January 09, 2006

Do you live in the DRC lady??

Last month, I received an email from a donor saying approximately the following:

"In order for us to deliver these drugs, we must obtain the address of the depot, names of two people responsible for the depot, their picture, and their signature".

Easy task wouldn't not think? Wrong!!

This is problematic in several ways:
1.There are no addresses to speak of in most of these small cities. Your typical address is "Depot of the Saint-Luc Church, behind the General Hospital, next to the school house, Luiza"
2.There is often only one person responsible for the depot. These office are about 5 to 6 people stretch thin so you can't ask for too much.
3. Pictures? Are you kidding? Even if they had digital cameras, getting them to pictures on my outlook at a decent size is near impossible (how do you explain how to reduce a picture to 400x600 pixel by email to someone who is not computer literate? it can be done I'm sure but the idea tires me out)
4. Signatures? Again, you've got to be kidding right? This would imply the existence of a scanner, electricity or a generator large enough to let you use a scanner.

The alternative to this is to send an email asking partners to send everything by plane, wait 3 days for them to react to the email, wait another two for them to find the only picture of themselves (pinned in their room), send it by airplane, go pick up the picture and signature at the airline depot, get told the documents have been lost, go again 2 times until package is found and scan the whole thing to send to donors. That should take...oh, 2 or 3 months.

Which makes me want to shout "do you even live in the DRC lady?" (she does).


Ammo said...

I'm guessing these stories are a whole lot more entertaining for us to read than for you to write :)

Beaver said...

I agree with Ammo :)

Other option: on n'est bien servi que par soi meme, donc, go to the place, take the pictures, get the signatures and scan the whole shabang.

Frustrating, I agree. But it has the benefit of getting the stuff done and alleviating the pressure.

Of course I don't live in the DRC, so it's very likely that I'm telling you to travel 14 days just to get the g****am pics and scribbles.

Once again, please accept my sympathies :)

007 in Africa said...

Beaver, about your option...Great idea, if there weren't 3 places I would have to fly to, individually.

TheMalau said...

007, bless your heart. I sincerely feel your pain. And I am impressed that you can write this with that amount of humor. Just keep thinking that despite the pain, you are helping, and maybe it will feel better.