Array ( [total] => 15 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [5639] => Array ( [iID] => 5639 [tTitle] => 3 continents, 22 cities, 484 pushups [tSlug] => 3-continents-22-cities-484-pushups [iTime] => 1476655200 [iUpdate] => 1485280693 [tDescription] => I’m doing 22 push ups in 22 cities, each, on three continents. This, to raise awareness of the lack of mental health services in low-income countries. One NGO that tries to fix that gap is BasicNeeds, which also tries to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy. BasicNeeds has been around since 2000 and, according to their Wikipedia page, which they seem to mostly edit themselves, have helped over 650.000 people, since. They work in east Africa and South and South East Asia. Resource-poor countries lack many things, and though it’s debatable to what extent NGOs should provide services that really should be taken care of by the state, mental health services are, even in well developed countries, often neglected, in part because they can carry stigma. This ain’t no ice bucket challenge, but the idea is similar. I was nominated to take up this challenge by Sylvain, a friend from Uganda now living in Kenya. The actual deal is to do 22 pushups a day on 22 consecutive days, but I figured I’d give it a little spin, doing 22 pushups in 22 cities, but not on 22 consecutive days. I don’t travel that much. Though, I expect to be finished within two months. I’m not certain where the challenge originated, but it seems that it has its roots in a 22 pushups for 22 days challenge that raises awareness for the 22 army veterans that kill themselves each day as a result of PTSD. This only relates to *American* veterans and the statistic was recently adjusted to 20 per day. Here's the organisation that started the pushup craze. Apparently, at some point, someone gave this a spin, moving away from Americans with PTSD to mental health services in developing countries. Everyday, I’m supposed to nominate someone to take up the challenge, which is kind of nuts, as with 22 challenges, and everyone taking up the challenge, after 7 rounds, about as many people as that live on this planet will have been challenged. All videos are also available as a YouTube library. 1. 16 October, Carapicuiba (Brazil), wide-grip pushups My first set of pushups are in the Sao Paulo’s satellite town of Carapicuiba. Founded in 1580, and now sizeable, with about 400000 inhabitants, it’s mostly a working class city, though, in true Brazilian style, there’s also a part that’s distinctively upper middle class. It’s the town where we live. Today, I did wide-grip pushups, which are supposed to target your chest more. 2. 25 October, São Paulo (Brazil), narrow-grip pushups At the busiest airport in Latin America, serving some 40 million passengers yearly, I did some narrow-grip pushups, good for the triceps. 3. 27 October, Hamburg (Germany), regular pushups Home of the famous Reeperbahn, Hamburg's red light district, and the St. Pauli soccer team, I managed to do a few regular pushups. 4. 1 November, Delft (Netherlands), regular pushups with right leg raised Putting the core to work in the home of Vermeer, after I forgot to do a set of pushups in the German town of Quickborn. 5. 2 November, Brussels (Belgium), regular pushups with left leg raised On a short stopover in Brussels, on my way to London, I take a minute at Brussels South train station to do a set of pushups. 6. 5 November, Paris (France), raised legs pushups Under the watchful eye of Manu Negra's platinum "Puta's fever", I do some raised legs pushups. Particularly good for the shoulders, but serving pretty much the whole upper body. 7. 11 November, London (UK), clap pushups Another lapse, forgetting to do a set in the lovely seaside Brighton & Hove, I did a tough set of clap pushups in London. 8. 19 November, Bursa (Turkey), T-pushups Bursa is home to one of Turkey's world heritage sites, commemorating the origins of the Ottoman empire as an early capital. 9. 21 November, Istanbul (Turkey), raised legs pushups In the most touristy part of Istanbul, Sultanahmet, I did raised legs pushups for the second time, not realising I had also done these back in Paris. 10. 25 November, Tokmok (Kyrgyzstan), regular pushups Tokmok is an uninspiring market town, even though the local police felt inspired and apprehended me on suspicion of behind a Syrian terrorist. Yet, in the suburb of Burana, or rather a minute cluster of houses in the same valley, you can find the Burana tower. Once a minaret and built in the 11th century, it's the last remnant of the Sogdian city of Balasagun. 11. 28 November, Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), regular pushups At my guesthouse in Bishkek, the temperature has risen somewhat, making it not bitter cold, but just freezing cold. 12. 29 November, Turkestan (Kazakhstan), regular pushups Turkestan is home to the most important historical architecture in Kazakhstan, the mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi, a 12th century Sufi poet. The mausoleum was constructed by order of Tamarlane a good two hundred years later, who died before the construction was finished, leaving the front of the building without inlaid tile work. 13. 3 December, Almaty (Kazakhstan), spider man pushups Almaty means 'full of apples' as, supposedly, this was the region where apples were first cultivated by man. 14. 5 December, Karaganda (Kazakhstan), regular pushups Karaganda was infamous for Stalin moving hundreds of thousands Soviets to the nearby labour camps. This included many Volga Germans, Stalin being afraid they might side with Hitler when he moved east in the 1940s. 15. 6 December, Dolinka (Kazakhstan), regular pushups Dolinka was the administrative center of KarLag, the local Gulag which was active for about 28 years under Stalin, finally disbanded in 1959. At its height, some 60000 forced labourers were interned here at the same time. 16. 8 December, Astana (Kazakhstan), regular pushups I'm doing my routine inside Bayterek, the monument that's almost synonymous with the city of Astana. Nearly 100 meters tall, the large sphere at the top holds a handprint, in bronze, of the first president of the nation. You can visit the sphere, lay your hand in the handprint, and make a wish. 17. 