I did a popular AMA a while back so I thought I'd do it again. Here's the link to it: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/19h8qt/iama_european_engineer_who_moved_to_africa_to/

My short bio: I was born in Portugal and, to keep a long story short, a while back I started thinking of moving to Africa to a) grow, b) experience life outside the "first world", c) try to contribute to Africa's development, technically as well as socially. A year and a half ago I finally moved to Mozambique and I couldn't be more pleased.

My Proof: I provided proof in this comment of the previous AMA.

EDIT 1: Going to sleep, guys. More tomorrow.

EDIT 2: I had some internet issues yesterday but am back today. However, I've received some pretty bitter criticism (the criticism I appreciated, the bitterness threw me off), so I'm not sure how much I'll continue addressing this AMA.

EDIT 3: As someone pointed out, my views are mine alone, and are far from representing the whole of Africa or African culture. It baffles me that there is a need for me to declare this...

Comments: 1171 • Responses: 96  • Date: 

ThrowingAwayJehovah229 karma

Congrats on dodging the truck. I was in a car with my wife 2 years ago at a stoplight when I failed to dodge a falling truck.

sahba163 karma

I'm so sorry.

Epicen3188 karma

What happened with the snake?

sahba889 karma

The spitting snake spits it venom at you (usually aiming for the eyes) from a distance.

I was just standing at the site and heard a ruckus by the workers near to where I was standing. I went to see what was happening: they had found a snake under some materials. I was kind of paralysed - as I knew it could just spit and screw you up. The snake was starting to swell its "neck" (an indication it's about to spit) but the guy next to me (a local) was a quick thinker and HE spat first! Apparently this makes the snake temporarily back off. The snake "unswelled" its neck and the guy promptly bashed it with a stick, killing it.

FireFromTheWire515 karma


sahba127 karma

Just perfect.

stanthemanchan80 karma

Before I moved to Canada at the age of 11, I spent my early childhood in Borneo. One day when I was about 5 and my sister was about 7, my mom had the back door open while she was out hanging laundry. When she came back in, she saw the tail of a big snake go into the bedroom where my sister and I were sleeping. I just remember my mom waking up my sister and I and getting us out of the room. And then my dad tried to chase it out of the house but the fucking thing spat at him. It was a 4 foot long spitting cobra. Luckily it didn't get him in the eyes. If it does, the venom can blind you. So my dad went and got a long bamboo pole and smashed its head in.

sahba37 karma

Dang... happy everything turned ok!

PirateChucker44 karma

I worked overseas for over twenty five years as an electrician. Power Plants usually. Spent a year in Lagos, Nigeria. Absolutely the worst place I've ever lived. Every month had to drive a 300 mile route to service oil pumping stations way out in the sticks. Always carried a fully automatic M16, a shotgun, and a .45 caliber sidearm. More than once had run ins with Black Mamba's and other wild African critters. They died, I lived. Water issues ? Get online and order a few "LifeStraw". They filter out 99.999 % of waterborne bacteria, protozoan cysts, and waterborne pathogens. Each straw will filter 1,000 liters of water. LifeStraw is issued to all Peace Corp personnel working in Africa. I lived in the Azores for two years working at the power plant at Lajes Field. Loved the bull fights (Portugal doesn't kill the bulls) loved the islands, loved the people, loved the food. When I was there in the early 70's, Portugal had a war going in Mozambique as well as Angola. Once you've successfully completed an overseas contract, you'll find it much easier to get another overseas job. I've worked in the Azores, Spain, the Philippines, Nigeria, Saudi, China, Russia, Antarctica, and the Marshall Islands. I had a ball mostly. Good luck to you brother.

sahba6 karma

Just wanted to thank you for your great comment. Was great to read and learn.

KoboldtheWise138 karma

How difficult did you find it to get a job overseas? Do you have an Engineering degree?

sahba161 karma

I was surprised by how difficult it was (close to a year searching). I do have an Engineering degree. Although, I had decided on Mozambique specifically. Recruiters told me it would be easier if I was open for all of Africa, for example.

thefourthhouse96 karma

Why did you want to work specifically in Mozambique?

sahba225 karma

Here is my thought process when I was in Portugal:

1) "Hmm, I should move somewhere socially interesting and try to impact the place positively..."

