Big thanks to everyone who offered their generous support for the family of my dear friend, Lanciné Conde, who passed away recently. Here is an update on how your donation has already been used, along with some information on the plan moving forward.
Over the years, the Conde family in Guinea has become like my own extended family, and they have always been generous and welcoming to me during my travels in West Africa. As Lanciné would frequently remind me, “We are the same family.” Indeed, I referred to Lanciné as my “grand frère,” or big brother, and he called me his “petit frère.” To his children Fodé, Mamoudou, Sékou, Lanceï, Kankou, and Moussa, I was something of an uncle. For anyone who has read either of my first two books, you’ll know just what an impact Lanciné and his family had on me.
When Lanciné’s oldest son Fodé passed away unexpectedly last year, it was a devastating blow to the family, for more than one reason: besides being a pillar of the family, he was a significant provider for the extended family. And it goes without saying that Lanciné’s recent passing has been equally devastating, for the same reasons.
During my last visit to Guinea, Lanciné spoke to me of his dream to build a house in his home village in the interior of the country, and move his family out of the city and back to the country. I had the opportunity to spend four months in that village on my last trip, and Lanciné showed me the plot of land that belonged to his family where the house could be built. Over the years, he and Fodé had been working toward this goal. When they both passed away, the dream seemed to vanish.
This past winter, I completed the writing of my third book, my first full-length book chronicling some of the many adventures Lanciné and I shared over the years. In addition to chronicling my own healing journey (I struggled with a debilitating chronic pain condition during much of my travels), the book was also an opportunity to tell Lanciné’s moving story. Lanciné knew I was writing the book, and it was always my plan to help him and his family build that house in the village once the book was published. It’s with great sadness that I say Lanciné won’t see that dream come to fruition. But I know he would have wanted me to play a part in keeping that dream alive for the family. And I intend to, as soon as I am able.
In the meantime, the first step was to provide financial relief for the family, and secure a place for the extended family of 20 or so people to live. I’m happy to report that the family has secured a new home in Conakry. I have just sent the first four months rent to them (thanks in large part to your support), and will send the next four months rent to them next month. The rent for the whole family is about 2.5 million Guinea francs a month, the equivalent of about $260 a month. (I have attached receipts for the money transfer to this email.)
Needless to say, the family is relieved and extremely grateful for the support, and they send their thanks and greetings to all who have helped so far.
And I send you my thanks too. There is a saying in Malinké to the effect of “when you help one person, you help the entire community”. I like to think that this one small deed that you’ve participated in will bring joy to a great number of people. That joy can only ripple outward and into the world.
Thanks again, and I’ll send another update this fall or winter as plans for next steps unfold.
I ni ké kosabé - thank you very much.
October 28, 2021