Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Articles of interest to moi (2016)

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Monday, May 16, 2016

You haven’t lived ‘til you try the chef’s crispy jelly…oh and let’s not forget his bony boneless chicken as well

Hola peeps.

I am writing this a day after my bro Ayo turned 40. Called him to wish him the best and also laugh at his old arse when he retorted that I’d attain the same milestone – if you can call it that – in just 5 months. Woah, I am old. Real old. I remember my 30th birthday party like it was yesterday: the crowds, the multiple females I danced with wondering which I’d date, ahhh good times. Fast forward a decade and the more things change the more they stay the same.
Pssst, I really do not know what the last part of that sentence means, but seems like what a mature 40-year old person would say….

At my age I should be concerned with real world problems, but instead I’m wondering why my toilet appears to be breathing, why the air freshener I nicked from the gym – hotel has refused to provide me one – smells worse than poop, and why hotel equipped me with pink bog roll after I informed them this would be my last month at their establishment. Also don’t get why they gotta change my internet password every month. Latest password is…wait for it….666 (no jokes about Yoruba demons please). Happy with the service, staff, and swimming pool I have never used (save for a night-time pool party last December), but after a year in hotel accommodation I reckon it’s time I make like a 40 year old man and get my own apartment.
Pssst, don’t tell anyone this, but lately after I catch myself doing something infantile I look into phone to catch a reflection of self and whisper to self, “You are a 40 year old executive of a company in a foreign country, GET WITH IT!” Then I pick my nose and wipe its contents on the front of my trousers….

The apartment I chose is very nice. Has a gym, a jacuzzi, maid, laundry, and just about everything I’d at hotel, save food. Apartment is also equipped with a cooker and hoped to get a discount on rent by telling the manager the truth about cooker never getting used, but that didn’t fly. I move in on the first of next month and most exciting thing about new crib is its proximity to the training center where I take kickboxing classes. Okay, in all honesty I have only taken two classes but that’s a start, right?

Had my first kickboxing class on Saturday and didn’t realize how lissome I was….NOT! Shoulda taken yoga or salsa as a prerequisite. 
Thought it was a good omen when I saw a documentarian with his camera - if you catch a simulacrum of someone like me in an Oscar-nominated doc on martial artists in South Sudan, it's probably me - and coach said, "take your time, you cannot be Van Damme in one day", taking me back to that Kickboxer (or was it Bloodsport?) movie from my childhood. I imagined myself in the Van Damme mode ready to go through any pain in order to avenge my brother (read mates robbed by security operatives…more on that later), until my wonky left hip kicked in. Yup, same left hip that got hurt in a football tourney back in 2013. It had been so long it hurt that bad. Guess I am gonna have to acquiesce to orthopedic surgeon’s prognosis after all and cough up £15k for a laser surgery. Maybe I can raise the bucks by winning the prize money in a martial arts tourney like that Bloodsport (or was it Kickboxer?) movie from my childhood. Anyway, the first day of my "movie" ended with me practising more shadowboxing than kickboxing, while learning I never quite mastered the art of skipping rope with both feet off ground at same time, and promising the coach I'd show up the next day.

The next day, Black Damme (i.e. Black Van Damme) psyched himself up with the ‘mind-over-matter’ mantra favoured by drug cheats and less-endowed strippers everywhere, i.e. if you don't Mind (winning or making money) it doesn't Matter (what sorta gunk you put into your body). Could not locate illicit drugs anywhere to dull the pain so he loaded himself up with Vitamin C and Lucozade. An hour and a half's worth of training later, where he learned his 3x a week HIIT cardio has nada on kickboxing training, the soles of his feet were caked in a batter (geddit?) of Vaseline and E45 ‘cos of blisters, and for some reason his right armpit hair kept falling out. He spent the rest of the day switching between TV and googling "vitamin c and lucozade effect on armpits".
This paragraph was brought to you by your local pharmacy….hey, who am I to balk at product placements if the Hollywood geniuses can fully embrace them….

Speaking of Hollywood, during last trip to Nairobi I binged on movies in the cinema while waiting on portable hard disk to get fixed – long story. Saw Zoo-topia/tropolis, Barbershop 3 and Eye In The Sky, back to back. Yup, that’s what Juba does to moi. All great movies, but most interesting thing about the experience was not hearing any murmurs of Kenyans about their country being mentioned as we exited the last movie. My Nigerian people woulda been shouting at top of their voices on the phone and to anyone who’d listen, “Did you see how this oyinbo people dissed us?” Case in point is Captain America: Civil War. Now I haven’t seen the movie – it’s being reserved for next trip outside Juba – but all everyone back home keeps telling me is about a scene that featured Lagos. Thought we’da been over this by now. Similar happened with that crap Bruce Willis movie Tears of the Sun, which I am sure got most of its box office takings from Nigerians going to catch it so they could tell others about how their country was portrayed. Anyone recall the pre-I’ve-got-99-problems-but-the-IRS-is-the-main-one Wesley Snipes starrer Sugar Hill? How about the awful The Real McCoy where Val Kilmer’s character informs Kim Basinger’s that Betamax VCRs are still in use in Nigeria? The movie was released in 1993! Everyone knows we stopped using Betamax way back in 1990. Booo Hollywood, booooooo……
Pssst, going back to previous paragraph for a bit, anyone know the use of armpit hair? Googling “what is armpit hair used for”……

Back at Bradford some girl copped a car for £50….yup, didn’t know those existed either. The jalopy was in its element within Bradford city limits, but as soon as she drove the car outside Bradford it would begin coughing and sputtering, Soon as she reversed back from the ‘Goodbye From Bradford’ sign the car would miraculously resume its merry jalopy way. My body seems to be that car; I have become so used to Juba whenever I leave I contract an illness. During aforementioned trip to Nairobi I came down with a bad cold and contracted typhoid fever during a previous trip to Kampala. Plan was to attend a friend’s wedding, but ended spending most of time between the hospital and pal David’s couch. Can’t complain much though, as on first night of arrival we went to Big Mike’s where the DJ was amazing. Huge contrast from Juba where DJs seem to share same playlist.

