Monday, 29 January 2007

The fat lady hasn't sung

I'm sitting at my desk avoiding that media landscaping exercise again by reading the UN's weekly security update from the subregion. The footer at the bottom of the page says 'UN - restricted'. It's been forwarded around all the INGOs in Freetown by the head of Catholic Relief Services. Contrary to the suggestion of the name, CRS is not a bunch of episcopalians running around helping Salonean Catholics deal with their religious guilt, but is instead an American development agency. A good one too if their staff are anything to go by.

I digress. Not too long ago the head of Care sent an email to our Country Director: 'I have been informed through the security tree that there are students demonstrating in the area of circular road. There is an unconfirmed report that shots have been fired'. An hour or so later we all sat in a meeting when the continuous sound of police sirens rang out around us. It sounded like New York outside. Unusual because most police landrovers don't have sirens. A colleague joked that she'd only heard them once before and maybe they were just testing them out. The Country Director somewhat humourlessly said 'I suppose that means we do have demonstrations downtown.' We got on with the meeting. What more could we do?

It's hotting up though. I'm glad I'm going up line this weekend for a couple of weeks. Get me to the countryside where it's calm and slow and tranquil. I've never been one for the bustle of the city, and it turns out that avoiding crowds is actually an exercise in self-preservation as opposed to misanthropy.

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