Of Coffee, Combis And Other Things

If you were having coffee with me, I would greet you by fist bumping you, it’s not a new secret greeting, its just that well, we have a nasty outbreak going on. Reminds me of what one conductor said that he just might get a wooden cooking stick to collect people’s fares with.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the president made his first State Of The Nation Address at the official opening of the 9th Parliament.

Sonazw

justices

League of extraordinary justices

I have always wondered though, when they do these things, what is the purpose of inspecting the guard of honour? What’s with the horses, ribbons, the medals and whats up with the swords and the robes?.

dneye_puyaesfxn

dndlrktu0aa0wz2

Can the reason we have problems with democracy be that we are simply playing pretend at things we have no idea how to handle, simply doing what others did, no rhyme no reason no explanations?

If you were having coffee I would ask you if you had a look see at my last post about the public transport system of minivan taxis in Africa and the funny stories that happen there. This one time a fellow commuter said he did not have enough fare for the trip and the conductor said he could pay what he had but he would have to seat paKadoma and face the nation which is the space behind the driver and front seat passengers before the first row passengers (named after Kadoma a town halfway between Harare and Gweru)

pakadoma

When the gentleman was seated or rather perched by the spot, he proceed to buy a packet of Lays potato chips from a vendor. The conductor was not amused, saying if he could afford to buy nice snacks like that, he most certainly could afford to pay the full fare and demanded a full payment and of course that did not stop him from dipping his hands into the passenger’s packet of lays chips saying “who doesn’t want nice things

It might have been a hilarious episode but looks like commuters might need to start negotiating to travel with insufficient fare. Commuter omnibus operators are hiking the standard fare from 50cents to 75cents another indicator of the rising cost of living, or rather the failing economy, as the fuel queues start getting longer and basic foodstuffs slowly disappearing from the food shelves.

dntxi3uxoaiq7iu

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you how the government used the cholera outbreak to remove the vendors who had practically invaded the city streets. As I was walking in the CBD I was actually surprised that city could be this neat, walking on the pavements without danger of accidentally stepping on or knocking over someone’s wares.

harare

However simply forcing vendors of the street is not the solution, as its like the government telling them to Just Die and its no surprise that we now have a situation where vendors are now in running battles with the riot police. Walking in the CBD is now rather unsettling you never know what will begin where, wear sensible shoes, the weather forecast is tear gas with chance of running.

That’s  been my week crazy right, whats going on in your neck of the woods?

Here’s to an awesome week

~B

Day 21 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Photocredit Guard of Honour @globaltimesnews

Opening SONA OpenParlyZw

 

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Of The Muse In You: The Ogbanje Hacker

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

becoming

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE Hero

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken. someone sent me a private message asking me to give them access to my email account so they could run a trace the email

The popular poll result was that I should run a back ground check on Og Banje so here goes

I opened a search engine tab and typed Og Banje and pressed search.

Could not find a match Did you mean Ogbanje? Showing results for Ogbanje

In Igbo lore an ogbanje is a reincarnating  spirit that would deliberately plague a family with misfortune. The ogbanje child would die and be reborn again and again mostly before the child reached adulthood or got to an age where they could do anything of potential. The curse would be broken if a priest could find the ogbanje’s iyi-uwa (a stone that the ogbanje’s way of coming back to the world) and destroy it. The child is confirmed to no longer be an ogbanje after the destruction of the stone or after they successfully give birth to another baby

Well that was an interesting lesson on the Igbo myths  of West Africa, but it did not get me any closer to finding out my mysterious connection. I decided to check out other posts from the Facebook group while I figured what to do with Mr OG. Mr OG that’s how I had been referring to him in m head. There was an update in the group;

“Authorities have announced that one of the abducted girls is still alive after a voice recording was received of her (as confirmed by her parents that it was her voice) asking the government to rescue her. ”

That was good news indeed as some people had started thinking maybe the reason some of the girls had not be released was because they had died.

I typed a new post to add to the group:

Hi I got a private message from someone called Og Banje after the last message I posted in this group and I wanted to know if its someone that can be trusted.

A few seconds later a reply popped up

Ah we see you have had an encounter with our resident white hat hacker. Nobody knows who he really is or where he is and the authorities keep trying to get his account shut down but it keeps coming back to like a curse to expose government secrets and criminal activities, kind of like a phantom online vigilante.

Ogbanje

I typed whih read  “thank you and if I could ask__”

Before I could finish the comment, my phone started ringing, the caller was on incognito mode and the number did not show.

Hello” I answered.

