Friday, February 15, 2013

Les Trois 'R's

"Il est un √©cologiste.  Il veut conserver la nature." -- Merchant in my town explaining to others in the store why I bring my own grocery bags and refuse their plastic bags    

Back in training more than a year ago, I did a presentation on waste management.  The main point of that presentation is illustrated by this photo from the film 21 Jump St:
I've tried to be true to that presentation during my time here in Cameroon, especially since I've lived and currently live in towns where waste management often boils down to people just burning their trash:

I'm not always successful following the three 'R's, however.  For instance, I sometimes don't "buy in bulk", especially when the opposite of "buying in bulk" is all that they have in many boutiques:
Now if only these small packets ("sachets") were biodegradable …

Other times, I've had better luck.  For example, instead of buying disposable razors, I found this razor where the only thing that you change is the blade:

Another example, when the wire on my macbook adapter practically burned off as I previously mentioned, I didn't order another adapter.  That would be just adding waste.  Instead, I did what most Cameroonians would've done when something breaks -- I tried to get it repaired:

The photo shows the adapter after being repaired by Iziaka, a local electrician.  Its been several months and its still working.  Not sure for how long though since Iziaka isn't exactly an authorized Apple repairman.  But hey, electronics is electronics.  The laws of electricity follow here just as it would in the US, right?

I've also had problems with my Timberland hiking boots.  I could've asked someone in the states to send me new boots.  Or I could just get my boots repaired.  I did just that.  First, I went to a cobbler at my old post and he fixed it for 1000 CFA (about $2):
The repairs didn't hold up.  So I took it to another cobbler at my current post, costing 3 times as much (ie about $6):

They're holding up after more than a month and hopefully will continue to do so for my upcoming treks. 

Now if I can only find someone to repair my still-frozen Kindle, still currently a paper weight.