Friday, July 29, 2011

Angola Humor 5

See another example of a daily comic page from Journal de Angola, a daily Angola newspaper. This comic strip highlights the reaction of some Angolans to the massive influx of the Chinese workers to the country. Some 30 - 40 thousand Chinese are in-country now to rebuild the main infrastructure and most certainly the culture and language of these short-term workers have had an impact.

Translation: "I have arranged some books to learn Chinese."

                                           "The Chinese must learn Portuguese"                                                  (Angola's national language)!            

Monday, July 25, 2011

Angola's Giant (Dinosaur)

The first dinosaur found in Angola has been named the Angolatitan adamastor.  Angolatitan means ‘Angolan giant’ and adamastor refers to the mythical sea giant of the South Atlantic feared by Portuguese sailors. The long-necked sauropod was uncovered in 2005 about 70km north of Luanda by Portuguese paleontologist Octávio Mateus from Portugal’s Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museum of Lourinhã.

Remains of the large plant-eating dinosaur, which was believed to have been 13 metres long and lived 90 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period, were found in marine sediments. “These and other fossils tell us an amazing story about the climate and climate change in this part of the world,” says Louis Jacobs from the Southern Methodist University, who is a member of the Mateus PaleoAngola Project team. “In an oilproducing country like Angola, this project helps us to understand the geology of the region and the implications for its richness.”

The detailed description, in which the Angolatitan adamastor officially received its scientific name, was presented in the publication Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências (Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences).

As well as discovering Angola’s first dinosaur, the PaleoAngola team has uncovered mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, turtles and other cretaceous marine animals. The long-term goal of the project is to create a strong and lasting institutional and scientific collaboration with Angolan academia.  (Sonangol Universo Magazine, June 2011)

Monday, July 18, 2011

High Dollar Luanda

(CNN Report) Luanda, Angola's capital has been named the world's most expensive city for expats for the second year in a row. According to a new survey, Tokyo is the next most expensive, with N'Djamena, in Chad, the third-most expensive city for expats. The results are part of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2011, carried out by HR consultants Mercer Record accommodation prices are the main driver of high living expenses for expats in African cities, according to the report.

In Luanda, renting a luxury two-bedroom unfurnished apartment costs an average of $7,000 per month, compared to $4,300 in New York, $3,345 in Shanghai, $2,456 in Rome and $1,800 in Buenos Aires.

"In Luanda, accommodation costs are very, very high," explained Mercer senior associate Nathalie Constantin-Metral."Availability is limited and most expats are looking for accommodation in secure compounds and prices for accommodation with international standards are high," she added.

The high cost of living in Luanda and N'Djamena is also down to the fact that expats shop differently to locals. Expats tend to look for international brands they are used to at home, which have to be imported.  A club sandwich and soda meal costs $20.38 in Luanda, compared to $6.29 for a fast-food meal in New York and $3.57 in Shanghai. Angola's oil reserves do at least mean that gas is cheap in Luanda -- 59 cents per liter, compared to 87 cents in New York and $1.12 in Shanghai.

In recent years Angola has been attracting expats with its growing economy, driven by oil production. It produces up to 1.9 million barrels a day, with oil contributing about 85% of its GDP, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Despite its oil, the vast majority of Angolans work in agriculture and more than a third live below the poverty line, according to the U.N. Development Program. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hope for Those with No Healthcare

(Recent blog post from Dr. Nicholas Comninellis, visiting doctor to CEML Hospital)  This morning a father arrived at the CEML hospital in Angola with his son, Josifas, whose photo is as shown.   This boy of eleven was leaning over a cooking fire when his shirt erupted into flames.  Living in the bush, his family simply covered the wound with strips of cloth, linen that became stuck to the wound such that it could not be removed.  The results of these tight contractions of skin are that he cannot close his mouth and his speech is indiscernible.

Is there hope for Josifas?  Indeed.  We will give him an anesthetic, release the contracted skin with multiple incisions and place skin grafts over the newly exposed tissue.   After the skin grafts are well-attached, he'll begin physical therapy to increase the motion of his neck and mouth.  Three or four months from now, Josifas, with lots of courage and coaxing, will be speaking and swallowing and even looking more like a healthy child. 

Check out Dr. Comninellis' blog and website for more information on international medicine:  INMED 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Angolan Beauty: Serra da Leba Pass

Situated some 20 miles west of the city of Lubango, is the Serra da Leba Pass, a national landmark in Angola.  This breathtaking mountain road built in the 1970s, spirals down from the 'plano alto' (high plateau) elevation of 1845 meters to almost sea level in just over 10 kilometers; literally transversing 3 or 4 different climate zones during any ascent or descent. 
Being one of the country's postcard images for decades, the road is a marvel of engineering given the era of its construction.  In spite of its beauty, the road offers little guard-rail protection and has been the venue of many road fatalities; thus bearing the long assigned name 'the beautiful precipice'.   
Legend has it that the Serra da Leba pass is named after a Portuguese woman who designed and built the road, who died after she viewed it on the very day the project was finished.