Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Settling Accounts

Back in Maseru, the Lesotho College of Education is gradually achieving internet access. This morning I am in the DTEP office and there is a lecturer next to me who is trying to set up her Yahoo account. Yahoo prompts her to secure her mailbox with a secret question: "What was the make of your first car?". An innocent question that virtually sails across the oceans of a divided world.

Mme begins laughing and rapidly speaking in Sesotho to the other colleagues in the room. I can understand only enough to know that the idea of Yahoo assuming everyone had a 'first car', something that might be as easy to recall as your middle name, was a fantasy of a very rich world indeed. 'This is the Lehua world,' she calls it. 'They are playing with us.'

Another Ntate says, "Can you believe it? It is just something you don't have to think about for them, you just type it in easily and forget about it." His hand is raised and metaphorically flicks the offense away.

"Well," he continues, "tell them your first maker is God. If they don't like this, well let's see what they say to that. God is your first make, he is the one who first made you go."


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  2. I just went to China for the first time since 2007. The most notable difference is that is that the number of private cars has skyrocketed. The upper middle class can afford them now, and they've become a significant status symbol. Women (and their families) will seek men with cars as a prerequisite for marriage!

    Even the middle-middle class are at least getting electric mopeds and scooters. Biking is old school now.

    All this while, here in San Francisco, people are proudly selling their cars and riding bikes for environmental reasons!