Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
This year, I spent almost 5 months in Africa. I was privileged to attend the civil society symposium at Hotel Africana in Kampala for 2 days, on 27 and 28th May 2010. The aim of the symposium was to set their agenda for the main Review conference the following week. On Sunday 30th May 2010, I also attended a football march at Namboole stadium that had president Museveni on one side and the UN general secretary on another. That is the day I realize Museveni after all was human and was vulnerable! What the multiple party politics has failed to do in 25 years, football did within 15 minutes! He was tackled and brought flat down on the ground, and the stadium cheered!
Those two events preceded the United Nations Rome Statute Review Conference that took place in Munyonyo near Kampala for 2 weeks. It attracted nearly 4,000 delegates. I also attended the Conference as rapporteur for the civil society, and spent most of my time at the People’s Space, where civil society was holding exhibitions, presentations and discussions. The conference took place between 1 – 11, June 2010.
UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon opens People's Space by writing on the Wall of Fame
After the conference I travelled to Rwanda for a couple of weeks before returning to Uganda to await the arrival of my family. My wife and children where travelling from Amsterdam to Entebbe on 15 July 2010 accompanied by a family friend called Johannes van Hoven for a one month holiday in Uganda. It was Johannes’ first time to travel to Africa and he was excited about it.
They arrived on Friday 16 July 2010 aboard Emirates Airline. I was at the Airport to meet them. It was still light when we drove to Kampala around 5.00pm. That is the time when traffic is at its slowest, with vehicles bumper to bumper because of the traffic jam.
Johannes was surprised with what he saw! Having been bombarded with negative images of Africa on television back home, he confessed to me that what he was seeing was not what he expected! To him traffic jams were associated with the West, where there were many cars on the roads and not Africa where people were supposed to be dying of starvation, war, disease and poverty! He was expecting murram roads with few Cuba like vehicles sharing the road with animals and malnourished people.
Brand new cars, tarmac ked roads, traffic jams and well dressed people were things he assumed he had left behind in Europe and forget about in the next 2 weeks! That was not all; we passed through Kampala city, a town of 3 million inhabitants almost 4 times Amsterdam’s population. He saw skyscrapers, shops with modern goods and the many boda bodas (motorcycle taxis).
We had 2 beautiful apartments in Mbuya near Kampala. There was a beautiful gate manned by a gatekeeper who helped to unload our stuff and take it into the house. No one had done this to Johannes all his life. He was used to carrying his own stuff without assistance!
To be continued
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Jolly participants; Dutch and Ugandans
On Tuesday October 19, 2010, I received a call from a Dutch lady whose name at that particular time I could not immediately save to my memory (or is it hard disk drive?). She politely explained that she was calling from an organization called “Be More”, based in Nijmegen. She had searched for Ugandan organizations online, and was fortunate to come across Pearl of Africa, the organization that unites Ugandans in the Netherlands.
She found my contact details from our website (www.pearlofafrica.nl), and she gave me a call. Later I saved her name as Kim van Broekhoven, a volunteer with Be More, a non-profit making organization (www.be-more.nl). She explained to me that Be More is a British and Dutch charity that promotes engagement in international development issues and supports small development organizations in Africa.
She added; “We support our partners by providing volunteers, involving people in the organization and by providing financial support in a way that is both beneficial and sustainable. Currently, we work with over 25 small organizations in Uganda, Malawi and South Africa. Each year, hundreds of volunteers join their programs through Be More to make a real difference”.
Kim said that, “Be More is split up in small teams. Each team is responsible for a different country. With about 10-15 persons, we are responsible for the projects in Uganda. Most of them do this on voluntary base. With this small team we have organized a day to share information about Uganda, the projects, to get to know each other, to do some teambuilding and at the end have fun”.
“All the participants went to Uganda for at least 4 weeks to volunteer at a project. So we all know something about the country and the people. And actually, we all love this country with his people!”
Kim therefore invited our organization for their team-building day at their office in Nijmegen on 14 November 2010. She asked us to conduct an interactive workshop on that day. I promised to consult my colleagues on the Board and get back to her.
The Board accepted the invitation and we decided to get some Nijmegen based Ugandans to accompany us. Our team included Ibra Ndaula, Rose Muberalugo (musaawo) and another friend of hers, Justine Makeba and myself. We left early enough, but the confusion of the street address delayed us by a couple of minutes.
The programme at the office included introductions, background of what Be More is doing and an interesting and interactive presentation on how trade and not aid will develop Africa. Be More was represented by Kim van Broekhoven, Malou Tichelor, Debbie de Munnik, Maike van de Riet and 8 other persons who I beg to excuse me for not recalling their names.