2) "How about China?"

3) "Ahhh, it would take me too long to learn the language. I would be more effective in a Portuguese speaking country."

I asked a few people which of the Portuguese speaking countries I should choose, and Mozambique emerged.

D-Dino30 karma

So the language was the deciding factor? Were there other reasons that made Mozambique stand out?

sahba62 karma

Brazil was out because I wanted Africa. I wanted southern Africa which left Angola and Moz. Angola was out.... so, Moz.

D-Dino30 karma

Why was Angola out?

sahba75 karma

For some reason, Angola's fame is not so ideal: more violent, more racist (both ways), etc.

Ihmhi18 karma

How different is Mozambique's Portuguese compared to Iberian Portuguese? Is it as large of a difference as Iberian Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese?

sahba13 karma

I'd say that's a comparable scale re. difference.

Bangted6 karma

Admitindo que és português, tenciono fazer mais ou menos o mesmo percurso que tu assim que acabar o curso. o meu pai trabalhou em moçambique e adorou lá viver (estava eu ainda no meu 12º, há coisa de 4 anos atrás). Diz que é capaz de ser algo perigoso, mas que, na minha área (electrotécnia), sou capaz de arranjar trabalho facilmente.

sahba6 karma

Felizmente não é muito perigoso. Por onde andou o teu Pai?

window5127 karma

Are there many Chinese in Africa? Do they interact with the local population much?

sahba160 karma

Yes, many. In my experience here so far, they don't really mix as much as, say, Indians do. They are somewhat "opaque" - including in their political connections.

PepsiOnCoke56 karma

Can you elaborate on "opaque"?

sahba161 karma

There is a large European contractor here that is landing a bunch of contracts, and it is more or less known why. They paid this or that member of government off. As for the Chinese, they are landing jobs (as well as exploiting resources) without no one really knowing what is going on behind the curtain.

bdaycakeremix81 karma

How much are you being paid? I'd need a lot of money coming my way to out up with all that.

sahba173 karma

I didn't come here for money. This being said, I'm being paid more than I would get in Europe. But still less than if I were in the States...

bdaycakeremix84 karma

You're a good person.

sahba328 karma

Yessssss, my AMA trick worked!

StopItLink480 karma

I mean this in the most respectful way because I am genuinely curious but have you dated any local women or is it to taboo?

sahba134 karma

  • Simple/humble women of the rural areas: it would be very strange. In fact, it would probably be interpreted like I intend to kidnap them (human trafficking is a thing here).

  • As for other women, it is not taboo, but unfortunately some of it has turned into a business: the women seek out foreigners to get involved with, either to seduce them and profit (materially) from a long relationship with a wealthy person or, more shockingly, it is very common for them to offer sex for money - in a more or less explicit way. (Naturally this is a small minority of the population.)

exikon23 karma

So have you? Just kidding. How about contact with other "westerners". Are there many of them or are there certain bars or whatever where you can meet some non-africans?

sahba34 karma

I haven't. There are such places. Generally you meet people via friends, though.

jednorazowa61 karma

If the nearest trash bags are 90 km away, what do the people in your local area do with their trash?

sahba129 karma

They throw it in a small pit in their backyard and burn it once every few days.

illduce0018 karma

Not as much plastic as in the 1st world I presume?

sahba28 karma

True. And more reusing. But unburnable things get sent to the local "trash" place. I don't know what happens there.... I think it just acts as a perpetual landfill.

dreiter-18 karma

This is why there is too much pollution in Africa even though they use very few products and very little energy compared to the West.

We have to get these people upwardly mobile! If only more people were interested in issues like these. :/

sahba19 karma

There is too much pollution in Africa?

shouburu61 karma

Are you happy, fulfilled, or both?

sahba100 karma

Both. Rather, happy and fulfilling.

shouburu45 karma

The response I was hoping for. Thank you for doing so much to make the world a better place.

sahba44 karma

Thanks for your kindness.

rakimredditor59 karma

can you describe a typical day/sunday?

sahba108 karma

As a construction manager engineer, my work has 3 main dimensions to it:

1) computer-related work (emails, drawings, etc): I do this in my house/office. 2) site work: visits to the bridges, and other related sites (e.g., somewhere where we may be pre-fabricating some element to then install on the bridges); 3) interactions with the Contractor/Client: meetings, etc.

