Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rorya HQ: Blah Blah Continues…

I wish I had this wonderful magic wand that I could just swing around. Trust me on this – the first folks that I would have wiped out, or turn into little creepy creatures would have been Bongoland politicians. Man, I hate them.

And talking about Bongoland, did you know that witchdoctors are licensed by the government? Honestly, that was a huge revelation to me. I thought all you had to do was to find a mat and a shade at Mnazi Mmoja in Dar and walaahh!

Seriously, since these things are supposedly done in the “dark”, how would government’s regulatory body know which doctors are qualified? Or could it be that the process is so easy, since most of the government officials are customers anyway, putting them in a great position to gauge the effectiveness of the doctors?

I’m just kidding, but October 2010 is not that far. Just watch out for the heavy traffic on Bagamoyo Road.

Sorry for the digression.

My talk really was this Rorya headquarters thing. I know for some of you, this is a nonissue. I can understand that. Nonetheless, to me this is a classic case of how folks in Bongoland will NEVER see progress in a short while. I mean, if the government can’t decide on a newly established district’s headquarters, what makes you think they are capable of managing other complex and scientific endeavors?

Think about that.

News is, folks in Bongoland are waiting for the president to decide on the Rorya HQ.

The saddest part is that I reflected on this on January 28, 2008. That was exactly one year ago (that is discounting the fact that the whole saga started in 2006). Essentially, it is going to take the government more than 365 days to decide something that could be done in a day!
How I wish for that magic wand!

Seriously, something is very wrong in Bongoland.
Photo Credit: Me

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Africa: Are You Listening?

In one of my previous postings, I cautioned Africans of treating President Barack Obama as their own. That is not completely ignoring the fact that on some levels, he is. As a leader of the most powerful nation, his Kenyan roots give a reason for the level of optimism currently flowing through Africa.

Nonetheless, that’s where it starts and ends.

I have always said this and I will not shy away from repeating it – progress and regression are both built on certain principles. The progressive principles do not look at color, creed, social status and whatever category one would want to throw into the mix. Nonetheless, those principles reward those who are willing to embrace them. Likewise, regression principles will always work for those who fall in love with them.

In the inaugural speech, President Obama reminded not only the American people, but the entire world of the principles on which the Americans society has managed to build a powerful nation. Furthermore, he reminded the world that the United States of America will not change its core principles. Just to quote him: “We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense”.

I cautioned Africans that Obama will be the president of the United States of America first. Though he talked about partnering with poor countries, I didn’t get any indication that in so doing, the United States of America will embrace the regressive principles that most African leaders tend to uphold. I wonder if regressive African leaders paid attention to the following remark:

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy

Robert Mugabe, are you listening?

I told you, Obama will whack Africa and no evil African president will ever cling to the old Western imperialism rhetoric. If the inaugural speech was the indication, then let’s get ready for change we can believe in.

And I love that.
Photo Credit: Me

Friday, January 16, 2009

RTF: Early In the Morning...

Way back when, I took an Educational Psychology class. In that class, I learned that our intelligence is a combination of two things – nature and nurture. Nature, obviously, is self-explanatory. It is those inert qualities that God has bestowed on us. Nurture, on the other hand, is just the environment which shapes us.

The argument is that if you take two people with equal “natural intelligence”, a separating factor could be the environment that influenced their perception and interpretation of concepts. I guess that’s what makes siblings to be different, for instance.

I believe that culture is one of those things that act as a nurturing agent.

See, one cold winter morning, I received a call from a fellow gentleman. This gentleman happens to be also from Bongoland. In a thousand ways, we share the same background.
The call came in it at around 6:30AM. When I looked at the caller ID, I identified that person who was calling. From my experience in the United State, you typically don’t get calls that early, unless it is something serious. As such my expectation was there was something serious, only to realize it was just a matter that I could have been informed of at 10:00am!

I was ticked off, but that got me thinking….

See, the cultural realities of the American life have affected my reception, perception and interpretation of certain things. From an American perspective, I could have just berated this caller, not for the message but for the timing. I mean, seriously, why would you wake up someone for stuff that could have been discussed later in the day?

That, however, is from one side of the coin.

See, where I grew up (precisely, Shirati, Tarime, Mara, Tanzania, East Africa) it is not surprising for folks to pay a visit to you (especially if you are in a position to resolve their “problem”) early in the morning. The reason, as I got thinking, is that folks in place like Shirati take life on a daily basis. No long term plans, because even if they wanted to have long term plans, life just does not allow it.

Given lack of resources leading folks to live day-to-day, timing is everything. Timing matters. If you have an issue and you know a certain cousin can lend a hand, you better go early before the cousin receives requests for the day!

As I thought of that, I just laughed, for I know that my caller was operating on a default mode. Seriously, how could one shave off a natural tendency acquired in a period of over 40 years in less than five years? It is difficult…and I think those psychologists who identified nurture as a factor in our actions are right.
Photo credit: marrngtn.wordpress.com