Roswell sheep

July 23, 2007

A friend sent me this…

Many will recall that on July 8, 1947, witnesses claimed that an unidentified object with five aliens aboard crashed onto a sheep and cattle ranch just outside Roswell , New Mexico . This is a well-known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and the Federal government.

However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of March, 1948, exactly nine months after that historic day, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Condolezza Rice, and Dan Quyale were all born.

This is what happens when aliens breed with sheep. This piece of information may clear up a lot of things.

Funnily enough, it does.

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Interesting piece by Matt Taibbi, where he looks at the new budget proposed by our Good Friend Double U and the complete lack of attention it’s getting in the media.

That’s not only bad government, it’s bad capitalism. It makes legalized bribery and political connections more important factors than performance and competition in the corporate marketplace. Beyond that, it’s just plain fucking offensive to ordinary people. It’s one thing to complain about paying taxes when those taxes are buying a bag of groceries once a month for some struggling single mom in eastern Kentucky. But when your taxes are buying a yacht for some asshole who hires African eight year-olds to pick cocoa beans for two cents an hour … I sure don’t remember reading an excuse for that anywhere in the Federalist Papers.

The whole story here…

Last week I was in town buying some office stuff and after many visits to even more shops, found a new desk to use in our office. On of them nice do-it-yourselves, with a manual translated from Chinese into English by a Taiwanese fourth grader. Put screw A into hole C, somewhere, on the back of shell H. Anyway, had to put it on the roof of Sue, being only a short chassis Land Rover and found my trusty shoulder bag in the way. Never leave that out of sight, thinking ‘you should have known better’ every time I hear a tourist tell of stolen phones or wallets. But then, all I had to do was put one box on the roof, so I put the bag in the car, on the drivers seat, lifted the box up and looked back at my bag exactly 5 seconds later. Except it wasn’t there. Keys, schedule, papers and ofcourse my wallet, with my passport (which I normally NEVER take with me but just needed that day), driving license, ATM cards, lots of money which had just come out of the ATM, you name it, it was gone. Stupid Niels.

Spent a nice morning at the local police office, a nice afternoon calling the world canceling my plastic and surfing the embassy site figuring out how to replace Dutch papers from abroad. A friend told me I should check the post office cause the stuff the thief doesn’t need sometimes ends up there and I thought… Yeah, right!

So what do you know? Few days later I get a message in my postbox telling me to pick up my passport?! And, once there, I find that just about everything with my name on it, passport, driving license, ATM cards, even the address some pretty girl gave me not too long ago, was put in a small envelope and dropped into the post office’s inbox?!

Sure, the money is gone, and so is my favorite bag. But then, stuff gets stolen everywhere in the world. Did you ever hear of thieves with a conscience? Must be a Tanzanian Honour Thing or something. Amazing how life keeps on surprising me…

Ah, and it’s been a while since my last update so more stuff happened, ofcourse. Work is busy, we’ll be running a week long training for our new schools. Football has finished which well pleases my liver. Been on safari when a Dutch friend dropped by about a month ago and got my first close up sighting of rhino’s. Had a brilliant weekend at Tona Lodge, in the Pare mountains, with my old friend The Captain, So much to write and I’ll do it, one day.

For now, just know if you live here long enough the Tanzanian winter (15 degrees!) feels so cold we’re living inside as much as possible, and life is still good…

Loans that change lives

March 21, 2006


You know the one about not giving someone a fish so he can eat for a day but instead teaching him how to fish so he will have food forever? Hell, I’ve used that one many times on this log alone. Which is why I’m happy with new initiatives on a small scale that I see here and there. Initiatives where the Internet is used the way it should be used, as an information channel. To bring people together.


The first allows local, small scale entrepreneurs (read: farmers, owners of small shops etc..) to showcase their business and list what they need to improve (read: invest) in order to grow their business. Then, people in the Richer Countries, can pick any project they like and extend a personal loan. That’s treating people like partners and not like Poor People Needing a Handout. It’s working through existing microfinance institutions and lots of dedication and proper management, or so it seems. There might still be many things that can go wrong, it seems to me a hell of a lot better than those big NGO’s flying in white people to build classrooms.

It’s called Kiva, “Loans that change lives” and can be found at kiva.org.

I quote from Kiva’s site:

By choosing a business on our website and then lending money online to that enterprise, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive monthly email updates that let you know about the progress being made by the small business you’ve sponsored. These updates include reports on loan repayment progress, photos of new capital equipment, narratives on business growth and standard of living improvements, and more. As loans are repaid, you will get your original loan money back.

The second initiative is geared more towards projects and foundations and operates world wide. It’s about donations, not loans but still in the microfinance sphere, accepting donations to “fund locally-run social and environmental projects from around the world”. Again, bringing the receiver and sender into direct contact using the Internet. You can check this one out at globalgiving.org.

And finally, a success story I read in the paper version of the East African, our excellent weekly paper on the whole region. It’s called “Selling sandals on the Net” and details how Ecosandals, a 10-year-old Kenian co-operative creates sandals with an African touch, out of car tires and leather, and sells over 1000 pairs every month to the US and Europe using the Internet.