Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thank you for your World Vision-less

I was watching American Idol last night, yes, I know…I noticed they blurred the Coca Cola cups sitting on the judge’s table. This is presumably because Coca Cola didn’t pay for an advertisement. It reminded of me the BBC’s induction week where they took us thru the history of the BBC and during the week, they gave a talk about the lasting power of images, even when you are exposed to them for few seconds. The speaker showed a BBC clip with a blurred image of another popular brand and explained why the image was blurred. Apparently, there are studies made about how images we see daily influence our choices or ideas subconsciously. I was intrigued by this and from then on I walked around London paying attention to the number of images I was exposed to and tried to figure out how they might influence my choices as a consumer and my thoughts.

If the BBC would go out of their way to control an image a viewer might be exposed to for just few seconds, how about the power a billboard has? One particular photo campaign that bothered me a lot was a “World Vision” poster at the time plastered all over London bus stops. It had life-size picture of a desperate-looking black child with flies on his face and a pot belly. And the pathetic line that accompanied the disturbing picture was something sadder even, “with your help we can combat poverty”! I found it incredibly offensive. Anyone remembers those horrid old Tin Tin cartoons with darkened faces of white cartoons and bright red lipstick? It reminded me of that.

These kinds of degrading images of Africa and Africans have partly contributed to my decision to leave Europe, together with the weather, potatos and the London Underground.


Things are changing faster than I can put them down on paper and I am trying to follow that Buddhist teaching, "observe life and don't get too involve." Bloody hard, I tell ya. So, I am observing that I have to move to a flat, finally! Yipeeee. I am moving with Maria and even tho it is not the palace I wanted to live, it is a good start and gives us both (the wondering nomads) that much needed stability. We move on Sunday, I hope, but I am going to terribly miss living with Emilie at this cool part of town, right next to the beach. Emilie has been super kind and let me and Maria crash at her place, it feels like girls boarding school! I don't think I could survive Maputo's ups and downs if it wasn't for friends.

Sharing house with Maria and Emilie has been very interesting. We have found a way to negotiate TV-watching plan. I watch English programmes, Emilie watches French TV and Maria, Portuguese. So we all get couch-potato moment and are happy with the arrangement. Oh, did I tell you about Emilie's maid's cooking skills? She is the most talented cook I have met in Maputo and she is so creative in the kitchen she makes most delicious dishes and every day of the week there is a surprise!

I am going to miss this place.

On a totally different subject but change-related...After writing something on Facebook about never ever ever working for someone again, I accepted a radio job! Well, I couldn't say no to an opportunity like this. I get to work with the only English radio in Maputo, learn lots about commercial radio and do a bit of DJing, broadcasting, interviewing, selling radio advertisement, and more. Something I realise I should have done years back but better late than never. How ironic, right? I have been struggling like hell to make ends meet for nearly 3 years in Maputo and when I finally find something I absolutely love (Pili Pili Designs), I get offered my dream job! I have accepted the job and started on Wednesday already so let's see how it goes. I have no idea how this will workout but I have decided not to make any fixed plans about life anymore, I am going with the flow and will find out where it takes me.

Great thing about this job, apart from being paid for doing what I love, is that the radio guys will sort out my residency permit! Did I tell you couple of months back residency permit fees increased by like %%%%%! Yep, it went from $200 to $800, mad no? But like the note on Carolina and Helen's bathroom says "keep calm and carry on".