Decades of instability: The struggle in Guinea Bissau

An attempted coup was not on the plan when UK aid workers drove their humanitarian cargo half way around the world to help one of the planet’s poorest nations.

After travelling for days with a 40’ arctic truck, and its costly donated goods, they happened to be in Guinea Bissau at the moment when an unexplained explosion saw the death of the army chief. Retaliation followed. A few hours later, the President was assassinated by soldiers who had been supporters of the murdered army chief, on the assumption that the President had ordered his death. The palace was looted by the soldiers.

Unexpected as these events were, however, they provided, in microcosm, a glimpse at the macrocosm of need that has driven this country over the years, and which necessitates aid such as this team had brought. Guinea Bissau has seen decades of assassinations and coups, attempted or successful. It is not a surprise in a country that has not been able to offer a secure lifestyle for its people. It is infamous for its ‘trade’ services as a major conduit for cocaine which is to be sold in Europe.

Mercy Trucks, the UK charity concerned, was able to deliver their medical, dental and educational equipment once the dust settled. The NGO is committed to helping build stable lifestyles in a land which, clearly, is anything but. They have helped develop a medical and dental clinic, and will see the truck they drove converted into a mobile dental clinic for use across the area. Mercy Trucks also partners with those caring for children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, drugs or conflict.

“Without people giving, we would be wasting our time”, said Roy Dixon, team leader. “It would be difficult for you to believe what is of use here and how it can positively change lives… But it takes effort on the part of UK people to donate [and] make it happen.”

Global Hand is set up to help ‘make it happen’. The website’s goal is to connect, online, people in need and people who can help. In particular Global Hand delights to see assistance obtained through the website facilitate work like this: efforts that help people battling a precarious lifestyle today, invest in real answers for tomorrow.


Regions / countries / territories

Africa: Guinea-Bissau

Global issues

HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, health and medical; Peace and security