“Hello my friend, you know me as Mr OG. I believe its time we talked ….:”

I froze, what should I do next:

  1. Nothing, hang up the phone
  2. Start a conference call to emergency services
  3. Put on speaker and record the conversation
  4. Find out how he got my number and what he wants then go to the police
  5. Find out what he wants and just wing it from there

~B

Day 18 of My Blog Everyday Challenge Themed Africa: Stories From Home

Of Chasing Joy

Genre: Inspirational Romance

chasing joy

Ever woke up feeling that you have felt everything there is to feel, that there is nothing new to feel, well maybe except pain, you always feel pain and sadness but otherwise just a numbness the shape of all the things you should be feeling? That is me today numb.

I am numb or maybe I am just hungry right now. The green display of the clock is flashing SAT. 11:02A.M. I just woke up and I am running a mental inventory of my current state of being, with the exact scrutiny that a pilot runs the final preflight checklist, especially the way planes have been lately. If there is a season and a time for everything then this is the age that planes fell from the sky, even my little has long since shelved her dreams of being a pilot preferring something more grounded, like being a Disney princess. My thoughts casually  drifted to back when, that ill-fated flight 370 that disappeared, four years later and still no one knows exactly what happened or where it disappeared to. I could not help but think that, maybe the black smoke from the TV series Lost is real, how else do you explain a whole plane simply going missing but I digress, I have the imagination of a TV series script writer, and I wake up to improbable thoughts.

Where was I? Oh yes, mental inventory, I was doing system diagnostic of my current sate of being.

Awake CHECK

Alive CHECK

Breathing CHECK

Hungry……..processing as I tried to decide if I was hungry or bored; almost on cue my stomach made the sound of a dying baby whale, not that I know what a dying baby whale sounds like, but the script writer imagination had its uses. The sound helped put things in to perspective, I am definitely hungry and possibly hung-over. Just at the edge of my awareness I suddenly realised what had been bothering, I hadn’t yet put my finger but smoke.

Smoke, I smell smoke, stale cigarette smoke, coming from my clothes and hair. I had gone to bed wearing last night’s clothes and they were all wrinkled up and the answer just popped into my head like a whisper from some voice in my head “that’s because we want to a pub last night”.

I should shower.

It hurts when I think.

Why does it hurt when I think? Oh! headache, so yes I am hungover and hungry, that explained everything, last night, I went out with with the guys, for one or two drinks which turned out to be maybe a little too much judging from how I felt and why I was only just now waking up at eleven in the morning, almost noon.

Last night was a crazy night I cannot remember with friends I cannot forget, I will have to call them up today find out what mischief we got ourselves into and how did I get home? I closed my eyes to shut out the pain and to also try to recall how I got home. I remembered something about a cab driver. Do I owe a cabby money? I suddenly worried because I also remembered I didn’t have the exact taxi fare. No, I settled the bill difference in kind, I gave him the remainder of a very aged, and much distilled, very expensive and single malt scotch whiskey.

Mind you, I am not of the habit of paying cab drivers with half full bottles of obscenely priced whiskey but yesterday was an exception, we were out celebrating, who knows what good fortune merited the occasion. I tried to concentrate, almost had it when my stomach rudely interrupted derailing my train of thought by demanding to be fed. I could feel a big hole in my stomach, a whole that lived and breathed and wanted sustenance.

Feed me,” it growled with the regal imperative of one used to being obeyed.

Last night I went straight to bed without eating, I just took off my shoes and climbed into bed socks and all; although only one sock, the left one, was still there, the other having been snatched by the monster that lived beneath the bed. You know the one, the monster that comes and grabs any part of you that dangles over the edge of the bed while you sleep. That’s why you have to tuck yourself in properly when you sleep, so the monster doesn’t get you. The house was eerily silent, maybe the monster that stole my sock also stole all the sound in the house.

The silence of a house with no electricity, when there is no humming of the fridge, or the sonic high pitched sound of a TV on standby. The only sound that would have broken the silence, would have been the ticking of the wall clock, but it was a battery operated affair of the digital variety, instead I heard my heartbeat or at least I fancied that I heard it, making a nice sturdy lub dub lub dup sound. I need a dictionary or translator because clearly those people who tell you to listen to your heart, do they know what lub dub even means? There was no electricity, because it was in the middle of a load shedding exercise by the power utility company. If the schedule was to be trusted the electricity would come online in an hour or maybe much later, because the schedule was never to be trusted. Small wonder I was bored, the silence was deafening.

The big green display now read SAT 11:03A.M. So only a minute had passed since I last looked at the clock, it felt like it had been a lifetime already, time flies when you are having fun they say and conversely when you are not, it moves achingly slow. As you can tell my mind moves in a somewhat non-linear fashion, maybe I am a genius like that evil scientist who made the first bomb, Frank Stein or something, I am sure he thought to himself in the third person too. I used to have a poster of him sticking his tongue out, I think it means that it is ok to be crazy.

