Saturday, December 22, 2007


scattered thoughtlets from random locales whilst on the way home for the holidays:

01:06pm--Sao Tome and Principe

to get from Sao Tome and Principe to Kigali is a ridiculously long three (sometimes 5) day trip. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure I can get to new york faster than I get to the other side of the continent. I'm not complaining though, because I'm fully prepared. the ipod and the laptop are fully charged cuz I know that it's going to be all about the long and dreary waits. for example, right now I'm sitting in the departure lounge at the sao tome airport waiting for a flight that has been delayed by two hours. two. hours. of. nothingness. there's a bar, but i haven't eaten and I'd like to be able to board the plane without falling over. and so I'm sitting here listening to the dreamgirls soundtrack (shut up) and trying not to sing along. but, if nothing happens soon…I'm fixin to break into a rousing rendition of 'steppin to the bad side' right about now.


de plane! de plane!!
man. they'd better not leave my suitcase behind. *narrows eyes at baggage truck*

10:00am (or so I thought)--Libreville

so to celebrate making it off the island, I decided not to chance random budget accommodations in this strange city, and check myself into a nice business hotel. uh-huh. I am now officially broke. it's insane how expensive this place is, but since I had no where else to go, and no one I know, I decided to stay here. I thought, ok, so it's pricey, at least the price comes with breakfast, wireless, and CNN International. so, I'll just splurge. also, yay for wireless! yeah, except? the wireless is THIRTEEN DOLLARS AN HOUR. the HELL? and the breakfast of juice, coffee, and one pancake was an additional 30 DOLLARS. so, I'm broke. too broke to afford the pretty pretty wireless. and I'm bored as hell waiting to leave this place and go to the airport.

and this is one of the less pricey hotels in this town where clean sheets are guaranteed and I get a free ride to the airport. but I can't ever stay here again. I just blew my hotel budget for my trip home and back, so next time…backpackers hostel it is. I'll just carry my own sheets.

on the news, French aid workers are standing trial in Chad for the kidnapping of 103 children. they were attempting to rescue them from a life of doom and misery by exporting them to France. they claim that these children were refugees. they also claim that they were acting according to international law. now, here's the thing, I studied international law. international human rights law, in particular, and i'm here to tell you: there's no such thing. not in isolation of domestic law, anyway. you can't march into a country, decided that people are being violated or neglected, and then spirit them away on your magic plane to the land of milk and honey. this is why people don't take human rights activists seriously. because of incidents like this. anyway, they decided to circumvent Chad's laws and take these Sudanese orphans away. but…the children are not Sudanese orphans. they're Chadian. and no doubt they have been barely living in awful conditions while the country's leaders continue to doggedly pursue conflict and evade any attempts at stabilization. but they belong to someone. they have parents. they have families. what kind of ridiculous arrogance does it take to just TAKE THEM AWAY. the parents claimed they were tricked, and did not know their children were being evacuated. they thought the NGO was just going to take care of them. and that's another thing, after the whole high-profile mess with Madonna last year, and the recent tabloid-fuel 'controversy' regarding Angelina Jolie' Ethiopian adoption, you would think these organizations—in order to be effective and actually reach their goals—would research local law and find away to help these children that does not involve endangering them, or themselves. but of course, this would mean they would have to respect the people and laws of this poor African state (which is necessary, even when you violently disagree with them), rather than swoop in from their pedestals of superiority and enact a rescue mission.

now that I'm an expatriate living in an incredibly impoverished country, working for an international NGO, I see how it's tempting to use whatever resources you have to FORCE change. I see how you can get caught up in your 'mission' and how you can feel powerless and desperate in the face of lack of democracy, and complete and utter disregard for rule of law. but…no matter how noble your mission is…no matter how many human rights instruments are out there upon which you can rely to back up your action…the fact remains, you can't just impose your way of thinking upon people and think you can get away with it. this incident with the French NGO stems from this neo-colonial, superior, condescending attitude of this need to rescue Africans from themselves, which sickens me. we don't need superheroes with big planes to take our children away to Europe. how the hell does that solve any problem, in the long run? why could they not create a safe-haven for these children where they were? how did they not think that it may be detrimental to these children to remove them—emotionally and mentally—from their families and communitie? I suppose more will come out as the trial progresses. but these are my immediate thoughts on the whole thing.

wait. does that clock say 11:30?? the hell?? i completely forgot about the time zone change. I'm going to be sooo late. ack!