On Sundays I almost always go to a nearby city to do social work (including in a UN refugee camp).

PremiumR44 karma

as a civil engineer, i gotta ask you, what are the opportunities like in africa? just graduated in canada

sahba71 karma

Unfortunately, close to none for people with no work experience.

Balony156 karma

What do you do for fun in Africa?

sahba435 karma

Start AMA's to boost my self-esteem.

walaska47 karma

What would your chances be in Portugal at the moment to have a career?

sahba102 karma

A job: slim chance.

A good job: very very slim chance.

A career: zero chance.

walaska26 karma

I ask because I was just in Portugal for 2 weeks (Lisbon and surroundings 5 days, Lagos for beach 5 days, and Porto 5 days). The thing that struck me the most, as someone coming from Vienna, was the very low rate of foreigners actually living in the cities. You basically had the corner shop owners from Nepal and Africans selling sunglasses and assorted shit. Most others speaking another language were tourists (Lagos doesn't really count since it's basically a British colony, so there are Romanians, for example, who work there).

I didn't have this realisation until we arrived in Vienna again and were immediately greeted by this multitude of different cultures all over the place.

Anyway I only really wondered because you're relatively high-trained, rather than just another "youth" who is stuck in unskilled unemployment. How often do you go back home?

sahba38 karma

That's a very interesting observation.

I get 3 trips a year.

The unemployment crisis has no regard for skill or specialisation.

D0Z13R41 karma

What's malaria like?

sahba74 karma

It can vary a lot in symptoms, speed, severity, etc. My case was relatively typical:

  • fever;
  • general weakness;
  • chills;
  • pain in the joints;
  • diarrhoea.

I woke up in the morning feeling "iffy" and a few hours later I felt too tired to stand up.

ClutchDD30 karma

Were you taking anti malarial pills before you caught it?

sahba44 karma

No. Long story short, one shouldn't take anti malarial pills.

Edit: There are many people commenting that, indeed, you should take anti malarial pills. I fully disagree. In any case, if anyone makes a decision on this matter based on a guy's remark on reddit, then........


Why not?

sahba76 karma

In short:

1) they don't protect;

2) they have messed up side-effects (including long term damage to organs);

3) once you get malaria it stays hidden because of the antimalarials and can become difficult to treat.

KingBerger144 karma

Wait. This scares me. My brother studied abroad in South Africa for 3 months last year and took biweekly malaria pills. Is there a chance of something happening to him?

sahba17 karma

He's probably in the clear (99,999999999999999999999%). When I say it hides, I mean for a few days.

SMZ721 karma

Sounds like the same symptoms as the flu...

sahba3 karma

And this is the main reason why too many expats die of it: "It's probably nothing".

oiFairGoMate35 karma

Have you met any blacks educated in Western countries that moved to (or returned to) Africa to contribute to Africa's development?

sahba70 karma

I've come across a few people in that situation. But in my experience, they are also motivated by the opportunities Africa is now presenting (unlike the slowdown in the West). I'm not criticising this intention (at all), I'm just stating.

CYKL0N330 karma

Are there any cultural differences where you live that caught you off guard or that people in the west wouldn't think of?

sahba64 karma

What surprised me the most were the subtle cultural differences. It took me months before I discovered that it is rude to give people with the left hand. I have yet to find a single expat that is familiar with this rule.

PjotrOrial30 karma

What do you eat? Local food as everyone? How many things do you import?

sahba63 karma

Unfortunately I haven't gotten along too well with the local food (I don't like much of the taste... I tried some food in Zambia though and loved it...). I don't import anything myself. But I do buy imported goods.

nomadamimadamon25 karma


sahba116 karma

Unfortunately there is a lot of superstition, and some individuals take advantage of it... When the truck fell from our bridge, fearing that the workers would start thinking the bridge was cursed, instead of saying "there is no such thing as witchcraft", I started saying "can you believe only 1 person died? this was a miracle!"