A good thing my head is attached to my body, by skin, bones and stuff otherwise, it would just float away, who knows, leaving me running around like a  headless chicken, until I probably died of starvation because I would not have a mouth to eat with.

The pursuit of joy, that is what I had been on about last night, but I can most assuredly declare that happiness does not lie at the bottom of a bottle of single malt whiskey, no matter how expensive it is. Money can buy expensive things, and that illusion of happiness, envied by those without it, acquired by people rich enough to buy and appreciate curious artefacts. With thoughts like that I bet would not make a pile of money as an author of self-help motivational books. Though I suspect a book titled The Pursuit Of Joy would be interesting I thought as I filed this thought in my had where I stored all the brilliant ideas I had and never acted upon.

You see I am a slacker, or rather, I have not yet come across anything, which quickens my pulse, so that I do more than just what needs to be done. I am always behind schedule, chasing deadlines and I never plan ahead, but it works for me because I am always thinking and I am at my best form under pressure, as they say, I think on my feet. Who is “They” and who decided that they know all of life’s hacks, shortcuts and answers?

The answers to all of life’s questions are ridiculously easy if you know the answers, but most of us don’t know what we are doing and like to walk around pretending everything is going according to plan making the rest of us fumbling mortals feel super bad, I thought as I sighed, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. A Breath Technician once told half of life’s problems could be solved if we simply learned to breathe properly.

On that last thought I must have fallen back asleep because next thing, I woke up with a start, the power must have come back on, with the radio blaring electronic dance music at high volume. A song was playing which sounded like a violin being played backwards in slow motion, using a blunt carving knife, cutting painfully through the chords, one at a time. Perhaps it might not have been that bad but it resonated at the same natural frequency as my headache, because it was now pounding in earnest.

I muted the radio, staggered to the bathroom, found pain medication in the medicine cabinet above the sink, as my bathroom mirror reflection watched me probably in disapproval or was it sympathy. I swallowed the pills and cupped my hand to collect water from the sink, to chase down the painkillers. To be honest I didn’t trust people who just swallowed pills with no water at all.

 I needed a shower.

My arms were covered with ink stamps from the various clubs we had been to last night, I looked like I had been a canvas for a five year old with a fistful of crayons and a whole lot of inspiration. The ink washed away as I bathed, disappearing, as if it had never been there, if only some of life’s regrets could be washed away with foam bath and water, like yesterday’s sweat, that would be joy.

After my post bathing pleasantries, I chose to be happy, sometimes you have to choose it’s a not a matter of spontaneous combustion, you have to set yourself on fire. What do the proverbial they say again, “fake it till you make it?” I smiled,

I smell good, I look good and I feel good.” starring at the mirror I had to agree,

Your reflection does look better when you have Joy.”

Those words, I had a moment of déjà vu someone said them to me or I said them to someone; last night, I tried to recall, then the moment was gone, the memory eluded me. Warming up left-overs in the kitchen, I realised last night I must have binged on the meat, leaving only gravy and bread, so I settled for that with a cup of coffee spiked with some cocoa powder, it tasted like childhood memories, happy ones.

My phone rang, but it took a couple of rings for me to realise it, the ringtone was different, a pop upbeat love song. I do remember most definitely not having that song in my phone. When I think of Valentine’s Day I can imagine people with heart-shaped designs for eyes like cartoon characters. February, when love is in the air, and I would be the one guy wearing a full body hazmat suit, so as not to catch it. For someone who claims I do not believe in love, I am more sentimental than the cynic I pretend to be. The phone call was from one of the guys calling to check if I was still alive, that I had not woken up dead having overdosed or died in my sleep, the kind of friends that call to see if you make it home safe.

After the phone conversation, I had a better idea of my puzzle pieces that was yesterday, prudence dictates that I start from the beginning.

The beginning is that I like to be alone, but I like to be alone in the company of other people, lost in my own thoughts. I was hanging out with my friends celebrating their various achievements, one friend had recently sealed a lucrative business deal, which explained the expensive whiskey. I always make appropriate congratulatory noises, but frankly I never celebrate my accomplishments because I always get what I set out to get and it never makes me happy though I can pretend, smile on all the right prompts, blended.

Maybe I don’t know how to be happy or I am missing a happiness gene, I was just the watcher. I watched, I watched how real people behaved in case I ever wrote a book I sometimes imagined I was that clever emotionless character from Star Trek.

