With their country in the midst of a general strike, students protest to demand to take their exams in this story by Hakim Bah from the Guinean selection of our Global Anthology.
After beating me up. Beating me up good. Beastly. So beastly. With a truncheon. They dumped me in prison.
We were a fine skewer of high school students piled up in the same small cell.
“The baccalaureate will begin very early tomorrow morning,” he had said. He’d repeated it. Several times. The minister. Sure in his voice. The day before. On TV. As for the unionists’ strike paralyzing the country, the minister in his four-pocket suit couldn’t care less.
And yet, for the last five days, the whole country was smothered by a general strike hitting all areas of activity.
The streets, deserted alleys, or near-deserted.
Shops, boutiques, kiosks, banks, offices, restaurants, cafés, cybercafes, bars, videos stores, clubs…, closed.
The squeals of tires and endless honking of cars, motorcycles suddenly stopped. One could feel a certain tension vibrating in the air.
Nine hours. Maybe even more. Maybe even less. We were weary of waiting. Tense. Upset. Exasperated. Irritated. Excited.
We could no longer contain ourselves.
We were a fine skewer of young high school students invading the streets. Shouting. Singing. Whistling. Shaking. Burning tires on the tarmac. Clapping our hands.
The dust pissed on us. We didn’t give a damn.
The continuous sounds of footsteps, of our footsteps, of our shouts, of our ruckus, of our clapping hands, cleaved the city’s morning clamor.
Towards the governorate, where administrative authorities were camouflaged, or just about, to seek answers. Get answers from them. We wanted explanations even if we knew in advance that no explanation could calm our fury.
The governorate’s small courtyard was full to bursting. We were hundreds, perhaps even more, in the courtyard. Each wearing their blue-white uniform.
Standing. All standing. Our gazes constantly fixed on the governor who had decided to speak on behalf of all the city’s administrative authorities. He was in his sixties. The white boubou he wore displayed well his fat belly. His black skin was consumed by age. His head covered by a white cap. His eyes puffed out by his big, clear glasses.
It could be sensed, the harsh cosmos. The sun wasn’t around, probably sleeping on that day, a Monday. It was almost ten o’clock but clouds still blanketed the sky. It seemed a downpour was about to break. And yet no drop fell on that day, a Monday.
For a long while he soliloquized, the governor. But never got to calm our fury.
“The baccalaureate or death,” he was interrupted.
More and more we screamed, shouted, insulted, insulted him, teased, we were fed up. We couldn’t control ourselves. Tension maxed out. Nothing could stop us anymore.
This story was translated courtesy of Hakim Bah’s publisher Éditions Ganndal, based in Conakry.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.