May 16, 2013

Who is removing the stones from Kenya’s Acres?

I was in the beautiful Semien Mountains in Northern Ethiopia recently. On an extremely high altitude, people were still growing barley. I will spare you the story of how and when those people arrived there. What I noticed were the way these people were able to grow barley in this predominantly rough, rocky, cold area: they remove the stones from the acres, one by one, to remain with a clear acre and a good harvest. Kenya has a new government with ambitious plans being explained in good rhetoric and with a fresh unconventional cabinet of mostly non-politicians (sworn in today). All very promising, but it’s not the names that matter but about how a these modern style-leaders are gonna deal with the small things that Kenyans are dealing with: the stones in its acres that avoid that the barley can
February 22, 2010
Caprivi Gambling Machines

Namibia / Gambling machines from Russia in Caprivi

On my trip through Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, I stopped at a small coffee joint to satisfy my caffeine-needs. In the end, I am still a Dutch. It was not my first time that I visited this small place in one of the poorest areas of beautiful Namibia. The type of area where people die of malaria because they can’t find transport to the nearest hospital or can’t spend two dollar to safe their own baby’s life. On the outside, nothing had changed. Still the dark orange/brown red-earthy color. Inside still the slow service and the super friendly girl who looks like she doesn’t need anybody as a customer today. Yes: everything looked as usual: I was even happy with the absence of Take Away Coffees. The mugs are on the way, like two years ago, I was told. But I
August 29, 2008

Tanzania / Picture of the Day!

Posted from the Cape (RSA)… But I took it in Tanzania, some days ago. I decided to make it the picture of the Day! It’s available in high quality on special request. Comments are welcome.
July 8, 2008

Kenya / Coming up: more audio and pictures

Been a kind of offline (moving in and out almost every country between Kenya and South Africa)in the past months, collecting stories from Africans telling about their lives, their frustrations and most of all: their dreams. I met fishermen on the Cape who are not allowed to fish and had to flee into crime and drugs, I met beachboys in Mombasa who in order to be more succesfull with a muzungu lady, are planning to visit a witch doctor ‘before the season starts’ to get a black magic battery in their wallet, and i talked to Tanzanians being frustrated about the fact that the country’s mining profits are disappearing abroad, other Tanzanians who believe that they can make a difference by starting a business and treating their employees in a human way by paying them a normal salary and treating
May 16, 2008

Zambia / Mister Seaman from Zimbabwe, you made my morning

Thank you mister Seaman from Zimbabwe, you started a small coffee stand on Lusaka International Airport. You know what a traveller needs at the beginning of the day: good coffee. But… what i don’t get: why do Zambians need a Zimbabwian on their International Airport to start a coffee shop all those years nobody noticed?
October 20, 2007

Togo / Lomé Togo-complot against the West (2)

The masses decide the direction of history. Yes it is a cliché. Thanks for observing that. At least you know your cliché’s. And also: thew image is never as bad as reality, especially if you talk about so called African countries with political tension. Examples? My first visit to Nigeria years ago, I did not get the AK47 roadblocks every 200 meters that people prepared me for. I neglected the advice of friends (who had never been to Africa), asking me if a story is worth my life. I went and I met a crazy country, but not the roadblocks. And I have had the experience before and often. Anyway: travelling to Togo is was prepared for soldiers and harassment during election time. The immigration officer in neighbouring country Ghana had already warned me when he asked my profession. Don’t
September 29, 2007

Namibia / The Himba Millionaires

That is the name I gave to this small community of Himba people in Namibia’s Northwest where is just passed some days ago. Probabely the only Himba-community with a white female Minister of Finance. Himba’s are to Namibia what the Maasai are to Kenya and Tanzania and Bushmen to Southern Africa. The difference in Namibia is that white ‘native’ people talk about their fellow nationals the San and the Himba in a very strange way: just as if the white nationals are superior to the natives. AIt seems to be a trend among whites in Southern Africa to do something good. And that is also how a lot of these white well-do’ers behave: We are doing something GOOD. Look how GOOD I am. And i have to believe how GOOD they are of course. I ran into a white lady
June 18, 2007

Kenya / Now: Audio Garissa Camel Library online (3)

Because they are nomads, it was easy for them to accept the Camel Library in their life, according to Faraah Noor Farah. Head of the camel division of the Garissa Camel Library. The majority of the people in the outback around regional capital Garissa in Eastern Kenya are illiterate and/or don’t have the money to afford books. Four times a week Garissa regional library visits schools in the region, with camels loaded with books. Today, we visit a school on 2.5 hours walk (we took 200 books). Please enjoy the short report and also check out the pictures I took on the trip by clicking here [MEDIA=12] Enjoy!
June 9, 2007

Tanzania / Community Tourism: who gets which peace of the cake?

Tanzania’s economy is growing with an impressive 7 percent a year. Almost 18 percent of the GDP is being earned by tourism. The expected growth in number of tourists is much bigger than the National Parcs will be able to handle in the future. The parcs, in terms of beds are full. So: developing tourism on other spots than the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, is becoming more important and the question how much money from the economic growth is reaching the people (like Maasai) is becoming more important. In order to start monitoring what is happening with the money, the Tourist Confederation of Tanzania came up with an initiative during a seminar organized by Karibu, one of the most important Tourism and Travel Fairs in East Africa. I had a short talk with Andrew Williams, coordinator of the Tanzania Natural