I was watching as usual, when I saw her, she saw me, everything fell into place, as if it had all been leading to this moment, I feel like a cliché but the rest of the evening, time flew in a blur of pleasantries, and coincidences. Discovering common uncommon traits in a random stranger like they are another version of you, maybe that is what a soul mate is, someone who reads the same weird books by obscure authors, listens to music on the B side of albums not the hits, just like you be content with companionable silence and not have the need to fill it up with meaningless words.

I remember she took my phone and saved her number, that is when she must have changed the ringtone, I remember lots of smiles and a kiss goodnight, I do not remember her name.

I grabbed my phone scrolled through the contacts hoping one might light up something, but there’s over five hundred entries and I am only in touch with a handful of people and the rest well I just have their numbers saved, who knows when you might need to call that one guy who claims to be a witch doctor or hook up free satellite TV subscriptions. I laughed, I couldn’t stop, I laughed till I cried, I can’t remember the last time I really laughed.

Life, if it gave you lemons, you really needed to stop doing drugs, because life did not go around giving people fruit. I laughed some more at my wit and it hit me this was me being happy, when everyone was gone you were the only one left and you made yourself happy, you grew your own flowers, that was joy.

Last night, I saw her, she saw me, the cliché and I said “I am looking for joy that lasts forever

You happen to be in luck___” she had replied.

My phone rang, jarring my senses back to the present, the screen lit up:

JOY calling

That was her name, Joy.

You happen to be in luck because I am Joy and I have been waiting for you to stop running so I could catch you.” That was how she had introduced herself last night.

I smiled, I always smile when I answer the phone, I read somewhere it could be felt in your voice. Joy was never chased or sought, she was the butterfly who came freely and landed on your palm, and my new chapter begun, the happily ever after.

Hello Joy…

joy

~B

Day 17 Of My Blog Everyday Challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Of The Purge: Facebook Edition

I logged into my Facebook after a very long absence from the Blue Matrix and I could hardly recognise my newsfeed and the people on my list of “friends”

matrix

 

Why haven’t I been on the Blue Matrix? Well, I discovered WordPress 8 years ago and moved all my eccentricities to somewhere I could breathe, I write to breathe. While  I was figuring out the options to share my blog posts with rest of the interwebs I stumbled upon Twitter, I logged in and have never logged out.

The are two kinds of people Twitter People and Facebook people, which one are you?

pill

To pick twitter is to go down the rabbit hole……….

But who are all these people on my Facebook?

facebook friends

Looks like I went through a phase when I was randomly sending and receiving requests from anyone with a Facebook Account and an internet connection and have come to that moment that I realise I need to do The Purge. 

The Purge is just like an avenging dirty of old smiting down with righteous vengeance generations of sinners but this involves systematically going through your list of Facebook friends and “unfriending” all those who do not bring value.
It would be prudent for you to begin with the following people:

facebook unfriend

The People You Need to Unfriend on Facebook by ME

>1 The Serial Liker
The crazies out there; liking every status, picture and post on the internet. No one person can actually be interested in so many different things every single day. They could be a
serial killer trying too hard to blend in…….

>2 The Capitalist
People love to get and receive compliments on Facebook, but nobody likes that person who goes overboard about it especially those who use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS

3 The Serial Poster
It’s cool that people like to share what’s on their minds. But you don’t have to post updates every single time on every single thing, oversharing and crowding the timeline, maybe you should be on Twitter and not on Facebook or start a Blog.

>4  The Stalker
They comment and drop like on posts from 10 years ago, and ask you about people from back in the past they seem the type a google search away from winding up underneath your bed, naked.

>5 The Serial Inviter
Everybody loves cool parties and events right but nobody likes getting invited to “Help Clean Up Harare at 4 a.m. This Saturday”
or “Pinda muSmart: Rockin’ Abstinence and Circumsicion Celebration.

6 The Hustler 

This one never talks to you, except to message or tag you and generally bug you with links to supporting their hustle, by listening to their mixtape and watching their YouTube channel.

7> The Ghost

They are just there seeing all, reading all and never talking. Are they even there? 

 If going through your list and you come across someone whom you have no recollection of ever liking or commenting on anything you post and you go to their wall and find the only post there is your birthday greeting to them from five years, it’s probably best that you’re not up to date on each other’s business. 

N.B please also watch out for the FB friend you see everyday in real life who never posts anything but will come to you during lunch break and clap you on the back and say “I love the stuff you post”, what happens on Facebook stays on Facebook.

>8 The Zone Trespasser
You might also want to consider unfriending collegues classmates your Boss Your Lecturers your landlord, parents and anyone who you don’t want reading your private public social media life……

The Purge is a process it will take time but fortunately FB can make it easy for you there is a special feature that will each day suggest for you people you must unfriend or not unfriend,….. its called Birthday Notifications. Every birthday notification you get, you can get to decide who stays and who goes and in a year your Facebook will be streamlined to just the basic.
And if one day you find that somehow your friend count has dipped without you unfriending make sure you stop doing whatever silly things you’ve been doing on Facebook.
You are welcome…..