01:13 pm

while stuck in traffic on the way to the airport, I realized that the biggest gift given to me by island life is incredible patience. after half an hour in traffic, realizing I was late to check-in, I still did not panic. if this had happened to me a couple of years ago, I would've been near tears out of pure frustration. also, the hotel bus driver took some back road and stopped to pick up his cousin or someone (who wreaked of alcohol already. at 12:30pm) which he totally would not have done if I was one of the white customers of the hotel, but I didn't get pissed. I was all 'ah, what can you do' and turned up the volume on the ipod to drown out the declarations and ramblings of drunk dude.

airport. ok. reason number 342 I hate travelling: the dehumanizing metal detector. oh, it's awful. I just went through the thing about ten times and I swear the woman was about to make me remove my bra and put it through. as if being forced to remove one's shoes isn't gross enough (thanks, shoe bomber guy!). i travel so much, and this happens each time. but I feel just as violated every time. just now the woman took the metal stick thingy and made me put my hands above my head and spread my legs. she barked each order like I was a damn criminal. fuck you, metal detector power-trippin people. and happy holidays!

this lounge is freezing and the duty free shops are tempting me with their shiny prettiness. i'll just keep looking at my hotel bill, though, to remind me that shiny pretty things are no longer available to me after such decadence.

04:08 am--Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

i can't sleep! wide, wide awake. can't wait. will be in Rwanda with the fam and the peeps in 8 more hours. woo hoo!!!

happy holidays, beautiful people!

Currently listening : Make Sure They See My Face

By Kenna


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


there's a sao tomean term 'leve-leve' which, as i understand it, means 'chill'. it's not so much a term, as a way of life. slowwww, and chill (see previous entry re. three hour lunch breaks). this can be incrediby excruciatingly frustrating when attempting to get anything done on time. there are times, though, when this outlook is, in fact, the most inviting, most charming aspect of life here.

i'm now at the cafe where i sometimes like to work, and i woke up this morning still hungover from the funk i've been in for the past week or so. so i'm in about seven different kinds of mad mood. then all of a sudden, someone turns the music up, and the owner of the cafe starts dancing with a member of the portuguese airforce (yup) and this old woman who sells vegetables on the street, hears the music, and dances into the cafe rockin' two bags of carrots and getting DOWN. using the carrots as dancing props. awesome. then another woman walks in...frowns...then also starts dancing by herself. it's turned into a spontaneous dance fest at 10:30 in the morning.

so...ok, infuriating logistical problems aside, maybe sometimes, i really do love the kooky randomness that is this island. it too early for a cocktail? don't look at me like that! i'm just going with the flow.

Currently listening :
Di Korpu Ku Alma

By Lura


Monday, December 10, 2007

soooo funkdafied

today is SUCH a typical, funky monday. a monday of funk, if you will. i woke up listless and disoriented because i couldn't sleep til about 3am this morning due to ridiculous non-stop anxiety dreams. then i went to a meeting that never happened, and sat in front of my computer all day and wrote ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. a little window just popped up telling me the Microsoft Word is shutting down. Word is probably wondering why i've had it open all day and written nothing of substance, and has just decided to quit this b*tch and go on home. i'm with you, Word. i just want to go home and crawl into bed and wake up not feeling so funked up. it's just one of those 'bleh' days where no matter how hard i try to be all 'Secret' and visualize all kinds of good things, i keep delving back into a miserable state of blehness. but such is the monday funk. i just wish i hadn't been in this state of mind constantly since last monday. i have to force myself out it, somehow. but i'll do that tomorrow...when the forces of the funk aren't working against me.

oh! ipod just awesomely shuffled to monica's 'don't take it personal (just one of dem days)'!! haha. Word.