11 December, Kiev (Ukraine), regular pushups On a short stopover in Kiev, I quickly put in a set of pushups. 18. 13 December, Amsterdam (Netherlands), regular pushups Waiting for my flight, at night, I put in a quick set of pushups. 19. 16 December, Cotia (Brazil), regular pushups Like Carapicuiba, Cotia is a satellite town to Sao Paulo. Sadly, though it's quite green, there are very few public spaces to enjoy. 20. 3 January, Osasco (Brazil), regular pushups Doing pushups in another satellite town close to Sao Paulo. 21. 21 January, Queluz (Brazil), regular pushups During a stopover between Sao Paulo and Rio, I do a bunch of nightly pushups. 22. 22 January, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), regular pushups A fitting end to this long saga, I finish with a set of pushups on one of Rio de Janeiro's beaches, Leme, right next to Copacobana. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1434 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1489 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -23.5755 [fLongitude] => -46.8554 [tLocation] => The yellow house [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20161017 ) [5636] => Array ( [iID] => 5636 [tTitle] => The Rio Olympics [tSlug] => the-rio-olympics [iTime] => 1471730400 [iUpdate] => 1489792487 [tDescription] => Notwithstanding the doomsayers, the Rio Olympics were quite a success.  Yes, they were way over budget, but Quebec only paid off its Olympic debt 30 years after they hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1976. Stranger, the head of the IOC claimed that no public funds were used to host the games, which is the kind of bending the truth that breaks it. Or it's just clever book keeping, as money needed to come in from all sides; The state of Rio was bailed out for almost a billion USD just a few weeks before the Olympics, the Brazilian government ponied up a billion for security during the Olympics, though technically as a loan. And money that was supposed to be used for the Paralympics was used for the main games.  Only one Olympian died. Or rather, one Olympian coach, and that was in a car crash. A few had stuff stolen, but the highest profile case turned out to be a fabrication, after gold medallist Lochte spent a drunk night on the town. Reviled as an example of white privilege, perhaps the more poignant response was of the Brazilian police, indicting the swimmerpulling two other swimmers of an airplane as they were leaving the country and barring the two others from leaving the country. Then, one of the swimmers paid close to 11000 USD, either for 'restitution', or to a 'charity'. The BBC has the lawyer of Feigen, who paid, quoted as saying that "the 35000 Reais will be paid to an 'institute'", which, to me, sounds much more like 'white privilege' than anything else in this story. Zika fears were completely overblown, with Slate's prediction of 100 cases not even close to reality. Similarly, fears of the consequences of polluted water have been unfounded. Though only a fraction of the Paralympics tickets have been sold, some 82% of the seats at the Summer Games were filled, though some photos of empty stadiums strongly suggest otherwise. Less than London's 97%, but similar to Sydney's and more than Athens'. But, importantly, tickets started at 40 Reais, some 11 euros. Similar to then cost of a cinema ticket. Rio now has a third, very long, but only with a few stops, metro line, almost mysteriously called Line 4. Line 3, planned for Niteroi, across the bay, has been expected for a while, but is yet to materialise. Line 4 was, and until the end of the Paralympics, is, only open to Olympic ticket holders, who still have to pay dearly to access the speedy connection to the Olympic Park. Crime didn't suddenly disappear. Though some Cariocas feel that the city was safer during the gamesthe numbers suggest that there was actually more violence in Rio during the games.  A bunch of families were thrown out of their houses, though I feel that, after South Africa mostly got away with it in 2010, and Brazil thought they could in 2014, word has gotten out, meaning that the sizeable coverage on displacements is justified, but perhaps reporting on something that is not as bad as it's been with previous and similar events. But, what was it like? Rio has always been popular with foreigners. No one visits Sao Paulo, everyone goes to Rio. During the games, it was just a tad worse. We attended four events.  An early game of basketball between Brazil and Lithuania, with an unpleasant amount of booing from the Brazilian fans, but a rather spectacular game, where Lithuania beat the Brazilians to pulp in the first half, only for Brazil to almost win the game during the second half. Then there was a weightlifting final, where we saw two world records being broken, and the Armenian champion dislocate his elbow, which looked much, much worse, than it seems to have been.  This was followed up by a very entertaining table tennis quarter finals.  We closed with some rather dull kayaking and canoeing. Here, as a spectator, you only have a good view of a very narrow band of the 'track', in our case the area around the 200m mark, for some of the heats the starting position of the participants. But, then, to see who's ahead when they're not right in front of you, requires checking out the large screen, which you just as easily can do at home. We also attended the legendary Holland Heineken House. Which was a thorough disappointment. Painfully expensive, in an upper-middle-class suburb of Rio, both the suburb and the House a nest of upper-class privilege.  But, we did get to see Douwe Bob, live, the Dutch singer at this year's Eurovision. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1271 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1490 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 13 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -22.9762 [fLongitude] => -43.3946 [tLocation] => Barra Olympic Park [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20160821 ) [5630] => Array ( [iID] => 5630 [tTitle] => 100 stories [tSlug] => 100-stories [iTime] => 1468965600 [iUpdate] => 1516070018 [tDescription] => A hundred stories of Cariocas, citizens of Rio de Janeiro, relocated for the Olympics or the World Cup, collected in a rich media experience available in both Portuguese and English. Conceptualisation by Olga Lucía Lozano, design by Lorena Parra with implementation by myself, under the fine supervision of Natalia Viana of Agência Pública. 