~B

Watch out for the guide on how to do a Twitter Purge…… coming soon.

Day 16 of my Blog everyday challenge

Of An Ode To Time

Existing as a whole,
Yet uniquely,
Fragmented,
Balanced,
The weakness of strength
Counter balanced by
The strength in weakness
Infinite possibilities,
All linked,
as the time piece turns,
Measuring,
Ticking,
Cogs within cogs within cogs,
turning,
Varying yet aligned
The shapes that give us form and the lessons we learn from.
Our mind and the Soul.
One mysterious,
the other simply complex,
one a machine,
the other a ghost within.
Birth and death,
Beginnings into Endings
To begin again,
As time just is
Connected to all things………,

Ending just as eventually all things END

The END

time

~B

Day 15 of my blog everyday challenge…… A poem, an ode to time, the mystery and fragility of life……

 

Of Nyami Nyami: A Zambezi River God

victoria falls

Bound not only by history and the majestic Victoria Falls; Zimbabwe and Zambia share the Zambezi river as a border between them including the common legend of a River God fabled to patron it, the Nyami Nyami.

nyami nyami

The Nyami Nyami  is a River God said to look something like a cross between a snake and a fish with varying accounts as to its actual size and appearance, I am surprised that no one has added being a shape-shifter to its list of abilities.

clip art nyami nyami

As legend would have it told, the Nyami Nyami lived under a large boulder that jutted out from the Kariwa gorge where the present day Kariba Dam wall was built, and any mortal foolish enough to venture close to there got trapped and dragged under water never to be seen again. This is how Kariba Dam got its name from the word Kariwa/Kariva which means trap. The Dam construction project might also have been explained to the locals as being a “Water Trap” to hold water from the river.

The Tonga people used to live a simple life sheltered from the outside world on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. In drought times the Nyaminyami would let the people cut off pieces of itself to eat, and no matter how much they cut, would never get finished. The name Nyaminyami could be from the Tonga phrase meaning pieces of meat: nyama yamaninganinga.

Then civilisation invaded in the 1940s. Shattering their simple lifestyle, as they were relocated from areas that would flood upon the building of the Kariba Dam and its Hydroelectric Power Station to supply electricity to Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Tonga folk let themselves be relocated but they held the belief that the Nyaminyami would never let the dam project be completed.

building kariba dam

Almost true to the Tonga’s expectations the Kariba dam project was plagued with unparalleled flooding of the sort that is supposed to be witnessed only once in a thousand years, but yet happened consecutively for three years

Eventually they would turn to the Tonga tribal elders and spirit mediums to intercede on their behalf…..

lake-kariba-dam-pic

The dam was completed in 1958 and started generating hydroelectric power in 1960.

Kariba Dam Opening

Sir Duncan, Queen Elizabeth at the official opening of the Kariba Dam on Tuesday 17th May 1960

its still generating power for Zambia and Zimbabwe today.

kariba electricity

The End?

 No, not quite. See when they completed the dam wall, they separated the Nyami Nyami from his mate. The earth tremors that are frequent in the area are a result of the River God trying to break down the dam wall and reunite with his mate. The Tonga people believe that one  day Nyaminyami will break down the wall and they will return to their ancestral homes on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Update: Someone shared an interesting theory with me that: IF the Nyaminyami is there we might be mistaken about its appearance (well, personally I think it shapeshifts) See, the dam was built by an Italian consortium Impresit and its highly likely they drove their Italian made Alfa Romeo vehicles. Take a look at the logo of the Alfa Romeo vehicle and tell me it does not remind you of some legend?:

alfa romeo logo

What do I think? I think that deep in the murky waters of the Zambezi there is some creature there, something,ancient, uncommon and unknown. I heard an interesting story about how separating the Nyaminyami from its mate was actually a calculated move, they did not want these creatures breeding, dealing with only two is trouble enough……

The Nyami Nyami River God myth or real, what do you think?

 

~B

Day 14 of my blog everyday challenge Africa: Stories from home

Photocredit www.victoriafalls-guide.net

Of The Muse In You: Hero

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE  ABDUCTED

becoming

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken.

The popular poll result was that I should find an IT expert to trace the original email and those who wrote in comments said Join The Facebook Group see what happens that seemed like a good idea …. So I will fuse those two ideas and see where the story goes.

I clicked the link to join the Facebook group and a pop up screen asked me a few questions to help the admin decide if I would fit in the group. I scrolled through the question then answering them as I went along.

