Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Nice Long Telephone Chat with Benjamin

I had a nice long chat yesterday with Benjamin, whose photos you can find elsewhere in this blog, and briefly with his wife, too. It was 1 a.m. (a day later than here in California) Ivory Coast time, even though it was late afternoon or early evening here. Benjamin works for a taxi company as a driver. He commented to me that gasoline is becoming VERY expensive in Cote d'Ivoire. He did not give me details. However, I subscribe to a Google service that lists news items about Ivory Coast, and when I received my daily notice with the list of todays URLs I saw an item about how the cost of gasoline was just raised by the Government by 44%, effective yesterday.

Looking at this with a more global perspective, how are the world's poor going to be able to survive, much less prosper, when the price of oil keeps going up and up and up, and with it the price of food ?

I saw a while ago in the Google feed some news items about people rioting about the increase in the cost of rice. This was in many countries, not just Ivory Coast. Another Ivory Coast friend told me that many people there switch to other forms of starch, so it doesn't affect the people we know as much as it might. I recall that whenever we ate at a restaurant in Ivory Coast, the Ivoirians (is that the word ?) would always accompany their main dish with a HUGE serving of rice or cassava or some other local starch. Benjamin told me yesterday that the people we both know are not having problems getting enough to eat, and that their present situation is okay.

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