Tuesday, December 23, 2003

We are fast approaching the least xmassy Christmas of my life, the project is all systems go with truckloads of equipment arriving and leaving every day. One of said trucks was in fact impounded by the police at the weekend as the Ministry driver had been merrily winding his way up the coast under the influence -and without papers - while he delivered some of them to Xai-Xai. Fair-enoughly the Highway Patrol got a bit suspicious and pulled him over.

Meanwhile Neill has arrived to start working here and is bombarding everyone with Portuguese questions. I think the team like having the chance to practise their English with him - and programming words are all the same anyway in whatever human language, such was the hegemony of America in the early development of what became the modern software industry.

Because that's the way le cookie il ce crumble ici, we have been rewarded for our first glimmers of success with an endless rain of extra proposals and demands for help. Many of these are well-intentioned but totally unrealistic, so we try to fend them off nicely. However some are downright dangerous - today I helped a ragtag alliance of Mozambicans to stop one such white elephant in its tracks - it was yet another attempt to take all of our problems and hope that by writing them down in a big document and throwing money at them they would magically disappear.

With all this it is Christmas Eve tomorrow but I have had to cancel my trip to Johannesburg as we have finally got the most recalcitrant bank lined up right where we want it and we need to grab it now if we want to get things signed sealed and delivered by the end of year. So altogether very strange - during the day am so busy I hardly have time to think - subconsciously I am still thinking that the festive season is 'about a month away'.

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