Do you think all people were created equal?

Yes *I clicked*

Do you think everyone has a right to their opinion whether you agree with it or not?

Yes *I clicked*

What quality makes a hero and are you one?

I paused, thinking of a response. Being a serial binge watcher of superhero movies I wanted to write that, “a hero was someone with extra-ordinary powers doing extra-ordinary things with the powers vested in him whether by being bitten by radioactive spiders or marvels of modern science  or mythological connections and even by virtue of being an alien with godlike powers.”

Then I remembered something printed on a t/shirt worn by the conductor in the taxi I had taken on my evening commute home.

Not all heroes wore capes, some simply hold the door

He smiled as he slid the door open and so passengers could get on. “I want only two serious passengers we are about to go” he would periodically shout even though the taxi needed way more than two people before it could leave, and he was quite theatric in convincing people to get into his taxi than pick any of the other that were also trying to get passengers.

A hero is someone who perseveres against the odds *I finally typed*

Congratulations you are in the group, a notification flashed

#freeLeah

I was surprised to find the group full of people from all over the world, strangers bound together with a common need to fight for injustice and to pray and to lobby governments for the safe return of all abducted people.

There was a pinned message on the group wall:

This group is as a safe place new members introduce yourself and tell us your ideas on how we can achieve our objectives. Faith Without Works Is Dead

I felt nervous and more than a little scared but the word hero echoed somewhere in the back of my mind. What was I getting myself into I thought as I typed:

Hi I am looking for friend who may have been abducted. They contacted me via email is there a computer expert in the group who can help with a trace.

*Ping* A new Facebook message notification. A message from someone called Og Banje, his name, I assume he was a guy because the profile picture was of a guy with a handkerchief around his face like a western outlaw; his name reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Ogbanje

Og Banje

The message was short and to the point.

“If you give me remote access to your email I might be able to run an IP address tracer and ping the servers of the email you received to track location and find service provider.”

I reread the message as I decided.

What do I do next

  1. Allow Remote Access to email
  2. First run a background check on OG Banje
  3. Ignore the message
  4. verify with group admin
  5. Go to the police

~B

day 12 of my blog everyday chllenge themed Africa: stories from home.

Of ThrowbackThoughts: TV From yesteryear

Of ThrowbackThoughts

The first TV I remember watching was a black and white television set. The kind of TV that contained itself within its on wooden cabinet with doors that when shut would cover the TV screen. When you switched it on, the screen did not light up instantly it took several minutes while a humming noise was one of the tell-tale signs that it was on. If you were an enquiring mind such as myself and crawled beneath the TV you could see the capacitors light up through the ventilation slots on the belly of the TV while you waited for the screen to power on, first came the sound then later the picture.

Black and white TV

The first programme I remember watching on TV was a something called Button Moon. When I ask people about it, no one seems to remember it and I almost feel like I imagined it along  with its theme song:

We’re off to Button Moon!

And we’ve followed Mr Spoon,

Button Moon! (Button Moon!)

Button Moon! (Button Moon!)

The characters were puppets made from what looked like empty bottles with wooden spoons for hands, they flew around in a spaceship that looked suspiciously like a Heinz baked bean tin, with a funnel on the top and of course the moon was a giant button. That’s pretty much all I remember and I am fairly sure I did not much like watching it.

Then there was Worzel Gummidge, I remember watching this in colour. The scarecrow who came to life and got himself into various pickles trying to impress an Aunt Sally doll and Mr Crowman sir who would put him back together

worzel gummidge

worzel and aunt sally

“….a bird has two legs and a sheep has four legs… that’s about all the math a scarecrow needs to know…”

“you need more than a handsome head you need to be beautiful on the inside”

“but on the inside I only have straw, twigs and a robin’s nest.”

voltron defender of the universe

And then there was Voltron, defender of the universe. But of course most people are familiar with this one since our national broadcaster kept showing the reruns over and over again for close to two decades; that even the opening monologue (narrated by Peter Cullen the man behind the voice of Optimus Prime in the Transformers) is burned into my memory:

“From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend. The legend of Voltron: Defender of the Universe. A mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron’s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy. On Planet Earth, a Galaxy Alliance was formed. Together with the good planets of the Solar System, they maintained peace throughout the universe until a new horrible menace threatened the galaxy. Voltron was needed once more. This is the story of the superforce of space explorers. Specially trained and sent by the alliance to bring back, Voltron: Defender of the Universe.”

Young me found Voltron fascinating only the first couple of times then I started asking the question(s) why didn’t they form Voltron as soon as the bad guy’s robeast attacked them and when they did why did they not just form the blazing sword and chop up the robeast. Well obviously the cartoon would end in thirty seconds or less but what was the point if the good guys always won, you knew no matter how dire the situation looked they would win they always did.