Last late-night outing in Juba had worse music than I remember. Only eventful incident was a gunshot in the club….yup, didn’t know, well, knew those existed. You’ve heard of the Internet Of Things? Well, let me introduce you to the Juba Of Things where network of humans are so connected when an incident occurs to one person you know, chances are it’ll happen to someone else in your circle before the week runs out. Mate has been robbed twice in a month on his way to work in the morning, another friend got robbed within a week of other mate’s first robbery by same set of security operatives. They even took her shoes! Girl is so traumatized she no longer drives alone past 7pm. The modus operandi is the same: car gets stopped for a security check, then after the “search” one is requested to hand over phones and other valuables. If one protests they are beaten up and/or threatened with being shot. Now with these incidents recalling trauma of getting jacked in Nigeria yonks ago, you’d think I’d be warier of moving out at night, right? Wrong. Maybe something in me thinks my kickboxing lessons render me bullet-proof.
You are a 40 year old executive of a company in a foreign country, GET WITH IT!

The Juba Of Things may also apply to animals as this is the only place I know where dogs cross the road without a care in the world, and expect cars to slow down for them. Even with dog carcasses lying by the road side it appears the circuits embedded in their brain doesn’t appreciate the death of their kinfolk. Or maybe they so tired of life they just wanna go to doggie heaven. No way The Littlest Hobo  would have made it in Juba.

I’da coined the Juba Of Things for what I mentioned in last blog entry about folks’ chilled out attitude to work, even for multinational companies. Tried to transport some goods out of the country last month and was assured they had been dispatched, only upon further enquiry 3 weeks later did I discover they were still warehoused in Juba. No updates, no nada. If I hadn’t followed up I am sure goods would still be in the country. Noticed same with the news: Sometimes 8 o’clock news on TV starts at 8pm, sometimes 803pm, sometimes 805pm, sometimes no news broadcast is shown at all. It appears the news producer thought, “we don’t have much to report today so let’s not even bother…maybe nobody will notice, they are probably too busy avoiding running over stray dogs.” The news station needs its very own Ron Burgundy to start making up stuff on air.

When TV is not on terrestrial news I am glued on BBC World News. So grown up, eh? I am addicted to HARDtalk. Seriously, every guest deserves a commemorative I Survived HARDtalk tee shirt. Love that show. Soul Music on the BBC World Service is also worthwhile listening in the car.
One thing I am gonna miss about my hotel though are the oldies that blare over the speakers. A couple of months ago they decided to chime in music and for an entire week all I heard was Celine Dion. Now I love Celine as much as the next guy, but my old ears can only withstand so much grating. After repeated complaints the playlist was expanded to everything from Country-Western to R&B. Ace listening to songs I had long since forgotten about and reminiscing about where I was when I first heard them.

The music channel on dodgy cable on display in the hotel seems to show only old videos as well, especially in the morning. While having breakfast last week I was compelled to think back to which of the ABBA ladies I had a crush on as a kid, or why wasn’t it so obvious Boney M were lip-syncing, or how dude that wrote The Rain musta been really cheated on by a chick. Seriously, which R&B song in the 80s has the lyrics, You without me: like cornflake without the milk/ It's my world--you just a squirrel/ tryin' to get a nut/ Now get on outta here/ Ah! Don't touch that coat! I have heard of gangsta rap, but gangsta R&B?!
Because I Love You came on this morning and couldn’t help but marvel at how much music videos had changed – yes, old guys tend to do that. That video would never pass muster today. Or can you imagine Chris Brown singing Guy’s Let’s Chill without doing his patented epileptic dance moves? Neither can I.  On a side note, Teddy Riley had the coolest beard ever.

Sooooo back to the present. Sorta a shame I am leaving hotel as really enjoyed staying here. Spent almost a year here and only 3 clothes have been ruined; at previous hotel I lost 3 shirts in less than 2 months. Sure, these guys took the piss now and then, but they always made up for it, like providing me my own cable decoder. They seem to have stepped up their game after the opening of a new hotel down the road. Since then I’ve been pampered with fruit baskets every month. As the hotel is fancied by the big kahunas in Juba, I have gotten to meet loadsa cool people such as Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times and the new Fifa President. So many memories…

This hotel was first place I took a boda boda to, this was in order to retrieve passport after airport official would not allow me use driver’s license (even after airline staff had deemed it okay to issue me with a boarding pass) on a local flight. With incident that occurred at Nairobi airport in January and this Juba incident, I’da made #TravellingWhileNigerian, or #PotOnKettleCrime a trending topic on Twitter. Oh I forgot, I have a life, that’s why I ain’t on Twitter.

How can I forget the folk that keep mangling name? There’s been Twende, Tunday, Tundy, Tundee, Tunda, Tuna, Soonday, etc. Seriously, I may need to get a South Sudanese name as given up correcting folk. Gonna miss my pals at hotel gym the most though. They’ve helped me stay on point. So much so I have won the abs-off competition I had with pal Bobby in Abu Dhabi. Problem now is, like Bobby, I have taken to showing off body at every opportunity. The other day I had a headache and when describing symptoms to female pharmacist I asked if I could take top off. C’mon, like you wouldn’t do the same if you were a 40 year old Nigerian in Juba with abs of steel… this where I confess my new favourite pastime is feeling my abs through my shirt when I am bored in meetings, or that each of my packs is nicknamed after movies in the Rocky franchise?
You are a 40 year old executive……….

Tot ziens and God bless. 

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Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Hola peeps.

I am not even going to apologize or promise to blog more often as we all know it’s a lie. All I can say is reading two books just published by close friends (Baron Of Broad Street and And After Many Days) has reawakened the writing ranting spirit in me. Long may it last……but we know it mightn’t.

With oil price achieving record lows daily most people in South Sudan are panicking, but I have always had this preternatural sense of not bothering about stuff I cannot directly control….except when it comes to sports. Thinking of signing on to Twitter just so I’d keep alive the #WengerMustGoNow hashtag. C’mon this is just plain ridiculous. Good thing I spent a significant portion of the season buffing shoes whenever Arsenals games are on, else watching the games woulda been a complete waste of time. The punks. Didn’t catch the Oscars last weekend as hotel cable network did not show it. So, yeah in essence, I, ahem, boycotted the Oscars in solidarity with Will and Jada. Talk about wrong spokespersons to head a campaign. Then Snoop Dogg/Lion/Zoo jumped on the bandwagon as well ranting about his lack of Grammys. Boo hoo.

