Something you should know from the outset: I get oddly excited about all things related to proper civic order. When governments and institutions work according to the prescribed guidelines- it just makes my heart flutter. Its enough to set me happy for days on end. So when I saw the adverts that our nation would be having a national census the month of May, I was hopeful and a little doubtful all at the same time. I didn't get counted in the US and I wasn't sure that they would count us here either- as we are foriegners.
Tonight I came down from putting @ in bed and saw Jonathan sitting on the front porch. I went out to investigate- we don't sit outside at night with the light on because that is a good way to get moquito bites, and what's more the season finale for The Amazing Race was on, he shouldn't be sitting out front. He was talking with 2 census takers. He was just finishing giving them each of our names and so I sat down to join the fun- also thinking that 2 heads thinking through the language of the questions is always better than 1. Our names, birthdate,our religion, city and country we were born in, our tribe, where we lived in 2005, our schooling completed, job held- those were the questions for both of us and for @.
The questions at the end were a bit different: fuel we use for cooking, the source of our drinking water, and access to internet. These reflect a national conversation that seems to be in constant flow. The government is trying to switch people from kerosene and wood cooking to natural gas- its been a costly switch frought with headaches. Use of safe drinking water is making good advancement throughout more urban populations but it has a ways to go. Safe drinking water is becoming more affordable though, slowly but surely. There is a push for more access to internet and getting the public sector online to speed along government. They're doing a good job overall but change is slow.
There is a push away from corruption here. They are trying so hard and in a lot of ways they are making real strides. So when I see nice, polite, courteous, efficient census workers, well, I do back flips. The 2000 census was plagued by problems and the official results have never been released to the public. There is a lot of nay-saying that the 2010 census will suffer the same fate. It might. But at the moment I'm hopeful. Only problem, I didn't grab my camera while they were here!