Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kizua Mwangola: Newspaper men

Our days have been incredibly busy of late. Not only because I'm spending longer hours at the tech support at Uni but also because the cream of the reporting crop is staying at our guest house: being the only hotel with a name in English and having an American expat running it makes it the obvious choice for every other English-speaking foreigner. These are famous people in their fields, contributers to papers such as Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Die Spiegel, BBC, et al. This, of course, excluding Nigerian and Angolan papers.

All this excitement not only makes my tech support somewhat harder - we now have people that rely on the Internet to do proper work rather than the occasional browsing - but it also means me and even Shahin are on "translation duties" at all hours. For example, yesterday I translated an interview with the Zambian coach for local newspapers. I've also spoken quite a lot of really bad French (but fortunately, the Swiss are here to help!). Shahin's claim to fame is translating French to Portuguese, the unfortunate targets being our Gabonese guests. I've also been quoted twice (if not entirely precisely). And to top it all off, we're traveling to Lubango tomorrow with journalist and book author, Jonathan Wilson - a gem of a bloke by the way. Mind you, Pete was looking over my shoulder as I write this and he swears that his book is better for the common man, so I may end up buying both.

There is nothing scarier than watching a football match on telly with five or ten of these guys. You just feel afraid of shouting even the most trivial things, lest they look at you with disapproving eyes - "do you know _anything_ at all about football, young man?". On the plus side, they are a really great bunch to chat over a few cucas. There were a couple of comments that really made me laugh. One was that "the stadiums were just too good, you couldn't tell whether this was Germany or Angola" which made me pretty laugh pretty smugly. Apparently Ghana and Mali's African cup had a more African feel. Don't want to discriminate against our African brothers, but I'll take that as a compliment. The other, which made me laugh really hard was - "I hate those Scandinavians! Their biggest problem is a complete lack of cynicism! I mean, just look all the NGO's they have which actually _believe_ in changing the world!". I wish all my Scandinavian friends could read this now.

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