100 stories won the 38º Prêmio Jornalístico Vladimir Herzog de Anistia e Direitos Humanos, in 2016 and was nominated for the Gabriel García Márquez award in the 'Innovation' category in 2017. 100 stories also was a finalist for the Brazilian Prêmio Petrobras de Jornalismo. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 934 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1489 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -23.5755 [fLongitude] => -46.8554 [tLocation] => The yellow house [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5630 ) [5463] => Array ( [iID] => 5463 [tTitle] => In the cockpit [tSlug] => in-the-cockpit [iTime] => 1370210400 [iUpdate] => 1370210400 [tDescription] => You can't go to the Philippines and not check out a cock fight. Appropriately, bouts are staged in cockpits, where the quite brutal duels are executed in quick succession. However, it's not the duels themselves that impress, or disgust for that matter. Considering how horribly the vast majority of fowl and livestock is abused in commercial institutions in the west, two roosters going at it with a knife tied to one of their legs is terribly tame, and of an inconsequential scale, in comparison. What is overwhelming, almost threatening, is the tornado of betting odds that all spectators shout around, wildly gesticulating to indicate which of the two cocks they are taking bets for and at what rate. From a quiet, mellow, lounging crowd, within sconds of the cocks starting to ready up, showing their relative strengths, the pit erupts in an ear shattering, pulsating madness of shouts and movement, almost all men (and only men) wildly gesticulating across the room. Then, after the cocks have been let loose, but only when the first attacks start, does the madness die down. At the start of a bout, the cocks are carried into the ring, with the knifes, attached to the backs of their left claws, sheathed. Most often, each cock's minder is accompanied by a second minder carrying a second cock, used to antagonize the fighter by forcefully pushing the two on top of each other, allowing them to poke their beaks at each other, in the hope the heightened adrenaline levels will aid the fighter in overcoming his adversary. It made me think of fluffers during porn shoots. Then, the fighters are carried to the center of the pit, the knives are unsheathed, for a few seconds, the cocks are allowed to peck at each other, still being held by their minders, before they are released. To, often enough, peck away at imaginary corn seeds on the floor of the pit. But only for a few seconds, after which they go at each other with extreme aggression, flaring the feathers around their necks. Jumping up in the air, pushing their claws forward, with the intention to rip open their opponent with their robocop-like addition. Fights are over in seconds rather than minutes. One of the cocks will be cut badly, sinking down on the ground, unable to move or simply dead. Occasionally, the cocks might have their feathers or legs intertwined, requiring the referee to pick them up by the necks, after which he'll bounce one or both up and down, to test whether they can still stand on their own legs. If not, he'll drop the incapacitated one and declare the other the winner. Settling the bets, money is then thrown around in crumpled up packets from one loser to winner, or from loser to middleman. The cockpit is a surprisingly open affair, the stadium more resembling a boxing rink, with the actual pit elevated, surrounded by a glass fence. In the corners of the pit, little glass cubicles allow the minders, who stay in the rink during the fight, to hide for cover, if needed. Natural light streams in through the roof. Above the ring, two square boxes indicate the two sides at play. "Meron", meaning "they have", and "Wala", meaning "nothing". For many of the games, the "Meron" box is lit up, meaning that side has the advantage, influencing the bets and payouts for the spectators. Back in the day, no such signage existed, and a sombrero was used, handed out to the financer of the cock with the advantage. One side would have the sombrero on their head, the other would have nothing. The betting, if overpowering when happening around you, appears surprisingly egalitarian. Everyone is their own man, the floor is open to all. However, the low tech nature of the betting, the shouting and gesticulating, could easily be replaced by a tiny bit of tech, a simple smartphone app, say, syncing odds and amounts through a central server, which would allow for peace and quiet and, more importantly, much more money changing hands. Strangely, there appear to be no fights on Saturdays, while on Sundays, the fights start as early as 8am. On my way to the cockpit, getting closer, I saw more and more owners traveling and arriving, mostly by motorbike taxi or trishaw, with their cocks in specially prepared, tough, but airy, cardboard boxes. The walls of the cockpit, both inside and out, are covered with large canvasses announcing big upcoming events, with 2000 euro entry fees and 1000 euros minimum bets. These numbers apply to the financiers, the owners of the cocks, whose playing and betting is completely separate from the bets that are taken outside of the ring. For prize money, the fastest kill is rewarded handsomely, but so is, typicallyt and strangely, the fifth fastest kill and, at some bouts, the 9th fastest kill. Slow starters, with the slowest kill, get a consolation prize. During my visit, one of the fights resulted in a tie, both cocks incapacitated, generating lots of surprised commotion from the crowd. Fights are ended after 10 minutes with no winner, which also happened once during my visit. Sadly, taking photos was not allowed, even though everything was filmed by some guy, a few small steps up from an amateur. The feed was shown at something of a waiting/catering area, where owners and financers hang out with their cocks, awaiting their turns. I was told to keep my camera in my bag. But, there's the iPad, even though, in the far corner of the stadium, I still was quickly spotted. