Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fraud in the Education Department


The justice system here is swift.  Large sums of money disappeared from the Education Echelon.  An investigation was launched.  The investigators were killed.  The killers were caught, sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and are currently incarcerated serving their sentence - all this within 6 weeks. Back home the beginning - end of something like this could stretch over 5 years before the equivalent action would be imposed. Justice here is lightning quick in most cases - a most commendable system.  

Interesting banking system here.  Each time you deposit money in a bank you are charged a fee.  Today I got money from an ATM machine and deposited it in a local bank.  I was charged the equivalent of $2.80 for making the deposit.  So if I make 10 separate deposits during a week, that's $2.80 x 10 = $28.  I can see how this can be helpful to a banking system in a country where generating cash is most needful. Unlike New Zealand when I was charged $800 just to submit a teaching application plus they wanted an extra $320 just to evaluate my transcript of college credits. Then I would be placed on a waiting list for consideration. I paid the $800 but balked when they informed me I needed to pay another $320.  Interesting, when I returned home, NZ sent me a letter a month later informing me if I didn't pay the $320 within the next month my entire application would be negated and I would have to start over and pay another $800 to re-initiate the process.  Hence, I have no desire to ever return to NZ again.

I like it here.  They call it the friendly city and I have found it to be so. The job calls for a certain amount of driving around which I enjoy.  Self motivation is the name of the job.  The same for the young elders.  You've got to find people.  In our case, finding RM's desirous of further education and involvement in the program.  The ward we visited last Sunday had 50/150 active and no RM's or prospective missionaries of eligible age. The booming branches are in the outlying areas.

The gated compound we live in has 39 houses, is surrounded by a brick wall varying from 7-8' tall with 5 strands of electric wire circling on top at least 8 inches apart. Anyone trying to climb over is naturally electrocuted. One of the senior couples brought an African bishop and his family to visit us in the compound.  He said "You people live in a prison!" It's his ward we are going to visit tomorrow. He's a good man with a nice family. A woman came with her rental agent to inspect our flat.  The first question she asked was about security in our compound.

The Africans walk all over the place.  For many, walking is their main means of transportation.  Those who can afford taxis ride in taxis - vans.  Some travel by bus but a good number walk and literally walk miles. As in other countries in the world there are those hawking their wares at intersections; young boys, men and women with tin cans begging for money.  Then at shopping centers in the parking lot, even though it is not necessary, along each aisle is an African signalling you to an empty spot.  When you leave he is there guiding you as you back out.  Some people give them 1 or 2 rand some give them nothing. There are 8 rand to a dollar so one rand equals 12 and 1/2 cents. These "parking lot attendants" have to pay the shopping center a fee in order to do this. So it becomes their full time job, 8 hours per day.            

The pepperoni pizza tastes pretty good.  We are getting tired of fish and chips.  But there is lots of other  interesting food.  We went to a restaurant for lunch and on the menu was monkey kidneys.  That's twice now I've seen that on menus.  It must be a delicacy, a specialty in demand or else it wouldn't be on the menu. MacDonalds hamburgers taste ok.  This is an interesting country and we are becoming more acquainted with things each day.  This is it from the African connection.

Elder S   

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