Worse than Thought

Worse than Thought

NambiaMore and more fireworks followed the sunsets around the world until the Trump administration corrected the misspelling or conflation or whatever, and Nambia ceased to exist in the official record. It was the briefest country ever to exist on earth.

It’s not uncommon for Americans to conflate multiple African countries. It is quite uncommon that conflation makes it onto a prepared document. It’s unheard of these are then actually delivered by a Head of State.

Does it matter?

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Righteousness

Righteousness

yemenmessLast year I was with an American family staying at a small, luxury camp in the Serengeti. There were only three others in camp (or so we thought), including two very well behaved Arab boys who appeared about the same age as the California preteens I was guiding.

My kids exchanged shy glances with the others, then wider smiles and soon were taunting the other boys clearly against their father’s reproofs. So we invited the father to join us to free his kids to run around with ours.

The father was exceedingly polite, introducing himself as a luxury car dealer in Jeddah and a personal collector of Lamborghinis. His English – like his sons – was impeccable. It was our kids not his, of course, that were tempting the dark African bush with preteen mayhem, but he was the one to apologize. He declined our offers of wine but loosened up and began profusely thanking us Americans for supporting the Saudia bombing of anti-Saleh Houthis.

What?

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Now or Never?

Now or Never?

tanzanitenoworneverTourists are going to be floored this season by how expensive Tanzanite has become.

The Tanzanian president’s sweeping dictatorial attempts to reduce corruption are currently focused on the country’s precious minerals. The fight is far from over, but so far he’s struck out with the biggest player, Acacia [Gold] Mining, so he’s set his sites on Tanzania’s small Tanzanite industry.

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White Blindness

White Blindness

leucismA video going viral was given leave to emerge into the public consciousness because of the news gap between Irma dissipating and Trump beginning to, again. It was of two stately white reticulated giraffe found in an unusual forest in Kenya.

The excitement provoked a massive use of smiley emoji not used so often, anymore. How ironic this isn’t really good news. So sorry, folks, white animals aren’t unusual. And it’s anything but good news.

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Insecure Fantasies

Insecure Fantasies

studentfacesYou’re still overly cautious, I won’t say afraid, of going to Africa, right? Because you’re worried about insecurity, violence. Of course. You’ve heard or seen on TV those face-capped terrorists that go into schools and offices and shoot things up, right? OK.

Are you afraid to go to Spokane? How about Rockford? Memphis? Philadelphia, New Orleans, Clovis, Plano, Inglewood, Sacramento, Evansville, Gainesville?

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Egads Ibec

Egads Ibec

IEBCSystem 1. Candidates 0. That’s how I see the current Kenyan situation, characterized by the most juvenile behavior of the presidential candidates imaginable atop a system that is working overtime for fairness.

Perhaps this is true worldwide. Perhaps when touched by the power bestowed on a poor man by its great society, untold richest tempt his psyche. This is precisely the case in Kenya, where both presidential candidates are acting like bulldogs not potential leaders.

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End Hunting

End Hunting

chargingeleLast month British Columbia joined a slowly growing list of governments when it banned big game hunting (of brown bears). The trend is clear and provocative. In Africa it has nearly led to civil war.

Nothing is as contentious in the challenged world of conservation as hunting. Although the majority of any population seem to have no strong opinions about it, the minorities’ strong opinions are fierce.

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Kenyan Conundrum

Kenyan Conundrum

courtannulselectionDiplomats and experts alike are hailing Kenya’s Supreme Court for its decision Friday annulling the national elections as proof that this dynamic emerging nation has firmly sided on the rule of law.

I see it differently: another example that democracy is growing self-destructive. With opposition candidates already declining to take part in the announced election rerun, the chances for widespread violence and major political disruption are now greater than ever.

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Labor Day

Labor Day

RaisedFist1

Today starts the extended “Labor Day” weekend holiday in the United States, Thursday – Monday. America’s May Day is officially celebrated Monday.

Labor Day marks the end of summer when friends and family gather for the last summer barbecue. It vies with Christmas and New Years to be the least worked days in the U.S.

Vacations end, schools reopen, the fall sports season begins (especially American football), the culture season with operas and symphonies begin in the great cities, and everyone prepares to return to serious, long work weeks.

If ever a holiday marked the turning of a season, it’s Labor Day. Read more

Michigan Plasticity

Michigan Plasticity

kenya plastic bagYesterday Kenya joined 40 other countries doing something the whole world — except Michigan — will likely soon be doing: ban plastic bags.

Significantly, Kenya’s law is the most wide-ranging and punitive of them all. Violators can be fined up to $38,000 and jailed for four years. Visitors to emerging nations are not surprised at the move, but they are often surprised when they understand the reasons.

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Democracy’s Suicide

Democracy’s Suicide

trumpmagufuliantidemocraticThe presidents of Tanzania and the United States are blood brothers in their defiance of law. I don’t think Tanzania and the U.S. are organically connected politically, but clearly both are being effected by social waves of discontent in the same way.

In both Tanzania and the U.S., two so different societies half-way round the world from one another, both leaders came to power democratically with support from people who now think it’s fine to undermine democracy.

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Renewable Discards

Renewable Discards

kenyastraussrenewableSo simple it’s embarrassing: why didn’t Horton’s America think of this: make a solar panel and a roof one and the same. A wholly Kenyan company now does.

Uninhibited by aging conglomerates Africa is streaking past the western world: iPhone clones at $100 each, bricks manufactured at a thousandth of the cost in Tennessee, and now self-contained energy homes. And it’s not just because labor is less expensive. It’s because imaginations aren’t tethered to the Big and Mighty.

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