14 September 2008

First Week at Work

The irony of officially starting my job here in Angola on what was Labor Day in the US wasn’t lost on me, but we ended up having two holidays here during the same week so I can’t complain. Friday was always planned to be a holiday to allow people to vote, but Wednesday ended up being a holiday too. It was an impromptu one, declared on the radio Tuesday night. To top things off Thursday was a half-day that involved a long team lunch.

I did manage to actually get some work done, though, and went on my first company visit by the second day of work. I’ll get into the nature of my job here later, but for now I’ll say it involves playing a consulting role to small and medium sized Angolan businesses. The company I visited was a small IT consulting company that also offered computer training courses. It also manufactured ice. That's right. Ice. If I hadn’t seen this establishment with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it, but I can verify that this improbable combination of enterprises does in fact exist under the same roof. In one room there is space to conduct training classes and in the next there are about 8 deep freezers full of plastic buckets of ice. It may seem random, but Angolans can be very practical – the ice is for cash flow while the other part of the business establishes itself (or so I hypothesized).

I don’t know what other interesting combinations lie ahead, but after the visit to the consulting/ice plant I’m definitely curious to find out.

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