It has been a fun week or two. My conversational French is starting to pick up (just don’t ask me to write it…) and I know enough Lingala to make the locals squeal with excitement. Also, the Director of my department is out of town, so I have been able to use his office; which is great, because I’ve never had an office, even if it is just temporary. Supposedly I will get my own office in the next few months, and being able to use one now is definitely making me look forward to it. I wonder if I can go through my entire life outside of a cubicle. I figure that would be a pretty cool feat, and hard to do in the corporate world, but I want to try.
School just started here, and all of the little kids are running around in what I think are very awesome uniforms. They are simple, but nice. You can argue whether or not it is a good idea to have uniforms considering it is an additional expense for people who don’t have much money in the first place. However, in an area where income inequality will likely grow rapidly, I think it is good that this doesn’t become apparent in the school yard. Also, I don’t see too many kids of school age in the villages during school hours, so I think the risks are fairly small.
We went to one of the schools we built to see what still needed to be done to finish, and it turned out to be one of my favorite experiences. Over time a bunch of little kids started crowding around me. After a while I felt little hands quickly touch my skin. I realized that they wanted to feel what white skin felt like, and so I held out my arms and a million little hands started touching me. It was really funny and they all started yelling. When I crouched down to take the picture with them, I had even more hands dash for my hair, because my hair is much longer than any man’s here, and is obviously quite different. It was hilarious, and they were all saying hello and whatever few English words they knew. Some people are critical of our being out here, but I think that as long as I am surrounded by a hundred smiling kids every time I go to a school, then I think that means we’re doing something right.
I should be getting my Congolese driver’s license soon, as well as a work Visa for Uganda. The driver’s license means I won’t have to rely on our chauffeurs and that I can finally get behind the wheel of a car, which I miss dearly. We even have some cars with the wheel on the right side of the car, so that could be interesting…. The Ugandan visa is just to save me $50 every time I enter the country, and because I think it’s cool to have multiple work visas.
I went hiking with a friend last weekend, and was able to take a few pictures. I have some of the two of us, but we walked 2-3miles in the heat, and up 3-4 sizeable hills, so I am just going to leave those off the internet; not exactly going for the Jumanji look.
We moved our 1,000th family yesterday. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of houses. It’s crazy how big this project is, and how many families are affected. It means we’ve moved around 5,000 people in a little over a year, and we have something like 11,000 more people to go. I don’t find resettlement particularly interesting, but it’s necessary and I am glad to help. We’ve also been working on my development ideas, and that has been really good to do. I’m essentially the go-to person for development projects here, and to have that kind of influence for a $2 billion project is just incredible. I’m very fortunate and I appreciate everyone’s help in getting me here.
Finally, in the two months I have been here, the company’s share price has risen 34.5%, or something like 200% on an annual basis. Coincidence? I think not….