Today, due to the shenanigans of a European bank which shall, for the moment, remain nameless, I needed to send a fax. We don't have a fax machine in the office, but not to worry, there are numerous small outfits providing office services of various sorts, not too far away. At the first one I went to, the fax machine was 'gaté' - general purpose and much-used word for knackered/ruined; there are quantities of such 'gaté' equipment here - what with the heat and the dust, it is a hard life for machines, even those lovingly kept under protective cloths.
But I persevered and eventually found a working machine, and was able to send my fax to the UK at the first attempt for about 30p, which can't be bad. While waiting for the fax machine, I noticed that the bureau, which offers the usual range of typing, photocopying and other office services, also sells yoghurt and cold drinks - excellent, as I was thirsty! I looked around a bit further, and saw that they also offered some ready made clothing in traditional fabrics - and oh yes, refills for bottled gas.
Well, why not? When I remarked to the proprietress that she had a fine range of goods and services on offer, she responded that you have to, in Africa, to get by. I didn't buy gas or a shirt this time, but full marks for enterprise and friendly customer service - I shall certainly go back if I need to fax again - and as for the other merchandise, who knows!