So what’s good? Since last blog entry…hold on, lemme check when that was…May 2015! Oh my, I have been a lazy boy, haven’t I? So let’s make up for lost time. Since last blog entry I have moved hotels, visited Zambia for business – where I spent a night on transit in Addis Ababa and got to understand why Ethiopian men never bother with women outside their country…man, even the ugly women were hot – I am still trying to get effected (more on that later), done Kampala a number of times to take a break from the Juba heat, few days Mozambique for business, and Nairobi for business where I was held up at the airport for over an hour even though I had a multiple entry visa, yup, amazing what respect is afforded one with a Nigerian passport. Kenyan mate insisted the immigration folk were angling for a bribe and didn’t believe her until a few days later on another trip when an airport police officer under the guise of searching for drugs blatantly requested a bribe. I mean, what gives?! Shameful.

So what have I learnt with all my African waka? Travel within Africa is a huge pain in the backside, what with all the crap airline connectivity between countries and visa requirements. It took two months to get a 6-month Kenya multiple entry visa even though I was assured it would take a quarter of the time. Travel to Uganda from Juba using Kenya Airways is just as ridiculous as one would have to fly over Uganda to Nairobi, and then hop on another plane back to Uganda.
Also learnt Ethiopia has the best-looking women in Africa, Kampala is the party capital of East Africa, Nairobi traffic is at par with Lagos only they are more organized and don’t hoot the car horns like crazy Nigerians do, to avoid travelling to Kampala on a Friday evening as the traffic from Entebbe airport into town is ridiculous…not as bad as Nairobi’s though.

Work load’s crazy intense now, but when things were a bit chill in July/August I was in Kampala every other weekend. Got to the point my pal David’s help got tired of me. Initially it was “Hey, welcome sir!” then eventually transformed to “this n*&%ga’s back again?!” sotto voce. You cannot blame me though. Efforts to get mates to reciprocate visit so I could show them the sighT and sounD of Juba have yielded no takers.  Things got so boring I tried to enroll for both boxing and yoga classes on same day. Taken to wearing watch on right wrist now ‘cos….just ‘cos. Hey, it’s just another way to say I did something different.

Back in the UK I once bumped into Kinzo practicing Will Smith’s moves in the Men In Black music video.
Let me see ya just bounce it with me, just bounce with me, just bounce it with me c'mon / Let me see ya just slide with me, just slide with me, just slide with me c'mon / Let me see ya take a walk with me, just walk it with me, take a walk with me c'mon / And make your neck work, Now freeze...
Recall that part? Yeah, so I walk into the living room and there’s my older brother in front of the TV doing the moves. I crack up and tease him no end that day. What he didn’t know was I had been practicing same moves too, furtively, some days prior…under the duvet…while lying on the couch. Heck, ain’t no way I was gonna be the subject of family’s mirth-inducing tale! And why am I telling y’all this? ‘Cos one of David’s mates in Uganda reminds me of Kinzo. Alan is the ne plus ultra of the old guy at the club that initiates a dance-off with others to demonstrate how hip he is. I love him, but dude must spend most of his babysitting time practicing shoki instead of looking after his kids when his wife ain’t home. U know u old when u see a grown-ass man dancing shoki and u think to urself, “ain’t that dude too old to be attempting the shoki dance?” while u console urself by dancing like the dude from Erasure. Er, speaking of Erasure you know what David’s most frequently asked question of Siri is? “Siri, why can’t white people dance?” David and his mates deserve their own reality show.

Zambians are real slow when it comes to business decisions and recognizing the time-value of money, but still enjoyed my time there. I left there thinking one should undertake some research into how idiosyncrasies develop in each country. For instance, in Zambia they recall time in 24hr segments unlike everywhere else I have been. Took a while for ears to get used to “eighteen hours” as opposed to “six pm” or “oh-two hrs” instead of “2am”. Quite delightful if you ask me. Plus, they have had (when I visited) constant electricity supply and even exported same to neighboring countries. During recent blackouts, due to maintenance at transmission stations, folk had no electricity to power cookers so resorted to charcoal as hardly anyone uses gas for cooking. My Zambian friend was once evicted from his apartment after landlord discovered he had a gas canister. Dude was accused of trying to burn down the house. To avoid a recurrence his current landlord is unaware he still uses gas for cooking. Amazing. In Zambia also tried Chikanda – African polony.For some reason one cannot refer to it just as ‘Chikanda’ it must be ‘Chikanda – African Polony’ like it’s a movie sequel or something. Even movie titles get abbreviated, e.g. First Blood part 2: Rambo is now just Rambo, but noooo, Chikanda has to be Chikanda: African polony. All in all it definitely is a taste that I did not acquire while over there. While departing for the airport it suddenly dawned on me all the billboards in Ndola, Zambia seemed to be owned by the G. Rutherford Advertising agency. Weird thang is they have more billboards advertising their agency than actual client products or services. Most of the billboards are of smiling females. Go figure.

Oh, Job, yes dude from the Bible, probably spent some time in South Sudan before he got afflicted with disease as that musta been the only way he learnt to be patient. My goodness! There must be something about Juba that makes people just regard work as a hobby. I have come across lazy, carefree workers in Nigeria but what I have seen right here takes the piss and then adds some drips. I had a full head of hair - it was an afro wig but, still - when I arrived in Juba; now I am fully bald and beard is all grey. With associates I have tried everything from Obama-esque rousing speeches to threats to taking over their tasks in an attempt to shame them into working, but nada seems to work. Tried prayer too and if this keeps up I am gonna open my own church with a fancy Nigerian-esque title like Church Of The Praying Eye Bags. Speaking of eye bags I look constantly tired and doesn’t help that I spend my weekends thinking up ways to motivate staff. I really need to set up that church…well, maybe not so fast as I’d probably end up being pastor cum usher cum choir cum congregation. Remind me again why I chose to come to Juba?

If I had written this blog two months into my Juba sojourn I would have crowed about how impressed I had been with the folks here. Do you know while trying to register company visited loadsa government institutions and amount paid was what was reflected on receipt? Not one person asked for "lunch money" or "something for weekend"?  Had only seen traffic police now and then harass mostly foreigners for bribes…..until this punk at the airport in July.

Got to airport early enough and while in departure lounge it occurred to me I had left funds in hotel room. Now hotel’s less than five minutes’ drive from airport so pleaded with one of the officials there to let me out as I’d be stuck in destination without funds for hotel and the like. After hemming and hawing and spouting some official line about not being allowed to leave after entering departure area he said he’d let me go if I gave him “something”. U’da seen the rage I felt inside, almost smacked the guy. 3 whole months of South Sudanese worker integrity as my rubric to folk in Nigeria and then this doofus ruins it! Boy, was I disappointed. Told him he wasn’t gonna get squat, then I called a colleague who came by, picked up keys to hotel and returned with funds. The bribe-seeking airport official musta felt embarrassed because as soon as I told him off he furtively crawled away and didn’t see him until I boarded flight. Or maybe it was his lunch break, who knows? Saw same dude at airport early this year and he obviously didn’t recognize me because he approached me with that same ‘I-am-engaging-in-mindless-chatter-with-you-so-I-can-get-something-off-you’ look all frequent travelers through Nigerian airports must be used to.

