Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Power of Coco-Cola
Place : Ndola
Country : Zambia
Ndola is on the border of Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. This town is 130 kms from the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka. I am currently here sitting in a shack with an old grand-father like computer with dial-up speed worse than 1995 , by India standards ! It’s a run down place which is surprisingly the only Internet Café for miles !!
I am here on Business. My Business is that of Printing and Packaging. We have been exporting to this country for the last 10 years – but the visits were strictly to the capital city of Lusaka. But a strange phone call got me in a PRO-FLIGHT Company aircraft to the town on NDOLA. PRO-FLIGHT itself is a risky business. This small aircraft that got me here and is supposed to be taking me back in a matter of 4 hours has given me a fright. Mainly due to its size !! It is so small – that in Hindi terms – one haava kaa jokha – and this plane will be swinging to the winds tunes.. !!
Anyhow… The aircraft is the only real civilized thing here. This town moves at its own pace. Now, If I were a poet, I would be appreciating the fact that there is something poetic about such mom and pop towns. If I were someone from Travel and Living, I would be covering the arts and crafts. If I were Shakira, I would be dancing to tunes of Waka Waka ! If I were Angelina Jolie, I would be adopting kids here ! If I were the U.N. Ambassador, I would be asking for fund raising for HIV affected individuals. If I were from National Geographic, I would be clicking photographs of the beautiful people of Africa ! But the reason why I am writing this to you – its because I am THE COMMON MAN. Where according to the UN – every 3rd child dies… This place is unusually painted RED with the colours of GLOBALISATION – COCO-COLA… !!!
I come here to sell medicine boxes. But the capitalist people complain on how our goods reach the interiors only after 3 months. Or how on most days they come as damaged goods. What amazes me is that COCO-COLA fights all these problems on a daily basis, and that too not only in 1 but 76 different countries where it has its operations !!!
When at Business School I read the book, The Bottom of the Pyramid and read about E-Choupal in India… and The micro-credit extended in a country like Burma… I knew it all made sense. But to see it with my own naked eye – the economics of this whole situation amazes me. I think we are going to come to a time where the progress of a village is going to be measured by the fact if every new product launched by Coco-Cola has reached it or not !! Such is the power of an MNC !! Such is the power of GLOBALISATION. !! Such is the power of consumerism !!
Posted by Disha Doshi Shah
Labels: angelina jolie, coco cola, National Geographic, Ndola, Pro-Flight, Shakira, sunshine, Travel, travel and living, Zambia
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