Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back to Luanda!

After a great summer back home (over two months) I am now back to Angola, ready for the "second" summer of 2011... Will be hot and moist. I returned almost a month ago now, and the weather changed roughy a week ago, literally over night; one day it is nice and dry, with a cool wind blowing, the next day the sun seems to burn me and the cool wind has turned into a moist breeze like a cows breath when its mooing. And the occasional showers have already occurred, so here we come, rainy season called summer!  

I arrived to Luanda with a vengance; two consulting jobs from finnish companies and a goal to get hired before the year ends. (Not hundred percent sure about the job though; this nationalisation process is great and necessary for Angola, but crap for little foreigner me.)

But the great thing about my consulting jobs (besides the pay) is that I am getting out and about. Meeting people and more so meeting ministry people. It´s been an interesting couple of weeks! The higher the people I meet, the better their english, which makes the job easier for me. The best thing so far was when I had a meeting at the Ministry of Environment. I spoke with the head, he gave me the address and time to meet. I arrived at the Ministry, asked for him at the reception, no one knew, I showed his name card and the address which was on the second floor. They point towards the stairs, so up I go. I go to the second floor and start looking. A man sees me lost and asks who I am looking for, so I give the name-card like before. Well well, this gentleman knows who I am looking for, he literally takes my hand and walks me down the stairs to floor one, then through corridors that seem to be getting smaller and smaller until we arrive at some backdoor almost like the servants exit, and he points up the stairs. I thank him and head up, where I find the environmental department: a crammed office built into the attic and practically closed off from the rest of the departments. I guess that tells us how new and influential the environmental department is in Angola, you know, the guys discussing climate change, carbon trading and other nonsense... 

But I can honestly say I have learnt a great deal about Angola as a country in statistics and geographically, and how to go about finding information and meeting people; the most important factor being "guanxi", you simply must know someone who knows someone who'll be able to get you a mobile number. Seriously, not kidding about the mobile number, it is virtually impossible to get through to anyone, even with a name and title; you must have the mobile number. 

And finally let me share with you a photo of the really nice lady we bought coal from, her laughter was genuine, loud and contagious! 

The lovely lady selling us a bag of coal