I hear Winnipeg had its first snowfall! Haha, Im not quite jealous yet… but when the river freezes for skating I’ll be green. Thanks for the comments and emails– Im starting to try to respond to comments on the blog (I hear thats what all the cool bloggers do). Brad comes this Saturday for a 10 day Beninoise adventure (I am insanely excited), but I’ll also miss the last few days of Jacquelines month long stay. Endless changes here!

Fungibility has been tossed around in my head since bringing the baby formula to Bertille last week.

One of my courses last year, our prof (prone to meaningful and useful tangents– I hope hes reading this haha) discussed the issue of fungibility. A developed country might provide aid to a certain government for a certain project which is all well and good since the people get their road, or their water, etc. Now that that road is paved for and driven on, the government itself no longer has to worry about it, which frees up money for other activities: maybe a social development endeavor, maybe to buy 12 new cars, maybe to distribute it to the upper echelons as he pleases, etc. Thus, the question of fungibility! Has the aid done as much good as it can, or has it simply strengthened the top of the food chain?

Seeing our glazed eyes, he employed the next (more relatable) example. The hypothetical university student whose parents pay for her university so long as she pays the books and mostly attends. This frees up funds from her part-time job for perhaps more autonomy, or more likely beer (preferably Moosehead or Sleemans Honey Brown) and pizza (Monday madness, XL tomato and feta). How do the parents know that the money they have freed up is straying away from the latter option?

Of course, I’m not comparing Bertille to a corrupt President, nor to this very hypothetical student. But, it does raise a question, and her question to us last week was “how can I thank you enough?!” So we came by yesterday afternoon with an idea. Since we’re freeing up 2500 francs each week by supplying the formula, she could in exchange save a portion of that on a weekly basis so that at the end of the 6 month period she has some savings for the next school year. This will get her into the habit of putting a bit away each week, and relieve some stresses later on, especially when the three kids are all school age. Bertille was very keen. We initially suggested saving 750 francs a week so that she can still have a portion flexible for the immediate needs of the family, but she was excited to save it all. She got out a clay container she has that she puts money in and then to get money out you have to smash the thing… literally breaks the bank (har, har)! Anyway, when we come to bring more formula every six weeks, we’ll crack one of these open and celebrate the savings, transfer them to the next pot and so it goes on.

Quite excited about the whole thing, the lot of us.