It was a close one. Bullets flew over our heads and parts of the walls and objects around us came raining down on us. We were already lying on the ground because the attack on the hotel had started just a few minutes before, when we came running down from the third floor. We made it to the bar area and went belly down behind a low partition wall.
The shots broke through the lobby glass and in to the bar, with heavy shooting in return from the French soldiers positioned around the hotel. KTJ and I crawled towards the low wall to feel more protected, but it just did not feel safe, to tell you the truth. As I crawled, I touched a small metal object that was burning hot, a bullet that had just ricocheted around the room. I have a little souvenir to remind me of the excitement. The shooting continued, and we were yelled at to make it across the bar area, right through the line of sight from the outside. “Low and fast, KTJ,” and we made a low run for it to the kitchen area, where everyone was congregating. French soldiers, very intense French soldiers, were running from one side of a long corridor that went from hotel front gate area to the yard in the back. We moved out of the way to one side, then to the other.
There are approximately fifty people in the hotel, maybe a few more. It has been calm for the last two hours, and the soldiers have escorted us, one by one, to our rooms to get essentials. We are leaving many bags and carrying only three backpacks.
If things remain calm, there might be an evacuation tonight, but it is all in a wait and see mode. We hear conflicting reports about what is happening outside, but the most consistent one is that the President is being taken out of the country by the French, but I decide not to really believe anything until it is completely confirmed and reconfirmed.
Now it’s a waiting game. I am hoping that the airport is controlled by the French and that the evacuation will take us there. I struggle to write all of this, knowing that my family will read it, but I will repeat what I have said in other posts: as crazy as this all is, we are relatively safe and following the instructions of the people that know more of what is going on. I know that I will soon be posting from a safe area.
Thanks for all the love, and we’re sending it back from N’D.