Yesterday afternoon, a very nice young woman who works at the American Embassy, named Lynn, who I met a couple of weeks ago at church, called me up with the “warden message” from the Embassy. This is a formal thing that embassies do all the time to communicate useful information to the American community, and of course the wording of the message is generic and intended for all Americans throughout the country (including Peace Corps volunteers in faraway villages, travelers at hotels in the game reserve, and so on). The burden of the message was that I should stay inside and stay safe, which is excellent advice that I intend to take (mostly).
There were a few elements that gave me a smile. It was reported that people were shooting and burning tires. I was able to tell her that it was happening outside my house and offer pictures. I was also told that it was forbidden for Americans to move around except in armored vehicles. I didn’t mention that I don’t have an armored vehicle – in fact, I have yet to get my bicycle, unfortunately, because I think I would be safer moving around (if I do have to) on a bike. It gives evilly-intentioned people less time to prepare for what they are going to do to you once they see you coming.
Politics is still unsettled as of this morning. The second city in the country, Bobo-Diolassou, had huge demonstrations yesterday, as the military garrison there remained in its barracks and refused orders from the coup leadership to disperse them. There were demonstrations elsewhere in the country including in the home village of the RSP leader, General Diendéré, where the people are reported to have sacked his family compound. Pretty tough if your own fellow villagers are mad at you. The RSP released the president, but he is in his residence and apparently not allowed to speak freely. He did meet with the Ambassador, who reported that he is healthy. The other members of the government captured Wednesday remain in custody. The president of the transitional council, Cherif Sy, announced that he still considered himself acting president because the president was not free to carry out his functions.
I’m still having breakfast – last of the Yankee-style breakfast cereal until the supermarkets open again – but I hear traffic and people moving around. Much like the last two mornings, the early hours seem pretty normal.
I’ve kicked the neighborhood kids out of the courtyard for this morning. Yesterday, there was a big controversy where they were accusing each other of having helped themselves to cheese from my refrigerator (which I could mostly care less about though I don’t want people helping themselves to my stuff) and then they fought over who had the right to play on the swing. The mother of one of the little girls stopped by to raise hell with the boy who was keeping her daughter from riding the swing. At that point, I apologized to the mom, kicked the kids out, and will bar them from the courtyard for today. Tomorrow, I’m going to announce a new policy of invitation-only visits to the courtyard, with the two groups separated on different days.