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Nut Africa: Cracking the nut?

There is no doubt that Africa is blessed with so many natural and mineral resources. From the resource oil rich regions of Nigeria in West Africa to the diamond rich and gold fields in south Africa. You name it! From North to South, East and West Africa almost all of these regions are endowed in one way or the other with the earth’s natural resources – wood (forest products), food products, minerals, burgeoning population (human resources) etc!

These resources definitely are hidden in “a nut” if you permit me to use such an analogy. However, since it is a very hard nut, how do you crack open to let out the seed(s)? This is the one question that has always been resonating my mind. How do Africans crack this nut open for the benefit of its own citizens first and secondly for their neighbours such as foreign investors?

How can Africa ensure that it produces enough food to feed all its populace and avoid the negative implications of food insecurity?

Secondly what approaches and communication strategies are appropriate for moving people into action? Have you ever come to think if a green revolution is ever possible in Africa like it happened to other developed economies such as China?

Can you join me on this platform in helping to crack the nut Africa? Give it a go, share your thoughts!

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Is God Schizophrenic?

Come to think about the typical Christian teachings concerning God when we used to attend “Sunday school” back in the days. God was usually portrayed as stern, angry and ready to strike us at the slightest misstep or mistake that did not fit into His commandments or even that He won’t answer our prayers if we sinned. Why then has God always been portrayed as angry and yet sometimes a loving God? Does He love us sometimes and hate us at other times?

These questions present a dilemma because one may ask how can we form a healthy relationship with someone who changes His moods frequently? At the same time, this dilemma has kept many people at arm’s length away from God. Majority of people know that there is a God somewhere who created this universe, but they don’t know how to relate to Him. These mixed signals are made more complicated and confusing. For example, a church minister will say that “it was the will of the Lord that your husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister you name it died or got killed in an accident” and in the same line of thought  ask to know if anyone is willing to serve such a good God? We are told God won’t answer our prayers if we sin, yet we are told we are all sinners before the Lord our God. Where then does that leave us? God is not Schizophrenic!

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This Life…!

What would my senses not allow me to do and where can my imagination not take me to?

Where can my legs not bring me, if I persist?

And what can break my faith if I believe? I am human and unbreakable, so you are if you start accepting. Create no limitations, accept no boundaries, stop the barriers and bury the fears!

Happy 2013 to all my blog followers and fellow bloggers!

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SUSPICIOUSLY QUITE

Dear amazing blogtizens, I will like to announce my come back from a long holiday break to a far hide away place. During my almost two months of hibernation,  I had limited or hardly any access to WordPress in that part of the world. It was a lovely and an amazing time in a warm country where I could see and literary count the stars on a dark lit night especially when there was no
electricity and the whole city was plunged into pitch darkness. What more could be so nice than the fresh unpolluted air and the hassle free lifestyle.
I am back and fully energized now. I do trust many of my blog followers would be pleased to read new blog post from me -:)

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One question…what is a college degree worth?

Gone were the days when if you didn’t have a job it meant you didn’t have a college degree and if you didn’t get a job with a college degree, it just meant that you didn’t want one in all cases. These days however, graduates with degrees are stuck indoors playing video games after failing to secure jobs. To put it differently, what is college worth these days? Does a degree mean someone is any good on the job market? For graduates with a college degree in most parts of the world, daily life goes from bad to worse after leaving school and searching for a job. In a fiercely competitive job market, having a good degree is no longer enough. Employer attitudes towards higher education have changed considerably. Employers these days are looking for solid experience rather than paper qualifications. On the down side, graduates are accounting for an increasingly larger proportion of the unemployed.

The consequence of graduating into this terrible economy is already dampening the value of the college degree and the sacrifices made by parents to pay for college tuition for their children. Likewise, it equally dampens the spirit of students who have to borrow from banks to finance their tuition fees. The culture of debts being created for college graduates will affect them for years to come notwithstanding the high costs of college tuition that goes up on a yearly basis. When I say “them” I mean myself and others who are already affected or would be affected by this system.

