Monday, December 03, 2012
Things I have learned while living in Angola for the past 11 months: 1. Rain is a legitimate excuse for being late to work or school. Or for not going at all. 2. Sometimes “You can’t get there from here”, is the truth. 3. “Dinner is ready” does not mean you will be eating soon. 4. If you are inside and it’s pouring rain, sit down, have a cup of coffee or tea, and by the time you’re done you can walk to your car without getting wet. 5. Potholes and sink holes can break the axle of your car, and sometimes entire tires can sink entirely under the surface of the road. 6. Expect it to be ten degrees warmer when you leave Lubango for pretty much anywhere else in Angola. 7. Beautiful, unspoiled, natural beaches do still exist. 8. When the city haphazardly plants tall evergreen trees with no roots attached before the election, they will quickly become tall everbrown eyesores after the election. 9. Roads with no drainage dissolve very quickly. 10. If you eat too many mangoes, you can end up with the chapped lips from Hell. 11. A grown man operating a motorcycle carrying two other grown men as passengers at night with no lights, is a very bad idea. 12. Chickens are good gifts to give to sick people and guests who have come to visit you. 13. Turn signals don’t mean “I’m planning to turn soon”, but rather, “You see how I just braked hard? I AM TURNING. NOW.” 14. If the task at hand would take ten minutes to complete in North America, plan for it to take three days to six months in Angola. 15. Having a receipt that your paperwork has been submitted works just as well as having the actual paperwork. 16. It’s a good idea to laminate that receipt because you may be carrying it around for a few years. 17. Roads that were never paved are much more pleasant to drive on than roads that were paved at one time. 18. Live goats can be tied to the top of buses, or strapped to one’s back on a motorcycle for transport. 19. A pano (a large rectangle piece of colorful printed cloth) is an extremely useful and versatile item. It can be used as a skirt, privacy for peeing in the bush, a shawl, a baby blanket, to tie a baby to your back, used as padding when carrying something heavy on your head, and countless other uses. 20. When you hear the hum of the refrigerator, there is electricity! Plug in your phone, and laptop, use the microwave, electric kettle and coffee grinder, and watch tv while you can!