Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Changing Expectations...

So yesterday I posted on my FB feed that it was a 'Crisis... no popcorn to be found!' 

I had gone to five different shops which 'normally' carry popcorn - to find none. 

A friend responded asking if this was a first world problem. 
I responded that it wasn't cause when was the last time that he had gone looking for popcorn. 
His response was not that I couldn't find any but that I expected to find it. 

Got me thinking. 

Yes my level of expectation here in Rwanda has changed dramatically over the years. 
Those of us that have lived here a long time - let's say more than 5 years (I've been here 13 years...) do have to exercise patience when someone 'newer' complains about something not being available. 

When I first came long term in Rwanda in 2004, I remember the day very vividly when my intern and I found ONE loan Mars bar sitting on a store shelf. We bought it, cut it in half and savoured it. I have often wondered since how old it was... and I'm not sure it would have mattered. (I don't even like Mars bars!) Today I can buy good chocolate - not cheap but it's here... anytime I want.

The availability of goods here has drastically changed. We have Nakumatt ( a Kenyan supermarket that stocks many things), Simba (I think a Lebanese supermarket that also stocks many items) and then a few local shops that carry many products as well.. along with two wholesale importers which you can buy from. 

So... availability has changed and I have started to live with greater expectations that something 'should be available' all the time and on a certain shelf in a certain shop. 

However... life still does ebb and flow here ... and with that brings frustration or maybe it's just annoying?

Like yesterday... five different shops - no popcorn. 
Is it really that hard to keep popcorn in stock?  

Or like a number of weeks ago when there was no butter in the city and all muzungus (foreigners) were asking through every media outlet they could, where the butter was. It showed up about three weeks later. 

Or the time when local cheese isn't too be found. We've been cheeseless for months on end different times ... holidays? Cows stopped giving milk? Politics? Anybody's guess...

Or the time then we couldn't find black pepper for about 6 months. 

My constant search item these days - liquid red food colouring! I've been looking for almost a year.

I will readily admit that I've gone from zero expectation to expectation over the last 13 years.... but I know there will always be something. 

But today I bought popcorn! It's a win!!

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