Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An Enabling Environment

A short note about the place I live - where nothing can be taken for granted.  I've been warned not to post a blog that is like a rant, but its just too interesting to layout some of the challenges I'm seeing here.

In this past week, since returning from Kabompo, here is a list of some of the things that you would think would be available in a town of 20,000 - but unfortunately are not.

The town runs on a diesel generator which costs about $.40/kWhr to supply electricity, yet the government owned supplier charges just $.03/kWhr - so we have anywhere from 1 to 5 hours of power per day.

The town needs power to run its water supply, and so we get about 2 hours a day where there is water in the taps.  

Construction Supplies
May not be so dire, but seriously, something as simple as a welding rod, a cutting disk - or as simple as a screw - you can't find them here.

The main phone provider was down for two days.

There are days when you cant find a drop of gasoline. (even at $2.50 per litre)

Health Care
I had to travel over 30km to get some medicine.  The government hospital which is a short walk away only employs 2 doctors and stocks medicine for Malaria and diahrea, but little else.

There hasn't been any cash at the bank now for two days.  Imagine!

All things considered, its still pretty good.  We can get vegetables and fruits are so plentiful they are rotting on the ground...and there is chlorine so we can treat the water, and there are trees so we can cook the vegetables.

And of course, the people are great - and the motorbikes almost never break down, and cell phones usually work, and ya...things arent all that bad.

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