This is a guide for my family and friends about my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, Africa. I teach English as foreign language to high school students in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. Also as a disclaimer, the comments expressed here are solely of the author and do not represent the United States Peace Corps, the American Government, or any other governing body.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Up and down we go. Where we stop, I don't really know. My frustration reached (one of) its peak yesterday. We have had a telephone number and a contract that we paid good money for for over a week and a half now. We even managed to scrounge up a telephone and a cable because the extremely unhelpful really annoying man who works in the CV Telecom office just handed us a phone number and sort of expected us to go away. Being new at this, we didn't realize that the office in Praia had to unblock our number and that CV Telecom would actually provide us with a phone when they came to our house to make sure the line and signal worked. But no one came. So everyday for the past week we have been hiking up to the CV Telecom office (and believe me, the hill in the heat is no small feat) to demand that a technician come to our house to fix our phone line because we now had everything except for a dial tone. I told myself and Leland that I was going to walk into that office everyday until they sent one of only two technicians to our house (but this island does not have that many people on it, so two sometimes three technicians apparently is fine). I don't mind so much because it's the same office as the post office and I have been expecting packages from my family which are unusually late, but that's another story. So we go into the office again yesterday, and again I open my empty mailbox and feel the disappointment of no mail. We spotted the technician outside, who also happens to be one of Leland's old students. He talks to us for a little while (in my opinion mostly about nothing substantial) and he says that they second technician is in the North and that when he comes back he will come by our house. It was around 1pm at that time. So I knew what the guy said was a load of crap and I knew that he knew it was. Why can't people just tell the truth about that stuff? So as we were leaving, he asked us if we had a number he could contact us to let us know when the other technician would be arriving. Yeah, then I snapped a little. I had been mostly silent at this point, but when I heard him ask that question I turned to him and said (slightly louder than I probably should have): No! We don't have a contact number because we don't have a telephone because we have been waiting for you to come fix it! I think I caught myself in the middle and quieted down this small outrage before it could have a lasting effect. But I have managed to keep the Princess inside at bay thus far and yesterday she had had just about enough.

It's funny because you can't really yell at people like that here. There is no Better Business Bureau, no manager, no boss. If you make these people mad, they then don't really care about helping you because they don't really have anyone to answer to. It's kind of like the situation for a our furniture. We have been waiting over a month for shelves and a lock box we were told would take two weeks at the most. It's not that I have a problem waiting (well maybe I have a little problem waiting), but there is no need to lie about the length of time it takes to do something. My point is, however, that I cannot go to his boss or to the company and complain about their delinquent worker. The three carpenters who are building our furniture work in a small yard that has a couple of large tables and one large metal shipping container to hold all their supplies and wood. As a result, Leland and I are still living out of a suitcase. But we have mostly gotten used to that.

The frustrations of yesterday weren't helped by the fact that we found a cockroach in one of our cupboards where we keep our food the night before last. Sooo, needless to say, we sprayed some Raid and then went out for dinner. We did manage to find this really cute little restaurant that serves Gnocchi for about $4.00 and they have homemade delicious ice cream that costs about $1.00. Bonus. We were very excited about that. The good news is we now have a telephone. The technician came to our house today finally. Probably because we hiked up to the office again, and I demanded to speak to him or find out where he was before we left. So our phone is fixed, we have connection to the outside world after 6 weeks of no phone. And I have been assured by the carpenters, that for sure by Friday our stuff will be finished. But I could tell by the tone of his voice, the same tone the technician used yesterday, that he knew he was lying. So we will wait some more for our shelves because there is nothing else we can do about it. And I will continue my finger-crossing in hopes that my mother's packages make it. I justify their extreme lateness by the fact that there are actually more Cape Verdeans living outside this country than in it. So imagine an entire country's worth of people trying to send Christmas presents to their loved ones. In a country this small, that makes for a lot of mail.


Blogger Melanie said...

ok so i must be a terrible person but i was seriously crying i was laughing so hard at this post. i can just imagine you trying to be patient and when the phone guy yells at you just cracking. but i AM thankful you got phone service...and i will keep hoping the roaches disappear and that your packages from fam arrive soon. i miss you SOOOO much. its the holidays and we're supposed to see each other now. so instead i'll just think happy thoughts of you and it will brighten my day. love you mucho!

13 December, 2006 20:56


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