Sunday, September 30, 2007

Media Fast


I'm sorry I have been so negligent of this blog lately. I have a million things going on, including fellowship applications, none of which I seem to be getting done. I find that the internet is one of my major downfalls--the repetitive, obsessive, meaningless checking of email, facebook, blogs, etc. So, as a part of a larger project to work on discipline and focus, I am taking a week long fast from non-essential internet and other media. I WILL be back.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Distant Hymns

Before the beginning of the football game, I sit near the window reading a book about Lagos. The late afternoon light slants through the trees making the leaves glow. Drumming and chanting wafts into the window from the stadium—distorted by loudspeakers and breezes and shouts and the salsa that dances low and tinny on my radio. I think I hear a familiar hymn, sung with fervour, a prayer meeting somewhere, the loudspeakers that will continue far into the night. My first night back in Jos, the voices drift in, struggling against the muezzin at first and then blending into the chant of the cicadas and barking of the dogs and the breezes of late May. All night long, I lie in bed listening to distant Amens..… Oh, I realize, It’s “Sweet Caroline,” and I’m here in the Midwestern United States, leaves rippling outside, green for a few weeks more. A yellow rose nods on the window sill, and photos from Jos, newly hung, peer down at me. A train moans. I have some more unpacking to do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A U.S. Military Base in the Gulf of Guinea??????!!!!!??????

Is this for real???

Gulf of Guinea - Govt Soft-Pedals On U.S. Military

This Day (Lagos)NEWS
17 September 2007 Posted to the web 17 September 2007
By Juliana TaiwoAbuja

A senior government official has given reasons why the Federal Government may soft-pedal on its moves to frustrate the plan by the United States to establish a military base in the Gulf of Guinea.

THISDAY had reported last week moves by the Nigerian government to checkmate the military adventure of the United States in the oil-rich region.

But the official told THISDAY yesterday in reaction to the story that Nigeria cannot ward off the US because Nigeria "has not shown enough commitment in securing the region".

He disclosed that Nigeria government was expected to have invested $1 billion from excess crude account into the coastal security and safety arrangement in the last two years but had failed.

"The point is this, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had seen the wisdom as a former military head of state to secure the area and immediately ordered strategic surveillance of the costal zone and the Niger Delta.

"But the Nigerian officials were not comfortable with the way he was going about it because it was supposed to be subjected to debate at the floor of the National Assembly. And Obasanjo knowing that anything on national defence and security issues cannot be subjected to debate went ahead to mobilise the Navy and the Air Force for what the US called minimum security requirement for that zone because oil is important to US," he disclosed.

The senior government official said the US government expected Nigeria to have minimum-security provisions but unfortunately in the last four months the US department discovered that the process was suddenly slowing down and the new government may not go at the speed it expected.

"The US government has completed all the ground work and has moved into the offshore of Sao Tome and Principe, Angola and Guinea to secure position for their submarines and other security facilities. Nigeria is the only country that has the minimum requirement and the financial capacity to provide those facilities (vessels for the Navy and satellite communication facilities amongst others for the Air Force) because these other African countries cannot afford to put down even one per cent of what is required.

"It is a challenge for the President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to quickly work within his own defence structure and pump the money as well as continue with that his predecessor was doing if indeed it is serious about security that area though I really doubt if they can match the US now," he said.

A senior military official had disclosed to THISDAY last week that the Federal Government had begun moves to frustrate the plan by the United States to establish a military base in the Gulf of Guinea.

Defence sources had further disclosed that the Federal Government was already discussing with heads of government of the African Union and leaders of the sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African State, on how to block any move by US to establish a base in the gulf.

"Nigeria is not taking the issue lightly at all and the government is not going to allow the US establish any military base anywhere in the ECOWAS region. The interest of the US government in the Gulf of Guinea has reinforced the commitment of the government to intensify its efforts at providing the needed security in the sub-region," the source had said.
The gulf's oil and gas deposit is put in the region of 10 billion barrels.

Copyright © 2007 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wedding number 3 this summer (at which I was the [drumroll]...photographer)

(And it rivalled number 1 for sheer FUNness. Groom at this wedding, if you still read this blog..., I'm planning to upload the rest of the photos to Flickr this wkd. Tried tonight and the programme kept freezing... probably because I STILL don't have my own internet... DAMNED AT&T....)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Xtend Foundation African Scholarship

A friend of mine, Tayo Oyedeji, has started a small scholarship fund for African undergraduate students. The $300 scholarship is for students whose familys' have an annual income of less than $5000 and who are enrolled in a sub-Saharan African university in a 4-5 year undergraduate programme. The online application can be found at Please pass this information on to any deserving students you know of.

Of his motivation for starting the foundation, Tayo says "My graduate studies in the United States have cost a total of about $150,000 and I have never had to pay a single dollar because someone or a group of people established foundations to offset the educational costs of scholars with potential.

"Scholarships and foundations have helped me, an African, attain the best education the United States has to offer and I believe that 'to whom much is given, much is expected'.

"Therefore, I am setting up a foundation (Xtend Foundation) to provide $300 scholarships to 10 students in Sub-Saharan African universities. All students currently enrolled in a university in Africa (apart from members of my immediate family) are eligible to apply. "

As part of the foundation is Project 100, the goal of which is to grant scholarships to 100 university students in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2010.

For more information, see the Foundation website.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

pet peeves

(written in the order that I think of them and not necessarily in the order of most annoying, although number 1 is one of my peeviest pet peeves.)

1) People walking on the sidewalk and smoking (or sitting in a crowded area and smoking as the case may be). Pisses me off. Especially in the winter when you are in a hurry to go somewhere and you have a cold and have to breathe through your mouth and these people walking in front of you are earnestly smoking their lungs to a crisp and you can't get away from the smoke. So, today i'm standing on a street corner with about 7 other people waiting for the light to turn, and this one guy is smoking. I see everyone's nose crinkle. One girl puts her notebook in front of her face. I begin to feel sorry for the smoker in his outcast aloneness. Even hours later, the smoke still lingers in my hair.

2) Little petite girls who self-referentially dwell on their daintyness and how they can't lift things and how small they are and how they need help with this or that and subtly make tall independent-minded women who lift large unwieldy things, whether they should or not, feel like giant uncouth amazons.

3) People who walk in the bike lane rather than in the walking lane of the bike path.

4) Young women are too tan and too blonde (and too made up) in the winter (you know what I mean...?). The same sort who wear pajamas with university logos across the butt to class... I think this is an American thing?

5) Drunken people who shout what they think are clever witticisms on my street at 2am.

6) AT&T.... Internet was supposed to be transferred three weeks ago, and I'm STILL have no wireless. I have been on the phone with them for at least 6 times, and was placed on hold for two and a half hours one night before the system hung up on me and an hour and a half another night. Tonight I JUST found a very weak wireless signal wafting in from somewhere (most networks in my building are secured), and I pray it sticks around for a few more days.

7) Overly flirty people....

8) Condescending/patronizing/smug people...

9) People who are just generally unhelpful...

10) People who start dating someone after a lapse of about five months of being out of a relationship and two days later are sighing about and saying things like "it's so wonderful to be in a relationship. i don't know how (you) single people do it. you really should try having a boyfriend sometime".... erm....

11) Married men or men in serious relationships who continue to hit on women

12) HUMMERS!!!! (the vehicle, not the people who hum. I like a little hum here and there, myself.)

And what am I doing these days of no internet and no time? Teaching, preparing for teaching, and here and there trying to get a bit of reading done. Will try to be back when I have some more interesting things to say, when my computer that is in the shop is fixed, or when I think of some more of my pet peeves

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