Ahrr23 karma

Do you live alone? Where do you live atm? Do you work everyday?

sahba31 karma

Yes. In a small village. I work generally Mondays through Saturdays.

Ahrr17 karma

Nice! What do you like to do in your free Sundays? :)

sahba28 karma

Almost always, I try to go to a nearby city to do some social work (inspired by my religion).

bl00dshooter22 karma

Since you've brought that up, what is your religion? I'd assume catholic since you're from Portugal. Am I wrong?

sahba54 karma

I am a Bahai. Heard of it?

bl00dshooter21 karma

Yes, actually. One of the guys from that bunker restoration project mentioned it. I'm an atheist myself, but people like you are the ones I point to when a christian says that you need to follow the bible in order to be good =P

sahba20 karma

Wow! Unexpected!

beefat9923 karma

Does your family know what you experienced so far?

sahba48 karma

Yes - I don't think I've hidden a thing. But, for example regarding the malaria, I only told them when I was in the clear.

beefat9913 karma

Do you have siblings who have done similar endeavors?

sahba25 karma


hyj23 karma

Should a better effort not be to allow Africa to re-cultivate its own engineering expertise rather than parachute in and take the more challenging work out of their hands?

I feel that touring expertise is akin to the practice of dumping loads of charitable clothing and food aid. The problem is Africa's inability to jump start its own industry, not a lack of helpful foreigners.

sahba43 karma

That is a very insightful comment that I am thankful for. The topic of "dead aid" interests me a lot.

To begin sharing my opinion, let me ask: how can we "allow Africa to re-cultivate its own engineering expertise"?

Cleaver200015 karma

Do you do any training of locals?

sahba29 karma


kjoro17 karma

how much longer do you feel you will be in Africa for?

sahba39 karma

I don't know. My plan was many many years. Right now I'm living one day at a time.

lilafee21 karma

What happened that changed your perspective?

sahba73 karma

What a surprisingly profound question.

I think just how difficult it may be to find a wife and marry while living here.

ajreno95217 karma

Do you carry a weapon around, such as a knife or hand gun, as protection?

sahba37 karma

No - no protection needed.

Kurmu35 karma

Aren't you afraid of AIDS?

sahba35 karma

I am, a little bit. Mostly because in my line of work accidents are not rare - and I know for a fact that some of the workers in my team have HIV (don't know which). But I just take good care.

bigweebs16 karma

What is the difference in building materials compared to Portugal?

sahba31 karma

Remember I'm just working on bridges... Concrete, steel, etc. is all the same. But there is a lot of importation.

bigweebs10 karma

Well what im asking is more about quality, i mean bridges or roads, you have to use materials, and if you compare roads for example in Poland and Ukraine there is a huge difference in quality already, in part to do with corruption from the building,companies for charging for high quality but building with low quality and the difference is that illegal corruptive money grabbing shit, was wondering if that happens there too.

sahba21 karma

In state and aid-sponsored projects, quality is on par with the first world. As for other projects (i.e., private houses), not at all...

numwzy15 karma

have you hooked up with a African chick?

sahba40 karma

So tempted to do a "yo momma" joke

Boston1714 karma

Have you had any other problems with animals apart from the snake? Great reading your storys

sahba104 karma

Not really. But once I asked a local if the rivers would have too many snakes during the rainy season (as we work by the rivers). He said "no, no, don't worry, no snakes in the rivers". Then, after a pause, he said "only crocodiles".

FantasticFonte12 karma

So, coming from a fellow Portuguese and hopefully, Engineer in the future, what did you study and where? How old were you when you decided to move? Nowadays, Portuguese Universities are starting to gather students from Lusophone Africa. Have you met any of these Africans, before or after enrolling in a Portuguese University?

(Parabéns! É sempre bom ver outro Português e Engenheiro a distribuir bom conteúdo pelo reddit!)

sahba9 karma


I studied Civil Engineering at Técnico (but don't let the fame fool you).

I decided to move around the age of 25.

I haven't met Engineering students who studied in Portuguese universitites since coming here - but met several while studying.

