Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
While purchasing a scarf for my mother with my boyfriend at the posh New York store ABC Home and Carpet, I noticed Uganda's infamous (at least in my family where they've been gifted too many times) newspaper beads. A quick check on their website did indeed prove they buy from Beads for Life, except that when you buy them in Uganda they cost about 3,000 Ush, or about $1.80, and at ABC, they cost about $20 bucks. Nice mark up.
Now my family should think they're getting better presents.
The New York Times has several interesting stories that talk about the problems of HIV/AIDS support given my global networks.
The first, by a journalist turned public health worker, discusses the correlation between food and ARVS:
Western donors have increased the distribution of antiretroviral drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. But they have done little to make sure that the recipients do not starve to death or have to choose between paying for transportation to the clinic and feeding their children. Studies like this one seek to demonstrate that packaging food aid with H.I.V. drugs or reimbursing patients for travel can actually improve health and save lives.
A second article, with similar themes, focuses on Rwanda:
Matsepang Nyoba, a Lesotho woman with AIDS who was undoubtedly saved by programs funded by the Gates Foundation. However, when she gave birth, her daughter Mankuebe couldn’t breathe and asphyxiated for want of a $35 oxygen tank valve the health center just didn’t have. The Gates Foundation has given $650 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, but the oxygen valve fell outside the priorities of the fund’s grants to Lesotho.
The first article highlights the problems of food security in families with HIV, and the second, with the distribution of funds to health clinics for HIV.
Both agree, however, that some aid is better than no aid. The Rwanda article states:
If Global Fund resources had not been available, tens of thousands more would be dead from AIDS, and hundreds of thousands would not know their HIV status.While this is of course true, it seems that many programs are (mis)guided about the way to go about distributing funding and ensuring that ARVs are effectively used.
Friday, December 21, 2007
So I obviously haven't been blogging a lot during my interlude in the USA, but after catching up on 2000+ google reader feeds, here are some of the more interesting tidbits.
Museveni to get $48 million jet which he calls a "national asset."
An article that clearly links Congo's current conflict with Rwanda's genocide.
Year's most underreported stories. And another list. (Not that I totally agree since there's a lot of other happenings that don't make the papers.
Andrew Mwenda's new paper held up by government. (And here is the paper if you want to view.)
Luzira prison starts university.
World's top executioners.
Interesting take on dictatorship and democracy.
50 Cent performs in Kosovo.
Nigeria hangs prisoners.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
This from the Monitor
Another article says this,
“We cannot rule out that Chogm could have influenced the [late Ebola alert],” Dr Apollo Nyangasi, National Chairman of the 20,000-member Uganda Medical Worker’s Union, told Sunday Monitor on Thursday at his offices in Kampala.
And as a consequence, Dr Nyangasi said, uninformed health workers continued to handle patients without protective gear like hand gloves, face masks, gumboots and gowns - thus endangering their lives.
The outbreak began on Aug. 20, but the disease was not confirmed as Ebola until Nov. 29.Meanwhile, Museveni says,
"Ebola spreads through contact. For the time being, people should resort to jambo (waving)," Museveni was quoted in the state-owned newspaper New Vision as saying. "If I don't shake your hand, it doesn't mean I don't like you."I'm sure that will stop the spread of Ebola....
Thursday, December 6, 2007
There are now 93 cases of Ebola with 22 dead.
Good thing I'm going to the States tomorrow! (First time in a long year....)
Posting will be infrequent, but do check back from time to time. I'm gonna try and do another post today or tomorrow, hopefully reflective, but packing and last minute gift shopping may interrupt.
Time will tell. And time will pass. I'll be back in Uganda January 3.
Dave Eggers just scored $100,000 from TED.
What is the What (a really good book according to me, but disliked by some), his most recent book, tells the story of a young Sudanese boy fleeing violence, sent to a refugee camp in Kenya, and eventually resettled in the USA. See my review of it here.
Wonder if the Sudanese boy he collaborated with will see any of the money....
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I know they need more money for advertising, but really, an ad for Fun Lingerie?
Wish I could get the picture here, but I'm not that technologically advanced. But just go to www.monitor.co.ug and wait for the crotch!
This article in Guardian asks some crude questions.
Sudan suffers from rather bad press, tourism-wise. All we hear is civil war; all we see is thornbushes and desert. Hence the scepticism, in some quarters, when schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons disembarked at Heathrow and informed journalists that she hoped her brief imprisonment and narrow escape from 40 lashes would not put anyone off going there. "I am very sorry to leave Sudan," she said. "It is a beautiful place. The Sudanese people I found to be extremely kind and generous and until this happened I only had a good experience."It goes on to say...
just because some bits of the largest country in Africa are scary doesn't mean that all of it is. Imagine the absurdity of a ban on travelling to the Hebrides because of the July 7 bombs in London - then remember that Sudan is more than 10 times the size of the UK. It is true that the Foreign Office's advice on travel to Sudan is a veritable litany of bans (avoid the Eritrean border, avoid the Congolese border, avoid Darfur). There is also "a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers" - but isn't that rather like what the head of MI5 said of Britain just the other day?Yeah, Sudan is just like Britain.... I'm not going on holiday in Sudan or Britain anytime soon, but I do believe there's a qualitative difference.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Soldier caned for knocking Museveni’s van
The situation remained tense until police reinforced and drove away Mr Henry Watira, FrontPage's public relations officer to the Central Police Station (CPS) for safety.
