I’m in Africa. As in, I am REALLY in Africa. I have never lived in a country like Angola in my life. Yes, Ecuador and Brazil were a good prep course, but nothing compares to the realities of Africa.
A brief history of Angola in two sentences (ok, three).
Angola is an oil- and diamond-rich country in southern Africa that was colonized by the Portuguese. Fast forward a few decades, Portugal leaves the colony and so begins almost 3 decades of conflict. Fast forward a little more to 2002 and war ends. (for more detailed info, check out wikipedia.org)
So where are we now? Angola is about to explode in the international arena. Construction companies are vying for land (and there’s still a lot of it), there are opportunities for anyone who is in banking, engineering, finance, mining, marketing, entrepreneurship…you name it. So that’s the business side.
On the people front, NGOs and the government are diligently working together to decentralize the country, encourage participative planning in local communities, and continue building and rehabilitating schools, clinics, entire neighborhoods (a little bit of rain can destroy tens of houses…PS, rainy season here in Luanda has brought on exactly one hour of rain in the last month. Freakin’ global warming.)
And so, I’ve picked the perfect place to observe Angola from…Development Workshop works directly with both the government and the people (did I mention they are officially an Angolan NGO?) implementing projects across all 18 provinces…am hoping to travel to Huambo province soon to see the DW projects there…heard things are very different there…quiet nights, starry skies…
My new favorite thing about Angolans is every time I say good morning, good afternoon or good night, they respond with “obrigado” (thank you). I just love their warmth.
News of the week: Work has begun on remodeling my kitchen…and street children literally moved a car I was in out of a parking spot. Fantastic.