What to Expect
When you arrive in Guinea, it will be HOT! Plan accordingly! Small handheld fans or cooling towels may come in handy.
Bring your balance and spending money in ONLY the newest, blue $100 bills for the best transfer rate(The red 50's are also OK). Try to be sure your bills do not have bent corners, hard creases, or stamps/marks. Your money will be changed for Guinea Francs and we will handle the transfers for you to ensure the best rate (and not the 'foreigner'rate). The transfer rate varies, but an easy mental conversion is $1≈8,000 GNF ($100≈800,00GNF)
Make sure your phone is unlocked or has an international plan. SIM cards are easy to get and cost about $1. Data is also very inexpensive at about $1.50/GB and is added on a pay-as-you-go system. If your phone is not unlocked, you can get an inexpensive phone for about $75-100 at the market (or online ahead of time) that will connect and can also be used as a hotspot.
Make a couple color copies of your passport, vaccine, and visa confirmation receipt to keep on your person at all times once in the country. It can be risky to keep your passport on you at all times in case it gets lost. Getting a temporary or emergency passport is possible at the US Embassy in Conakry but can delay your departure
There is an active military presence both in the airport and around the capital. This is normal! There are two military bases in Conakry, making it very safe and guarded.
We will have drum and dance class every day Monday - Friday and will make up any missed classes on Saturday/Sunday if we need to miss during the week for any reason. While most students choose either drum or dance classes, you are welcome to take all the classes! We will also do cooking and language classes throughout the time.
Mon - Friday General Schedule*
8:00 AM - Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 - Drum Class
11:00 - 12:30 - Dance Class
12:30 - Lunch
2:00 - 3:30 - Drum Class
3:30 - 5:00 - Dance Class
7:00 PM - Dinner
Saturday - Sunday:
Day trips, private lessons, shopping, chill time!
*The schedule is subject to change based on what the students want!
We generally rent out a large compound in which all students will stay and we also do classes. Sometimes we rent individual apartments if we have an overflow students or if we have just a few! Some things to know and consider are:
There may not always be power 24 hours a day though it will usually comes on and off around the same times, if it is not consistent. Charge devices accordingly!
Indoor plumbing is not yet fully up to date in all places. Running water is not a guarantee and interior hot water is unlikely, though can be pot heated upon request. A cool bucket shower is wonderful after a hot day of drumming and dancing!
There ARE toilets but they generally need to have water poured into the bowl to "flush"
The sewers cant not handle paper products so do not flush toilet paper or baby wipes as it will back up your toilet
Many apartments/rooms have splitter AC units and most all will have fans to keep the room cool.
All meals are provided and are made from scratch by Fode's family. All meals are eaten family style on the same large platter. Most meats except pork are eaten regularly in Guinea ( and LOTS of seafood) but we can also accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and other dietary restrictions. Please let us know of food allergies as well!
Breakfast generally consists of coffee, fresh fruit, yogurt, and egg sandwiches on fresh baked baguettes (Tapalapa)
Lunch is the heaviest meal and will most always be a traditional rice and sauce combo. Sauces include Peanut sauce, Potato/Peanut/Yam leaf greens sauce, Okra sauce, Tomato and Onion sauce, Riz Gras (Jolof/Wolof Rice), Etc
Dinner is a lighter meal and will be platter such as Fish and plantains, Spaghetti, Avocado / Potato salad, Savory Mangos, Chicken and fries,
Filtered (bagged) water is provided for all students. Feel free to bring any other snacks you may want to have in between meals that may not be available at the markets in Guinea.