Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The 28th good thing about Lagos: Quick response to apartment maintenance.

Yesterday Brent and I went over to the ConocoPhillips offices to meet with a facilities person about choosing furniture for our permanent apartment assignment. They want to keep the apartment we are presently in for a visitor's flat, and they are contracting with the builder of some new apartments for housing for the Brass people who are coming. We all hope that Brass survives -- because they have to pay for 2-3 years of rent up front! And it's not cheap -- someone told us that our present apartment rent runs about $70,000 a year! Good thing they just take a standard housing deduction (which is about the same as our home mortgage payment) from our paycheck for our housing here. I've just seen the outside of the apartments where we'll live if we end up staying here, which look quite nice and they're in a (relatively) nice part of Victoria Island. Hopefully later this week we'll be able to tour the complex. But while we were in this meeting, Brent mentioned a few things that needed maintenance in our apartment. Shortly after I got home, I had swarms of maintenance people here to assess the things on our maintenance list: they fixed the flow in one showerhead and took another to be replaced. They fixed (or assured me that they fixed -- we shall see) an AC unit that periodically was leaking water. They checked the blinking lights on the alarm system and showed me how it worked. And they checked another AC unit (there's separate AC's in each room) that wasn't working with the remote (yes it is a challenge having to adjust the AC without a remote!) . Today some guys came and within 5 minutes had changed a sensor that made it respond to the remote. I wanted to take a picture of them taking apart the AC unit on this rickety homemade step stool with one guy handing the screwdriver and screws to the guy on the stool, but I thought they might think it odd. The funny thing is -- each time someone came to the door the head maintenance supervisor came and there were also 2 or 3 guys for each problem. The other day when I had questions about using the gas oven, 2 guys showed up to show me how it worked. Most of these guys seemed to know what they were doing, fixed the problems quickly and didn't give me a bill at the end! It was great! I think they need to put these maintenance people in charge of the country -- maybe they can make it work!

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