The other day we were operating in a small village hospital on the edge of the primeval forest. We use infusion liquid for the I/A procedure in ophthalmic operations. I look at the plastic infusion bag, and believe or not, it is marked „Made in Hungary”! You can imagine how proudly I showed it off to our nurses! Some years ago I bought a Nokia phone in Kinshassa. I needed a new one, as the old one had gone a little berserk. The tropical heat must have unhinged its brains. I was served by a Lebanese guy in the shop. “Buy this Nokia, it is European quality!
“Don’t tell me! Can I see it?”
He was right. The original label read: Made in Hungary! Naturally I bought it. It worked for seven years; you could do anything with it, stroke or punch it, drop it or throw it around… Of course, I told everyone that my phone was made in Hungary!
The other day, our surgical instrument stopped working. Here, at the edge of the forest it is no good to call the relevant service centre. There is none. One has to solve the problem oneself. So I opened the machine and kept looking at it, cleaning it, and ‘lo and behold, I see that the cooling fan is „Made in Hungary”! Evidently the spare part was manufactured in Hungary, taken to the US, where it was mounted into the machine, then the whole caboodle was sent back to Europe and from there to the Congo, where it is used to cool the electronics… Needless to say, the fault was not in the fan.
About ten years ago, if one went to the market here in Mbuji Mayi to buy light bulbs, the only make you could get practically anywhere was TUNGSRAM. It seemed as if that was the only brand in the whole wide world. I used to tell the vendors, “Look, you are selling Hungarian Tungsram bulbs in Mbuji Mayi! Do you think there are any Congolese goods on the Hungarian markets??” Since then they have disappeared from here, and all kinds of Osram and Chinese junk are sold instead.
It is such a nice feeling to keep thinking about faraway Hungary. And how very nice it would be, instead of telephones and light bulbs, to be able to get some home-made smoked bacon and sausage! Let alone a good glass of white wine from the Balaton!!