I Lost My Reading Glasses Bobo Dioulasso or Bobo, Burkina Faso, West Africa Sunday, September 16, 2007
I seemed to have lost my reading glasses. I think I left them in the one 25-watt light bulb in Ouaga, Burkina Faso.
Today I seem to have lost my drinking glass; I carry also a plastic pitcher and using to drink coffee. I guess there is an ironic fate to these lost and not found objects.
I have worried about my glasses, I used to have two pair, and I thought about buying two pairs in Thailand, I just was too cheap. I sat on my glasses two weeks ago and had to work hard to get the lens to stay in the frame. I worry about Glasses more in West Africa along with medicines, as West Africa is different from South America or Asia.
The cost of medicine in West Africa is about double to triple the normal price of Asia or South America. I personally think the French working together with the leaders have clipped the hamstring of the Francophone countries guaranteeing high profits for the French and the leaders get extortion rate import-export fees.
QUOTE In sub-Saharan Africa, the French were quickest with political reform. Across French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa, the French allowed the election of local government representatives and in return received African agreement to maintain close economic ties with France. In 1946 the French established a common West African French currency, the CFA franc (franc de la communauté financière Africaine, or franc of the African financial community). The currency, exchanged at a fixed rate with the French franc, assured that virtually all of France’s decolonizing African territories would continue to bank, invest, and trade with France. All of France’s sub-Saharan colonies became independent in 1960, except Guinea (1958) and Djibouti (1977). FROM --- Microsoft Encarta 2007
The West African Economies are hopeless welfare children until they devalue the CFA and other currencies of West Africa. Any product produced in West Africa need to sell wholesale at double or triple of global value, so no reason to buy from West Africa, too expensive.
So how much do glasses cost? First note, this man does not want to check my eyes, he want to sell me cheap reading glasses you can buy in any drug store in the USA for 5 dollars. 1.25 1.50 2.00 etc magnification.
32,000 CFA than 27,000 CFA after he discounts 22,000 CFA and final price.
He ask me how much I will pay, I say, 10,000 or about 20 US Dollars, thinking the true value of these glasses globally is about 5000 as they are a little better than the US drugstore version.
44 US Dollars for glasses I could purchase in the US for 5. I will continue to search, maybe there are some inside the market, and sometime there are these under the market, where the real people buy products. The rich here can be super rich and in a bourgeois way will not lower themselves to associate, therefore creating this second level economy.
Funny I have also lost my coffee glass, I think I went out on the balcony of the hotel and left on the rail. Yesterday, I was walking around the huge market area here in Bobo looking for a drinking glass. I ironically need a second one. I store my light bulb in a drinking glass, than inside the pitcher, the double plastic walls protect the light bulb from breaking.
I can read in good light and for about 3 US, I can buy a second reading light, thereby double the light. I do not need glasses to use the computer. However, now I need two drinking glasses to protect the light bulbs.