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Musings from some West African Blogs

Chippla’s Weblog muses about nepotism in a prose titled: The Minister’s Son. The setting of his narrative is Nigeria. Here is an extract:

“I asked why the Internet connection at the office wasn't working. They said the contract had been given eight months ago. I asked to whom the contract was given. They said no one really knew, but rumors had it that it went to the Minister's son. “Which Minister?” I asked. “The Minister of Science and Technology,” they replied… I was later able to confirm that the contracts to get the internet connection working as well as lay fiber optic cables across the complex were shamelessly given to the son of the Minister of Science and Technology.”

Christians worldwide will celebrate Easter this weekend. Easter is a celebration of death and resurrection of Jesus. Black Looks discusses the holy week (Semana Santa) in Spain:

“Its Semana Santa here in Spain (Holy Week). I love it – 7 days of processions which last for hours until the early hours of the morning, the ritual, the street atmosphere, the people participation, the noise, the music, the rhythm of the swaying pasos de la pasion (floats) with the “imagenes” carried by up to 52 men hidden under red, black or white velvet. I love the lament to the Virgin Mother of the lone singer, the knocking (martillo) by the guides on the pasos, the intermittent shouts of “adelante” (forward) and “Valiente” (have courage) as grown men crawl on their knees in penance carrying the paso and imagene up and down ramps in and out of churches and cathedrals – is that perverse, some sort of sadism rearing its head in my mind? ”

The Black Star Journal gives an update on the Guinean crisis, stating the “political situation in Guinea remains in flux.” This “flux” emanates from the sacking of reformist prime minister Cellou Dalien Diallo hours who ironically was given increased powers via a presidential decree before he was sacked. The blog states the crisis “appears to be merely the start of what could become a prolonged succession crisis.”

Timbuktu Chronicles discusses land management and food production via a post titled “Garden Africa” The blogs states the projects “promote practical solutions emphasising the importance of integrating traditional systems of land management and food production as a means of addressing vulnerability and stimulating localised economic development…”

Notes from West Africa, a blog authored by Scott Harrison , a volunteer photo-journalist onboard a hospital-ship Anastasis stationed in Liberia, highlights the ordeal of Marthaline, a woman afflicted with a oral cancer:

“…The offensive mass was removed by Mercy Ship surgeons in a simple hour and a half procedure. We found her on the outskirts of Monrovia. She lives with 12 people in a house about half the size of my last Manhattan apartment. … The tumor took out almost all of her bottom teeth. The volunteer dentist from America took wax molds and chose 8 false teeth. He asked Marthaline how she liked the spacing, and then made adjustments. She practiced smiling in a mirror. We paid $60 for her new smile…”

Ann, a Nigerian student union activist at University of California and a blogger at Culture Riot, rants about her experience running an African/black student union in her school. She states, in post titled: On The State of the Black Student Union: “A a card-carrying, badge-wearing, banner-flying, skintone-proving member of the African/Black student population at UCSC, I am frustrated, angered and hurt by the sheer amount of drama it takes to run an organization that is supposed to represent Black students…”

Many of her problems stem from low attendance and poor participation by her fellow African/black students. “Last quarter, the numbers of people attending the general meetings dropped to the low teens – sometimes even single digits”, she states.

“I want this community to thrive. I love to be a part of a community that supports its members and makes everyone feel welcome… And I think I've tried. Last quarter, when no one showed up to my event (which I memorized a Yoruba poem for, how tragic!), I was ready to quit. When I my grades were failing, I was ready to quit. But I didn't want to go down without a fight. And I won't let the perpetual self-destructiveness and unwillingness to change stop me now.”

Life in Cameroon authored by Jeniffer, an American teacher living in Cameroon (since August of 2005), shares her experience (and pictures too !) at a Cameroonian wedding she attends recently:

“Two weeks ago I attended my first wedding in Cameroon… There were actually two ceremonies. The first was the “official” wedding at city hall and the second was at the church. I only attended the lively and colorful church wedding. Many of the attendees dressed in fabric according to whether they were friends or family of the bride or groom… Depending on the tradition of the village, the groom may need to offer gifts to the bride’s family if he has intentions to marry her. These offerings may include wood, wine, money, etc. The family will bless the wedding if they are happy with the groom’s offerings… I was also told that traditionally in Yaounde the bride, after marriage, may dance in the street to celebrate her happiness. Sometimes whole roads will be blocked. I have never seen this, but have seen many people drive around through town honking horns, waving, and screaming. It seems that people are truly celebrating!”

The final post on this week's west African weblog synopsis is on water. “How can we harvest more rainwater in our cities to serve our drinking water needs and how can we recycle used bathing and washing water(reuse water) to flush our toilets?” This is gist of the post titled: Reducing reliance on utility supplied water on the African Architecture and Design blog authored by a Nigerian Architect.

“People might wonder if a borehole is not capable of satisfying all there water needs? Well it could, depending on the quality of the aquifers around where the borehole is located (for Lagos it apparently it has to be more than 250m deep so it can hit the Abeokuta formation), the depth of the bore hole, and the frequency of usage. There have also been a lot of cases especially in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria were some of the boreholes have been contaminated by seawater or crude oil… In Hong Kong they have a system is some areas that uses strained sea water to flush toilets and urinals. Maybe the municipal authorities of the costal cities in Africa could adopt such a system. I don't see the point in spending so much money to purify water only to have it used in flushing the toilet, what do you think?”

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