No steps forward, 9 steps back

While doing my bit for gastronomic research (ie sampling a burger at the new Terrace Cafe) I got talking to an expat employee who works in the Ministry of Agriculture building. They were pretty much fully functioning back at work so my inquisitiveness got the better of me and I asked if I could come over and see what had happened.

It seems it was a bit of a mixed bag. Some offices completely cleaned out, others partially. The office where I had been invited seemed to be functioning but it was pointed out that a number of desks usually had computers on them. They had cleaned up everything except for one beaten up LCD monitor sitting on a desk. And the stationery etc. storeroom had been trimmed down quite a bit. They thought they were luckier than most.

One of the expat staff was there when looters were walking out with computer gear. He said they only took the newer better gear and left the older stuff. He suspected an inside job. The other feature that has been repeated by others elsewhere is that while the looting is going on, any expat in the vicinity is treated as invisible.

Although the building had been stripped of a lot of computer gear, I did get confirmation that backups of important data were safe and that many expats stored their own important data on laptops which they took with them.

After I left, I went to the Ministry of Education warehouses next door. There are about 4 warehouses about 20 metres wide and 60 metres long. Basically, they have have all been looted and trashed. People are still picking through the remains for printer paper and chalk. Kids are lighting fires in the many tons of paper littering the floors both inside and outside. There were computer parts smashed to bits and torched, a safe lying on its side with door mangled and many tens of thousands of primary school assessment books. And graffiti daubed on the doors.

I later learnt that the Delta coffee warehouse (&/or office) close-by was also looted over the weekend. Many sacks of high quality coffee went along with office gear.

I decided that if if this is what people will do in a country so desperately in need of more widespread education opportunities, then it may well be a long haul out of all this.

As for the burger, I give it a 6 out of 10 but a fail on the soggy chips.

2 thoughts on “No steps forward, 9 steps back

  1. Behind the Palacio do Governo in between Erli restaurant and the National University.

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