US EMBASSY IN GABON ISSUES ALERT
When you live abroad, you don't mind "big brother" so much. In fact, expats tend to look out for one another and people that may not be friends in another setting find themselves at each others' homes and getting together for parties and more. Embassy workers make up a big part of that. There's a sense in which we all are bonded by having a deeper understanding of the "peculiarities" of life in our current setting- it's unspoken. Sometimes you can just see it in each others' eyes.
So, from time to time, the US Embassy issues an email that goes out to the expats here, reminding them of an upcoming event or warning of a situation that they think we need to know about. I have been asked to be the "Warden" for the "faith" community of US citizens serving in Gabon, so I receive these emails and make sure that my "posse" (that's how we say it in the biz) has the "4-1-1" (or "info"... again... vernacular in the biz). No... I do not wear a badge.
The latest email from the Embassy was a warning about thefts. Having been robbed a couple of times, one of them being a mugging, I say to my fellow US citizens living in Gabon- TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!!!
Here's the email:
Warden Message U.S. Embassy Libreville, Gabon Security Notice - Increase in Crime February 4, 2011 This Warden Message alerts U.S. citizens to the increase in crime throughout Gabon during the past several weeks. Criminals prey upon those they perceive to be affluent, including U.S. citizens. Remain vigilant, stay current with media coverage of local events, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. In light of the increase in burglaries, we remind you to take all security measures such as using locks and setting alarms, limiting access to your residence to trusted individuals, and locking up valuables out of sight. To prevent carjacking and petty theft, you should travel with your car windows up, doors locked, and items of value hidden from view. You should avoid marginal neighborhoods, poorly lit streets, and unfamiliar areas of the city, especially at night. You should not walk, run, or stay on the beach alone or in groups after dusk. When dining in restaurants or visiting markets, you should carry only minimal amounts of cash and avoid wearing excessive amounts of jewelry. If involved in an attempted robbery or carjacking, you are encouraged to comply with the attacker to avoid injury and to report all incidents to the police and the U.S. Embassy. Demonstrations can occur in Gabon with little warning. We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.
And the email continues with contact info and about how you should tell people where you're going and keep in touch. All good stuff. My suggestion??? Come and hang out with Alace, Sam and I and our scary looking (but really sweet) HUGE dog, "Tozer".