April 1, 2007

Kenya / Party time at the road block

‘Drivers license!’ My taxidriver Isaac just opened his window and puts on his most innocent face. Alcoholdamp enters the car. ‘What do you think? I am just coming from Thika to bring my friend here to the airport. I just forgot it.’ The car is closed in by three police officers. I notice. One of them , an old guy, is trying to intimidate Isaac. None of the agents have badges with their employee numbers. ‘When you see them like that, you know it’s wrong’ says Isaac. I know he’s right. Police in Kenya has a bad reputation. I recently travelled to Netherlands. It was in the weekend before the World Social Forum: tens of thousands of people were expected and… they had to be transported from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to their hotels and… they are paying the taxi
March 13, 2007

Uganda / He landed there with a helicopter…

Comin’ up: more (audio-)postings. Among them: The meeting with one of the last relatives of Idi Ami, How the Kenyan Government is trying to give their people history and: Party time at the Roadblock. Thanks for coming (back) and for your warming emails. Meanwhile, please enjoy some of the pictures I took in Arua/Koboko/Entebbe/Nairobi. [mygal=Gallerij]
March 3, 2007

Uganda / To Kampala

Finally after a while of to Uganda again. Usual mode of transport: the Yellow Glory of Kenya (at least that what is used to be): the Akamba bus. Started the 13 hour trip more than one day ago in Antonio’s Bar: 24 hours open. That’s where I took the picture and recorded some atmosphere (sorry partly in Dutch). Main goal: Arua, the hometown of Idi Amin. The sound impression starts in the restaurant with the ongoing announcement well…. it must be something like… ehhh  a lot of destinations. Kampala is one of them… and I’m about to leave. [audio:http://www.blog.africareporter.net/audio/Kampala.mp3] See you on the road!
October 28, 2006

The night boat to Mwanza and Fourth Class for bananas

Green, green, green banana’s everywhere. The sweet smell of matoke mixes with the smell of sweating locals coming aboard. I took the night boat from Bukoba in Tanzania to Mwanza. It’s a ten hour journey. The boat leaves Bukoba, one of the major economic cities in Tanzania around 21.30 at night and arrives in Mwanza at around seven in the morning. The boat has three classes and a fourth class: for matoke and (like last night) a coffin. Matoke or green bananas are the staple food for a lot of people around the lake. On the way the boat stops once in Kemondo Bay where more matoke comes aboard. The big bunches of matoke have marks so people can easily recognize which bunch is theirs. It was not the first time I took the boat and I noticed a small
October 14, 2006

Gorilla's and the digital gap

The digital gap is getting smaller: the thing is: we don’t see that it is really getting smaller because desert places get connected and they are out of our sight. At the moment I am enjoying rather quick internet in the deep south of Uganda (in the village Buhoma to be more precise, a few kilometers from the Congolese border). The cybercafe was set up for the purpose of sending medical reports on gorilla dung to the headoffice in Kampala. In case of an emergency Kampala can send a vet. The cyber is partly financed by the fees (360 usdollar) that people pay for gorilla tracking in the nearby Bwindi Inpenetratable Forest National Parc.   
October 14, 2006

Piracy (2) and Trust….

Piracy might have good consequences but in the end a lot of people would be better of if there would be a better system of protecting consumers against these natural mechanisms of making income differences smaller in this continent. Such a system would at least contribute to the trust people would have in their own government their own systems. Trust is one of the most important things that a lot of African societies are lacking. It might even one of the main reasons that a lot of countries are still lacking a strong growth in development. In daily life one is all the time confronted with small and big lies, non-stop. If you want to bring a mobile phone to the repair shop you will get it back stripped from some parts: nobody in the shop is able to tell
October 7, 2006

What piracy brings to poor people in development countries….

Don’t misunderstand me: I am not supporting piracy. But wandering through the streets of Nairobi I wondered if piracy is really so bad as some research suggest. Kenya was singled out as one of the number one piracy countries in the world. Imagine: 30 percent of al the books you find in Kenya are pirated and 90(!!!) percent of al music is pirated. The entertainment industry tends to complain about this, which is understandable, but on the other hand: hundreds of fathers are coming home every night to feed their children with the money that they made with selling pirated CD’s in Nairobi’s streets. Guess who is buying those CD’s and DVD’s. It might be interesting to make the sum and find out what is costing more: non-effective development aid or piracy… and: who really pays the price? I am