Friday, 14 October 2005


I love this picture. That Community Midwife looks like she's all set to have a giggling fit. This one is for all five hundred brazilian of my mates who are sprogging at the moment - enjoy the ultrascans. Here they check that the baby is ok with some kind of ear horn....

So the ambulance managed to get out and about to do outreach. I don't know where they got the fuel. A convoy of trucks coming in from Tanzania with fuel for the country was given a police escort, but strangely the fuel 'disappeared' before getting to its destination.

When there is fuel in the country you can actually buy it anywhere along the road. The tanker drivers stop and siphon off fuel to some 'entrepreneurs' in the bush who then sell it on. It's probably not the best idea to buy this stuff, because not only is it illegal but who knows what they put in it. But then, the fuel at the service stations must be watered down, because despite siphoning off fuel along the way, the tanker drivers still have to arrive at their destination with the requisite number of litres.

You can tell which guys along the roadside are selling this illegal fuel because they stand there madly waving their arms and swinging empty cooking oil drums. At night-time they light huge fires to attract attention. What's interesting is that if you pull off to buy this fuel, you more often than not come to a traditional village with round mudbrick and thatch huts, and right in the middle will be The Fuel Man's house - made of cement, with crenellations, a huge satellite dish perched on the roof, everything painted in gaudy colours. What most impresses me is their ability to source coloured paint. It seems like the only paint colours available in Zambia are blue and black. I also wonder what this country would do if they didn't have any cooking oil drums. Everyone uses them, mostly for carrying water, but often for fuel as well.

I suspect the cats have been Out Doing Evil. In my path this morning was my chum the bright blue gecko. Except he's not blue anymore, on account of being dead an' all. He actually looked like one of those rubber toys, except for the bloodstains and the gouged-out eyes. I tell The Husband that something bad has happened.

"You mean the dead gecko? Yeah I saw that this morning."
"Those cats are so mean. They get fed. They're not supposed to kill geckos or birds or the things with the furry tails. Just mice and rats and bats."
"How do you know it was the cats? I think he fell out of the tree and died."
Yeah. Right. Of course he did. The tree he's been climbing his whole life. Absolutely, he just fell clean out of there and hacked his own eyes out on the way down.