So my streak of weekly postings didn't last. Not to say that there hasn't been anything going on.
Overall the security situation in the country remains fairly good. Still hearing gun shots occasionally, some even during the day, but overall it's not bad. In my daily security reports I do see some things that are a bit worrisome but nothing that would point to a larger scale concern. So we carry on with the day to day.
Over the past couple of weeks my job has taken more of a political turn. My position has a lot of aspects to it from bureaucracy (paperwork and signing things), to problem solving (logistics, finance, programs), to human resources (talking through staffing issues), to coordination (other organizations, donors, etc.), to politics. This last one is not always my favorite and one that needs to be handled with a bit of care.
One event was a meeting with a high level government official who has a significant amount of influence over what we do. Without entering into specifics (sorry, might be in the book), I can say that it was productive and we were able to clarify things from both sides. Hard to say how clear he really is on what we are doing but the more he knows, the better. There are a lot of promising things going on in this country.
Then a meeting with the US Ambassador last Thursday. No big surprises but there are some particular concerns about the current and potential inflation rate. In a small, land-locked country with no real shipping access except by truck, rises in oil prices have an impact on the price of almost everything. It's also been noticed that there is a direct correlation between price rises and criminality. Since peoples' ability to pay doesn't increase as fast as prices, desperation sets in. To make matters worse, marketers tend to crank it up a notch when consumption drops. All this pushes individuals to want (need) things they can't afford. Recipe for trouble. More to come.
|Nelson, thanks for a lot of things, including the party|
After a nice evening with the South Africans, ambassadors, government ministers, etc., the next night was a similar event with similar faces but hosted by the Dutch. The occasion was Queen's Day, a celebration in honor of the Queen of the Netherlands. Rumor has it it's in honor of her birthday which is…uh…January 31st. Makes sense. Maybe I'll celebrate my birthday in November just for kicks.
Actually, the date is more closely associated with her ascension to the throne. The fact that it falls at a more agreeable time of the year to host barbeques makes it a better time to celebrate your "birthday" – worth considering if you're celebrating in Amsterdam.
|Celebrating her birthday whenever the heck she wants|