lørdag, juli 28, 2007

Bureaucractic & boisterous!

I was ready to blow up, yesterday evening, after yet another troublesome run-in with the wonders of Burkinabe bureaucracy - ever wonder why the last bit of that word spells -CRAZY??
Well, down here, the little "desk-popes" (wonderful, direct translation from Danish, that one) who makes it to a "proper" job at a public administration office or - even worse - a lawyers or a notaires office really excel in waisting the time of everyone else.
For about 4 months now, I have been trying to open up a local company down here, and it just takes for fxxxxin EVER to get through to these thick-headed officials. They seem to enjoy it, when some completly non-important document can be discarded, because it "only" arrived in 5 and not the proper 6 copies. You have no idea as to the amount of legal mumbo-jumbo dating back to the old colonial systems of France and the UK one has to put up with down here. Everything is red tape - and plenty of it. Yesterday, I had to give in my penal records. These had of course been aquired from the Danish police (no, I still hold a clean bill, thank you!), but when they got that, they suddenly changed their minds. Now they wanted one from the BURKINABE Police - even though I do not live in Burkina, nor am I registered with them, of course. Simply plain ridiculous.

In fact, this is a big part of the problems in Africa. They REALLY need some legal reforms here. No-one bothers to open up a company in a proper way before doing business, because it simply takes too long and costs an arm and a leg. Example: To open a company, one of the docs needed is a contract of hire for the place you want to do your business. This contract has to come in 6 signed, originals (for God's sake no copies), and these then has to be "legalised" - meaning they have to have a stamp costing about 1 usd sticked on to EACH PAGE of the 6 docs... Then you have to register the contract of hire - which costs you a "fee" of 10% of the annual rent!!!!! I'm telling you - it is simply madness!

A few pics from the latest trip...(as always: click to enlarge)


I think it's the sad expression in this boys face, that caught me. I know its not a good photo (taken through a car window), but his expression just sums up so much.


This one practially shot itself. Again - the little girls face just appealed to me.


Lastly, a couple of photos from Banfora - the bush is beautiful, when it's the rainy season!
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mandag, juli 02, 2007

Dodging malaria for a living! How does that relate to beauty?

Dear all,

I am really trying to get this blog updated more regularly when I'm travelling, I mean it must be possible to find 10 minutes every other day or so!?! So I really will try to up the number of posts, when theres good things to write about.
But, like all other self-reform-plans I've tried in my life, I am sure this is only a short-lived try, so enjoy it whilst it last!

The headline is meant as a comment to the 233553343 mosquito bites, which I have been "blessed" with since I got here. It seems like every single bug in Burkina wanted to wish me welcome "home" with a bite or two. I hope I'll be able to avoid the ever present malaria - (knock on wood) - but it really doesn't improve my physical status, that my favorite bars and restaurants all have outdoor serving only...

Anyhoot - one of the reasons why I'm so covered in bug bites is, that I was invited to the local "Miss Vacances" (miss holiday) here in Bobo yesterday. I couldn't resist such an offer - and I had a blast. The beer was ridiculously cheap (and the whisky too), and all of the lebaneese friends I have got down here were there too. We had a funny night, I promise you ! Beautiful women and cheap beer - as good as life can be ;). It was great fun to see how a beauty contest is held here - and quite impressive to see the local traditional dresses worn at a "catwalk", (actually, the catwalk was an improvised pavilion in a back alley doubling for a restaurant, but they had done an impressive bit of work with the lights and the incredibly loud music. Of course the power went about 3 times during the show, but hey, what can you expect?).

So I thought I'd better share this with you - and post a pic or two from the event - sorry about the quality, but I wasnt too close to the action, and I only had my cellphone...:

I'd better mention one more thing as an appendix to this story. I ordered a whisky (sorry, but it was less than 1 euro for a double), and the lady asked me, if I wanted ice with it. Not being too afraid for my health (one should normally be very careful with ice when travelling) and hoping the whisky would kill most of the bugs, I accepted. The lady then took out an icebag (a plastic bag filled with water and then stuck in the freezer), took a used, empty beer bottle to smash it, grabbed a few pieces of ice which she then used TO WASH HER HANDS OVER THE REMAINING ICE and finally she grabbed another bit of ice and stuck it in my glass... ENJOY!