Rubs frost off window and peeks inside

Game of universal domination. New dice available free upon request.
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rip
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Rubs frost off window and peeks inside

Post by rip » Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:19 am

Hi.

My 2.5 years in East Africa (read: exile) are coming to an end. Moving to Vienna (probably) in June (probably).

I see that Preacherman is still around.

I am soooo out of date with state-of-the-art bot creation, that I'm redoing Ravitar from the bare metal.

See you soon (read: quiver in despair. Or else.).

rip

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Post by Preacherman » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:19 am

Wow, rip!! Nice to see you are still around...welcome back!

(For those not in the know, Nefarious and Ravitar share approximate birthdays but despite some great promise, Ravitar never got completed due to rip moving to SA.)

Nefarious is also very outdated now, she's been surpassed by much better AI in the form of Reaper and BotOfDoom, by Bertrand and GregM respectively. Hope to see you in game/forum rip... 8)

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Post by rip » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:45 am

Preacherman wrote:(For those not in the know, Nefarious and Ravitar share approximate birthdays but despite some great promise, Ravitar never got completed due to rip moving to SA.)
EA. Not SA. South Africa is in the current century. EA (Kenya, to be precise) is still using the copper wires that the Colonial Administration installed during the '30s. All* internet traffic is across a leased line to BT offices in London.

* unless you can afford $800/month for a 256Kb satellite connection (that's access and base usage. Extra usage costs ... extra).

You do /not/ want to get me started on Nairobi.

rip

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Post by risktaker » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:08 am

i'd like to hear about nairobi, actually.

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Post by Scad » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am

Please, Preach. SA is a small cont that newbs all try to take. East Africa is a good route to leave open for clearing others out of AF. Get 'em straight.

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Post by rip » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:35 am

risktaker wrote:i'd like to hear about nairobi, actually.
Crime:

There are, on average, four carjackings resulting in murder a week. This is just Nairobi and environs, this does not include the civil war happening upcountry, near Mt. Elgon. Oh, that's right, we aren't allowed to call it a civil war. Just like the world's largest slum (in terms of population per square meter [yes, that is correct. Over one million people in two square kilometers]), Kibari, "doesn't exist" according to the government. It's just a big open air market. Because Kenya doesn't have any slums, you know. Not even Mathare (another "not a slum") where the murder rate per day is comparable to Oakland CA's per /week/...in a space just over a square kilometer.

We pay $900/month to a security firm per month, in order to have (unarmed) guards on our compound (delineated by 2.5m concrete walls topped by razer wire and electric fencing). They are unarmed because the only people carrying guns are the government and the criminals. But I repeat myself.

Last saturday night there was a gun battle about 300 meters down the valley from us. AKs and handguns. In case you don't know, 300 meters is the /aimed/ accuracy of AKs.

Our house has three steel doors, security bars on all the windows, a panic room.

Roads:

The only road that we have seen paved in the 2.5 years we've been here, has been paved twice (it is the road heading out to the Road's Ministry's minister's house).

Every truck is overloaded.

Matatus (15pax Nissan Van, used in place of public transportation) carry more than they are rated for (there is a story: Two matatus got into an accident at a road intersection. Six people were killed, thirty two were taken to hospital. And fifteen walked away). They speed and pass on blind corners. Every week there are reports in the paper about how a speeding matatu, carrying 20+ passengers, generally five or so are children sitting on mama's lap, tried to pass on a blind corner and either hit a pothole and flipped, or gets wacked by a truck coming the other way.

Kenya (population about 30 million) has a traffic fatality rate equal to the rate in the entire United States (about 300 million).

Hell, a friend of mine got hit by a car yesterday as he was riding his bike home. Why he was riding a bike is beyond us, but hey, everyone is allowed to take their own chances.

Utilities:

The reservoir that serves our area has a rated capacity. Of that rated capacity, 60% is unavailable because somebody rubbled the dam (originally built using French aid money) and stole it. Of the remaining 40%, at last check, about half of that was silted up. So even during the rainy seasons, there is water rationing.

Electrical power is cut on average once a day. Generally fur upwards of two hours.

Phone is out generally for one week out of every month, generally because someone has stolen the copper wires in order to melt them down (to sell as scrap to the Chinese...who make copper phone lines out of them and sell it back to Kenya).

There is only one leased line for all internet traffic, it is routed through Nairobi to Mombasa on the coast, and thence to the BT offices in London. They have been talking about installing fiber optic in its place, but when South Africa tried to lay down the law (There would be /no/ single-source bid contracts. Any nation wishing to take part in the East Africa fiber network would be allowed to do so, with regional oversight and auditing of expenses, and any connections to the network would be free-market governed, /not/ Government monopoly), the Kenyan government pulled out and decided they'd lay their own trunk line to [someplace. it changes from month to month. Maybe Dubai, maybe Mumbai, maybe Perth, whoever gives the biggest kickback]. They have been talking about doing this since /before/ I got here. They are now talking about having it "early 2009".