First trip to airport after I moved here in April was no less dramatic. It was a local flight and had to get off plane 2ice after boarding. First time we were informed one of the engines was faulty and when we boarded again plane sped up until end of runway, but couldn't achieve lift. We disembarked and a standby plane was flown in from over two hours away. Finally, we get to leave for our destination….not so fast as air conditioning on backup plane was faulty. Had to wait for original plane to be fixed so spent a total of 5hrs before departing from Juba – the Juba airport is not a place you want to spend a significant amount of time due to inadequate seating and poor ventilation. My South Sudanese colleagues kept insisting we reschedule, but told him I'd experienced worse in Naija. If we had returned another time it'd still be same plane we'd travel on so why bother? Naija hardens folk, man.

Pluses about Juba? The people are uber nice and in order to avoid ennui I do the gym about 4x a week now in addition to 3x a week intense cardio stuff I did to get my fancy shoes. Yup, I am slowly shrinking into…well, let’s just say this: I didn’t learn to whistle until my 20s and so when I discovered dimples some months back I thought it was just another of those late developmental things until I discovered it was not as I suspected. You know you getting real gaunt when you develop faux dimples. I am like a walking Zoolander poster now. I suspect the problem’s due to the high intensity cardio workout but I am too scared to stop as I know how difficult it was to complete the routine. Yes, my name is Tunde and I am a high intensity cardio workout addict….. Oh, and also recently noticed left foot’s slightly longer than right foot. Now having to wear two pairs of socks on right foot in order to compensate.

So ten months in Juba now and time does fly. Juba has its quirks, it’s only place I know that has more Chinese hospitals than Chinese restaurants. Had to visit one in August after I overdid it at the gym – that’ll teach me for trying to one-up gym instructor in front of his Ethiopian girlfriend. Anyways they had a South Sudanese dude interpreting my ailments to the doctor and afterwards I was given some tablets and two aerosol sprays. One spray smelled of oyster sauce and the other like freshly plucked chicken; tablets tasted like wood chippings. Did it cure my ailment? Can’t remember actually, all I know is I always developed an appetite after using the aerosol sprays, plus stray animals would cozy up to me.

Everyone has all their names, well at least three of them, in official docs, biz cards, plaques, etc., and they are addressed as same to boot. So if JFK was South Sudanese he’d always be addressed as ‘John Fitzgerald’, only with first part of name being his English/Christian name and second being indigenous. Guess it’d work for those Nigerians who introduce themselves as – my pet peeve by the way – “my names ARE…” No, surely you mean your name IS…
Had to ask a South Sudanese about the multiple name thang and she didn’t even realize they did that. Guess it takes strange/different eyes to notice things. Must be why other folk say Nigerians are loud and yet we VIGOROUSLY DENY IT WITH OUR EYES WIDE OPEN AND OUR VOICES LOUD ENOUGH TO BE HEARD FROM SPACE.

The South Sudanese greet each other by touching shoulder, handshake and then a hug. Not as creepy as the Middle Eastern nose-touch though. They love shaking a lot too. Yesterday I shook someone’s hands and immediately saw him pick his nose. Did he do same before he shook my hand? Hmmm….I have taken to carrying a hand sanitizer everywhere I go now. Oh yeah, Juba’s probably still only airport where temperature screening is carried out on incoming passengers. Problem is weather’s hot so how could one tell if high body temperature’s as a result of the weather or Ebola?

Just returned from the Nigerian Community Association meeting. Attended my first in July last year and do utmost to attend these monthly events regularly. Honestly, after first meeting I swore I’d give it one more go, and if there was no improvement in time-keeping I’d boycott them. After second meeting I realized I’d not have as much comic relief anywhere else in Juba should I avoid these meetings. You can take the Nigerian outta the country, but for obvious reasons you cannot cleave the country from him. Meeting that shoulda begun at 3pm didn’t kick off until 430pm – today’s started at 450pm - and when I asked one of the officials why, he said "u know African time na".

That first meeting was akin to a Nollywood movie in some instances: Anyone getting up to speak would follow the established format which is a call and response. One’d say “good people”, and everyone else would chorus “great nation”. Sometimes some would repeat it more than once, or even switch up the order to “great nation” first and we’d all respond “good people”. One time some dude stood up to make a point before he was beckoned, and when told to follow proper protocol he took exception to way the official – as it turns out it was the same “u know African time na” dude - spoke to him, and that resulted in 5 mins of back and forth. "Gerrraway, am I ya boy that you talk like that to me?!" Bloody hilarious. Apart from that, quite liked the fact that most folk wore traditional outfits. Some dude came with NYSC hat and shirt though. That confused me. I get it if it was laundry day, but a bad hair day as well?!
Best thing about first meeting was appeal for funds to help out members whose shops got burnt. There were also a security advisory by another guy who almost got mugged some days before in the daytime.

For 2nd meeting I made sure I arrived at 4pm yet meeting didn’t commence until thirty minutes afterwards. Some dude argued against giving bucks to just one of the dudes whose shop got burnt, but his point was pooh-poohed after it was explained to him that monies raised from members of the Nigerian Community would only be given to those who attend the meetings regularly. New members included two footballers, yup, there is a local league apparently, a policeman on international duty, and a guy that came “to visit his Nigerian in-laws”. Another new member – owns a bar - was asked for his passport after he said he was from Imo State (Eastern part of Nigeria), but gave two English-sounding names. Apparently, our Igbo brothers couldn’t believe there exists an Igbo guy in this world with both names being non-Igbo. These meetings are really my source of mirth in Juba.

The past ten months have been a valuable experience in running a start-up, but was most happy during breaks to Nigeria (and the UK) I took in August and December. During trip to the UK last month I couldn’t, ahem, download movies ‘cos most torrent sites I knew were barred so ended up securing, ahem, bootlegs off some trader in Lagos. You know Juba’s lack of cinemas has had an effect on you when you exchange numbers with a bootleg DVD seller and feel like it’s the most normal thang in the world.

