Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Sometimes, running a backpackers in East Africa is not as great as you expect it to be. Like any job it has its low moments.

Last week for example, I walked into the Ladies loo to wash my hands quickly (there is so much red dust around in our office I end up washing my hands very frequently!). I had to back out quickly. Someone was very ill, and someone had had very bad aim. All I can say is thank god it occurred during normal working hours when Housekeeping were around. God bless them, they have a dirty old job sometimes...

The week before, I spent at least four or five hours wrangling and fighting with the local electricity firm. There is only one national supplier, so the customer does not have a choice of supplier, and they are, as a result, a lumbering, bureaucratic and simply RUBBISH organisation. R had to physically pull one of their workmen down from a pylon when they were trying to cut us off for non payment of a bill we had not yet received. Last November, they move to a swanky new computerised system. Since then, we get our bills about six weeks late, causing all sorts of arguments.

Then there is the bank. I won't even go into detail on this one but suffice to say, due to a typo that they made, some money got transferred into the wrong account and it's taken them two weeks to even try and correct the problem, and in doing so, we lose about 300,000 Ush (GBP 100 or USD 70) in bank charges or loss in currency exchange. That's customer service for ya...

So the job can have its petty grievances. But, life here does have it's perks.

Tomorrow, we're off on a six day recce of Queen Elizabeth National Park and its environs. We're pushing to launch budget safaris to the park within the next month, rather like the trips we send to Murchison several times a week.

So, we're off on work time to try out all the activities and check out the area. Which will be a good break from the banking/electricity/poo problems of the current day job!

Expect some updates on my return...

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