If governments, aid agencies, and NGOs place a value on the appearance of infrastructure people in Begasin also emphasise the importance of the visual appearance of infrastructure. What kind of roof a health centre has, what kind of vehicle a politician bought, or the appearance of the cartons the medicines arrive are all scrutinised carefully. They analyse the material qualities of infrastructure not in terms of a reflection of society/nationhood but as an index of specific relationships. The ruins of the road are a direct manifestation of the loss of relationships with the political elite. The holes in the roof of the health centre are an index of the breakdown of relationships between the health workers and the community. For them the ebb and flow of infrastructure traces the ebb and flow of their relationships with others – whether the colonial government, missionaries, local politicians or health workers. Infrastructure makes their own ability to pull in these people and resources evident. But infrastructures also do things – it is the aesthetic appearance of the health centre infrastructure that compels them to respond. Because the building looks right that they bring the health workers food. If they do not cut the grass this lets the health workers know that the relationship is breaking down and demands a response.

Begasin Health Centre (2012)

Buildings

Radio

Dispensary

Vacine Refrigerator

Living

Medicines

Paper

Delivery