One of the poorest countries in the world
Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world. It ranks 174th out of 189 countries. The prosperity of all countries is measured in the Human Development Index (HDI).
The country still suffers from the mismanagement of the dictator Touré until the 1980s, but corruption and poor infrastructure are also major problems. There are no traffic routes, for example: only some of the streets are paved and there are hardly any railway lines.
When you come to Guinea, you will probably be greeted by very warm and humid air. Nobody needs winter jackets here, because it’s always warm !
The road is also quite different from ours. There are hardly any traffic lights, everyone is – from our point of view – pretty confused. Horns and agreements are used to agree who is allowed to drive first. At intersections there are sometimes balls of cars, but at some point it dissolves again. Breakdowns happen again and again, because most of the time the cars are older.
People cook, sell, pile up garbage or wash dishes on the sidewalk. The pedestrians have to go on the street because there is no space on the sidewalk. Everything is sold: fruit, juice, shoes, phone cards… What else can you see? Lots of young people, much more than ours. Mothers carry their babies on their backs in a sling.
Water is taken from a well in the country or from a stream or a pond if there is no well. Even in the city, not all residents have running water. They go to one of the public faucets to get water. This is then transported home in buckets or large bowls. Incidentally, only 67 percent of the population in rural areas has access to clean drinking water, in urban areas it is 93 percent.
As everywhere in Africa, women balance everything they have to carry on their heads. In the case of heavy loads, a cloth is draped over the head beforehand so that the pressure is not so great.
The corruption is encountered not only in offices but also in the street. Police officers stop a car – if a certain sum is paid, it can continue driving. Anyone who needs a permit for something has to wait a long time – unless they pay to make it happen faster. Everyone wants to earn money….
When children see a white-skinned person, they often call out to him or her: “Fohti!”. This is pronounced like “fourty” in English.
In the dry season, the whole country is often covered in red dust and sand. The Sahara wind Harmattan brings it with it. Then everything is powdered red.
Eating in Guinea
What do you eat in Guinea?
The main food in Guinea is rice. There is a sauce with the rice and maybe fish or chicken. Other staple foods include cassava, millet, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and corn. Yams and plantains are also popular fried. To get more information on Guinea and Africa, check prozipcodes.
Typical West African dishes such as fufu, jollof rice (rice with tomatoes), maafe (stew with tomatoes and peanuts), yassa (rice with chicken and onions and lemons) and tapalapa bread are also available in Guinea. A spicy corn soup is typical for Guinea. It is usually served in a hollowed-out pumpkin.
Kansiyé is also a Guinean dish, a stew with peanut sauce. You can prepare it with fish, chicken or beef. Take a look at our tip ! Fried sweet potatoes are a tasty snack in between.
Cooking and eating
People cook either in the courtyard or on the street – only a few people in Guinea have a kitchen with a stove. A small metal stove is fired with charcoal. Traditionally, people eat from a large platter or from a large pot, and do so by hand. But nowadays there are often spoons too. In any case, you eat with your right hand and only what is in front of you.
People like to drink a very sweet green tea, the warga, as well as water and juices, for example made from mangos. Hibiscus is also used to make a juice that is popular throughout West Africa and is called Bissap. To do this, the hibiscus flowers are dried and made into tea. You can also add a few peppermint leaves. It is sweetened with sugar (1 cup of sugar for 1 liter of tea), you can also add a little vanilla extract. The juice is then cooled and served with ice cubes. You can read how to prepare Bissap yourself in our tip on Burkina Faso!