Syffuf259 karma

Is Mozambique, in any way, as romantic as Bob Dylan's song suggests?

sahba12 karma

To me? Yes. To most expatriates here? No :-)

wade-newb6 karma

Are the Renamo conflicts in and around Pembe getting bad? I'm South African but my dad stays in Mozambique so I was just wondering.

sahba9 karma

Nothing whatsoever happening around the Pemba area. The (very minor and insignificant) skirmishes happened nearly 2000 km away. What does your Dad do?

I_Broke_Nalgene6 karma

Are you working for a firm or for an organization like engineers without borders? Im a structural engineer in canada and I am looking to work in africa since I visited it 1 year ago. Do they have their own codes like American Institute of steel construction (aisc)?

sahba9 karma

No - working in the private sector. We are using the South African codes, which are very good.

truthinlies6 karma

I have always wanted to move to Africa and do much the same as what you are doing. I'm a mechanical engineer, currently in the power industry. Do you know of a place where I could be useful? Also, English is about my only language thus far

sahba9 karma

Respectfully? Just google for a job :) You will be helpful mostly anywhere, if you come with the right attitude.

Bad_Stuff_Happens5 karma

Just how many Chinese workers are there? I'm worried China will dominate Africa economically one day.

sahba14 karma

I don't really know. And some would argue that China is already dominating Africa economically.

AeresZX6R3 karma

How do you have internet?

sahba9 karma

You'd be surprised... I have DSL! I just "ordered" it from the national communications agency. There is internet in my town.

Stasky3 karma

I understand you are a civil engeneer. Is there a need for engeneers from other fields aswell? Would someone with, lets say, mechatronic degree be able to do something like this?

How much do you make when converted to euro?

sahba5 karma

Yes, there is a need for other engineers. I'm not familiar with mechatronics, but there is a need for mechanical engineers. I'd rather not specify my salary - but a quick search online will help you in that regard.

OlivettiFourtyFour1 karma

Could you please elaborate on the need for mechanical engineers in Mozambique/Africa in general? In America one is required to take the EIT (Engineer in Training, aka Fundamentals of Engineering) exam in order to be able to do construction work, and a Professional Engineer exam in order to lead construction projects. Are there similar restrictions for work in Africa? What specific kinds of work would be available for mechanical engineers? If you would rather refer me to one of your sources, I would appreciate that as well.

sahba1 karma

It is my understanding that if you are recognised as an Engineer in your country (specifically America), you will be recognised as an Engineer in Africa (just need to take care of minor paperwork). As for specific lines of work: consider what is happening in Africa right now: a lot of resource digging (including oil), a lot of infrastructure work, a lot of "middle class" construction (large residential buildings, etc.). You as a mechanical engineer know better than I do what mechanical engineering those fields require.

stop-mathtime1 karma

On a related note: What about chemical engineers? Undergrad and would love to do something similar but I'm not sure how applicable it would really be for your kind of work?

sahba1 karma

I haven't heard of much work in chemical engineering. Maybe in the oil industry?

window52 karma

As I read it in the American conservative/nativist web sites the Chinese in Africa pay off the government officials to extract raw materials from Africa and ship them to China's factories. These payoffs empower the government to control the outcome of local elections. The end result being the average African gains no benefit from the export of their country's natural resources. Is this view accurate?

sahba19 karma

The way you put it seems to suggest a start-to-finish process, with intentionality. I'm not so sure it's that linear.

Do the Chinese pay off government officials? Sure. Do these payoffs make it easier for the government to, among other things, control the outcome of its elections? Sure. Does the average African citizen gain very little from the export of the natural resources? Absolutely.

But to suggest that this is an intentional start-to-finish process is, in my opinion, reaching.

I'm not sure if I was able to express my viewpoint clearly..?

window56 karma

Well to ask in another way .... Do other nations behave in the same way toward Africa? To the same degree? As I am reading it much of the work done for Chinese companies in Africa is performed by Chinese workers.

sahba9 karma

Know that I am no expert in these matters. However, I do feel that China is indeed unrivalled in these behaviours. And, yes, much (but not all) of the work being done here by them is being done by Chinese workers.

This being said, it is naive to think that other nations, companies, individuals don't also behave in similar ways. An example in the other extreme is: exactly how selfless is American aid? (I don't know the answer, I just think it's an interesting question).

smashketchem2 karma

i dont know your age group so i may be off on this, but what is your favorite pokemon?

sahba15 karma

Excellent question.