Corruption:

Everyone in the government is on the take. From the traffic police running "security and safety checkpoints" to the higher levels of government.

Single-bid contracts for ten times what it would cost to build something, and then just enough building to finish the job using substandard materials, rather than waste all that largesse on standard building materials.

Nairobi is technically earthquake country. There was an earthquake here (luckily it wasn't a big one) last year. Shortly thereafter, a building under construction collapsed, killing 40 or so workers. Hell buildings simply collapse, because the concrete is rarely allowed to cure for the minimum acceptable time before they build the next story on top of it.

Unemployment:

There is high unemployment and many, many people living in poverty because of that.

One of the largest employment sub-sectors is the security sub-sector (see above re $900). This is due to the unemployment problem, since the unemployed turn to crime to feed their families.

If the government was willing to solve the unemployment problem...it would put all the security guards out of work...causing an unemployment problem.

Politics:

People running for office attach themselves to whichever political party they think will win the election, it has squat to do with what any given party's "politics" are. The president is currently "deciding" which party he will run for in the upcoming elections. This would be like Mr. Obama waiting until the last minute and then saying he was a republican. Not because he is, but because he thought the GOP had a better chance of winning the election.

Summary:

I drive my wife to work, and my kids to their schools. I do this, rather than have a local driver, because I spent a decade in the US Army and have had training in driving in combat environments. And that is what it is.

There are days when I'm unavailable to drive, and my wife is driving the kids someplace, and I sit and wonder if I'm ever going to see them again.

To bring this back on subject, I would like to see Dustin add a method to Lux that would allow me to turn East Africa into a glowing crater, salt what is left, etc.

The UN is responsible for like six percent of the country's GNP. If they were to pull out and move the (third largest UN) site someplace else, the entire region would collapse. The UN has four main security ratings. Rating A is for places like New York and Geneva. Rating D is for places like CAR, the Congo, Nigeria, etc, places where there are Peacekeeping missions, etc. Rating C has four subclasses, 1-4. Rating C4 (how appropriate) means that the duty station is no longer "a family allowed" duty station. Nairobi is C3 (Kenya /averages/ C4, there are D places up country, towards the Somali, Ethiopian and Ugandan borders), and after a review by the UN Sec Office from New York last year, it was recommended that all of Kenya/East Africa be reclassified as at least C4 (if not D) and get the families out. The then director said there was no way he would do that.

*shrug*


Like I said, don't get me started.

rip

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Post by my wife hates me » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:51 am

Awesome accounting of your experience Rip. Stories like yours always bring life in suburbia USA into perspective. As a father of 2, I couldn't even imagine thinking "Damn good thing I've been trained on how to drive in a combat situation". I couldn't tell from the context of your post why you are living there. Army it sounds like? Wishing you the best...

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Post by Drifter » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:34 am

I do have a question, why are you there? Sounds like the love of why you went there is gone.

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Post by risktaker » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:27 am

are there aid groups down there doing anything?

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Post by rip » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:51 am

Drifter wrote:I do have a question, why are you there? Sounds like the love of why you went there is gone.
my wife hates me wrote:Awesome accounting of your experience Rip. Stories like yours always bring life in suburbia USA into perspective. As a father of 2, I couldn't even imagine thinking "Damn good thing I've been trained on how to drive in a combat situation". I couldn't tell from the context of your post why you are living there. Army it sounds like? Wishing you the best...
risktaker wrote:are there aid groups down there doing anything?
See the comments in the OP dealing with the UN. The United Nations Environment Program is headquartered here. I'm related to a UN staffer.

What's really, really annoying is that my family is pretty much Europe oriented. I speak three European languages (en, de, fr) and am currently learning one more (Russian). My wife speaks five (en, de, fr, ru and Ukrainian, of all things). We have traveled extensively in Eastern and Western Europe, and my wife lived in Tartarstan for a year and in Kiev for three. Our entire mindset is "Europe". So she gets this UN posting, and they say, you're perfect for Africa! My wife is German, I'm 'murican, our kids (by natural birth) are /British/! (well, they are actually tri-national :>) because we'd been living there long enough before they were born.

Yes there are hundreds of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). In fact, Kenya is the only "safe" place in the region, so all the NGOs for Somalia, Jubba, Darfur, South Sudan, etc are based here, and those that need to go fly out on Monday AM and back Thursday PM. And then spend the weekends at the Tropical Medicine Clinic getting treated for E-Coli, giardia, trich, etc etc. And then back on Monday.

Fun (Not): Having both E-Coli /and/ giardia at the same time. You do lose a hell of a lot of weight though. I dropped 15 pounds in one week.

Anyway. There you have it. Looking for "An African Adventure!" fly to South Africa, and then to Swaziland. Give East Africa a miss.

rip

It's like the effing army. "You speak French? And German? Cool. We have just the posting for you in South Korea on the DMZ. You'll love it there!"

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Post by KingPatrick » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:24 pm

Very educational. Thanks for all the typing.

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