"We want our money back, these people keep on tossing us by shifting the dates when we are to get our money, but even Bank of Uganda passed a statement saying the unlicensed institutions were not recognised by them, so it means we can't get our money back," said Mr Julius Matovu one of the enraged clients.....
According to the November 19 statement by BoU, any one who loses money to any of the MFIs that are outside the Bank's supervision and regulatory reach, has no recourse for compensation because it can't intervene on behalf of any such person....
This effectively implies that the hundreds of others that operate throughout the country can literary disappear with depositors' money with little worry of punitive action from any one.
A PRESIDENTIAL guard has been given 100 lashes for allegedly knocking a caravan, which President Yoweri Museveni uses as his mobile office and a bedroom while on safari.Chogm hotels owe govt Shs2b
Post-Chogm audits are underway in which hotels allegedly owe government close to Shs2 billion earmarked for guaranteeing the rooms for the delegates.
In the blogosphere though, Uganda's government is not able to enforce its censorship policies. This leaves GayUganda free to tell his story to those who will listen. No doubt Information Minister Nsaba Buturo is unhappy, but unless he can get Google's CEO on the phone, at least one gay Ugandan is not going to be denied his right to free speech.
New blog Kampala.ver discusses city planning and architecture in Kampala:
In order to accommodate this population growth, one of the issues to be addressed in the near future is public transport. The highly inefficient Matatu system has to be replaced by public buses running on defined routes and schedules. Fortunately, this seems to be under way with KCC claiming to bring 200 buses into the country ’soon’.Chris Blattman blogs bout how Gulu has changed:
You know it's no longer a war zone when.... ...when the American high school students show up in busloads.Africa Unchained blogs about greed in Africa:
Busloads and busloads. Ever since the violence subsided there has been a huge influx of foreign youth coming ot "help the children of the north" in a two week stay. This plus the never-ending stream of white NGO Land Rovers. Property prices and rent are now higher than in the capital.
This week alone there was a group of Tennessee revivalists. My favorite, though, were the crochet kids. I understand they came to help former child soldiers knit beanies, tried to form an NGO by forging letters to the government, and were chased out of town. Not sure if it's true, but it sounds about right. Gulu is truly a circus these days.
In many ways, Africa's economic situation seems hopeless. While $625 billion in foreign aid has poured in since 1960, there has been no rise in the region's per capita gross domestic product, notes William R. Easterly, economics professor at New York University. What's more, from 1976 to 2000, Africa's share of global trade dropped to 1%, from an already negligible 3%. The U.N.'s scale of human development, which considers health, education, and economic well-being, ranks 34 African nations among the world's 40 lowest. Thus far, foreign aid hasn't made a dent.
Greed, however, might.
My latest Global Voices piece.
Though he’s a journalist and could have been preparing for Chogm – the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting recently held in
o Instant noodles
I am ready for CHOGM.
Clearly, not everyone was excited about Chogm.
Chirs Mason, of Caked in Red Clay, has a good play by play of Chogm, but most interesting are the questions he asks:
When leaving Parliament, I gave thought to the piles of money invested in sprucing up the Parliament building for the Queen’s visit. The visit lasted about 20 minutes. A pattern was beginning to form. Mountains of money spent to prepare a site for a visit by a Royal figure or world leader during the meetings. Those visits would inevitably last a few fleeting minutes, perhaps an hour, and then the delegation would move on, leaving the refurbished site behind. I wonder how long the renovations will last before the paint again peels, the walls beings to crumble and the potholes make their inevitable return.
The new blog Citizen Uganda also questions some of the consequences of Chomg:
For Museveni though, this is a personal triumph. He managed to keep the protesters from upstaging him—they managed to make headline news on BBC—and raising some serious questions about his record on human rights. There was also very little mention of the stalled negotiations with the LRA in the north, or the country's tensions with the DRC.
Scarlett Lion (full disclosure, that’s me) berates the Ugandan government for some of their choices as well:
They tore up the sidewalks and streets for Chogm to rebuild nicer ones. But since the repairs haven’t been finished, and the Queen and other diplomats and visitors have come and gone, they’ll stay half-finished forever. Chogm came and went without the world’s notice or most Ugandan’s participation. Most Ugandans didn’t see the Queen, air their grievances, or even learn to untangle the acronym.
Hannah, at the View from Kololo, put it very succinctly:
Before moving to
New hotels have been built all over the city (and no one seems to be asking who will fill these hotels once CHOGM is over),
Everything seemed more orderly and in many ways less Ugandan.
Now that Chogm has come and gone, it will be interesting to see what kind of role
Monday, December 3, 2007
Rebekah interviews 27th Comrade at Global Voices.
Christian Science Monitor does a piece on banning plastic bags.
Gregg Zachary blogs about Sudanese Teddy Bears.
New York Times lists top travel books.
Economist writes about stateless people.
According to an M7 speech reported on my the New Vision.
According to this currency calculator,
276000000000 Uganda Shilling (UGS) = 159,445,407 US Dollar (USD)