It was thinking like that that also made me not care much for Captain Planet another favourite from my childhood. There’s a post on Life With Dimples with a list of the other 80s and 90s cartoons which I also grew up, watching, its an interesting stroll down memory lane.

The other programming we used to watch were some UK , Australian and New Zealand television series such as Skippy, Danger Bay, Tomorrow is Saturdee, Miror Mirror, Halfway across the galaxy turn left, The Odessey, Under the mountain, Round The Twist, Miraculous Mellops.

Do any of these sound familiar to you, connected across time and distane by TV programmes from yesteryear.

~B

Day 11 of my blog everyday challenge: Africa Stories from home

Of Zim Cholera Outbreak: How To Prevent & Save A Life

A week ago I posted an article titled Of Someone Else’s problem, about how we tend to turn a blind eye to problems until they fester into something affecting everyone, and made a brief mention of the poor service delivery in the sanitation and waste disposal department……. Now here we are its our problem now.

outbreak

The government has declared a cholera outbreak in Harare, Zimbabwe a state of emergency due to the rising number of cholera infections; over 2300 recorded cases and the death of 20 people since the beginning of September. When your house is burning its not the time to find out who started the fire, first thing is to put out the fire. The last time we had a cholera outbreak 4000 people died, 2008 was a really bad year.

because Knowledge may save a life:

What is cholera?

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine by the bacteria Vibrio cholera.

vibrio

computer generated image of the vibrio cholera bacteria

The cholera bacterium is found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by faecal matter from a person infected with cholera. Cholera is mostly found and spread in places with inadequate water treatment, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene.

Cholera can be life-threatening, with death resulting in hours if untreated but it is easily prevented and treated

Symptoms of Cholera

  • profuse watery diarrhoea, described as “rice-water stools,”
  • vomiting
  • rapid heart rate
  • loss of skin elasticity (when you pinch skin it stays bunched up)
  • dry mucous membranes
  • low blood pressure
  • thirst
  • rapid weight loss
  • muscle cramps
  • restlessness or irritability

**Symptoms typically appear in 2-3 days after infection.

symptoms of cholera

The diarrhoea and vomiting cause rapid loss of body fluids leading to dehydration, severe electrolyte imbalance and shock. Untreated, severe dehydration can rapidly lead to shock and death in hours.

Treatment:

Death by Cholera is due to severe dehydration, rehydration will save a life. Once symptoms detected, immediately start taking an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) while you seek out medical attention. Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediate replacement of the fluid and salts lost through diarrhoea. Severe cases may require intravenous fluid replacement.

Antibiotics shorten the course and diminish the severity of the illness, but they are not as important as receiving re-hydration. 80% of cholera cases can be treated simply by rehydrating

How to make your own ORS at home:

home made ors

  1. 1 litre clean water (boiled to be sure)
  2. 6 level teaspoons sugar
  3. Half level spoon salt
  4. Stir till it dissolves

Mild and moderate cases can be effectively treated simply by taking this ORS drink 3l a day

*even simply having sips of safe plain can help with the hydration while you seek medical attention

Infected persons, when treated rapidly, can recover quickly, and there are typically no long term consequences. Persons with cholera do not become carriers of the disease after they recover, but can be reinfected if exposed again.

Prevention

  • Drink water only from trusted sources. bottled, boiled, or  treated water and bottled. When using bottled drinks, make sure that the seal has not been broken.
    • To disinfect your own water: boil or and add 2 drops of household bleach/Chlorine (Jik®) or water purification tablets.
    • Disinfect minicipal tap water
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner, especially before you eat or prepare food and after using the bathroom.
    • If no soap is available, use ash.

CHOLERA-1.jpg

  • Use bottled, boiled, or treated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food and rinse fruit and vegetables
  • Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.
    • Do not eat raw or undercooked meats or raw or undercooked fruits and vegetables unless they are peeled.
  • Dispose of waste in a sanitary manner to prevent contamination of water and food sources.
  • Avoid shaking of hands

*No cholera vaccine is 100% protective and vaccination against cholera is not a substitute for standard prevention and control measures, including precautions for food and water as outlined above.

Prevention of cholera is dependent on access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and basic hygiene needs.

lets prevent cholera

If you have any other tips and helpful knowledge do share in the comments below

 

~B

Day ten of my Blog Every Day Challenge Themed Africa: Stories from Home.

UPDATE:

According to statistics from Ministry of Health and Child Care, cholera deaths since the beginning of the month are now at 25 and 3 766 cases reported.

