Friday, July 23, 2010

Random (housekeeping-like) things.

  • I installed a “flag counter” on this blog 2 days ago (see above). It tells me from which country this blog has visitors. Awesome!
  • Over here in Bukavu we walk around with radios to call cars, update our location to the radioroom (IRC’s Big Brother) when moving around the city, etc. In brief, give Raul a radio to play with and you won’t hear him for the rest of the day.
  • When one prints in IRC’s TUUNGANE office in the evening the light goes off. Kind of fun.
  • The three of us – since our arrival on July 9 – have been staying at hotel & restaurant Chez Victoria. Not a bad place, but a bit expensive and loud on Friday and Saturday night (especially for us PhD students). Today or tomorrow we will move to IRC housing.
  • My phone number in the DRC for upcoming 6 months is +243998399330.
  • I like taking local transport – one gets to know local people. On Bukavu’s main road there are taxis (read: random cars that stop when you raise your hand) and for 400 Congolese Francs it brings you from the hotel to the IRC office. Some of these taxis drive fast, others drive slow. Both types claxon constantly to indicate they are a taxi. Question: What is a better strategy? Drive fast versus slow?
  • For now my stomach is beating those of Raul and Grant here in the DRC. Ha! (Knock. Knock.)
  • From next week onwards I am going to start a weekly post called “Architecture in the Congo”. I have seen some great buildings that deserve a picture online.
  • Internet is working quite ok here at the IRC office. The second time I was here (January this year) they had installed a large satellite disc, but were waiting for government approval before using it. Now it works. I still don’t have internet on my phone, though.
  • Most NGO cars here have stickers with an AK-47 on it and a big red circle around and a cross through it. Our car today was a bit old and actually invited people with AK-47s in. Nice!
AK-47s welcome.
  • The Primus and gin tonics taste great again.
  • A final and actually quite serious point. There is so much turnover among (white) ex-pats within NGOs. Of those that were at the IRC when I was in Bukavu the first time (summer 2009) nobody is here anymore. I am currently the 'oldest' TUUNGANE person in Bukavu! Think about it - I started a year ago! And we're wondering why the development world is constantly making the same mistakes!?

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