Guinea | Again?

Approx read: 2 mins

Independent election officials declared Guinea’s 20 October election messy, but legal: a first for this country since its independence from the French in 1958. Jubilant citizens danced in the streets, hoping for trickle-down transparency in a country so corrupt you have to bribe the door guy to get out of the Conraky airport.

A few days later, the World Health Organisation updated its findings: they found 3 new cases of Ebola in the country.

I give up on Guinea. Every time I find something hopeful to temper something awful, Guinea’s Hydra of Horrible sprouts another head.

Guinea has pretty beaches; easy to get to if you have a hovercraft. (The roads are awful and public transport doesn’t exist.)

It’s the source of the Niger River. And schisto, river blindness, yellow fever and any other water-related disease you can think of, dozens more you can’t.

Literacy is on the rise. 22% of women now know their ABCs, which should help them determine which type of rampant hepatitis they’ve got.

The shiny new Chinese-funded hydroelectric dam has the capital Conraky bathed in electric light 24-7. Meanwhile, the rest of the country scratches out a living in darkness for pennies a day.

Until the E-vent, foreign investment was up, thanks to an inverse proportion of ferrous deposits to environmental and labour restrictions. If investors ever come back, workers should be ready to work the mines: Guinea’s rich in bauxite, hand-mined by children as young as 4 for aluminium production.

And Ebola’s back.

Already got tickets? So far, the Conraky airport’s still open. Say hi to the door guy for me.

But forget about traditional travel medical insurance. Even conflict zone insurance won’t cover a medical evacuation in a place ‘full’ of plague, which in insurance speak equals 9 individuals out of 11.75 million.

And should you have €100,000 to spare for a medevac, good luck finding an ambulance.

Still dreaming of Guinea? Make a pit stop first to North Korea, whose Central News Agency (as if there’s any other) reported the discovery of a ginseng-based drug that cures Ebola, AIDS, SARS and MERS, with clearly no effect on the gravity-defying man-bouffant. Better hurry, though, before they shut down the border again.

Sarah is a blogger, writer and amateur palaeontologist from New Orleans. When not writing or digging dinosaurs, she teaches English.