While I was up in Copperbelt, I had to wait for an hour while a colleague finished a meeting.
The meeting was at a District Commissioner's Office -- sort of a combined courthouse and town hall, a low rambling building with various offices. I wandered around a bit looking at things -- there was a trial in session, very well attended, interesting -- looked at the jacaranda trees for a bit (jacarandas are very cool, I love their seed pods) then wandered across the street to a cafe.
Hot, flies, one big old fan trying to keep the air moving -- but, hell, there was a fan. And water to wash your hands with before eating. (The staple starch of Zambia's diet is corn mush, and you always eat it with your hands, so you wash your hands first.) I ordered a vegetable sambosa and a tonic water (not for the quinine, I just think it's very quenching in hot weather). Whoops, no vegetable sambosas left. Meat pie? Oh... all right.
I ate the meat pie. I ate it with some trepidation, but hell -- I was hungry.
Later it occurred to me that I would never, ever have done this in the DRC. And so was born the Meat Pie Fear Index!
"You are in a roadside cafe in a rural area. You are hungry. The only food available is a fried meat pie."
0 -- purchase and eat the meat pie without an instant's hesitation [Germany, Sweden]
1 -- purchase the meat pie, pause for a moment, shrug and eat it [Britain, France]
2 -- stare at the meat pie, think "God knows what's in that" and then "well, I'm pretty hungry", purchase the meat pie, give it a cursory examination, eat it. [Serbia]
3 -- stare at the meat pie, think "it's probably crawling with parasites", dither for a minute until you realize you're blocking the line, sigh inwardly, purchase meat pie. Stare at it on plate for a moment, turn it over and examine carefully. Take a small bite and chew. Take another small bite and chew. Wash down with tonic water in the vague hope that the quinine will do something or other. Over next half day, monitor self for signs of mysterious sudden internal disruptions. All that said, eat the whole pie, because you were hungry. [Zambia]
4 -- stare at meat pie, shake head, walk away. Go hungry. [Uganda]
5 -- do not enter cafe in the first place. [DRC]
I'm not sure what this actually measures, but no doubt it will come to me.