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Angola

Suggestions on Angola Survival Kit: moving in 2 weeks

Suggestions on Angola Survival Kit: moving in 2 weeks

Postby worriedinpa » Sun 10 Aug 2008 17:18 GMT

My dad is moving to Angola in 2 weeks by himself. Due to my mother's cancer treatments, she cannot accompany him.

He will be living out of a hotel in Luanda for one year (minimum).

This is the first time he has lived alone, so I am a bit worried about him. Moreover, there isn't too much helpful information about practical living in Angola on the internet, so I have begun to fear what might happen there, primarily due to my own (and his) ignorance. He does speak a little Portuguese from the time we lived in Brasil, but he is, shall we say, a little bit careless and a bit ignorant of medical and scientific knowledge. I was hoping the wise people who have already lived in Angola before could help me with preparing an Angola survival kit (for a single man) for him.

Here are some specific things that I need help on (but please feel free to add the numerous items that I almost certainly have neglected to think of):

1) Best way to keep mosquitos away (on the person when moving about, and in the room when sleeping or working).
2) Type of clothing to protect the skin from insects and the sun, without sweating to death.
3) Medications
4) First aid kit? Emergency items?
5) Food that won't spoil in storage and can easily be prepared (he cannot cook after all)

I also have some questions about life in Angola:
1) Must most things be purchased with cash or are Visa/Mastercard accepted?
2) Is banking secure in a physical sense (robberies/muggings at currency exchange?)
3) What is the safest way to send money to Angola?
4) Do couriers like FedEx/DHL reach Angola with reliable service?
5) Is hotel food (at say the top 3 hotels in Luanda) considered safe?
6) Where can English-speaking medical professionals be found using Western-level standards of hygiene?
7) Are electrical surges a problem? (i.e. will he need to get adequate surge protection for his computer, etc.)
8) Will he be safe living alone? What are the "safe" areas of Luanda? What areas should he avoid visiting alone?
9) What other things should he know? What other information may make his life easier (based on your own experiences)? What are some of the "tricks to success" you have picked up in Angola?

I'd like to express my appreciation in advance for any replies you may post. Thank you.
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Postby theflower » Mon 11 Aug 2008 14:49 GMT

Dear Worried

before i answer your questions, could you tell me which company your dad is going to be working for....or what type of company if you dont want to give me the name....this will help me determine how 'looked after' he will already be from his company and this may avail some of your concerns...

Thanks
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Postby worriedinpa » Mon 11 Aug 2008 23:06 GMT

First of all, thanks for your reply.

My dad is a diplomat of a country that is establishing new diplomatic relations with Angola. He says the government will be paying for the hotel and other expenses, but support staff will be thin. Currently there are only two other people who will be working with him. There is no embassy in Luanda; my dad and these 2 other people will be responsible for setting up everything before an ambassador is actually sent to Angola. The other two people have been in Luanda for 4 months, but have only been in sporadic contact with my dad. So the money might come, but he won't get any much help locally. His co-workers who are already there are just as in the dark as we are.

While monetary support has been promised, I am not sure if the extent and promptness of support will vary though. Nothing is set in stone at the moment. He doesn't even know which hotel he will be staying at because they don't know yet. We are not talking about a well-oiled international corporation. My dad works for an incompetent and disorganized government that has no idea what it's doing. In fact the two people who are already there do not even speak Portuguese! And these people are supposed to be starting an embassy...

Thanks again for your reply. I hope that the above information is enough for you to tailor your advice to my dad's situation.
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Postby theflower » Tue 12 Aug 2008 07:23 GMT

Okay thanks for the info. First of all dont worry, Angola is not as bad as it seems, the problem is that there is limited media information on the internet and that is why it seems scary. To answer your specific questions:

1) Best way to keep mosquitos away (on the person when moving about, and in the room when sleeping or working).

Spray with an anti-mosquito spray on yourself when out and about, and get a mosquito plug with refill mats for your room. All hotels and offices have air conditioning here and normally that kills any mosquitos inside. You can also sleep under a mosquito net which many people do, but personally I dont think it is necessary.

2) Type of clothing to protect the skin from insects and the sun, without sweating to death.

The weather is very humid and hot from October to May, and gets cooler the rest of the year. When I say hot and humid, I mean up to 35 degrees with 95% humidity. Therefore, cool cotton clothes are advised.

3) Medications

I would bring cold/flu tablets, panadol, something for stomach bugs and any other medicine you are commonly used to taking. There are pharmacies here which stock a good range of medicine, but if like me you are used to a particular brand (and english instructions) then better to bring a selection along.

4) First aid kit? Emergency items?

Yes, keep a stock of antiseptic, bandages, insect bite cream, etc. All available in pharmacies here, but better to have a stock to start with till your dad gets familiar with going to the shops.
5) Food that won't spoil in storage and can easily be prepared (he cannot cook after all)

I also have some questions about life in Angola:
1) Must most things be purchased with cash or are Visa/Mastercard accepted?

Cash is still really the only way to pay. Credit cards are accepted in some places now (hotels/restaurants) but it is not recommended to use them for security reasons.

2) Is banking secure in a physical sense (robberies/muggings at currency exchange?)

Inside the bank branches you are pretty safe, they are guarded by armed guards etc. Generally you are safe in Angola, but there is alot of petty crime (handbags, mobile phones etc) and many people have guns which they will point at you in order to steal your phone etc, in all cases you are advised to hand over whatever they want and you will be fine. Obviously you dont talk on the street on your mobile phone, or flash your cash about in public places. Best advice is not to draw attention to yourself. But as an 'expat', and I presume your Dad is 'white', you will always stand out here.

3) What is the safest way to send money to Angola?

I am not sure. Depending on which Bank your Dad's embassy is using, there is normally an international transfer service. But it depends on the bank. He will need to ask them.

4) Do couriers like FedEx/DHL reach Angola with reliable service?

DHL is big here and i have used it many times between here and South africa and London with no issues.

5) Is hotel food (at say the top 3 hotels in Luanda) considered safe?

Yes, absolutely at the top 3 hotels it is of international standards.

6) Where can English-speaking medical professionals be found using Western-level standards of hygiene?

There is a clinic run by a company called 'International SOS' which has English speaking doctors and good facilities including evacuation. You Dad should join them.

7) Are electrical surges a problem? (i.e. will he need to get adequate surge protection for his computer, etc.)

Yes surge protection is essential as electricity levels fluctuate alot, depending on where you are in the city, and power also goes on and off.


9) What other things should he know? What other information may make his life easier (based on your own experiences)? What are some of the "tricks to success" you have picked up in Angola?

There are alot of expats in Luanda, and lots of embassies. Best advice is to spend the first few weeks meeting as many people as possible and finding out for yourself the lay of the land. Everyone is very friendly and helpful here as we have all been in the same boat at some point or another. Getting a house/office here is very complicated and expensive and that is going to be the toughest part in my opinion. To ease this burden your Dad should be looking to hire some local Angolan staff asap, who know how to get these things done.

I hope this helps.
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Postby dangermouse » Wed 27 Aug 2008 11:45 GMT

I'm guessing that your father is in country now.

If he would like to, I'd be more than happy to introduce him around, and show him some of the ex-pat hangouts, meet for a beer etc.

I've tried to PM you my local cell number, but the PM system didn't work.
You can contact me through the email address in my profile.
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Location: Angola / UK


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