Friday 26th June – Addis/Lusaka/Ndola
Left Trisha at Addis airport – she flying off to Rwanda, me to Zambia via Malawi. Largely uneventful trip except that Ethiopian Airlines managed to lose my bag somewhere en route. Its been two years since my bags were last lost in Africa and this latest episode is making sure I don’t get complacent.In the evening I got a 20-seater light aircraft up to Ndola (population 1.5 million) the capital of Zambia’s Copper Belt. Flying low over Africa at night the ground is pitch black with the occasional bush fire – evidence that 80% of Africans don’t have access to electricity.
We are planning to open a Hub in Zambia later this year and have been working on this for the last 6 months with the SMA Fathers and the Diocese of Ndola (special thanks also to Marie Doyle who spent 3 months here earlier this year getting the legal entity set up). If the problems we’ve faced getting a container into the country are anything to go by then establishing a Hub is not going to be easy.
The story so far. Container stopped at the border because not all paper work in order (tax clearance number is the excuse given). Our Clearing Agent who’s meant to be working for us sent us an email saying that they are going to start charging us $450 every day demurage (storage charge) unless we clear within 2 days. Typically in most ports around the world you are given 10 free days to clear a container and then demurage kicks in at between $50 to $100 per day. Got our shipping line on the case and they get the original paper work accepted. Container passes the border but we get sent a bill for $3,500 by our friendly Agent for demurage (increasing by $450 every day we don’t pay – You can see the scam beginning to unfold.). We eventually negotiate a lower price of $2,400 (still extortion) which is paid electronically. And yes you have guessed it – once they received the money they then started asking for more. This is the first time we have faced this particular situation in Africa in 3 ½ years and unfortunately for the countries involved these costs then get passed onto the schools getting the computers. Some times you just want to cry!
Met at Ndola airport by Fr Cathal (SMA priest who’d spent 40 years in Nigeria) and Fr Nicholas (Diocesan priest) and was driven to St Joseph’s Guest House which is located beside the Catholic Cathedral.
Press-ups 250, Sit-ups 50, bicep curls 130