2012/01/05

First thoughts from Chad

I should have visited center Africa a long time ago. The experience is astounding.

The difference of living conditions makes one realize how much is taken for granted in the Western world. I am not talking merely about tap water and electricity (there is both, although in communal place), but of simple things which are unexpectedly missing, given that I saw them in places with less ressources (such as no electricity nor tap water). For instance, in Cuba water reserves on the roof give warm water and pression for short showers,  but none of this here: bath water is always fetched from the village well or concession's tap and boiled on the fire. The cause might be cultural rather than technological: other cultural differences are obvious, such as communal life, sanctity of guests, food and visit rituals.

When visiting cities I am reminded of the 2010 scifi movie "zone XX" where stranded ETs live in a ghetto. Now I known where the writers found their inspiration for this movie! Westerners who dream of communication with extra terrestrial aliens should work on intercultural communication first as a first step: from what I see we don't do too well. Those who hope that benevolent advanced ETs will come and help us should come and help here first and stop holding extra-terrestrial visitors to a higher moral standard than us.

Yet beyond the difference the people are the same, caring for their youngs, mourning for their deads,  hoping for a better future (and flirting shamelessly). Cell phones are ubiquitous, the batteries recharged at shops dedicated to this unique task, the credit charged for a small comission through agents who have a special chip in their phone. The same agents permit also the electronic transfer of money between cities, an African invention about which I had read before, that I now explore at the source, explained in details by one of the agent himself, a student in med school who traveled with me.

I have a bit of a cold, most probably due to the accumulated lack of sleep since my arrival, but I am quite well otherwise and in particular with no digestive problem (so far) , which I receive as a blessing. My mood is high (without being maniac) as I made many friends, dealt well with events, and feel in control of my life.

"Jusque là, tout va bien"!


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