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November, 2009:

Cultural event!

It is only 4 in the afternoon but It feels like bed time. Could this have anything to do with last night? The Mo Ibrahim Foundation sponsored a concert by Angelique Kidjo (Benin) and Youssou N’dour as part of a special forum on climate change, agriculture and food security. I am not sure what the music and the forum had to do with one another but it was very nice to be on the Karimjee Halls’ grounds last night and listen and dance to the music. On the way to the concert Jackie told an amusing story about another artist, Michael Jackson who visited Dar in 1998 but left early because there was no nice hotel to be found. The concert was very nice with good music outside, windy, big gardens and a good bar.

Scuba diving in Dar

Finally after living here for more than two years went diving. Together with Harry, we went to Sea Breeze divers at Whitesands. The divemaster was a little upset when she heard I was in theory an advanced open water diver but had not practiced for some 10 years. But fortunately ‘hamna shida’. We only did two shallow dives on flat area, at average 14m. The first dive at lobster reef and the second one at Cowrie reef. Surprisingly alive and nice coral. No big fish but plenty of small ones, one lobster and a puffer fish.

Why tourists avoid Zimbabwe

The Minister of Tourism of Zimbabwe on the reasons why tourists that go to Ghana don’t also go to Zimbabwe:

Africa used to be a unity, Africa used to present itself as one entity. But then the scramble for Africa (jmc: between 1880 and 1910 Africa was divided by the powers from Europe) partitioned us both culturally and linguistically. We now have to start presenting ourselves as one again.”

If I heard him correctly he said that tourists used to visit the whole of this vast continent, before 1880 (pretty much the peak of mass tourism wasn’t it?). All Africans shared the same culture and the same language. But when the Europeans colonized Africa they divided up the people. Now they all speak different languages, it’s the story of Babel revisited. Colonization caused even more problems than I was aware of. Next time when someone tells me that ‘we Africans do this or that in such and such a way’ or that ‘Africans are really bad at so and so’ I’ll try not to get irritated and will not mention the fact that there are probably many differences between Algerians and Zimbabweans. I now realise that people that say such things are all part of the movement Pan-African movement – all rallying behind Mr Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Tarek opens screen door

Tarek can open the screen door between living room and kitchen. The kitchen used to be a safe haven that was spared from his vengeance. Not any more! This weekend need to install things so he does not kill himself.

Heating up

Temperature is really going up these days with an average 32 degrees in the afternoon. It rained heavily once about two weeks ago, when my parents were here. Since only twice a little drop. The plants seem to be under the impression spring has begun. Since then the grass-surface increased by at least a 1000%. Nearly all shrubs have begun to sprout and there are a lot of flowers everywhere. The Flamboyant already has some flowers so it is likely we are going to have an orange Christmas.
Tarek is physically making great progress. Since a week or so he can walk behind Mayas old push-car. It is a mighty sight and he likes it too. In the weekend tried too make movies with my camera. Must find a way of putting them on the net. Overall he smiles quite a lot now. Some time ago there were some critics saying he always looked so serious on the pictures. He still does but it is not difficult to make him smile.