Thursday, April 24, 2008

This has been a good day! Got lots done- the moving contract is signed, invitations are going out, I'm selling my furniture, and my efforts at costume design have the twins' dance teacher in raptures. Of course, the day would have been even nicer if the electricity hadn't cut out for the whole afternoon. ..

And now it's the evening and about time for choir rehearsal. My house at 7:30 every Thurday night until 9pm, we sing!!
I am off to eat a quick dinner before everyone arrives.

As I'm short on time, I'll just post the next few items of the "What to bring/not bring when you move to Ouaga" list:

1. Batteries : Yes
Batteries are elusive and expensive. Your friendly neighbourhood kiosk will probably have some dubious C cells in stock that cost far more than some nice, non-corroded Energisers back in North America or Europe. So, battery hunting almost always involves a trip into the center of town. With lots of hunting, you will probably find what you need, but incredibly high prices. I just had to get a battery for my daughter’s little plastic Timex watch. The battery for it cost about 15 dollars- which is about what the whole watch cost back in the USA.
For your cameras, watches, etc, bring batteries. It’s just easier.

2. Shortwave Radio: No
Unless you are some kind of mad ham radio hobbyist, it will serve no purpose. While Ouaga lacks the polish (and regular electricity) of many of the world’s cities, it’s not the wild frontier. We listen to FM radio and communicate with cell phones, like normal people.

3. Cell Phone : yes and no
Over the nine years we have been here, I have seen cell phones proliferate like bunnies. I’m talking really bored Catholic bunnies. Suddenly, they are everywhere. And cheap! At the one of the big service providers, you can get a little phone and everything you need for it for about 30 dollars US. And this is probably a far better option than bringing your cell phone from North America to use here. Remember- over here the current is 220 and not 110. If you bring over a 110v phone from elsewhere, you won’t be able to recharge anywhere but at home, where you have your step-down transformer (you brought that, right?). You won’t be able to plug it in when staying with friends, staying at hotels or when at work…. just seems a bit silly.
Of course, coming from Europe, it’s a different story. There’s no difference in current to worry about. You probably should bring a phone from Europe. Just don’t bring anything too nice- that you can’t bear to lose. Cell phone theft is rampant here.

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