Last week the president celebrated his birthday. As his motorcade rolled down Bangui's main drag, he tossed 500 CFA (about $1.25) notes out the window to passerby. People grabbed at them, but also shrugged – he used to throw out 10,000 CFA notes. Call it a sign of the financial crisis.
I heard this story from an NGO employee, who was appalled at this manifestation of local politics. That same week, another employee of his NGO flew into Tiringoulou, unloaded three tons of food, and promptly departed, without so much as helping to distribute in an equitable way. (Their departure was slightly delayed due to the fact that the plane got stuck in the mud at the edge of the runway – one of the most exciting things that has happened around here in ages.)