Mom turned 70 in August so the entire clan went to the UK – she usually spends her summers there - for a celebration. As was a family event I was asked to MC and actually surprised myself with the heckuva job I did…if I do say so myself. Almost turned out to be a roast where select folk came forward and spoke about mom. Chief provided clipped remarks about mom’s vituperative mouth, uncle sent a message about mom’s sacrifice, aunts spoke nice stuff, sisters spoke about mom’s stroke of the cane, and it was left to me to round up the occasion. I was in my element, man, y’all shoulda seen me. Went on about us kids getting her a mirror as a present due to her vanity, even did Chris Rock’s patented leg stamp when making a point. Was excellent to see family guffawing. I am definitely volunteering to host more family events. This way I can diss everyone while couching it in humour. Me likey.

Oh, to show that age hasn’t slowed down mom’s “world revolves around me” vibe. I recently asked for confirmation of bank details in order to pay in some money. I got, “Atuns, so you don’t know me? What if I dropped dead? You want to tell me you don’t know my account details?” Oh my. Speaking of not changing, good to know fatherhood hasn’t affected my bro Loye as dude failed to contact someone I told him to. Had to frantically get someone else to reach out to said person before she departed Nigeria. Loye ended up calling the girl while she was on her way to the airport. This is same dude that forgot to hand over a present I bought for one of my nephews until I saw it ensconced in his suitcase nearly a year later! Yup, some things never change. Oh yeah, he and his wife recently gave birth to my 17th nephew….and if y’all keeping count at home that makes 23 grandchildren for Chief. Oh yes, now it all makes sense why I chose the move to Juba - no babysitting duties for moi.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Articles of interest to moi (2015)

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Doing the Aussie haka

Hola peeps.

So it’s a month in Juba and all is going swimmingly……well, as can be expected. Came up to room from breakfast this morning to pick up bag for office when I received a knock on door. Turns out to be the hotel’s security advisor – he didn’t show any identification now that I think of it – who said he received a report someone from my room was taking photos outside the window. Oh did I forget to tell you one ain’t allowed to take pics? Yup, one requires special permission and signs informing all of this are posted in most hotels. During first visit here in December I had iPad out at airport snapping at this and that until guide warned me of the dangers I’d face.

Informed the security dude was told he was mistaken and set about my day….well, as can be expected. You see for the past week loo has been leaking from the sides. Dunno what issue is, but wouldn’t rule out crap food I have been consuming in quest for perfect culinary experience. Seriously, DON’T RULE IT OUT. Anyway the maintenance dudes at hotel have been up to room so many times - like the dude fixing shower from last blog entry (oh by the way shower now produces hot water once one turns it on at least 30mins before shower time) – I feel awful when I have to recall them. Plus most times it coincides with after I just set bowels free and with no air freshener in room you can guess what their impression of me is.

Now I could cop a can of air freshener from the shops but tired of assisting this hotel folk, man. My clothes are never laundered properly, takes forever to get hot water, food sucks, for some reason housekeeping always place dental floss on side even though it is designed to be placed on its base, and worst of all got told off by an ugly chick. Now the last part sounds downright sad, but thang is…..okay here goes:

Was having dinner with some colleagues some days ago beside the hotel’s mirthful excuse for a pool and after they left wasn’t keen to go back to room so approached two ladies seated by themselves. I politely asked if I could join them as didn’t wanna finish eating meal alone. Got the quickest "no" ever in my life. U know one of them "no"s that make u think you have foul breath or something. Hey, do folk with foul breath even know they have foul breath, I mean how do u tell them without upsetting them? It ain’t like there’s a Tell Your Friend Their Breath Smells Day with an accompanying Hallmark card with a humorous title like So……erm, how’s the Halitosis?
After the “no” sunk in, shook my head, apologized and went back to my seat. Wanna know the most painful thang about being rejected? It was the ugly one that said it. If the better-looking one had done the same my ego wouldn't have been as bruised. Now thinking to self, "woah, spawn of Quasimodo probably thinks I fancy her. Darn."

This "no" took me back to teenage years when a friend and I were driving and saw 2 girls at the bus stop in Surulere. Now there was petrol scarcity at the time …hmmmm eerie, wonder where I have heard that before….. and mate had just got petrol after selling a pound of flesh, but he/we were willing to risk this for chicks. So as I am the designated 'scrub' (i.e. sitting in the passenger side of his mate's ride) I ask the cute one if they'd like a ride. She's keen and about to step in the car - I have a vague picture of her still - when the Coke-bottle-glasses-wearing friend screams at her until cute chick backs away. Yup, Bride of Frankenstein’s "no" was one of those that has one reminiscing, that's how bad it was.

Come to think about it I don’t remember the girl in glasses being that ugly, but then again it'd just be my fragile teenage ego trying to compensate for being rejected. Musta told y’all about time back in Bradford days when I hitched a ride to London with some dudes. They had come up for an end of term house party thrown by some mates. Apparently the driver got rejected by some chicks the night before and his excuse was...wait for it...."u saw the girl holding her stomach, right, like she was ill? I am sure she just had an abortion and that's why she didn't wanna holler at me". I didn't wanna say anything as this dude was my ride to London, but darn bro, really???? Yup, Zelda’s uglier sister’s “no” took me back to Bradford as well, darn it.

So where was I before my negative encounter? Yeah, crappy hotel. So I have decided to secure new digs and might settle for place with ace fruit juices even though I hear their rooms are just as crap. Well, at least they have a more diverse food menu. You know I got so tired of same ol’ breakfast offered here I bought a tin of oats and requested they make me oatmeal for breakfast. After waiting for 15mins I get a lukewarm cup of milky fluid sprinkled with oats. If I wanted to drink garri for breakfast I would have man, I requested oatmeal! I did my best can-u-imagine-ugly-girl-told-me-‘no’-snark while flawlessly executing a flipping-mythical-dreadlocks-as-if-obstructing-vision motion, picked up tin of oats and stomped out of the restaurant. First thang I did at office was to surf web for directions on how to make oatmeal with a microwave. Plan to give it to the restaurant folk tomorrow morning.

I haven’t been able to make the goat/chicken bbq spot I told y’all about last time, but NEED to do so this weekend as my lack of desirable food options is driving me bonkers. Someone suggested another Chinese place and when bill was provided (after another lackluster meal) I found myself doing the Aussie haka. Some bloke described that to me as what most New Zealanders do when they visit Australia. Things are so expensive there as compared to New Zealand, when a bill is provided they end up tapping both front and back pant pockets searching for money while screaming at top of their voices in a manner that is reminiscent of the ancestral war cry of the Maori New Zealanders.

