Any of the statements that follow are my own personal opinion and do not reflect the position of the Peace Corps or US Government.
As many of you are already aware, the coup ended in dramatic kaboom ushered in on the fiery wings of justice. Within a week the RSP’s camp was gently stormed by the Burkinabe Army and General Djendéré and his officers were captured. He apologized for what he assured the public was a ‘waste of time,’ and while he and awaits trail in Ouagadougou, Peace Corps Volunteers and Burkinabe alike breathe a sigh of relief. But with that collective release of air comes the very warranted cacophony of criticism for what the RSP had done. A waste of time, you say? Tell it to the 10 or more people who were killed in the protests. Not a single Burkinabe I have talked to supported Djendéré and his ill-fated coup.
Looking back, I suppose what was truly amazing to me about the coup was just how much entitlement is showed on the part of the RSP, a phenomenon that is no stranger to this country. Burkina Faso has had more coups that elections in its 55-year life, and it seems that every time a military officer doesn’t get his way he’s entitled to a coup. The Burkinabe resisted Djendéré’s power grab with well-organized organized civil disobedience, and still it took him a solid two weeks to admit defeat. Power is not for those who take it. It is for those who earn it. This is the lesson Burkina Faso taught the world in September. Let’s hope it sticks.
The end of the RSP’s hissy fit meant the end of Camp Consolidation for us Volunteers, and bleary-eyed and sun burned we all said goodbye and filed into Peace Corps vehicles for the bumpy ride back our sites. The past three weeks for me have been a slow but steady return back to normalcy in Solenzo, which means welcoming the nuns, the girls (and my allergies) back to the Center. It also meant welcoming what I’ve come to think of as my I-couldn’t-go-to-India-so-I-needed-something-to-cuddle puppy. Welcome my new little bandit, ‘Hibou.’