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Showing posts from March, 2011

Les Journaux Africains: Byoona Amagara, Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda - 21.00 12/04/2010

It's been a slow day on the island today. With the majority of our travelling party having spent the day at Karambo Primary School, things have been peaceful - in-between the sporadic fainting of one of our students. The day reminds me of Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire when she says, "don't you just love these long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn't just an hour - but a little bit of Eternity dropped in your hands". The only difference of course is that we were at Lake Bunyonyi and the weather was fine.
Not long before sundown we waved goodbye temporarily to Greg and Jeff who were returning to add the finishing touches to the Kabale Arts Centre at the Edirisa. Most of the work I believe has been done, but such details as name plates under each painting and organising the press to attend the opening needs to be done.
For the rest of us the night has been generally quiet. The exception to this is that we have been playing our own music t…

Friday Five Questions: Asya Satti, Singer-Songwriter

Every so often Twitter can bring to light something a little bit special. This may be anything from something free you never thought of asking for, to a musician starting out in the big bad world of the music industry.
Asya Satti is of Sudanese extraction, but has spent time in both Sweden and Egypt before starting out in music from her North London home. Her website describes her musical and lyrical style as 'unhinged', 'honest' and 'humourous' and she has just released her debut EP online.
Ayohcee:Music, many people feel, is “in their blood”. Is this true with you or did your interest in singing and song writing really only start in your teenage years?
Asya Satti: I definitely think singing is in the blood. According to my mum I'd lie on my back after having my nappy changed and 'croak' to myself for hours - I must have been enjoying what I was hearing! Lol! I started working on my singing technique in my teens and started songwriting around the age…

Les Journaux Africains: Byoona Amagara, Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda - 13.30 12/04/2010

After the hilarious mystery of the alleged tribal drumming and incantations had been solved - a Sunday school group and some midnight praying respectively - the pace of proceedings slowed right down yesterday. The students were satisfied with talking to teachers, talking to each other, or falling out with each other, albeit not terminally. Some made use of the dodgy internet, others chose the jetty from which to watch the moon and stars.
I opted, after my freshly landed crayfish curry, to sit and do nothing of great value. I also decided on an early night.
As it was, I have woken up with ridiculously severe sunburn across my shoulders - a small oversight not to reapply sun-cream whilst playing cricket, following a swim.
Most of our group have today headed over to another island to a school - it is Monday after all, although I quite literally don't know what day of the week it is. The purpose of their island-hop is to visit Karambo Primary School. Greg and Jeff had been before last su…

Friday Five Questions: Matthew Jenkins, trustee of Solomon's Children

Navigating your way through the maze of charitable ventures is seemingly getting more difficult. There is quite literally a UK-based charity for everything imaginable and I am convinced that they all deserve our attention. In amongst this labyrinthine web of .orgs, one charity that I have become close to is Solomon's Children.
Matthew Jenkins is one of the trustees, a colleague and a good friend of mine. Along with his university professor and fresh batch of trustees, he is transforming Solomon's Children as a charity, expanding its remit and preparing for a large relaunch later in 2011. Matthew talks to Ayohcee about the charity and where it is going.
Ayohcee: What are the main goals or objectives of Solomon’s Children and how do you go about accomplishing them?
Matthew Jenkins: Our primary goal is to provide an ever expanding network of support for disadvantaged young people in Uganda. Our main focus in achieving this is to provide a link between potential sponsors from the UK …

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit, or that's Happy Saint Patrick's day to you if you're not up to speed with your Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) lessons - which I'm not anyway!
If you've ever met me in person you'll know that it isn't immediately apparent from my voice, but I am actually a proud passport-wielding Irishman. Back in 1959 my father left Ireland as a little boy and settled in the United Kingdom, albeit via Luanshya, Zambia. From a very young age, and much to the confusion of my friends during the 1994 World Cup in the USA and thereafter, I was taught to cheer for a team that wore green jerseys, not white ones!
A few years later, I have for some purposes re-adopted the Gaeilge spelling of my name - there is, after all, no 'k' in the Gaeilge alphabet. I then used this name when I started this blog back in 2005.
Anyway, by way of a Saint Patrick's Day offering, I have included Sinéad O'Connor's version of 'Óró, Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile'…

Friday Five Questions: Chris Horner, member of The People's Supermarket

You would have had to have had your head buried in the sand to have missed the buzz that has been growing concerning The People's Supermarket recently. This supermarket takes aim at the ruthlessness and soullessness of the big supermarkets in attempting to create a local supermarket that sources its produce ethically.
Chris Horner, a colleague and friend of mine, is responsible for bringing The People's Supermarket to my attention. He is a member and thus a worker at the supermarket in Lamb's Conduit Street, Holborn, London. He agreed to take part in a Friday Five Questions interview for Ayohcee about his involvement in the project. 
It must be stressed that his views are his own and don't necessarily reflect the views of The People's Supermarket.
Ayohcee: The People’s Supermarket (TPS) has risen to prominence over the last month or so, thanks in part to the Channel 4 documentary about it. What’s all the fuss about?
Chris Horner: I’d say it was an idea whose time has c…

Born To Write: Save the Children Blogging Conference

There's nothing better than an early morning ride on a Boris Bike from Waterloo, through the old part of London, past the Old Bailey, towards Smithfield Market. The fresh air blasting against one's bearded face and the cold air piercing one's eardrums. This is exactly what I did on Saturday 26th February en route to Save the Children UK's headquarters in order to attend their Born to Write blogging conference.
I must admit the thought of networking first thing on a Saturday did not strike me as a top priority, but thanks to a variety of people engaging me in conversation, not least Denrele who was in charge of tweeting for the day, and some coffee - I hope it was FairTrade guys - I was coerced into being sociable. I'm glad I was too.
The day started in earnest with a couple of speakers: Adrian Lovett, who spoke on how social media could be used to get people thinking about poverty now in a way that the 'Make Poverty History' wristbands did in the early 2000s;…

A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

My desire to read something by Ngugi wa Thiong'o stems from a couple of different things. On the one hand my involvement with developmental and cultural exchange projects in East Africa meant that it was about time I read a work by an East African author. The second reason was curiosity aroused by the author's name which, to this day, I am still slightly unsure of how to pronounce.
That aside, this book does not disappoint. In a manner that is typical of postcolonial literature, the richness of the language use and narrative style surpasses a large number of texts written by English authors of a similar period.
The story that Thiong'o creates feels epic. The weight of the book's content and the intertwining of its characters' tales, as the small Kenyan town of Thabai prepares for Uhuru - Swahili for 'freedom' - from the British Empire, almost seems too much to take in.
We follow the story of a seemingly simple man, Mugo, who is revered by all of the villlage f…

Les Journaux Africains: Byoona Amagara, Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda - 13.01 11/04/2010

A very quiet night's sleeps was had by most of us, although I wake up to a variety of strange tales. Some of these I will, for a number of reasons, retain only temporally.
The most bizarre tales that I have heard this morning relate to some sources hearing what sounded like chanting in the night. Now, upon first thinking of this, I figured that they meant the chanting of silly boys and girls - our students. This appears not to be the case though.
At around three or four in the morning, female voices could be heard engaging in something akin to spiritual incantations. This lasted for around fifteen solid minutes with no one sure how near or far the voices were. 
Other claims relate to early morning 'tribal' drumming. Maybe we've all been out in the sun too long.
The Ugandan staff and students leave us soon to return to Kigezi High School. What a night.