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3793 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1250 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462237715 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 14.5493 [fLongitude] => 121.005 [tLocation] => Pasay City Cockpit [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20130603 ) [5437] => Array ( [iID] => 5437 [tTitle] => Source of the Nile marathon [tSlug] => source-of-the-nile-marathon [iTime] => 1359068400 [iUpdate] => 1516111358 [tDescription] => This has been in the making for nearly two years. If only it was more interesting than the basic Wordpress implementation it is. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 17028 [iClicks] => 723 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462214277 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5437 ) [5285] => Array ( [iID] => 5285 [tTitle] => [tSlug] => activate-uganda-com [iTime] => 1307484000 [iUpdate] => 1516112905 [tDescription] => A straightforward Wordpress-based website for a Ugandan sports events organizer. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3021 [iClicks] => 905 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462209255 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 2 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5285 ) [758] => Array ( [iID] => 758 [tTitle] => Tigers and flat tires [tSlug] => tigers-and-flat-tires [iTime] => 1214690400 [iUpdate] => 1214690400 [tDescription] => For months, the plan for HDN to have a retreat has been bubbling just below the surface. Then, quite a while back already, the realization slowly materialized that, in fact, HDN was short of cash and was probably going to be short on cash for a while. Hence, for example, no roll out of partnerships platforms in 40 countries as originally planned, no marketing campaign to launch and no retreat. As an alternative, a sports day was organized last week. All expat staff cringed at the idea, quite a few thought of calling in sick, and a few actually did. But I'm sure they were of course too sick to participate. Turned out, the day was more than excellent, with very little sport, lots of a games and an excellent treasure hunt. Wrap up with mooketa, conceptualize this by thinking of Thai barbecue, followed by free shots at Tuskers and too many Sangsom sets made for an almost painful evening. My time here is coming to a close. I've only got two weeks left on my contract and although there has been talk of a (fairly unattractive) follow up contract, nothing is definitive, yet, and I won't have to be based in Chiang Mai. As an alternative, I've struck up a professional relationship with Inis, an Irish/Thai business which focuses on 'communication', particularly within the NGO sector. The founder, Tim France, also started HDN, my current employer. I'll be doing a short term but intensive project for Inis, web 2.0, which will see me going to Mexico at the end of next month, where there's a big AIDS conference, and which will allow me to stop for a few days in both San Francisco and Tokyo. Yesterday, I had decided to finally attend another hash. But it was not meant to be. First, waiting at the hash pub, the bus did not show up. Then, driving to the venue on my bike, half way but way out of town, I had to deal with a flat tire. Tire fixed, two hours later, finally, I arrived at the venue, just in time for drinks. Well, at least I was there for the more important bits. Besides the drinks, the ice. Of course. A few months back, the Tiger Kingdom opened its doors just north of Chiang Mai. It's run by a breeding program in the north east of Thailand and claims to have no connection with the Tiger Temple near Kanchanaburi, which was recently in the news for perhaps being part of a smuggling ring. By no means is the Tiger Kingdom as impressive as the Tiger Temple. However, it does have an interesting business model. You can visit just for food as the decent restaurant surrounds the open air tiger cage, and you can enjoy the tigers for free. if you want to play with them, either with the 8 month olds or with the 3 month olds, you pay 300 baht (6 euros) for each experience. I tried to understand the long term business model, but didn't get satisfying answers. The story I got was that all tigers on the premises were actually born there, not in the related conservation project in the north east. However, they were also not planning to breed a new generation, which to me meant that in a few months, they wouldn't have cubs for the tourists to play with, as I was also told they had no intention of bringing in new cubs. Odd perhaps. 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[tSlug] => sumo [iTime] => 1195340400 [iUpdate] => 1195340400 [tDescription] => It's not everyday you get the chance to see live sumo wrestling. So no choice but to check out the combined world sumo, world women's sumo, world under 18 sumo and asian sumo championships. Three days of fun at the 700 year sports complex just north of Chiang Mai. The complex, incidentally, is not 700 years old but was built in honor of Chiang Mai's 700th birthday in 1996 but hosted the 1995 Southeast Asian games. Maybe surprisingly, sumo is a very entertaining sport to watch. Games are short, highly energetic and follow in rapid succession. We saw the prize ceremony for the under 18s on Saturday, to make sure we'd know where to go on Sunday, the main day of the event, and arrived early the next day, at around 10am. We ended up staying until six. Most surprising was the cute Brazilian women's team. One of the three women was seriously overweight, but the other two were really cute: about 1.6m high and under 55kg. And very powerful. One of these two girls was a three times Brazilian sumo champion and a one time judo champion. I wouldn't want to meet here in some dark alley. But then again, maybe I would. