May 14, 2005

Some Numbers (and Some Text)

Disclaimer: these numbers have been guesstimated from the author’s observation and have absolutely no scientific backing. The reader should take everything with a grain of salt.

Health personel Salaries

Doctor: $7 to 10 per month
Nurse: $5 per month
Health Assistant: $3 per month

Village Work Division

Percentage of women (ages 12-60) engaged in activities that are heavy lifting, taking care of children, working while pregnant, agriculture, pounding manioc or other hard labour: 100%

Percentage of men (ages 12-60) engaged in activities that are heavy lifting, taking care of children, agriculture, pounding manioc or other hard labour: 5%

Driving Hours

Total number of hours driven while on this trip: 34

Living conditions

Total number of hot showers while in the field: 0%
Number of places with running water while in the field: 0%
Percentage of work places with pit latrines: 85%
Percentage of lodging on the field that was run by Nuns or Priests: 100%


Estimate number of women pregnant in a village: 4%

Average number of children that gather around me every time we stop in a village: 70

Average number of mentally disturbed (but nice) individuals found in each village telling me they are Governor of Washington DC: 1

Bicycle Porters

Bike Porters are young men who go to the city of Kananga, load their bikes with tons of wares, bags of corn flour or plastic pitchers full of fuel. They undertake a long voyage through the meandering path that is called a road to the village market for money. The trip is incredibly arduous and long, requires pushing the overloaded bicycle, explaining why most of them are young and male.

Total weight of goods on bike: 400 Lb*
Revenue if all goods are sold on the Luiza market: $200
Deaths of young men while transporting goods: Common

Distance between Kananga and Luiza: 150 km
Day of road between Kananga and Luiza: 7 days
Average number of trips made in a year by one person: 12

Number of “improvised” road blocks by villagers demanding money from exhausted porters: 10

Substenance while on the road: one meal consisting of rice and dried fish


Anonymous said...

I noted the number of improvised road blocks. In view of the value of goods these bicycle porters are carrying - what percentage do you guess fall victim to crime while enroute to market?

Glad to returned safely!

Steve in Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

I take it you don't approve of the labor division? It looks great to me!! Seriously though, those guys should be ashamed of themselves.

Dan said...

Thanks for the post. It is always good to hear from you.

I find it very difficult to believe per annum income figures that are low enough to starve a person to death in a few days.

SURELY their is a form of barter going on that is not counted by the central banksters who inflate the currency.

I think that the Catholic Church, which you have mentioned several times, has failed these people as a social value.

I hope that they can soon learn that capitalism is the only way to raise their standard of living and begin to industrialize their nation.