Of The Harare Agriculture Show: A day at.

harare agriculture show

The Harare Agricultural Show is an annual agricultural business exhibition held at the Exhibition  Park Harare. Why they still call it “Agricultural Show” when it might as well as be the biggest Business exhibition event in the country second only to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is something I wonder about to be honest.

The Agricultural Show is another tradition we adopted from our colonial heritage. When the settler farmers launched it back in the 1900s it was a platform to share and exchange ideas on commercial farming; at a time when the indigenous landowners were being displaced from their ancestral homes to communal reserve areas, where they were restricted to subsistence farming, leaving the fertile arable lands to the settler farmers.

After our independence from colonial rule the country underwent a controversial land reform to reclaim the land that was stolen but there is still an uneven distribution of this resource vital, which might explain the mostly unspoken sentiment that maybe what has simply changed is the face of our oppressors. Where one settler farmer used to own large tracts of land, it’s now a senior government official or a decorated army general or war veteran and the rest distributed more along partisan lines and more as a reward for patriotism than capacity to utilize to the land assigned. Small wonder our agriculture production has been at an all-time low, from being Africa’s breadbasket and in charge of SADC’s Food Security, to us needing aid and donor support; though the government now seeks to make corrective measures through various intermediary processes to develop sustainable agriculture, some of which would be great if they could weed out the corruption that everyone turns a blind eye to, seed and resources being misappropriated.

The Zimbabwe Agriculture Society (driving force behind the Harare Agriculture Show) has taken a radical strategy to “reposition itself as the centre of excellence in facilitating national agricultural development that ultimately impacts positively on rural livelihoods.”

To consolidate, broaden and deepen value chains, while highlighting the “push-pull effect” and close, and perhaps inseparable, linkages between sustained agricultural productivity, industry resuscitation and increased capacity utilisation, and the resultant improved economic growth, the theme for 2018 is:

FIELD TO INDUSTRY

 

field to industry Produce Connect Develop

The icon depicts the various activities and ingredients to ensure a good harvest, a link with industry and the main actors, while showing the resultant economic growth, and all this enveloped in the year 2018, emphasising the need for urgency among players to ensure agriculture-led economic growth.

History lesson and current affairs aside this year I decided to attend the Harare Agriculture show… wait that’s a misleading statement. My services “were volunteered” as a chaperone to my nieces and nephews, so they could attend. I almost said I was too busy to do it but I did not have the heart after seeing the excitement written all over their faces when they found out they could go if I was taking them.

They really should just rename the Harare Agriculture Show to The Harare Children’s Carnival Show, they are the ones who enjoy it the most from face painting to amusement park rides and of course how could I forget candy floss.

20180831_144618.jpg

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Mostly all I remember from the show is mostly waiting in lines.

  • Lines to get into the show. There was a high turn out and of course because of the cash shortages people use plastic money, so it takes longer for each person to get served, and sometimes the system would crash and I kept thinking there should be an easier way to do this like prefund my ticket and simply waltz through the gates like they do at toll gates ? The queue for those paying in cash was super short and moved quite rapidly how I envied them. Cash is king these days
  • Lines to buy tokens for the amusement rides. And of course those with cash got served first and faster.
  • Lines to actually get on the rides. All the really cool rides had lines so long that looking at them just sapped your energy so we ended up picking the less fun rides
  • Lines to buy food. Those selling food and snacks, if they did not make a pile of money then, I don’t know what they were doing.

With all this going on I never got a chance to visit the exhibition stands for any of the businesses though it did look like a great networking opportunity I was terribly sorry to miss but I did see a cow or two and some pigs.

harare agric show

And just when it looked like the fun evening festivities were about to begin which would kick off with the customary fireworks display rivalled only by one you see at  Meikles hotel on New Year’s we had to call it day, it was getting cold and dark and the little ones wanted to go home

Harare show

dancing

are you not entertained?

My verdict would I attend it again? In a heartbeat (especially if I wasn’t on chaperon duty and if I was, I would make sure we went first thing in the morning before the rush)

Maybe next year I might even consider being an exhibitor cause I thinking what kind of national business exhibition attracting foreign exhibitors does not have an easy to find online presence, no common hashtags, so people can easily share moments, such as this one. Free wifi should permeate every corner of the exhibition park  and if you are only finding out or reading about the Harare Agriculture Show today, a week and some change after the event that’s exactly my point, businesses in Africa need to embrace more of the digital world and by extension bloggers and their networks instead of treating it as a hobby sport by people with internet access and too much free time on their hands………..

And that’s why next year my exhibition will be a Bloggers Hub. I wrote it down so it could be real. Now someone help me make my dream a reality step, into my office and let’s chat about it over coffee…..

~B

Day 9 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home