Saturday, October 14, 2006

Day 314




In the middle of the week I was working in the office when I heard some people outside yelling and looking up at the sky. The sun had almost a reverse eclipse look and there was a ring around the sun so large it looked like it took up the whole sky. One of my friends told me he heard that this either meant really good rains or war. Brigitte, one the doctors in the project had seen this years ago in Rwanda, and I asked her if it was before the war, and she thought back and figured it was about 6 months before the genocide happened. I am hoping for the rain, although I do not see an end to the >1000% inflation and mismanagement of govern without some type of civil unrest.

The rest of the week again found me carrying box A from place A to place B. Managing the pharmacy is not something that I am ever going to miss. On Friday I was so filthy after moving boxes that I had dirt streaks on my face and my hands looked like I was more of a native African than a pale pasty Irish-Polish mix from the US.
I am in the hunt for gifts for family and friends and feeling the pressure of our horrible per diem change last month. We used to get the per diem in US dollars and changed it on the unofficial market so we really did not feel the inflation so much. Now our per diems are frozen because the are over double what the lowest salary gets paid. We are getting Zim dollars (46 thousand per week) which are exchanged by the company at a rate of 600 Zim for 1 US. The unofficial market is now changing for 1300 for 1 US. That makes the shopping a bit harder and I have found myself changing the personal money I brought with me from the states. Inflation of this caliber is something I hope not to have to live through again. Our house is no longer buying cheese because it is too expensive and we are all on an unplanned and unwelcome diet. I do exaggerate a bit though, instead of being able to eat out whenever I want to and not worrying about money I am now counting my thousands to make sure I have enough to get through the week.

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