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 13709 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 30 [iVoters] => 10 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 599 [iOldID] => 981 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462175475 [iHot] => 2 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 66 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 18.8398 [fLongitude] => 98.9595 [tLocation] => 700 year sports complex [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20071118 ) [162] => Array ( [iID] => 162 [tTitle] => A Zimbabwean trashing [tSlug] => a-zimbabwean-trashing [iTime] => 1083967200 [iUpdate] => 1083967200 [tDescription] => Friday night we drank till late, at the lodge. Emmie and Mike, two supposedly communist backpackers from the UK, were to leave early on Sunday so instead of struggling on a Sunday morning, we struggled collectively on a Saturday morning instead. Saturday, Betsy and I walked over to the Harare sports club, were Sri Lanka was trashing Zimbabwe in the first of two test matches (I'm talking cricket here). We arrived around two in the afternoon and paid Z$5000 to get in. Less then fifteen minutes later, Zimbabwe's resistance had fully broken and the day's game was over. We opted for the very good food and drinks from the Keg and Maiden, a South African chain of English-style pubs. We walked to the sports club so that I had ample opportunity to take pictures of my first batch of Harare tree signs. More about that later. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4290 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 131 [iOldID] => 250 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461929584 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8086 [fLongitude] => 31.0383 [tLocation] => Harare sports club [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040508 ) [157] => Array ( [iID] => 157 [tTitle] => Pecan heaven [tSlug] => pecan-heaven [iTime] => 1082930400 [iUpdate] => 1082930400 [tDescription] => I haven't highlighted the joys of pecans yet. The Small World has got a huge pecan tree hanging over the courtyard. Since autumn has started, the pecans have begun to come down and although you have to watch out not to get these sturdy nuts falling on your head, they taste delicious. And there are so many of them! Chinese Meanwhile, I arrived at work today, to find a bunch Chinese hanging around, using digital cameras to record the current state of the stadium. I asked what was going on and it seems that the stadium will get a long-needed checkup soon. Sports and animals Since I'm not doing a lot about my physical wellbeing (running a couple of kilometers before going on a drinking binge every Monday doesn't really count, does it), I can feel myself swell in every direction except the right ones. So, last Saturday, Betsy and I decided to check out some sports clubs in the neighbourhood. The physical exercise of walking around was good. Visiting the clubs rather pointless. At Old Hararians, it felt like still being in Rhodesia. Old whites in shorts hanging at the bar, old people dressed immaculately white playing bowls outside. Alexandra sports club was different, but the same. Here, everyone was black. The bar was just being restocked, no doubt for the drinking party after the soccer match that was being played on the grounds. On Sunday, we went to Mukuvisi woodlands. A small nature reserve on the outskirts of town. We saw the usual animals (including giraffe) and had some samosas at the arts and crafts fair on the grounds. We considered bying a huge hand made mask for a mere 60$. How to get it home..? Braai Hanging out in former white colonies in southern Africa is nothing without a regular braai. Betsy prepared one on Friday and although we were surprised by a heavy tropical rainstorm just minutes before the chicken hit the braai, we still managed. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5509 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 238 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462051904 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040426 ) [147] => Array ( [iID] => 147 [tTitle] => Illusions [tSlug] => illusions [iTime] => 1081375200 [iUpdate] => 1081375200 [tDescription] => I still have no contract, but there has been some progress this week. On Wednesday afternoon, I was part of a meeting between the two Deputy Director Generals (DDGs). One is responsible for sports development, the other for finance. Getting them together to talk about the things I've been doing over the past six weeks was, well, six weeks overdue. Although I don't think they fully understood the extent of the implications for building a computer network for a sports information system, but it got them closer. It is surprising that meetings between higher and lower management are only seldom occur. The obvious result is that the organization is built up around uncertainties and miscommunications so that every employee employs his own version of crisis management. Meanwhile, just a little bit of planning and organizing would save everyone loads of time! Today, I came back from lunch only to find the offices deserted. Only the head of HR was still around, telling me that she had asked one of her people to phone everyone to let them know everyone could go home for the afternoon. "You must have been out when he called." Sure. Inkosana, in the office next to me, also hadn't a clue. He's been working with the organization for about six months now. After I showed my irritation with the situation, she arranged for one of the drivers who was also still there to drive me home. He spent thirty minutes fixing the car, before we could leave. