Saturday, October 13, 2007

12th October 2007 – Luanda International, Angola – 11:00

The departure lounge is a far cry from arrivals, it’s almost nice. I don’t think many of my fellow countrymen visit Angola, for a request to interline my check in luggage home was met with a blank stare and a immediate ‘not possible’. The destination code offered, soon sorted that out and I entrusted my bag over hoping to see it 12:30 tomorrow in Colombo.

So, here I am sitting in another airport, my tenth on the 41st day of my travels having done a whirl wind tour of Western Africa and Angola. My passport bears two new stamps, Senegal and this. Regretfully the Ethiopian one is not there in spite of the fact that I spent a night in the city – transit passengers are not considered to have actually been there! But I was, Scouts honour, and I have some pics to back me up too!

Impressions of Angola are mixed…. The people are not as friendly as I have found in the South, the East and West. Perhaps their many years of isolation, language difficulties are a possible contributory factor. But somehow I get the impression that they are generally rather suspicious… A smile is not often returned, something which is virtually unheard elsewhere, for Africans are quick to smile.

Things should change, and quickly too if the government allows it. But somehow, change when it comes, will not benefit the man on the street…. Certainly the infrastructure will improve, perhaps housing will too, but unless there is an effort to encourage the population to move out of the city, reduce congestion, develop local industry, it will remain difficult.

So, homeward bound I am…. Ah, my country, and its own difficulties. Life is becoming hard there, in what was such a beautiful place. The economy spiralling downward, inflation at levels never seen before. Making a living there is hard…. So little to show at the end of the day for all one’s efforts. I live a frugal lifestyle, and my earnings reasonable. Yet, the quality of my life is poor; for once the basics are paid for, utilities covered, there is nothing left, to enjoy life.

Thinking back, I suspect I did more when I was earning 3% of what I do now. Sure, housing was provided, domestics too, but 20yrs ago, my life style was of greater quality than now – for this I have successive governments to thank, most especially this one lead by a man I thought would make a difference. He has, he certainly has, but worsening our woes instead of reducing them.

Come Monday I shall be back, to deal with the daily drudge. My job has lost its glitter, only because of the kind of people guiding it, narrow minded, petty thinking.

My weekends I shall look forward too!!

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