Thursday, July 10, 2014


An alternative to the developed world's grocery stores.
This fortunate country in western Africa has climate and terrain suitable for small plot farming.  Folks work hard, buy and sell, and are mostly insulated from the western world's market upheavals.  Wall Street hasn't yet made inroads here yet.

Markets like this one in Sao Tome and Principe and the more common street markets elsewhere in the developing world are similar to our farmer's markets in the west.  If you've got a little cash, you can find what you need.

These are the alternative to processed and packaged foods that cost the same or more as in western stores.  With monthly household incomes of around $60, a $3 box of cereal isn't an option.  Fuel for a vehicle costs over $5/gal.

Laundry is done by hand everywhere.
Our friend poses by the freezer; one 
of the kids took her picture.
Assistance efforts that work have to focus on how folks live.

Did you know, there are few refrigerators in places like this.  Those who can afford one buy a chest freezer with the door on top.  That way, it stays cold when the electricity is off. Many only get a few hours a day of electric service every day or so.  Refrigerated items would spoil but frozen foodstuffs survive just fine.
Our kids clean up after a bit of a safari upland.

A washing machine would be a wonderful luxury, but it would require water and electricity and plumbing that homes don't have.

No indoor showers, no bathtubs.  No big deal.

So what kinds of things can we do that help in this country?
Things that are difficult for families here; keeping kids in school costs about $50/semester for elementary school (uniforms and supplies and fees), and high school costs about three times as much.  Businesses need more skilled workers.  Tech training is hard to find.  Healthcare, illegal fishing, class discrimination ...  lots of opportunities.  Local NGOs are in place and effective in the communities if you'd like to get involved.