The meeting was supposed to end by 4.45 Pm, but because the discussion was very interesting, it went well beyond 6.00pm. We all assured ourselves that this was just the beginning and that there will be many more such interactions to make our organizations stronger.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
When I had just resettled in Europe, I used to be amazed by the indifference and individuality of the people. On entering a bus, train, tram or metro, you find everybody minding his/her own business. One seeks a seat with no one else, those days outs a walkman or discman from the bag, earphones in the ears and he/she starts nodding her head or smiling to the beat of the music, without even a glance of his neighbour or people around him/her.
Back to their homes, it is the computer, television or games! Guys will laugh with their computer, at their computers and together with their computers! They chat on line with people they’ve never met, take up new digital identities as avatars online and are practically enslaved to their machines.
I was used to a different life - Life of mingling with people. Interaction is among the people. Big families and the extended family system is the order of the day. It is the insurance for the people in times of happiness and in times of sadness. Smiles are reserved for real people. Loud laughter, grinning, beaming is infectious. Everywhere you look it is the white teeth that welcomes you against the dark African faces. One can’t avoid joining in, however sad a situation.
Today with the advent of New Media and Smart phones, man’s best friend has undergone a metamorphosis; from a dog, to the walkman, discman, mP3, MP$ and now the smart phone. The smart phone embraces all qualities and more of all the previous man’s companions/gadgets.
The Wikipedia defines a smart phone as: a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic feature phone. Smart phones and feature phones may be thought of as handheld computers integrated within a mobile telephone, but while most feature phones are able to run applications based on platforms such as Java ME, a smart phone allows the user to install and run more advanced applications based on a specific platform. Smart phones run complete operating system software providing a platform for application developers. A smart phone can be considered as a Personal Pocket Computer (PPC) with mobile phone functions, because these devices are mainly computers, although quite smaller than a desktop computer (DC).
Growth in demand for advanced mobile devices boasting powerful processors, abundant memory, larger screens, and open operating systems has outpaced the rest of the mobile phone market for several years. According to a study by ComScore, over 45.5 million people in the United States owned smart phones in 2010 and it is the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market, which comprised 234 million subscribers in the United States. Despite the large increase in smart phone sales in the last few years, smart phone shipments only make up 20% of total handset shipments, as of the first half of 2010.
Just a couple of years ago, it was cool to carry a cell phone, a digital camera, a portable music player, and a personal digital assistant (PDA). Now all of those gadgets have been combined into one device, the smart phone, and it can perform a myriad of different functions. In fact, today's smart phones are almost mind-boggling in their capabilities. Just in case you are still using a regular cell phone. One can make and receive telephone calls, make conference calls and use a smart phone as speakerphones. Phones like the iPhone or a BlackBerry can do much more like surfing the web, sending and receiving email, playing music, chatting and taking pictures.
The new craze and pass time today is playing with your smart phone. On entering a public transport vehicle, you can’t fail to notice almost everyone busy with a phone. It can be receiving or making a call, chatting, watching television, surfing the net, writing or receiving email, watching videos or listening to music. Just the other day I entered a bus and realized all the passengers were busy with their smart phones. Seems the days of the dog as man’s best friend are gone.
1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home.
2. It's important to have a woman who cooks from time to time.
3. It's important to have a woman who keeps the house clean.
4. It's important to have a woman who has a job.
5. It's important to have a woman who likes you.
6. It's important to have a woman who can be your very best friend.
7. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
8. It's important to have a woman who you can trust, who doesn't lie to you.
9. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed.
10. It's very, very important that these nine women do not know each other
Sunday, November 21, 2010
This is from an Actual trial in the UK
A young woman several months pregnant boarded a bus. She noticed a young man smiling at her she began feeling humiliated on account of her condition. She changed her seat and he seemed more amused. She moved again and then on her third move he burst out laughing....
......... .....She had him arrested. When the case came before the court, the young man was asked why he acted in such a manner. His reply was: "When the lady boarded the bus I couldn't help noticing she was pregnant. She first sat under an advertisement, which read:
'Coming Soon: The Gold Dust Twins'. I was even more amused when she changed her seat and went to sit under a shaving advertisement, which read: 'William's Stick Did The Trick'. Then I could not control myself any longer when on the third move she sat under a advertisement, which read: 'Dunlop Rubber would have prevented this accident.'
"The case was dismissed... !!!
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