Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just got home from my first day back at school. We are the first to re-open in Tunis, but are on a limited day (9-2) until the US Embassy tells us otherwise. I kind of like it. No school buses yet, so only those students whose parents can drive them can attend. Parents were made welcome to stay all day if they wanted to, and I had several in the library - a good chance to talk about books and reading. Apparently, we had 60% in attendance.

Took Paige to the airport at noon for her 2pm flight. No problems. She'll miss her connection from Paris because her original 9 am flight was cancelled, but they'll put her up somewhere for the night and she also knows several people there if she's stuck. She won't get into Victoria til 7:30 pm Friday, poor thing.

I took a different way home today, and saw three burned out vehicles at the side of the road. The Ben Alis and Trebelsis owned every car dealership and auto plant in the country, so new cars became targets of the revolution. People broke in to dealerships, took a car, drove it til the gas ran out, and then stripped it for parts before setting fire to whatever was left. Why not just steal the car, you ask? May I remind you that with all possible documentation, it took four and a half months for me to be able to drive my car here. There is no way a Tunisian could drive a car without plates, or get plates for a stolen car. Best to take those shiny wheels and rims and put them on your Fiesta.

Anyway, all is calm. Last night was the second in a row without low-flying helicopters or gunshots - or so say the people who were here to experience it. I'm guessing that Monday will be school as usual with a full schedule, but maybe without extra-curricular activities. I am very impressed with the service provided by the American Embassy, and disappointed at the Canadian equivalent. For example, the US had a town hall meeting on Tuesday so that everyone could voice concerns and listen to experts. The US just announced that ATMs were eating off-shore cards in an attempt to foil the Ben Ali/Trabelsis from taking out their money, and advised expats to go into the bank to make transactions. I would have lost my card today if I hadn't been part of the American School. The Canadian Embassador's children go to our school, for heaven's sake!

Not as bad as the French, however, and I do love the downward comparison model. Six mothers and their children were isolated by a sniper inside the French School here. The army came to the rescue, but since the school is officially on French territory, they could not move in without the OK of the French Ambassador. That approval did not come in until 10 am the following day. The youngest child was 2. Can you imagine keeping those children low, away from windows and quiet for 15 hours?! Not I.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Karen,
    So glad to hear you are home safe and sound.