Friday, July 10, 2009

I should be working.

I know it is still in the afternoon and I should be working. Trust me, I have (and will this evening). At 8am we were at the office. Thierry and Wivine were waiting when we arrived. Thierry and Wivine are two statistics student at the University of Lubumbashi. Today we trained them for piloting the final survey. Upcoming Monday and Tuesday the four of us will be in the field. All in all, things went very well. We finished around 4pm. Funny thing: Simon and I took them for lunch – a good way to have an informal talk and get to know each other a bit. We asked the driver to bring us to a place nearby. We ended up at the KFC. Well, that is: the Katanga Fried Chicken. :).

Anyhow, in the meantime we also worked on the LLU data for Haut Katanga – one day I will explain what that is – together with the M&E (monitoring and evaluation) officer. Bottomline: this data is in an absolutely horrible shape; I don’t even want to use the word ‘shape’. We are here – among others – to clean this data, but it is a mess. I therefore need a break now; so hereby a post with again some completely random things:

We have at least five people here in Haut Katanga working for us. Simon and I share a house together; indeed, how horrible. We have a cleaning lady. We also have a security guard (probably several). In addition, the IRC assigned three drivers to us – standby to drive us around: 7am-3pm it is Fredy, 3pm-23pm it is Ben, and 23pm-7am it is Vincent.

The day before yesterday we went to the supermarket. Yes, a real supermarket. Being Dutch I rushed to the cheese corner to see whether they sold cheese. They had even 4 different types! To my big suprise, one of them was Gouda Komijn. This is fantastic for me, but the fact that it is easier to buy Dutch cheese in Lubumbashi than Congolese-made Goma cheese is really bad.

To all the people out there with warm showers: we envy you! We are at around 40 days with cold showers and still counting.

This morning we had a chat with the driver when we passed by a big building that was called “June 30th”. The driver explained that June 30th is the Congolose day of independence. I thought of the other days of independence that I know off: July 4 (US), July 1 (Canada), July 14 (France), and September 16 (Mexico). Interestingly, all took place in the summer. Why the summer? Is it because people have holiday, they are out on the street, it it is warm, etc. and therefore people are more likely to rebel? Wikipedia ( has a long list with 149 days of independence. If you look at the months you get the following:

There seems to be happening something in the summer, but it is not very convincing. Maybe I am a bit sloppy: summer above the equator does not take place at the same time as the summer below the equator, one probably has to control for several other things (e.g. what caused the fight for independence, type of independence, type of colonizer, is the neighboring country fighting for independence, etc.), etc.

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