Update from Sierra Leone on Nov. 21, 2009: Student strike, police lockdown make college event impossible

I'm just now getting to write again because our generator has been down for a few days which meant I couldn't charge my phone which meant I couldn't write.

(Yeah, I'm writing these journal entries on my phone, and it's a lot of thumb work. I haven't really played video games in years so I'm indirectly getting my Nintendo chops up. Heh.)

Anyway, yesterday, the Chairman was supposed to speak at Fourah Bay College, one of the first colleges in Africa, if not the first. That event couldn't happen though because the students are apparently striking because of the inability to pay school fees and the refusal of the school to provide accommodations, i.e. housing.

The government has responded by sending police who have apparently held the campus on lockdown for the past few days. Now, words hold different definitions in different places, so I can't exactly tell you what that looks like at the college. (Yeah, of course y'all know I didn't go to the college to check it out. I've already almost been arrested twice for heinous acts of journalism. Three strikes you're out!) What I can tell you is that the professor hosting the event said that because of the police situation the event couldn't go down.

We did do a post-conference press conference yesterday, and, predictably, the media acted just like they do in the U.S.—asking loaded questions in an attempt to be able to paint a picture of the APSP-SL that would discredit it. It's like a dance you have to do with the media. They try to set you up to say what they need you to say and you constantly have to redirect to put out what it is that you want to get across. It's like a contest, a tug-of-war of sorts. It's an art that you get to kind of enjoy once you get adept at it (especially when you get to smack 'em in the head when they ask stupid questions—figuratively speaking, of course).

Anyway the press conference went fairly well. But we'll see what they print, and that's another story altogether…




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