Nor are internships these days a magic bullet to getting your foot into the door of paid work. Unpaid interns are a “disposable asset” to many employers after getting much of what they want from the intern. It is regrettable that whiles internships were meant to expose one to the world of work it is now used as a means of cutting cost by many organizations or employers. Many graduates who don’t find employment are forced as a last resort to take up internships as a way of getting by. Sadly, the other day I was reading an article about the UN Youth Employment Conference which was held early this year at which a decision was made that overlooked unpaid internships as part of a valid form of work experience. How interesting? Would this imply then that if you are a graduate and a job seeker and you have practical experience as an intern, your chances of being employed into a paid job would be lesser?

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What a Shame!

                                                                       Image courtesy: Sowetanlive

A calamity of high proportion befell the People of South Africa in Marikana when police used live bullets to disperse a peaceful demonstration staged by disgruntled mine workers. These mine workers have been subjected to poverty for life and many of them have not witnessed any rise in their salary for quite some time now in spite of the harsh conditions they are subjected to under ground.

Apologies to my cherished blog followers for not being able to embed this video footage properly as am not tech savvy with some of these. I am using this medium to also highlight the full extent of the tragedy which has reduced human beings to nothing but physical particles. It is a war that it is the poor that suffer the most and the rich get richer by the day. Click here to view.

Indeed, every economic problem requires a war (Wrong against Right) to solve it. Not a war that dispenses with human life in as cheaply a manner as we have seen in Marikana.  There should have been a different kind of war – a war of ideas.

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On your marks,get set…Go!

Our lives are like boats, sailing where the wind blows. This is the adventurous story of my journey throughout the four regions of the United Kingdom (UK) in a day. I began this journey in the summer season. My journey started off in Belfast (Northern Ireland) through Scotland, Wales and finally ending in London. This is akin to the proverbial saying of “killing two birds with one stone”. Instead of two birds, this time I wanted to kill four birds with one stone.

At 5am I rang the offices of the Fona Cab Company that operates taxi services in the Belfast area to arrange for a  “door pick up service” to the Ferry terminal in Larne to catch the first morning service to Stranraer near Glasgow, Scotland. The ship terminal was already buzzing with vibrant human activity during the early hours of that morning. There were private cars as well as taxis seeing off their loved ones and passengers alike at the time I arrived at the terminal. A lot of families were also going away for the weekend to Glasgow, Edinburgh and others to Somerset (England) to see the Glastonbury festival that day. I had already pre-booked my tickets online, so all I had to do was to go through the check in procedure and pass through the security check point before boarding the ship just like how it is done when travelling via an airport. Indeed, this was my first time of using the ferry as means of transportation.  The travel time for crossing over the Irish Sea to Scotland was 2 hours and 15 minutes. At exactly 6am we were cruising on the Irish Sea at 10 knots per hour. The sea was calm which made the sailing very smooth. On board the HS Stena line, it felt like home, a floating city on water so to say. There was on board accommodation, restaurants, bars, casinos, shops, swimming pools (on each deck), and snooker room, a gallery for children (bouncing castles and face painting) and an on-board cinema house screening nonstop movies. Food and drinks had to be paid for on board the ship.  After I had a quick breakfast I made a few rounds in the decks of the ship to while away time and also to acquaint myself with the ship. I went to the duty-free gift shop to see what they had on sale. They gift shop was well stocked with all kinds of giveaway gifts ranging from wrist watches, Irish souvenirs  to perfumes. The prices were affordable so I bought my self one of my favourite perfumes.