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5450 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 130 [iOldID] => 220 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462051596 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.821 [fLongitude] => 30.9938 [tLocation] => National Sports Stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040408 ) [59] => Array ( [iID] => 59 [tTitle] => Terpstra and the Prince of Orange [tSlug] => terpstra-and-the-prince-of-orange [iTime] => 1068764400 [iUpdate] => 1068764400 [tDescription] => Today was interesting. In a house close to where I live, I saw the first Christmas tree and Christmas decorations of the year. I also visited a symposium/congress/conference today on sport and development. This will be the field I'll be working in, in Zimbabwe. It was, well, interesting. The best part was that I met both the director of the organisation I'll be working for and the man responsible for the unit I'll be working in. Both were friendly, chatty and nice to talk too. The symposium was visited by the likes of the Prince of Orange, Johan Olav Koss, Mr Adolf Ogi, Erica Terpstra (president of NOC*NSF), Ms Ross van Dorp (Dutch state secretary of sport) and was hosted by Humberto Tan. Many other high-level people I didn't recognize but seemed to be packing lots of weight complemented the already impressive list of people. Shortly after sitting down, Erica Terpstra, pretty huge by anyone's standards, sat down right in front of me. Before sitting down, she introduced herself to me, explaining she was sorry for taking a seat right there: "I'm sorry to sit for you". If anything, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. These people seemed, generally, to care more for this sub-subject of development work than what I've often seen in people working in development organisations. Most particularly, Mr Adolf Ogi, former president of Switzerland and now assisting Kofi Annan on making decisions in the field of sports and development, was very passionate and a great speaker. Still, it does appear that a conference like this is a typical example of "preaching to the choir". Some choice quotes: "Do what you believe in, believe in what you do." - Adolf Ogi; "We believe in the zone." - Charles Dzimba; "Sport is way above the oppertunities for children in developing countries." - Thomas Sithole. The conference was in English, although about 30% of the visitors were Dutch. The level of English spoken by many of the Dutch was shameful. Here are some examples (although only Dutchees really would understand them): Humberto Tan: "Do you think it came over?" (Do you think they understood what you said?) Erica Terpstra: "I'm sorry to sit for you." (I'm sorry to sit in front of you.) Erica Terpstra: "... they have no perspective." (... they have no future.) van Breda Vriesman: "I have to watch out not to loop him for the voeten." (I have to watch out not to hamper him.) ?: "This should be a cooperation, not a concurrence." (This should be a cooperation, not a competition.) ?: "My foreparents must be Sicilian." (My forefathers must be Sicilian.) van Breda Vriesman: "We are doing well in time." (We are right on time.) I only staid for the morning session, which already set me back 50 euros. Including the afternoon session would have set me back an additional 50 euros. But I did wait around for the drinks, afterwards, if only to, well, drink. No, if only to talk to my contacts in Zimbabwe. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3951 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 62 [iOldID] => 68 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462231045 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 52.3778 [fLongitude] => 4.89722 [tLocation] => Koepelkerk [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20031114 ) [57] => Array ( [iID] => 57 [tTitle] => Ambition [tSlug] => ambition [iTime] => 1068505200 [iUpdate] => 1068505200 [tDescription] => The evening was spent listening to two speeches. My bank, the ABNAMRO, had set up a meeting for clients owning a business in the Delft region. I had to go. If only for the free drinks and food. Actually, I wasn't really interested, but Betsy thought it funny to meet former colleagues, so we went. The director of the theme park 'The Efteling' had a nice speech and I might gotten a new client, so it wasn't totally useless. Meanwhile, we're still learning Shona. Today our lesson was no less then four hours long and it was a lot. True, we're starting to learn more and more, but our lack of vocabulary is evident. And listening to Shona, trying to understand what is said is still very, very difficult. This Friday, I'll be going to a convention on sport and development in Amsterdam where both my direct contact in Zimbabwe and his boss will be too. Recently, I've learned that politically, the organization, like the country I suppose, isn't totally stable and there is a chance that my trip and work in Zimbabwe might be called off. Meanwhile, I've started to contemplate my project in Zimbabwe a bit more. More and more stories are coming out of the country that suggest that Zimbabwe REALLY is in a big mess, economically and politically. Although the country was in good shape until, say, 1997, the last couple of years everything has gone down hill, quickly. It seem rather pointless to help people out with some Internet-based management tool in the field of sport and development when 40% of the country has AIDS, many people nearly starve to death and unemployment is at 70%. I'll basically be supporting a regime which, in many ways, terrorises its citizens. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3916 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 61 [iOldID] => 65 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462218772 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 51.9972 [fLongitude] => 4.38528 [tLocation] => Kok catering [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20031111 ) [662] => Array ( [iID] => 662 [tTitle] => Naadam [tSlug] => naadam [iTime] => 1058392800 [iUpdate] => 1058392800 [tDescription] => Last weekend, UB came to life as the stage of the country's most spectacular festival: Naadam. It's full name being the 'Manly three sports', it puts the country commercially to a standstill for a good three days. The three manly sports are wrestling, archery and horse racing, although only young kids feature in the horse races where, depending on the age of the horse, distances of up to 45km are covered. Never do all horses come back with their riders and occasionally, one of the small riders gets trampled underfoot and dies. In previous years, the horse races