Finally had some local food and favorite is fool (yeah, you read that right) which is some combination of beans and cheese. Now if there ever was a trivia question to Mr. T’s favorite meal you can thank yours truly for the answer. Not to worry some of you won’t get that joke for another week…..make that two weeks… I also tried kisra (which is like enjera but tastes better), kudura (which is green and tastes like ewedu), and some paste made with eggplant and groundnut. Speaking of groundnuts I found a spot where it’s sold so back to loving cooling down with nuts and ijebu garri after gym workouts. Sweet!

On a sad tip my pack of plantain chips is almost gone. Man, plantain chips has made me more friends here than I can count. In a weird way it was ‘cos of the chips I came across 3 good-looking sisters. They swore they were sisters but didn’t believe a word until I saw their identification. They all South Sudanese – or so they say – but look nada alike. The youngest kinda, sorta looks South Sudanese, the one before her Ugandan, and the oldest Kenyan. Don’t trust me on this as I haven’t been here long enough to positively identify folk. Took almost 4 years at Bradford before I’d tell the difference between Indians and Pakistanis. Surely someone musta created an app for that by now.
They need to do that asap for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ‘cos I get confused, and don’t wanna end up creating a stir or upsetting someone. Dave Chappelle had some sketch where he mistakes a Chinese guy for a Korean and dude blurts out “do I look Korean to you?!”, only for Dave to respond in the affirmative. Kills me everytime I hear that. Get same reaction when I recall one of the apocryphal stories we heard as kids where the Chinese national team was banned from football for decades after a game against Nigeria. As the story goes Nigeria led 3-nil at half time, then in the second half the Chinese came back and won 10-3. It wasn’t until after the game an intrepid sports journalist discovered the Chinese had subbed all 11 players at half time but ‘cos they looked alike no one was the wiser.

I had a white mate once confess he initially had difficulty telling black folk apart, and dude never said anything ‘cos didn’t wanna appear racist. Come to think of it he did mention he had a relative who’s a professional football referee. Mate from Bradford once used another black dude’s railcard, and even though the white ticket inspector scanned the card he let him through. Hmmmm, the ‘R’ word, used to be the black man’s get-out-of-jail card back in the day. Good times, good times.

Heading to gym soon as missed out on a workout yesterday. Trying to restrict the intense 27-minute cardio I told y’all about last time to thrice a week and gym to same. Might need to increase the latter ‘cos before I came over here folk complained of my gaunt appearance. Initially thought they were joking until I travelled to the UK and it was the same thing. Weird ‘cos I still weighed the same and wasn’t until pants started falling off waist and tried on a pair of waist size 30 pants – and they fit! – I knew this was serious. Yup, the quest for those expensive sneakers sure took their toll.

‘Cos of folks’ comments on appearance I have turned into the very folk I detest: peeps that look at themselves in gym mirrors. I find myself unconsciously flexing arms and admiring biceps. Shame. There’s this girl at the gym though that provides me comic relief. She does the mirror gaze thang worse than anyone I know, only she glances at her teeth. I kid you not. Maybe she eats a bowl of spinach before each gym visit?

One thing I have noticed is I seem to be the only one sweating. It gets crazy hot and I’m sweating even in an air conditioned car, but I see folk walking about with no sweat stains on clothes or perspiration on face. Women in make-up looking pristine and no smear. What gives?
Even with the heat folk here drink more tea than the English…with loadsa sugar. You visit someone and first thang they do is give you a bottle of water, ‘cos of the heat I presume, and ask if you want some tea.

Uh oh, gym’s on hold as just got a call from a friend who panics a lot. Called to see if I had bottled water as she was stocking up ‘cos she had got wind stores were running out of the good stuff. Laughed at her, but I ain’t laughing no more. Asked around and one cannot find bottled water anywhere. Loadsa juice and soda but no water. Reason? Folks feel it is cause of the rising price of US dollars in the parallel market. Yeah, but water is bottled locally and only incremental cost item should be the purification chemicals or plastic bottles as cost of petrol/diesel has not changed; so what gives? Something must be done to curb widening currency exchange rate ‘cos the only folk making money, apart from bottle water hoarders, are printing presses where restaurants get their menus re-printed. I’ve been here a month and cost of breakfast at hotel has doubled in that time.

From what I gather this country has largest petroleum reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and Angola yet due to the fighting up North development has slowed. It pained my heart the other day to see a bunch of street kids sniffing glue. Just sad.

Went to Nigerian embassy yesterday to register presence in the country and was introduced to the president of the Nigerian residents association in South Sudan. Informed me of monthly meetings held so plan to stop by next month. Maybe we can raise funds to finally put to bed the recrudescence of fuel scarcity. Man, felt ashamed and downright embarrassed when folk at work teased me about it and were genuinely curious as to how Nigeria finds herself in such a situation. What plausible explanation could I provide? I mean it’s just shameful.

With what is going on in Nigeria guess I’d not complain so much about hotel in Juba, huh? At least I ain’t struggling for petrol, right? Okay one last vent…..

Last week I return from work, draw open curtains and see some dude painting walls outside window. Dude’s 4 flights up with no harness and merrily painting away. Didn’t know what to do. Do I offer him a cookie? Would that distract him? Or do I wait for El Chupacabra to show up at hotel and wager him to spit on her food from 60ft? Hmmmmm.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

New year, new shoes

Hola peeps. Welkommen to 2015. Well, a delayed welcome so to speak.

Came across a draft blog that shoulda gone out in January with the opening paragraphs: No new year resolutions for moi as I think that’s dated (geddit?) but decided to follow Skee-Lo’s 90s mantra about wishing I was a li’l bit taller, wish I was a baller…. In trying to be a “baller” I resigned my position with the firm in Port Harcourt and am moving to Uganda. Yah man, remember blog entry of gazillion years ago titled You Always Return To Uganda? Well, who woulda thunk I was prophesying to myself?

Why did I choose to do it? Let’s just say the inner Caucasian in me thought “hmm, what would it be like to abandon a secure job and go on an adventure?” After decision was made I rejected an offer from another firm to move to Lagos before I resigned from PH role. That way I was sure there’d be no rescinding my decision. Next step was to tell my folks. I hemmed and hawed and when I finally did it Chief was effusive in his support and wished me the best of luck. Mom? After I assured her I’d have some source of income and not be a destitute she nodded her head and said she’d pray choice works out for the best.

