It’s exam time in the desperately poor nation of Guinea, so Gbessia International Airport is crowded with students who come each to study by the airport floodlights. The Guardian reports:
Groups begin heading to the airport at dusk, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. Some come from over an hour’s walk away.
“I used to study by candlelight at home but that hurt my eyes. So I prefer to come here. We’re used to it,” said 18-year-old Mohamed Sharif, who sat under the fluorescent beam reviewing notes on Mongolia for the geography portion of his university entrance exam.
Only about a fifth of Guinea’s 10 million people have access to electricity. Those who do experience frequent power cuts.
. . . “My parents don’t worry about me because they know I’m here to seek my future,” said Ali Mara, 10, busy studying a diagram of an insect’s cephalothorax.
They sit by age group with seven-to-nine-year-olds on a curb in a traffic island and teenagers on the concrete pilings flanking the national and international terminals. Few cars disturb their studies.
Those who live too far to get to the airport study at gas stations or sit outside the homes of families who can afford a generator, “picking up the crumbs of light falling from their illuminated living rooms.”
Ruled by a dictator for 23 years, Guinea has rivers that could provide hydroelectric power; the country also is rich in minerals.