Thursday, August 28, 2008

No, Ken! Please say it isn't so...

Livingstone to be Chavez advisor

Despite Boris' completely nerdy appearance at the Olympics closing ceremony it appears that I'll now be leaving Ken for good.

Sudan's 'un-noticed' crisis...

BBC reporting on our Tieraliet site here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Light omnibus ride, anyone?

Well today was a momentous day. I got my 'New Sudan' driver's license which means that after 2 1/2 months here I am legally allowed to hit the road. What I found rather amusing is that it enables me to drive motorcycles, motor cars, medium good vehicles, heavy tractors, heavy goods vehicles, and light omnibuses that do not exceed 20 passengers.

So, when I tire of this humanitarian gig you might find me out pursuing my 3rd grade dream of being a bus driver.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink...

I am listening to a song right now by Cobalt Season that's called, 'Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink'. The lyrics go:

You are gonna change your mind someday
So just let go of all your thoughts on tomorrow
You may find your bearings in disarray
Though you may lead and trip and fall and follow

And all that you thought black will be proved red
Full of life and complication and sorrow
And all that you thought white was in your head
For life is lived in the shadows that we borrow

And I’ll look far, but may see nothing
And I will thirst, but may not drink
And I will yell to those behind me
“Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink”

The same road disappears up ahead
Will you ever understand this equation?
The compass in your hand is all but dead
Time to feel your way around this evasion

Read the words again, for you might see
Life where you saw death, a way to your salvation
Best to lay down what you thought was certainty
Freedom’s found in the in that calmed frustration

And I will strain to find a pattern
And hold my breath ’till I’m on the brink
And I will yell to those behind me
“Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink”

You are gonna change your mind someday
Just let go of all your thoughts

Tonight I got a call from USAID, with whom I was expecting to start a job in Darfur in about a month, saying that it's unlikely that they will now hire me given that security has deteriorated to such an extent that I would be sitting in Khartoum most of the time.

It's funny but I would think that I have learned by now that life never turns out as you expect it. But it always comes as a surprise to me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A bout with the bugs...

Apparently, I have a stomach bug. This is not surprising. My stomach and intestinal track have played host to countless number of little bugs, worms and parasites over the past ten years or so. I like to think that we have a cozy sort of arrangement. They're welcome to pass through as long as they don't stick around, or cause me any major discomfort for over - say, a two day period. I mean, it's a rough world. They've got to live somewhere. So, I've come to think of my digestive system as a B & B, of sorts. It's a nice place to stop by but you shouldn't try to stay.

When the bugs do try to stay we have a problem and so begins the boxing match. I like a fair fight so I don't use anything that would give me the upper hand. I drink a lot of water. I will my system to kick them out. Usually this works.

Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the little buggers (pictured above) refuse to pack up and leave. Despite the blows it becomes necessary to bring out the heavy artillery. Drugs. Nasty things. I almost feel bad for my opponents who now don't have a fighting chance. I also feel for my digestive system that is going to be stripped of everything living -whether good or bad. I also feel for me who is going to have a metallic taste in my mouth for the next four days and am not able to drink anything. It's basically a defeat all around.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

August 7th Anniversary...

Today I was at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi for the 10 year anniversary of the bombing in which 46 staff were killed. The event started with the marines playing Taps which got me thinking about how music so easily strikes an emotion. I mean, is Taps an inherently sad song or have I just seen and heard it at enough sad events that it's inextricably linked to sadness. Same with Amazing Grace played on bagpipes. Does certain music actually evoke a similar emotion in everyone or could some hear Taps and think it's a pretty good party tune?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Solzhenitsyn has died....


It is a sad day. If you have not yet read the Gulag Archipelago or A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch you should stop what you are doing right now and go buy them.

"For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones."

One obituary is here.