Mauritanian Peace Corp! Now with Photos!

September 25, 2008

Adam -- Amateur cartographer

I got the most curious email from our Afro-resident Dr. Adam Fiebs a few weeks ago.  Turns out, the second-hand emails I’ve been posting from him have found their way up the ‘ol Peace Corp totem poll… eventually they approached Adam about the blogging going on here on ArmsDistance, and Fiebs himself was unaware that I was posting.  I’ll let him explain it:

mr. battle! (ed. note: That’s me!)
well, because of my sheer obliviousness and/or stupidity, i had no clue you were doing updates on a blog! apparently, it is being read by a plethora of PCV (peace corps volunteer) parents and friends alike, and came to hear of it through some current volunteers here. you are famous! anyways, thank you so much for keeping people up to date because i don’t keep a blog and my emails are only sent to friends/family. the fact that most (if not all) PCV parents are eager to read it is great, so thank you more than anything. it has even gone so far as i have been approached by obie shaw himself (the country director of peace corps mauritania) at swear-in. he informed me as to the U.S. government enlightening him to your blog (because i forwarded emails from him to you). whether that is disconcerning to you, you can judge for yourself..but i find it hilarious because i was utterly clueless as to what he was talking about at the time! anyways, i hope you looked at my photos (i put a link on my facebook page) and hopefully i can keep updated semi-often. please keep it up. i am lazy and far less apt a writer than you are so i hope you do keep it up as i am sure plenty of friends and family will appreciate it!!!

i hope all is well and once our t-shirt is made for mauritania (i hear its in the works!) you will be the first recipient! hope all is well. miss all of you tons! i will keep you posted and will write an update in the next couple weeks as i settle into kiffa…

thanks again! its great and i love it!
fiebs

Huzzah.  Disconcerting?  Yup, a little bit, but I’ll keep posting.   Mind you any news reported on this site is third-hand but I’m thrilled that I can help share info about the Mauritnian PC efforts, and will keep blogging away.  Hi Obie!  Hi CIA! (eek.)

Oh, as for the headline, Adam has gotten around to posting images up on his own photo site over on Picasa.  I’ll be putting a few up to share every blog, but far be it from me to deny anyone else from checking out the whole page here.

"site mates mike, eric bell, eric metcalf at my house"

Advertisements

Baby-Kissing Protocol

September 2, 2008
It’s been a while, but Dr. Fiebs has gotten back, and he’s a full-blown volunteer — i.e. “locked in” for 2-years of do-gooding, baby-kissing (apparently) and sporadic email contact.  Good news is he’s going to be sending photo’s so I’ll no longer have to image search the word Mauritania for visual stimulation.
well the time has finally came! i am a full blown volunteer in the united states peace corpsand am officially a government emloyee!!! watch out! we were sworn in this past thursday in the heat and this week has been pretty fun due to seeing all the other trainees again and the anticipation of going to site is too much. swear in party was great and i will soon have photos to upload. i am in kiffa; my home for the next two years and have moved into the regional house!!! it is great! i will also post pictures when i figure out all the logistics. my first few days in kiffa are bound to be busy with protocol; which basically means shaking handsand kissing babies; but after i am sure to settle down and have plenty of free time especially since ramadan starts next week.
 
but all is well here! miss everyone back in the states. now that i am at site i hope to be more on top of my game with emails and the like so hopefully i can write more in depth ones or at the least give you an idea of what my life is like through photos…
 
adam
As far as the coup situation goes, I can safely assume that no news is good news.

Military upheavel is benign, bordering on boring

August 12, 2008

Adam “Mauritania” Fiebs is doing just fine in Africa.  The coup going on there is, in so many words, “boring”.  Meanwhile, it’s been generally agreed that Mauritania Peace Corp work is the least-desierable of all assignments.  Yay Adam!

…as you can see, as predicted, the coup is boring and goes with the saying “maritania…worst…coup…ever.” oh well. … i guess peace corps took an unofficial poll and has concluded mauritania is the least desirable, if not hardest, service in peace corps. hilarious! hope all is well

adam

Adam (Right)

Adam then reposted the email he’s received from his P.C. director, of sorts, Obie.  (I’ve edited it for brevity and entertainment value).:

Hello PCV/Ts:

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say hello and provide you with a brief update on the political situation in the country.  Not that I am counting, but this is now my third coup d’etat since arriving in Mauritania!  As happened in 2005, this looks to be a rather benign coup … At this stage, there are no indications that you (or other foreigners residing in the country) are in any danger as a result of the recent action taken by officers of the Mauritanian military.

The airport has remained open and business and government offices seem to be functioning as usual.  The U.S. has suspended all non-humanitarian aid to the country.  Peace Corps is considered a “humanitarian” agency and as such is not immediately impacted by the cut-off in U.S. aid.

Hmmm.  I would think that a coup just might shake-up a government.  Apparently not.

…Some things to keep in mind as we move forward:

  • In order to protect the integrity of Peace Corps’ mission, it is imperative that you do not engage in sensitive political discussions concerning Mauritania.
  • Please avoid large gatherings or demonstrations.
  • It is very important that everyone respect out-of-site policy (please keep your APCD informed of your whereabouts).
  • Do not allow yourself to be interviewed by any media outlet without first clearing it with me.
  • Keep in contact with your family and friends in the U.S., it goes a long way to reassuring them of your well being. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or eMail any of us.  The after-hours emergency duty officer number is xxx-xxxx.

Very Best — Obie

P.S.  With all of this great material, I would think that a pretty good PC Mauritania tee-shirt could be designed!

If they do eventually make a t-shirt, I will insist Adam send one my way so I can put it up for sale at TeeCycle.

Don't know if that's food or something else, but it's gross.


Worst. Coup. Ever.

August 8, 2008

Man walking in Nouakchott

Well, if you check back a few blog entries, you’ll note that my pal Adam “Fiebs” is currently serving as a Peace Corp doctor in Mauritania.  Also, if you’ve checked the news recently, you’ll note that Mauritania is currently under a military coup.  This is scary, but as history (and Adam) will inform us, this is a very common occurance here, and he’s pretty well insulated from the stuff that going on in Nouakchott — closer to the coast.  Adam writes:

yes. all is well here. you just  cant get in or out of Nouakchott. but being in Rosso, thus far, i have been unaffected. if it turns violent, which by Mauritanias past history of coups shows it wont be, peace corps is pretty good about pulling us right away. but the saying here goes, 
 
Mauritania…worst…coup….ever.

they tried this in 99 and nothing changed and i suspect this will be similar but i guess only time can tell…we will have to see about the aid.

anyways hope all is well. heading to senegal in two weeks for a couple days and to have my first beer since ive been here. damn these dry islamic countries. hope all is well in chicago. the alumni reunion looked like a blast! wish i couldve been there.
fiebs
ps farve is a jet…wtf!

Indeed, Fiebs, indeed.  Obviously the coup isn’t that bad (and the internet must be better than I thought) for a Wisconsinite in 3rd-world Africa to be more concerned about a Packers trade than a Military Coup.