Impressive, huh? A tad dishonest too. You see ‘Uganda’ is euphemism for ‘South Sudan’. Had to do that initially to calm peeps down. When peeps would initially enquire as to new location I’d say East Africa, then it’d shift to Uganda for the more curious amongst them, then once I saw they weren’t too dismayed about the move I’d finally say something along the lines of ”…well in all honesty it’s actually South Sudan” and then…wait…for….the facial expressions. A more enterprising individual woulda captured these expressions and used them in some art exhibit or maybe a revival of the hackneyed tagline in MasterCard commercials of yesteryear.

Yup, Juba, South Sudan. Today marks Day 21 of my sojourn here. Why the tracking in days? Dunno, just wanna see how long it takes before I ignore that and move on to months. Reminds me of the weekly newsletter I used to receive from pre- and post my daughter’s birth. They would send weekly guides on what to expect as a new mother. Yup, mother….guess they figured no guys would be bothered to sign up. Cannot remember if they eventually gave up after week 24 post-birth or I unsubscribed from the newsletter, but a part of me wish I’da wagered to see how far they’d go. Well it’s week 2,080 now and if your child is still living at home you have failed as a parent….

So why Juba? Well, everything the shoulda-January blog paragraph stated and more. A business opportunity arose that involved relocation to the world’s newest country and I jumped at the chance. Coulda made way, way more money being situated in Lagos and woulda finally utilized Lagos crib, but this just felt right. So far…so Juba. The people are warm and uber-friendly and also crazy tall. I am officially the shortest man in Juba! Since my arrival I have been sampling the eateries in order to discover where best to eat and so far… Juba(?) Need to try out the spots that serve local dishes to really make mind up, but in the meantime here is your guide to eating out in Juba:

Quality Hotel has best French Fries, but the pizza sucks. Do not, I repeat, do not try the Quality Special pizza! Their menu is quite vast and most things are tasty however. Also don’t ask for butter as you’d get margarine instead.

NOTOS restaurant has the best food I have tasted so far – Indian dishes are nice – but bread rolls are always served cold for some reason. Ice cream tastes thawed and refrozen.

Tulip Inn has tastiest ice cream in Juba….but it’s only served on weekends…..and even though the ice cream machine is brand spanking new they haven’t had ingredients for the past 3 weekends! Their chicken wings suck. Mexican burger is nice and pizza is aiight. Limited menu though.

Terrain is some spot on the outskirts of Juba; Jebel (Mountain) to be precise. Quite an idyllic place and Caucasians love it. Maybe ‘cos of the Caucasians the chef didn’t believe me when I asked for my extra spicy pizza. For some reason I’d smell the pepper but not taste it. That said it’s best pizza I have had so far.

PANACHE restaurant? Crap pizza, crap milkshake.

Paradise Hotel? Crap ambience, nice Chinese food on a good day. Best go a la carte, don’t try their buffet.

CROWN Hotel has best fruit juices and desserts as well. Rest of food not so impressive.

Still in search of good food I tried some Chinese restaurant in a Casino & Restaurant last Thursday. Shoulda known something was off when only the ‘Casino’ part of the lettering was lit up. The restaurant was situated in a warehouse storing mattresses and clothes for sale. I kid you not. Ever heard of a Chinese restaurant with an ‘FC’ suffix a la KFC? Exactly! Requested prawns and they didn’t have any, but ‘cos I was hungry asked for a chicken wrap, which was cold. Come to think of it “restaurant” could actually be a canteen for casino staff.

So that’s my take so far. Never could understand Nigerian folk that pack loadsa foodstuff when travelling outta the country, but now I get them. Miss beans and plantain like crazy. My first attempt at local bbq here wasn’t so pleasing, but I hear there is some place at Jebel that does a goat/chicken bbq….well from what I heard it’s either a goat bbq that tastes like chicken, or a chicken bbq that tastes like goat….not sure really. All in all my taste buds shall be giving it a go next week. Wish me luck.

Hotel stay gets real boring so jumped at the chance to go out Friday night. Got to some bar about midnight and it was Habesha night. Had never experienced Ethiopian/Eritrean music before and though the beat was catchy I didn’t get why people ‘danced’ in one spot doing a combination of the go-go shake and some caricature of ‘ten-ten’, a Nigerian game I recall girls – and one particular effeminate boy who just happened to be best mate - from my childhood playing. People-watched for about 2 hours as this was all new to me, and kept thinking “how does one work up a sweat dancing like this?”
There was one dude though that was definitely perspiring. He was doing the usual moves previously described, but had both arms flailing by his side and twisted them vigorously left to right like a waiter struggling in vain to open a wine bottle while also anticipating lift-off. I had a hoot.

When not juxtaposing cultural differences between Nigeria and South Sudan the gym has been a useful distraction. The gym appears to be one of the few positive thangs about this hotel as the swimming pool is more like a bath tub and should only be used for baptisms not swimming; I keep sending clothes to be re-ironed as laundry person “hasn’t passed freedom”; and only get hot water in shower on Monday mornings. Complained numerous times and after maintenance guy is sent over – been to room so many times we are on first name basis and yesterday he asked if I’d be bestman at his impending nuptials - just like the experience at Terrain I smell hot water but don’t feel it on skin.

So why don’t I move hotels? Kinda like the ambience here and it’s quite close to office. Plus the gym instructor is quite helpful. At previous hotel gym instructor spent more time dancing to hip hop beats than working out. Being at this hotel has made me experience other stuff I previously wasn’t privy to: Arab music videos! Unlike music videos everywhere else that inform the viewer of the artist’s name and maybe the director, in Arab videos the credits roll at end of the video! I kid you not. One gets to see who the grip is, the producer, lightning dude, the whole nine yards. Amazing.

Forgot to tell y’all I resumed work out today, light workout, after the doctor said I tore a ligament on Tuesday night. Couldn’t sleep at all and arm had to be put in a sling on Wednesday. Either I am a Nigerian X-Man or the painkilling drugs prescribed worked a treat.

So what else? Yeah, weekends have been particularly tough as I have more time on my hands then and tend to miss Nigeria. What exactly am I missing? Can’t put my finger on it, guess it’s just the essence of the country. There ain’t no place like it. Essence of Nigeria! Now that’s a cologne I’d pay big money for.

