Wednesday 27 October 2010

One afternoon, while lounging on the beach, we were able to watch some local fisherman lay out there nets.  A boat came in to the bay and dropped off a few men and one end of the net.

(By the way, I loved the little girls hair on the left side of the photo.)

The boat continued on and completed a large arc continuously dropping the net into the water.  It continued on until it reached the shore again, about 150 feet from where they left the men.  Both groups of men then began walking their end of the net in until they met in the middle where they began to strenuously pull the rest of the net ashore.

Eventually, both sides met up and the entire net was pulled to shore with at least 15 fish caught.  The whole process took about 40 minutes.  Afterwards, they packed up, jumped back in the boat and carried on for round 2.

Notice the man closest wearing the black, WINTER jacket?!?!?!  It was at least 30 degrees that day and he was sopping wet as they were in and out of the water.  We found it a bit strange to choose such a wardrobe for fishing but each to their own!


Lesson Learned

Monday 25 October 2010

We’ve been in Africa 3 months now and I guess we were overdue for a robbery.

Joe and I were at our house this weekend doing a few things in case we actually get to move in.  I went to look for my iPod Touch and realized it was missing.  I was pretty sure I left it on the counter but it was nowhere to be seen.  Upon further investigation we noticed several small items had gone missing.  Before leaving Canada, Joe and I stocked up on several toiletries and put them in our shipment.  A toothbrush, toothpaste, half a box of q-tips, face moisturizer, my stock of MAC makeup (which I really don’t understand because I’m white… no one can use it here) and several other small items were among the missing!

We are pretty sure we know who did it.  There was one occasion where we sent 2 people (one we trusted quite a bit) to the house without either Joe or I.  Everything that was taken was small enough to fit in pockets, as the guard would have picked up on anything large.  There’s no way of getting any of it back and we don’t want to go around pointing fingers so I guess we just walk away with a couple of lessons: we were a bit too trusting of people and we should never send people to our house without one of us being there.

We didn’t lose a lot of things worth great value; the invasion of privacy and betrayal of our trust was the worst of it.  We generally feel pretty safe here and it is easy to get complacent so this served as a little reminder that we are in Africa and we do need to be a little more cautious.

House Update

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Moving into a house here is not necessarily easy.  There are several things that need to be in place in order for the house to be livable and unfortunately, those things run on Africa time.

Halliburton has a separate water tank and pump installed on the house to help with water pressure.  Without it, water only dribbles out of the taps and even that varies throughout the day.  It will also provide a bit of back up for water outages.

We are also getting a generator installed that will be able to run the entire house during power outages.  So far, we’ve only experienced minor outages but some times the power does go out for days at a time so a generator is necessary.

Our biggest problem right now and the main reason that we haven’t been able to move into the house is the electricity.  For some reason, we have yet to figure out why, there is not enough electricity coming into the house.  We have been unable to plug in any of our appliances because that causes the power to go out in the house.  We have notified the power company and they say that they need to come replace the box outside of the house in order to up the amount of electricity we can get.  We were told they would do it last Monday but of course, no one showed and when we inquired they replied, ‘These things don’t happen overnight.’  Apparently, they don’t happen over 18 nights either.

We are getting closer to having things in order.  The water pump has been installed but unfortunately, when it turns on, the lights go out.  A concrete pad for the generator has been set and we are just waiting for the generator.  Everything else must wait on the electricity company and who knows when they might get around to it.

My mother always told me, ‘Patience is a virtue.’


Third Time's a Charm

Saturday 2 October 2010

We have a house!

Street View

View from inside the gate

Now if only we could get a couple of minor things figured out...
1.  Constant electricity
2.  Water pressure that does more than drip
3.  Furniture

At this rate, we'll be moving in next year!

Africa Time

Friday 1 October 2010

Things here run on what we’ve been calling ‘Africa Time.’

When trying to get something done you inquire and ask when they think it will be done and the answer is often, “Maybe tomorrow.”  How do you argue with that?  The problem is tomorrow rolls around and there is no sign of anything being done.  No one calls so the next day you inquire again and you hear, “Maybe tomorrow.”  You wonder if tomorrow will actually be tomorrow and aren’t surprised when it isn’t.

Part of Joe’s job here is setting up the new base.  While Halliburton has been in business here for quite some time, the Wireline division is just being set up.  All equipment had to be shipped in, most coming from Angola.  The equipment arrived in Port Gentil quite awhile ago but had to clear customs.  A few months ago Joe saw one of the guys responsible for getting their things out of customs and asked when they could finally get the stuff.  The answer was, “Oh probably tomorrow.”  That was in June.  The equipment was finally delivered to the base September 24.
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