From the high waters of the Irish Sea to the plains and valleys of Scotland, another journey was to begin this time by road.  At 8.15am we arrived at Stranraer (South west of Scotland). We disembarked from the Stena line ship and went to the Stranraer railway station which was close by the ship dock yard. This is the southern terminus for one of the branch lines of the Glasgow south-western lines. It was the Scotrail service that I boarded to Kilmarnock. At Kilmarnock, a bus was waiting to transport us further to Glasgow.  The bus driver was a bubbly young man probably in his late forties. He doubled as both a driver and a tour guide. He seemed to be well versed with the history of the Scottish as he started recounting to us the history of Kilmarnock; of how the first railway was built in the mid 18th century and later in the years the Glasgow, Paisley and Ayr railway lines were introduced respectively.  The bus driver also told us that the Scottish highlands and Islands are Europe’s last greatest wilderness. It was nice to see the countryside, the beautiful stretches of green fields where herds of cattle and  flock of sheep stood happily grazing away.  It was a spectacular scene to see ancient ruins of peasant homes and castles, to admire the peace and tranquility of the countryside, to imagine battles that were fought thousands of years probably on some of these fields. We drove through the countryside passing along towns and villages such as East Ayrshire, Drongan, Lockerbie, Barrhill and Glasgow Prestwick. Our bus journey ended at Gilmour Paisley.   At Paisley, there was the Gilmour Paisley train station that operates high-speed trains to Glasgow, London and Edinburgh. There were different types of trains that could lead you to the same destination but in this day of market competition, there were other trains that were super faster than the others. There was the Strathclyde train, the Super voyager, The North Western line among others. I approached one of the officials at the station who advised me to go with the Virgin trains since they are fast and have fewer stops than the other train routes.  The journey into Glasgow was very short but fast. I think it must have lasted about 35 minutes or so.

At 11.05am, I was at the Glasgow Queens Street Central Railway Station. Glasgow is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK that I have seen with unique architectural buildings dotted around the city centre. It is a must-see place in Scotland. Scotland’s famous Loch Ness is an absolute must see on any visit to Scotland. What is also popular in Glasgow is the famous Glasgow Cathedral, the Burrell collection museum, the transport museum, the River Clyde, the Greenbank garden among others. In order not to miss out on the beautiful architectural scenery of Glasgow, and also to learn more about the history of Scotland in general and Glasgow in particular, I bought a day pass on one the Glasgow Hop-on-hop off tour buses. On this bus was a live onboard commentary given by a male tour guide who was steeped with much history of Glasgow. These were stories I only read in history books but never had the opportunity to see these amazing ancient remains or sites. A complete tour of Glasgow city would last 2 hours. I did not have much time to spare only in Glasgow since I still had to see Wales and London for the remainder of the day.

After lunch, I had to visit my next stop which is Wales. Time check was 1.00 pm and here I was back at the central station to wait for a train to Wales.  I boarded the Super Voyager trains into South Wales. Wales in Welsh is written as Cymru. The weather was not pleasant in Wales as it rained the rest of my journey. Arrival time in Cardiff was a few minutes past the hour 2pm. There was not much to see and do in Cardiff because of heavy and intermittent down pour of rain.  In spite of the poor nature of the weather, I was still determined to see at least a few interesting places before I leave for London, my last but not the least destination of my “tour de UK”.  The Cardiff City hall, the Cardiff bay, the shopping centres at Castle Quarter, the Senedd building and the University of Cardiff were among a few places that I was able to see that day. The skies were blue and the clouds began forming, so I knew that this wasn’t a good day for touring Wales. I knew for sure that, there was going to be more rains coming soon.

I was running out of energy and also getting cold at this time stage my journey. At this time of the day, time check was almost 4pm. Cardiff Central Railway Station is the largest in Wales and operates the “Cross-Wales” trains which run directly into London Euston station, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.  Cross-Wales was convenient for me since it is a direct route into London. The journey time to London was four hours. The train was calling at Wrexham, Holyhead, Colwyn bay, Rhyl, Crewe, Stafford, Chester, Wolverhampton and London Euston. It was a relaxing journey on the train as there was still daylight and much to see and admire of the countryside of Wales especially the beautiful landscapes.

Arrival time in London was approximately 8.15pm. Darkness had not yet fallen completely and London was just picking up the hustle and bustle of its night life. I went to a nearby restaurant where I ordered a warm meal and a glass of red wine to replenish my lost energy. Indeed I was able to accomplish my task of touring the four regions of Great Britain (UK) in just a day. This is a journey that is meant for the adventurous.  I knew the night would be long because I had no  mojo left in me 🙂