting amongst the powers that be,

During the course of the last three weeks, students marched the streets in protest of a killing two months ago, burning tires, throwing stones. This resulted in ALL schools being shut down for a three week period.

Last night disgruntle elements of the army took the streets firing into the air in a protest of their own. 5 colleagues had been sentenced to 18 months in jail for assaulting a civilian, a judgement apparently  they disagreed with.

From what I hear the shooting started around 11pm going on till the early hours of the morning. In the process shops looted, goods stolen as these elements ran through the centre of the city.

Going to work this morning, things seemed normal on the periphery, but shops remained closed in and around the Grand Marche. The only other  indication really that things were not quite as they should be was the closure of Filling Stations.

As I stood there, a few meters away from ground zero the tension in the air spiked; people began running, throwing glances over their shoulders, car's screeched away, pandemonium as pavement hawkers threw their goods together - clothes, shoes, food - and joined the flow; tables disappearing  in a twinkle made me think that this was a well practised routine.

Torn between taking out my camera and recording the events around me and the potential risk of doing so against the prosaic act of leaving actually took me some time to decide... I chose the later, deciding to return to the relative safety of my accommodation.

I don't quite know why I did that...

The latest is that these guys are threatening to hit the streets again this afternoon

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