As many of you have likely already heard, there was a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou last night. I won't go too deep into detail, head to BBC for a great article that does a splendid job of keeping us up to date, but I'll give a brief summary of what I understand amidst the shifting details: Last night around 8pm, 6 to 7 Al-Qaeda affiliated attackers (from the same group, AQIM, responsible for the attacks in Mali), ignited two car bombs in front of the Hotel Splendid in Ouaga, kicking off an attack that has taken at least 23 lives and caused many more injuries. The hotel and café next door where the attack took place are heavily trafficked by Westerners. As of this morning, the hostages they held during the night have been liberated and at least 4 of the attackers have been killed, but rumors of the remaining two still at large continues to test our collective sense of security.
Every Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso (including yours truly) is safe, has a full belly, and is waiting with baited breath to hear news from Head Quarters. We are crowding cyberspace with our texts, keeping each other updated, checking up and checking in. It's a heavy question: After two incidences of political unrest, Ebola at our doorstep, trouble at our borders and a 2 week long consolidation, could these be the last days of Peace Corps Burkina Faso for the foreseeable future? Will the message come this afternoon, pack a bag and say goodbye? Or will we be told to lie low and continue enjoying life under our generous mango trees?
Every Burkinabe I have talked to is confused. What is happening in the capital is so far from how they see their country it almost doesn't make sense. After working as hard as they have to create a free and fair democratic system, something tiny and poisonous has snuck in an robbed them of their well-earned political stability. Jeff Hudson said it best when he told me "It would be terrible if we had to evacuate, but what is really unfair is the fact that we'd have to leave all these people behind."
Again, I am safe, and will remain safe. Stay tuned.