People and Money
Topics of the day: city hall, sponsors, waste incineration
Today we met Raurani who wants to help us with our bicycle-action (it’s really good to know the movement won’t die off once we’re gone, since Roti won’t have time to take care of it/will be back in Rapa). Raurani is an event-manager who is currently unemployed. She spent 7 years in Denmark so she’s really into cycling 🙂 After quickly briefing her we went to see the person from the city hall whom we had already met yesterday to talk over our plans – and get the details for their Mobility Week program to announce in our “Toa Times” journal (just realizing that it’s not really a journal – we’re planning on bringing it out once a month – every time there is a bicycle demonstration). The meeting was really disappointing – there are so many difficulties – he remarked that the cars (bloody huge trucks) are too big for there to be enough space on the road to put in a cycle path (grrrrr). He talked to us in that sort of “let’s be realistic”-manner. There’s always a solution if you really want. How can people be so reluctant to change?
After some technical difficulties we finally printed a draft of “The Toa Times” and Raurani and I went to the first bike shop owner to convince him to sponsor us – he’d even get an advertisement for his shop in our newspaper. The man also sold mopeds and told us that people weren’t buying his (quality) bikes (or spare parts) but if at all getting cheaper ones from Carrefour to throw out when they’re broken… apart from that Tahitians adored their 4×4’s, it was too hot on the island and people living in the mountains would never even think about cycling. When I pointed out that those people could just use bikes with electric motors he asked me if I had ever tried to change a tire on a bike equipped with an electric motor (apparently he had bad experience with them) – I hadn’t – knock-out argument. He said they’d stop selling bikes and didn’t believe that people would change their attitude. When I asked if he had heard about peak oil (which he hadn’t) and started to explain the situation he interrupted me in a very rude manner so I left the store. I was so angry, disappointed and sad (my sleep debt didn’t help – think I should start taking analeptic drugs 😉 that I went “home”. I wouldn’t have made a very good impression on potential sponsors (the expression on my face unfortunately never fails to reflect how I feel) and there was only an hour left until Raphael and I wanted to head off with Jean-Louis (from SEDEP) to see the mothballed waste incineration plant (the government blew 5 billion CFP on the thing and it only ran for about 3 years before the people living in the surrounding area had a scratchy throats and complained about the smell so it was shut down). I ended up being too tired and depressed that Raphael went on his own (I am such a coward).
I wrote a bit and will go to bed early – might decrease my level of grumpiness… and help me find the right words for the press tomorrow morning (I’m really not a media person but I know damn well that Roti will force me to say something)… Raphael suggested we start a completion with Johann (he had an interview the other night) to see who of us will be on TV more often until we leave – looking at the number of inhabitants everyone here probably gets to be on TV at some point in their life 😉
Final thoughts of the day:
When I walked out of that store I really felt like saying something similar to “See you in hell!” and I could picture myself dumping a bucket full of gooey crude oil over the shop owner’s head (can one suppress evil thoughts?)… It is amazing how one person (whom I only knew for five minutes) can have such an impact on my mood.
I hope I’ll never lose my idealism.
I hate (asking for) money – it’s the most unpleasant thing when you’re organizing public events
Do people only change when they have to?