were held just outside UB, near the airport. This time, they were located a good 40km out of town and since virtually everyone in UB goes to see the races, it was nearly impossible to drive there. Standing at the finish line, we saw the finish of the 5 year old steeds. One of the 400 riders in the 5-year old (horse) race, a boy was whipping his horse to beat his nearest competitors. After the boy finished, like all jockeys dressed in full Mongolian regalia, he got of his horse, the horse shuddered, fell down and died. Only two days before Naadam, the streets of UB had come alive with tourists. Hordes and hordes of tourists. In a way, I felt happy for SARS because normally, during Naadam, tourists almost outstrip locals. Not that, as a whole, Naadam is that spectacular. All in all, the event can be compared to any reasonable fair or sports event anywhere else in the world. It's uniqueness coming from the types of activities. Not only the three manly sports, but also ankle bone shooting, throat singing, fortune telling (with ankle bones) and more can be seen. Mongolians coming to UB from all over the country. On Friday morning, the official part of the festivities started with a group of Mongolians on horseback picking up the 9 white (signifying peace) Mongolian standards from the parliament house and carrying them towards the stadium for the opening ceremony. The group of Mongolians, walking in unison, holding the standards and dressed in what to me looked like battle-dress, gave me an insight into the freight these people must have incurred in their enemies when conquering Asia under Chinggis Khan. Saturday night, we did a hash pubcrawl. Visiting four bars and a disco, drinking beer and vodka, we had the most crazy time scaring the hell out of locals and tourists who happened to be in the same bars at the same time. For good measure, we ended up around a campfire next to the Tuul river, drinking vodka with a bunch of Mongolians, hanging around to see the sun rise. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2671 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 653 [iOldID] => 1034 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462208619 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 9 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 47.9023 [fLongitude] => 106.916 [tLocation] => Main stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030717 ) [595] => Array ( [iID] => 595 [tTitle] => First contact [tSlug] => first-contact [iTime] => 981846000 [iUpdate] => 981846000 [tDescription] => The experiences I had in the first week I was in Ghana, seemed to confirm my point of view in a discussion I had with Ana Maria, back in North Adams. The point was in what way, if at all, African culture could accommodate the possibility of being a primary force in the IT industry, such as Bangalore is doing in India, becoming something of the Silicon Valley of Africa, for the 750 million people on the African continent. However, it seems that African business ethics stand no chance when having to compete with western-run businesses. For one, just that will make it reasonably hard for us geeks to achieve anything in our three months in Ghana. One of the first things that was easily noticeable, was that all businesses we came in contact with that were, in any way, successful, were either foreign-owned and run, or run by Ghanaians who had worked or studied abroad for a considerable amount of time. Basically, this meant that the successful businesses in Ghana were operated in a Western fashion. So much for African business culture. In fact, in archetypal African culture, there is no room for private enterprise. African culture is based on the commune, the group, were hardships and obtained benefits are shared with the whole group. This also implies that, for no-one in such a society, there is an incentive to work extra hard to obtain any benefit, since any obtained results have to be shared with family and friends. Therefore, it is better to go no further than what is minimally required. Totally the opposite of western style competition between individuals. Probably the most African company among our partner businesses is 'Sambus', the company where Francois is going to spent his three months. On his three month schedule, room was made for settling in. Time for doing so? Three weeks. After just one day, Francois figured he had settled in. In Peter's company, Company Data, it is not uncommon to take a nap, on your desk, in the middle of the day, or to stand in front of the air conditioning for half an hour to cool off. JoyFM, my company, at first seemed to be a positive exception to the rule. Employees make quite long days and a significant part of management seems to act according to a western business ethic. A second impression reveals the underlying structures, however, and makes it clear that Joy, too, very much resembles the other African businesses in the group. For one, constantly, people are walking in and out of the offices of JoyOnline, the actual devision of JoyFM where I have been put to work. In itself not very remarkable. However, most of the people that stop by are ex-employees, making use of the 'high-speed' internet connection that sometimes is available. Further, these ex-employees walking in and out isn't totally inconvenient. On the 6 PCs or so that stand around the office, many of the programs and operating systems are password protected. With passwords only known to specific ex-employees... Without a doubt, Joy also takes home the award for most eye-catching experience. The primary contact at Joy for Geekcorps, Cyril, manager of JoyOnline, welcomed us heartily in our first week in Ghana, when we were doing the rounds of all the businesses. On Monday, my first day at work, Cyril announced to me that that day would be his last day at work. Even more of a delicate issue, since his enthusiasm towards Geekcorps had landed JoyFM the geek they eventually got, where as at first, they were only a second choice business. The whole thing got even more delicate when, on Monday, before anyone except Cyril knew he was going to quit, CNN stopped by my office to do an interview with myself and Cyril. Beautiful