I have no idea about pokemons.

smashketchem3 karma

hmm what music do you listen to? and what is the living situation there? is it a house/hut/apartment? i hope that isnt offensive, i am a globally handicapped american

sahba7 karma

Not offensive at all.

I live in one of the few proper houses in this village. Most homes are "shacks" (mud bricks, zync rooftops).

Currently listening to Little Dragon, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, a bunch of malian musicians (Amadou&Maryam, Rokia Traoré, Ali Farka Touré), Fugees, Deolinda, Grizzly Bear, RJD2, Purity Ring, Vijay Iyer trio, Alanis, Bon Iver, Rimsky-Korsakov.

smashketchem1 karma

do you ever feel like they look at you as you think you are better than them? I feel like there would be some minor hostility to a foreigner coming to there land to "better" it.

sahba1 karma

Yes, but very rarely.

RushLimbaughIsFat2 karma

How abundant is medical care in Africa?

sahba9 karma

I am surprised by the networks that are in place. Every town has a small "health clinic". Does it have perfect hygiene/knowledge/supplies? No...


How old and you and how many languages do you speak? Also, are Portegese students regularly taught English and Spanish in school?

sahba10 karma

I'm in my late 20's. I speak 4 languages more or less. We are not taught Spanish, but we are taught English (almost universally), French (somewhat) and German (much less).

JustForCancer2 karma

Hey neighbor! I'm in Malawi :)

Ever done any work in this country? How big of bridges do you repair?

Do you make pretty good money doing that kind of work? I can imagine you have a lot of job security.

Do you employ locals to help with the work?

sahba3 karma

Heyooooo! A few of the Engineers here are from Malawi! I'd like to visit you guys some time. Are you Malawian?

Our current bridges are about 100-200 m long. I am an employee so I don't make "pretty good money", as I don't own the business. But I do not complain.

Yes, of course, we hire locals. Not least because each company in Moz has to have at least 90% local workforce. Not so in Malawi?

rtfactor2 karma

Fellow Portuguese here too... IT Engineer....

I got the same feeling about growing, but decided to try bigger countries/cities in first place, with top corporations with large IT infrastructures... learn, experiment, socialize, and maybe latter take the knowledge and experience and move to a developing country to help on its evolution.

Moved to Canada 10 years ago...

Faced some big challenges such as 16 hours power outage, and a basement flood with 30cm of water... also wild beasts, such a goose attacks, squirrel on steroids, and close encounters with smelly skunks and filthy raccoon in plain center of the city... but I survived...

Sometimes I think about Africa, as it always attracted me for many reasons... not afraid of the challenges and dangers... but maybe not the best place to take wife and kid.

I'm glad to know that you are doing well. As a Portuguese I know what is the sense of adventure and challenge that runs through our blood for centuries... I understand it... as I think you should also understand how amusing but sometimes boring is my life in a mega city of a top 1st world country.

Wishing you all the best!

sahba2 karma

Thank you, friend :-) Wishing you all the best!

BandarSeriBegawan2 karma

My question, as someone with an enduring interest in SSA -

Does it bother how much bald-faced ignorance there is in the West about Africa is and is not?

I mean, the tropes are a mile thick. Sometimes it's almost mind-boggling until you remember that the media literally ignores Africa in the West.

Or maybe I am only talking about the US here. I am American.

sahba3 karma

Why should it upset me?

A story:

Two monks were making a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of a great Saint. During the course of their journey, they came to a river where they met a beautiful young woman -- an apparently worldly creature, dressed in expensive finery and with her hair done up in the latest fashion. She was afraid of the current and afraid of ruining her lovely clothing, so asked the brothers if they might carry her across the river.

The younger and more exacting of the brothers was offended at the very idea and turned away with an attitude of disgust. The older brother didn't hesitate, and quickly picked the woman up on his shoulders, carried her across the river, and set her down on the other side. She thanked him and went on her way, and the brother waded back through the waters.

The monks resumed their walk, the older one in perfect equanimity and enjoying the beautiful countryside, while the younger one grew more and more brooding and distracted, so much so that he could keep his silence no longer and suddenly burst out, "Brother, we are taught to avoid contact with women, and there you were, not just touching a woman, but carrying her on your shoulders!"

