Monday, July 13, 2009

Citizen Sinclair

As noted in an earlier posting I, by mistake, became citizen of Zimbabwe a while ago. This did not bother me. Until last Friday.

I had just gotten a new passport as the old one was running out of pages (they last around a year with all my zigzaggin around Africa). Then I took the time on Friday to go to Immigration and transfer my residence permit.

An extremely bored-looking woman asked for my ID and then stated that as I was a citizen I could not have a residence permit. My protests that I was not a citizen, it was just that Registrar General had made a mistake, had no impact whatsoever - "you have to sort that out first".

So we started this morning by going back to Registrar General. Lucky I had a copy of my old paper ID and even more lucky a friend of Hellen was on duty. We explained the situation and about 10 minutes later I was no longer a citizen but an "Alien" once more. Passed Immigration and the same, equally bored, woman stamped my new passport without even checking if the old one actually had a residence permit in it.

Now if that had happened in Sweden I can only imagine the headhunt for the person responsible for the original mistake, a certain amount of forms to be filled in etc. Sometimes the rather relaxed attitude towards rules in African countries can be an advantage.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Cold cold cold

Harare and Zimbabwe is experiencing a record cold winter. The Herald (of absolute truth) reports night temperatures down to -12 in parts of the country and that cattle has died!

That is NOT the best time for your geyser to die on you so of course that is what happened. On top of that it seems every good plumber has left Zimbabwe so what we keep finding are the guys who:
  1. Learnt by looking at what someone else did and said "I am sure I can do that" - they are wrong...
  2. Do not know the clock or understand the concept of time. "Morning" means anytime before lunch. If you are lucky because it might also mean "today or possibly tomorrow".
  3. Have no transport and carry 2-3 tools, no ladder, no silk thread etc etc so you have to rush and buy whatever they need
I don't know why we always end up with the Marx Brothers for plumbers. When 2 finally showed up yesterday they fit the above description perfect. It took them around 2 hours to fit a new element and a thermostat.

Once they were gone and water warm enough boy did I soak in a bath. Only to wake up in the night by "strange sounds" from the geyser. Switched it off. This morning switched it back on. An hour or so later the water in it BOILS and the water starts pouring out via the pressure valve! Thank any god noone was outside in the area where the water comes out from the ceiling!!

Switch off geyser. Call oldest Marx Brother (the boss) who promise to come "first thing". He showed up at around 11 am... only to tell it was the wrong type of thermostat. Now why could not the younger Marx Brothers see that BEFORE they installed it??

Otherwise I have a flu and cough, Eric has a flu and cough and Mia is not too well either . And the kids have just "finished" chickenpox.

On the up side: another small step on the road back to normal life in Zimbabwe. We now have paid vehicle insurance in USD and that makes them meaningful! For years any insurance has been completely pointless as hyperinflation rendered any evalution meaningless. You had it just because the law required. We are now looking at once more insure the home, something that will feel really good once it is done.

And we have contracted a company for garden maintenance... we are SICK of employing "gardeners" who either are useless or have x number of family/personal problems. It cost a bit more but so far feels worth every dollar.

2 links to sites with thoughts and pictures re life in Africa, one of them in Swedish though: