Saturday, May 19, 2007

AfriGadget - solving everyday problems with African ingenuity

Really not sure about how this works (live bookmarking etc) but this is a great idea for spreading the word .. About BlogAfrica

This leads me to AfriGadget which then ... arrrghhhh .. why is the everyday world not as efficient as the internet .. I can do so much just with a laptop and my fingertips but it takes so long to drive places that I have to leave now just to be able to fit in everything I have to this weekend, back and forth driving to get to see & do everything I need to today (including seeing my darling Uncle because my Aunt died a few days ago).

Have to go offline now .. as soon as I get back I'll be sifting through Eric Hersman's site and no doubt making contact to help in some way .. Neeeeed ... more .. .hours .. in .. the .. day !

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Congratulations Brami

We've been Afrigator'd.

I'd like to introduce another fabulous page. John Powers of Bazungu Bucks

has helped us in many ways; not only pushing us up the blogging curve, but in simply including us in his network. John mentions Ethan Zuckerman
who I had the pleasure of communicating with a few months ago over our
current project promoting Solar Cooking. Ethan highlighted a few
realities of rushing into helping the africans in general without
thought for their customs, ways of life e.g. solar cooking (slow
cooking but using the power of the sun) may have a massive amount of
advantages but could possibly alter the taste meaning people won't like
the food .. and the whole project fails. Solar Cooking International,
however, who introduced us, have a tried and tested well-established
procedure for training and gentle introduction to this much-needed
concept. All details and even plans of action for helping, field tests, etc are all available on their extensive Wiki.

Changing the subject (essential with my multi-tasking lifestyle) ..

Nick @ PodNosh suggested that I also take a look at Diggers Trackbacks Tutorial (for Blogger) too to help, many thanks to everyone but why doesn't Blogger give us automatic trackback ?

If anyone needs to Fire Up their Blogging I'd recommend ScribeFire I'm now testing the new Performancing-ScribeFire publishing tool .. if you're reading this ..

Lastly .. what a ride its been this last few days but thanks to everyone involved esp. Beth Kanter, Nick Booth,(hope my trackbacks worked) and Congratulations to Brami Jegan, my anonymous, link-less friend, for reaching the Orange Blogs Round Up for her article on the imbalance of media coverage of the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Every child is equal.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

AVIF Update 8

To all our prospective volunteers:

(This email is being sent to you as you have enquired about the Summer 2007 Volunteer Program or individual programme. Should you no longer be able to attend please let us know immediately as places are limited)


1. Please ensure that everyone has seen, read and returned the Medical Form from the Volunteer Handbook and sent in flight details.

2. By July 1st we will assume that without flight details you are NOT attending.
3. Itinerary as per website :
27 July arrival at JKIA, Nairobi & Gracia Guest House (see below)
Orientation 28 & 29 July
Return flights to Kisumu (book through or other) or road to Nakuru Mon 30 July
4 week programme 30 July to 26 August
Return flights to Nairobi for Safari rendezvous / own plans/ home 27 Aug
Maasai Mara Safari 27-30 Aug
30 Aug travel to Nairobi for return flights / hotel accommodation
NB. Safari is optional ~ itinerary on JOIN US > Safari section
Re. safari, numbers must be confirmed by 30 June.
GDS require deposits to secure by end June and full payment by end of July.

Please contact GDS directly or via the website link (JOIN US > Safari) to make arrangements. There is  an itinerary available there.
AVIF has no financial involvement with GDS.

4. Rather than approx USD70 to go by road (250kms and 5/6 hours) you can fly (45mins) for USD118  (one way) with AirKenya. Unfortunately 540 Airlines do not currently fly to the Mara.
This transfer cost is additional to the safari price quoted in the itinerary.

5. Our Food, Our World, Oxfam’s latest resource for teachers, introduces five children from around the world, and uses the food they eat to explore their lives. By focusing on similarities between the children, the pack helps to build global awareness and empathy with others, and also assists in challenging stereotypes.

Ideal for pupils aged 5-9, the pack covers issues such as food production, food transport, and healthy food. It contains a 64pp teachers’ booklet, 32 full-colour photocards, a CD-ROM, and a colourful A1 poster.

Teachers can also access free online materials (lesson plans, case studies, and photographs) on Cool Planet: . To receive a free poster featuring all five children, email your details (name, address, and job role) to: Our Food, Our World can be ordered from Oxfam’s Catalogue for Schools, or through the pages on Cool Planet.

Learning from the pros

In true Blog style I'm making use of all the incredible help and tips I've received over the past few short hours, simply by writing this post.

We've now joined Digg, Reddit, re-pinged with Technorati, been publicised by, been helped by Beth KanterStudio 501c, Podnosh and many more.

I try to use my Thunderbird (still trying to get to grips with it) Sent box to record all the daily occurrences made possible only by the internet but its hard to remember them all.

Brami just sent a HIGH FIVE by email .. I need to get her on Skype so I can send an emoticon backatcha .. she's another virtual friend that I may never meet. Truth is I may never meet 90% of our volunteers but I'm a lover of photographs being the next best thing and they ply me with many .. of course I'll make sure to load them onto Flickr now .. in fact I'm trying to figure out the Merge facility since "lucky me" Flickr and Yahoo just partnered up.

Its all going so well, thanks to everyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Invisible Madeleines


13 days ago four year old Madeleine McCann from Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared from the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal in which she was sleeping with her siblings whilst her parents had dinner less than 50 meters away.

Since then we have seen endless footage of two young individuals whose pain, sadness and fear for their daughter’s safety can not be described nor imagined. One only has to see Gerry and Kate McCann’s faces to know that every moment since that night has been a living nightmare for them.

11 days after the incident the reward offered to anyone with information leading to Madeleine’s safe return reached £2.5 million.  The generosity of the individuals who have contributed to this fund and every other that has taken time to help in some way is a display of human kindness at its finest. Once again we have united as a nation to show our support, courage and strength. We did this after little Jamie Bulger’s brutal murder, the 2004 Tsunami  and 07/07 and we will continue to do this as future tragedies take their place in history.

Yet there is something very uncomfortable and disconcerting about the media’s reaction to Madeleine McCann. As each day passes, it is becoming harder to ignore the imbalance of their reporting. Why has precedence been given to one child and her family over the countless others in this world who are locked in endless slavery, abuse, torture and poverty? 

The media say they report News. Surely it is the media that has driven the news over the past 13 days.  The momentum of this front page 24/7 reporting has created a void which is not backfilled by any measured reporting of an issue that affects thousands of children every day of every year.  Once again the media have failed to give voice to the poor.

In a report by Human Rights Watch published in January 2004, the report details child abductions in Northern Uganda as one of the most flagrant examples. ‘The Lord’s Resistance Army has abducted an estimated 10,000 children since mid 2002. These children are forced to fight against the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces, raid villages for food, slaughter civilians, and abduct other children. Children who try to escape are killed, typically by other children who are forced to beat or hack the victim or be killed themselves’.

Around Easter this year the plight of children slaving  on Cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast so that we can effortlessly eat Easter eggs was given some media attention albeit very minimal.  A survey in 2002 by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture found that 284 000 children were working in hazardous conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa.  Many of these children were trafficked. Imagine Wembley Stadium filled three times over. This is how many children’s lives are at stake.  

Why has this not been drummed, hammered and stamped into our conscience by the media with daily headlines and graphic accounts of these children?  Their names, their age, their smiles, their tears. We hear nothing. We see nothing. Why are we not reminded every day that bonded labour, warfare and child prostitution is an everyday reality for so many of the world’s children?

There is no doubt that there is a lot of money being given to aid children whose human rights have and are being violated. There are many selfless and generous people in our world and every bit counts. And there is no question of the validity of the reward to bring Madeleine home. Everyone wants this beautiful little girl to be safe and back in her parents’ arms again.

It is unfortunate that the media has isolated this heart wrenching story and have failed to frame it within a global context. Every child is priceless and most importantly every child is equal. As human beings we have a moral duty to remember the thousands of invisible children who we will never ever hear about every time we think, hope and pray for Madeleine McCann.

(Brami Jegan)