Thursday, June 30, 2011

L'aventure Commence!

     In eight days I'm getting on a plane and heading to Guinea, Conakry, also known as La Republique de Guinee, to teach secondary mathematics in French.   My first thought after getting off the phone with my placement officer, two months ago, was where am I going? And my second was, how long do I have to learn French???  I immediately typed Guinea in google images with the hope of getting pictures of my new home but only saw pictures of awkward chickens, and weird tropical diseases!  With a little persistence, I quickly discovered that Guinea is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but has been challenged with political instability and decades of self-imposed isolation from the international community.  It is a place of extraordinary resource and opportunity, and I'm so excited for the chance to become part of this new community. 

          So, next week on Wednesday morning, I'll drive to Reno and fly to Philidelphia for Staging (Immunization, ice-breakers, and paperwork!!) with 25 other trainees.   I'll take with me the incredible spirit of the Gonzaga Community, and loving and optimistic attitude of my family.  Today, at one of far too many weekly basketball games, I had a friend offer a gift to support me in Guinea.  It was completely unexpected, generous, and kind.  His act reminded me of the power of giving. 

        From Philidelphia I will fly to Belgium, then on to The Gambia, and finally arrive in Guinea!  In the mean time, you should write me! :) It usually takes 3-6 weeks for mail to arrive to post in Guinea so keep that in mind when sending mail.  To help ensure the mail arrives, it is a good idea to write "par avion" on the outside of envelopes.  For boxes containing books or school stuff write "Education Materials" on the outside of the box.  My address will be:

George(Max) Helling, PCV
s/c Corps de la Paix
B.P. 1927
Conakry, Guinée
West Africa

All the best!  :)