The older monk looked at the younger with a loving, pitiful smile and said, "Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river; you are still carrying her."

fau_roommate1 karma

"AMAA" What question(s) do you not want asked?

sahba4 karma

I was fearing you'd ask that...

year19181 karma

What's the strangest thing you've eaten so far that was actually amazing?

sahba1 karma

flyzeyez1 karma

did you get your trash bags?

sahba2 karma

Yup. I'm re-using them now...

Ricardo891 karma

How did you get the job? Was it from Portugal or in the place? Did you have previous experience in engineering or was that your first job?

sahba1 karma

I came here for a month to network. I had a couple years prior experience.

seashu1 karma

Hi there! It's been a lifelong dream of mine to help third world countries and I recently decided that when I go to college, I would get an engineering degree and help them that way. Do you think the work you're doing is actually helping a lot and maybe recommend more people along the path? And how'd you get into this in the first place?

sahba3 karma

You should familiarise yourself with the notion of "dead aid": http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Aid-Working-Better-Africa/dp/0374139563

It's mostly about financial aid, but technical aid also surely applies. In my opinion, the only "aid" that is unequivocally and sustainably positive is "social intervention": to live in a way that every single interaction we have with others helps break down divisiveness and foster unity and harmony. That can be done anywhere. I just chose to do it in Africa.

inhalingsounds1 karma

Being a Portuguese engineer, seeing an iama as cool as this one from a fellow countryman is awesome. Keep fighting the good fight!

sahba1 karma


amando961 karma

What kind of place has reddit but no bin bags?

sahba1 karma


DasUberRedditor1 karma

Have you read Heart of Darkness?

sahba1 karma


codeic1 karma

how old are you?

sahba2 karma

Late 20's.

robothotwing1 karma

Have you ever seen the movie "the Host and the Darkness" ?

sahba1 karma

No. Funny enough it was brought up in the previous AMA.

WeldingMouse1 karma

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

sahba1 karma

First instinct: google what it is.

tastelessfoxy1 karma

It's not been asked, would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?

sahba1 karma

One horse sized duck. I've heard some ducks will actually fly for a couple of minutes after being decapitated.

Can you imagine the sight?

locke9901 karma

I'm interested in international development, but all good graduate programs require experience in the field. Any tips on how to do this in an innovative way?

Also, where do you see international development going? What are we doing wrong, and what should we do?

sahba2 karma

Wait, I'm not sure I understood correctly. Are you saying that in order to study international development you must first have experience in this field? Are you from the US? And how old are you? And why are you interested in intl development?

locke9901 karma

Yes, sorry I meant they strongly prefer that you get experience in the field first. And yes, I'm in the US, just finished undergrad in film production. 25 years old.

I would like to utilize my film background to support various intl development projects and organizations. But I also want to be able to do more than just tell the stories. I want to be a part of them. Not sure exactly how or where to focus though, and graduate school would (hopefully) help me attain that specificity. Sorry for the ambiguity.

sahba1 karma

The first (and most helpful) comment that came to mind was: talk to people that are doing things similar to what you want to do. This guy comes to my mind: http://www.fallfilms.net/who.php (Read the last sentence of that introductory paragraph).

FlyingSioux931 karma

Sounds like you've had a lot of interesting experiences. What has been the biggest challenge living/working in Africa?

sahba1 karma

I consider this a personal challenge (that I can and should overcome) but: dealing with uncertainty. You don't know if the materials will arrive on time, you don't know if you'll have water, etc.

schoolboy001 karma

Are there any dangerous bugs, flies?

sahba1 karma

You may want to look at my last post on reddit... (that I posted earlier today).

ayudamepf-10 karma

In which country are you working?

Africa is made up of about 55-ish recognized states and there are many differences among the different places.

sahba5 karma

Mozambique (as my post states).

Virez-10 karma

do u expect ppl to repect u more, when u tell about your "adventures" and make u king of karma, or are u doing all this for YOU...! without any thoughts about using it to boost your way further up the corporate ladder...?

sahba5 karma

I came here with the intention to serve humanity in this particular location.