stories about how the geeks' presence could bridge the digital divide between Africa and the western world, where this person would no longer work for Joy even the next day. And, only one week after this, on my second day at work, the acting manger was fired. Life is full of surprises. Speed, or lack of One of the primary objectives of the whole Geekcorps process is that every geek has one shadow partner at his company, with whom he tries to establish a skills transfer. At my company, some confusion had arisen when it turned out that my appointed shadow partner had a different name from the shadow partner that was listed in the original contract. Only later did it turn out to be the same guy, with two different names... What was more of a problem, however, was that this guy, Chico, was still at university, meaning that most of the week, he wasn't in, but studying, only coming in during the weekends or in the evenings. Not really times of the week where I felt like being at the office. Besides Cyril and Chico, other players are Walter and Michael. Walter a journalist and the acting manager during my first week at Joy, after which he got fired on the next Monday. Michael, also still a student at some college, who is almost less at the office as Chico is. The African style of work, only hinted at, at first, most definitely turns out to be there at Joy. On Tuesday, my second day at Joy, I compiled a schedule for the next three months. Three months is a short period of time, for designing, building and testing a database driven website, while doing a skills transfer in the process, so the schedule was very tight. Everyone agreed with the schedule, which made me very happy. Wednesday, the next day, Walter came back from a meeting with the radio station's program manager. Immediately, we had to start an online promotion campaign in relation to Valentines day. It took myself and Michael almost two days to create the campaign. Two days that had already been appointed to other tasks, based on the schedule I had made the previous day. The lesson learned? Forget about planning anything. Characteristics Two aspects seem to be typically characterizing African conduct. The sense of time and interpersonal relationships. African people don't experience time as 'we' do in the west. In the west, time is continuous. You set an appointment for a specific time. If you are fifteen minutes late, you are fifteen minutes late and you will try to make up for that lost time later in the day. In Africa, one lives from event to event. That events take up a certain amount of conventional time is only secondary, since each event takes up the time of one event. Therefore, for example, traveling from A to B goes faster when taking no break (even though you might be moving at a snails pace), since taking a break when driving turns the trip from a one-event trip into a three-event trip. As far as interpersonal relationships are concerned, it is of primary concern to be good friends with everyone. If, in the process of being good friends, you also achieve something, that's nice, but not necessary. Both these things combined result in, what is called, a polychromatic world view. Someone from the west, in general, is monochromatic. This basically means that he does one thing at a time, continuing with the next thing on his list only after finishing the first item. An African does many things at one, very often not finishing the things he had been working on previously since something else has started to take up his time. This also means that an African is continuously distracted from what he is doing, without that being considered as a fault. However, it also means that Africans have a hard time concentrating on anything for longer periods of time. During the first week, Stophe made a comment about some expat he know, he remarked that, if you have housemaids in Ghana (as we did in Geekhalla), you can only tell them to do one thing and, after completing the one thing, tell them to do the next thing. This, since if you give them two assignments simultaneously, they will neglect to do one (or both) of the assignments. Working at JoyFM, how terrible this may sound, seems to confirm this world view. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be a drive to understand the 'why' of things. Employees seem to be much more interested in the 'how (do I make this work now)' as opposed to the 'why (can I solve it like this)'. Needless to say, this process might work for getting to know all countries of the world and their capital cities, but is hardly useful for learning how to program computers. With computers, each new programming issue is a new issues. Problems that were solved in the past only partially apply with each new problem and insight is needed to be able to solve newly encountered problems. This implies that Africans are bad programmers. My being at Joy confirms this. However, there is one small light at the end of the tunnel. The quality of the Internet connection at Joy is quite reasonable. Sports, or lack of With CNN stopping by on Monday, sadly I had to miss the Hash. A pity, since a bit of change from my life void of physical activity would have been very welcome. The Friday before I had stopped by at the Aviation Social Club, the only fitness club in Accra with mildly reasonable prices, meaning a monhtly fee of less then $40, still about twice as much what I pay back in Rotterdam, my home town in the Netherlands. However, the place is so far away from the city center that you are obliged to take a cab to get there and the machines are, to put it mildly, not of the best quality. On Sunday, I tried to find an alternative solution. A sports club where one of the previous geeks had worked out now turned out to be closed. When asking around for another solution, when being in the neighborhood of the closed club, a local kid took me through narrow passageways and stinking garbage dumps, before arriving at a very small shack where, in the opening of the door, a big bad-looking Nubian was blocking the way. "So, you want to train with me?", he said. I said I was going to think it over a bit. 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