Bags of information


A story appeared on the wires this week about the first fines issued by the Data Protection Registrar. Seemingly a local council in England has had its knuckles rapped for sending out information to people it shouldn't have. It is maybe fortunate then that the registrar doesn't have jurisdiction over the Rwanda Public Procurement authority whose meeting minutes have appeared, alongside the costs of a stretch of road from Mayange to Nemba, outside our cakes.

More accurately, our cakes ('cakies' in the shops) were bought inside a bag made up from the meeting minutes, complete with telephone numbers and signatures of the attendees. In China. one has to open the fortune cookie to get at the reading matter inside. In Rwanda the reading matter can easily be absorbed over morning coffee, eating the contents at leisure.

This isn't the first time we have found paper bags to contain more than the contents. In Ethiopia, we bought some nuts in a bag made from higher-grade physics notes torn out of a book. That evening was spent revising the atomic shell structure of an atom as a more interesting diversion than keeping the vehicle log up to date.