Glad I was above to vote in Nigeria’s presidential elections. We did it Africans, we producing positive stories from the continent. Forget the Burundi dude, in due time he and other sit-tight leaders will see they cannot continue as is. Burkina Faso did it, Nigeria did it, change is sweeping across the continent.

Know what else was sweeping across Nigeria? Women with moustaches! Is it me or is it more prevalent that ever in the country? Everywhere I looked I’d see them. Is it something in the food? Do women not give a hoot anymore? It cannot be that as they are more gym-conscious than ever, so what is it? Need to commission a study when I have cash to spare. Haven’t noticed it much in Juba, but then again I haven’t looked closely. Don’t wanna get slapped for no just reason.

I do miss weekly sojourns to the cinema in Nigeria. Got so bad I was at lunch at some hotel last week when a Furious 7 poster with a ‘Coming Soon’ sign below it was sighted. Was so elated I rushed in hoping to find a pseudo-cinema instead I saw some dude selling bootleg DVDs! Yup, dude’s advertising arrival of his new stock like it’s a world premiere. Whatever next, a red carpet rolled out where he’ll give interviews to local media giving a synopsis of his upcoming movie stock? Ridiculous.

To get out of the rut yesterday I took up a colleague’s invitation to attend a celebration of her graduation from university. It was a grand affair and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Spent about 4hrs there and sadly had to leave for another appointment. Sadly? Yeah ‘cos woulda loved to try home-made indigenous dishes. Yup, been here for 3 weeks and closest I have gotten to a local dish is nyoma choma prepared by Kenyans. As I left I thought to myself, “..this move is gonna be good for me….more Nigerians should move here to learn patience….can you imagine being at an event in Nigeria for over 2hrs and all one is served is water? No alcohol? No small chops? There would be riots! Ha.”

Did I tell you I was resplendent in a white Yoruba traditional outfit with a hat to match? That’s right, son. Was seated in front and though the ceremony was conducted in Dinka language, the MC would intermittently break into English for my benefit. There were speeches, dancing, speeches, and more speeches. Must be an East African thang ‘cos experienced same thang at weddings in both Kenya and Uganda. Practice must make perfect ‘cos every single person that took up the mic was articulate, no hemming or hawing. Woah.

After the hostess gave her vote of thanks – with an honorable mention for yours truly – the MC said, “I would like to thank our African brother for attending. I am not sure where you are from but from the way you walked in and what you are wearing I presume from West Africa, maybe Ghana or Nigeria. The main thing we know about West Africa is your movies, we watch them a lot. Now you have experienced South Sudanese culture when you go back you can include some of these in your movies and I assure you we shall watch them…..“

Woah, I am a cultural ambassador! Didn’t wanna ruin the guy’s day by informing him I ain’t a fan of Nollywood, but woah. Not sure us Nigerians appreciate the sort of impact our music and movies have on others. Just woah. Now I wanna be a Nollywood producer! Now I wanna make my country proud! Now I…….hold on, hold on, did that dude just mistake me for a Ghanaian?! And what did he mean by “the way you walked in”? Is that euphemism for “you are wayyyy too short to be South Sudanese”? And….man, need to ease up on the Orique-ing.

In case you wondering what an Orique is it all began after a November trip to Abu Dhabi to catch the F1 season ending race. Stayed at a mate’s and it was sorta a guys weekend as other mates from UK and Nigeria converged there. While walking past a Porsche Design store I saw these red Adidas Bounce S3 and fell hopelessly in love. As they were crazy expensive I decided I’d cop them only if I was able to complete an intense 27-minute cardio exercise everyday for 27 consecutive days as penance. It wasn’t easy but succeeded. By the time I was done there was no size 10.5 in red so had to settle for the grey, less-shocking ones.
I plan to get the red shoes and still searching for another task(s) to undertake. One of the guys from the Abu Dhabi holiday plans to climb Kilimanjaro in December and that could be just the ticket. The other dudes appear to be keen so here’s hoping. 

Woah, I tend to go off on a tangent, don’t I? Orique is…..maybe a brief synopsis of the guys will elucidate thangs:

Bobby – Abu Dhabi host; gym partner back in PH; closet nudist. He truly is the most narcissistic guy I know. We used to push each other at the gym and since he’s moved from PH to Abu Dhabi he spends his time working out and exposing his nude self on Instagram. More fain than a boyband member to show off he suggested we have an abs-off, i.e. sorta like a dance-off where we’d compare abs on a busy stretch of highway and whoever gets more women to crash their cars would be declared the winner, but I politely declined.

Orique – Bobby’s childhood friend; fave hobby is growing his beard; professional hater. Not as much a gym rat as Bobby, but his daily exercise regime consists of: 100 pushups, hate on people around him, another 100 pushups, hate on music stars on TV, 50 pushups, call random folk on his phone and hate on them. Plans to publish a book on how hating keeps folk skinny.

Jawz – Nigeria’s next great author; has a Chimamanda Adichie shrine he lugs everywhere with him. You know the creative writing maxim, Write What You Know? Sadly all this dude knows about the world he learnt from books. He’s 45 years old yet hasn’t experienced puberty! Hangs with Orique a lot more now so could be co-penning Haters Guide To Weight Loss.

Cannot wait to experience Kilimanjaro with these guys and live to tell y’all about it……if they don’t sabotage my hiking gear after reading this blog that is.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Articles of interest to moi (2014)

Economics 101
A sucker is born every minute
Let there be light
Kudos to Jobberman
Ebola and the Africa Rising narrative
Kindness of Robin Williams. RIP dude.
My Kickstarter campaign guide to get my tees made
Africa by Africans
Israel's worst enemy
Arthur T is da man
Rick Reilly's last column
When I grow up I want to be Rick Reilly
GM right for us?
KD MVP speech
Articulate article on Sterling
Re-introducing Northern Nigeria
Ghana waste to wealth
Rebase this!
Crimea and world politics
Making a TV show
Domino effect
Forget Sparta, THIS IS AFRICA!!!
Tsar Putin
Laudable achievement
What's the MARA?
Buffalo Job
Swat away the fly
Wallet for life
Shameful justice
The Biblical Money Code
Shoulda thought of this instead of wearing a Darth Vader helmet at my daughter's birth
Light at the end of the tunnel?
The Prodigal Sons
GEJ meter?
Michael Sam Sr.
I'll stick to the original Haribos please
Michael Sam

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