Friday, June 4, 2010


We have just kicked off our partnership with Kiva.  For those not familiar with Kiva, it allows anyone to help fund microfinance loans across the globe.  Here is our profile page. Our first three loans posted have already been fully funded, but many more will be put up in the coming weeks and months.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pointe Indienne and Diosso

On the Sunday during my Pointe Noire weekend, I headed a couple of hours north of the city to Pointe Indienne along the coast.  The area has an interesting mix of small villages and oil company weekend homes.


Diosso is the central small town in the area and features pretty spectacular gorges.

Trip to Pointe Noire

We had a three day weekend a couple of weeks ago, and I took it as an opportunity to get out of Brazzaville and finally visit Pointe Noire.  The city is the economic capital of the country given the large oil industry footprint and shipping and fishing activites.  This results in parts of the city (near the beach) feeling somewhat European with very nice hotels and restuarants that cater to the oil-related expat community, while vast the remainder of the city is expectedly undeveloped and dilapidated.


Here is the headquarters for ENI, the Italian O&G company, that is the largest player in Pointe Noire.
My taking of the above photo caught the attention of two police officers across the street who came over to see what I was up to.   Their subsequent discovery that I had multiple memory cards and a work, not tourist, visa led to me getting loaded into a van and hauled off to the police stationing for questioning.  They wanted to go through all my pictures to see what I had taken pictures of and were insistent that because I didn't have a toursit visa I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the country.  As these things usually go, I just argued back and forth with them about whether the law I had supposedly broken was actually a law at all until they eventual grew tired of me and allowed me to leave if I would pay a "fine" to reflect my admission of my mistake.  They let me set the amount, so $4 later I was back on my way to the airport.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Congolese Rucker Park

On Monday afternoon on the way back from Point Indienne, I stumbled across a basketball tournament being hosted by one of the local cell phone companies.  It was a phenomenal playground court, complete with graffiti ranging from Hot Sauce to Che and an unfinished neighboring building serving as luxury boxes.

The play was very sloppy with no real good ball handlers to be found.  But, there were three forwards who were each about 6'6" and could really get up and go.  However, there were no Kevin Bacon sightings.

The halftimes of games featured dance competitions.  This led to the discovery that MJ never died; he just moved to Congo to get away from the press.