By Monica


Sunday, December 2, 2007

incoherent verbal incontinence part i

it's 6am and i've just been awoken by the LOUDEST.THUNDERSTORM.EVER.
this island doesn't play with it's tropical storms. i actually thought it was a bomb, at first and almost dove under the bed. then i attempted to recapture the sweetness of slumber, and was soon woken up by the RAIN FALLING ON MY HEAD, courtesy of my lovely leaking roof (of which i was unaware prior to the rainy season). anyway, point is...i am now wide awake at 6 on a sunday, and while there are many a subject dancing around in my head about which i can wax poetic, i just cannot seem to find the words.

sample topics include:
a) my nomadic existence--both a blessing and a curse. discuss.b) what do i want to be when i grow up? for real. for really reals, in fact.

c) should i be offended when i get a booty-text at 3 in the morning from someone random who has clearly exhausted options a, b, c, and possibly d and is now obviously just randily scrolling through their phone book?

d) have i accidentally overdosed on 'as i am'? already? possibly.

e) why are my stupid neighbors dumping their garbage outside my front gate when there's a GARBAGE BIN RIGHT THERE. idiots. i'm going to stand watch and verbally abuse the next person i see attempting to pull that stunt.

the rain has stopped, it is now perfectly still, and i feel as though even the sound of typing is disruptive. i'm now going to go ponder a) and b) and hope to get struck by some sort of brilliant 'a-ha moment'-type epiphany.

Currently listening :
Bleeding Love

By Leona Lewis


Thursday, August 23, 2007

one month in peace, angel.

anita gatare 29/06/1985-21/07/2007


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

slowing my roll

like many people who work a [relatively] 9-5 job, the lunch hour is cherished as a time, non only to get one's eat on, as it were, but to run errands, shop, and--you know--get things done. if you happen to live in sao tome, however, it's better to put aside whatever kooky ludicrous (oh sweet lawd, i can't spell that word anymore! i GINUWINELY typed LUDACRIS first!!) notions you have of getting things done and just chill. because shops close from 12:30pm-3:30pm for lunch and what is referred to as a "pause," every day. and then they're only open from 9am-12:30pm on saturdays. this leaves you virtually NO TIME to get anything done. and if you've just moved into your new, empty as hell house with nothing but a suitcase and smile, it also explains why, now--five days later--you still don't have so much as tea kettle to call your own.

this blog was inspired by the hilarity of me rushing out of a meeting five minutes ago to buy house stuff, only to be reminded (again, cuz i always forget) that everything was about to shut down until late afternoon. so, i suppose, the only thing i can do now, is have lunch and just chill...[until the next episode].

when in the islands, y'all,...

Currently listening :
Hot Thing

By Talib Kweli


Sunday, August 19, 2007

beer and crabs

contrary to what this blog title suggests, this is NOT an entry about a debauched spring-break type situation.

for the third time today, this blog editor thing [EDIT: referring to myspace blog editor] has deleted everything i tried to post. so, rather than attempting to recapture the prolific profundities expressed earlier, i shall attempt a brief re-cap: yesterday, i was yanked out of the solitude to which i had resigned myself and invited to go for lunch. crab, to be more specific. now, i am not a seafood connaiseur (i got tricked into eating sea snails the other day and have not yet recovered from the EWWWWW of it all), but i decided that to think outside of the box that oprah's always warning me about and do the damn thing. we drove to a wee seaside hamlet and i ordered what everyone else was having: beer and crabs. and, in the end, i had the best experience i've had in a long time. nothing like an afternoon of roadtripping, eating, drinking, and conversating about the evils of the world: colonialism (bastards!), capitalism (mo money, mo problems), and t-pain-ism (he who lit the spark that started the fire on r&b and hip-hop charts known as RINGTONE DISEASE--eg. hey-bay-bay).

ok, maybe didn't talk about t-pain-ism. but i was thinking it on the drive back.

*warily presses "preview & post"*


Thursday, August 16, 2007

coffee shop musings


ok, this has been one helluva hiatus, even for me. but i must force myself to start writing again. even if it primarily consists of incoherent babbling. which, i warn you dear reader, will happen more often than not.

on that note, i hereby present to you: coffeshop musings--as mused, presumably, a coffee shop:

loneliness is relative. it's so easy to feel lonely when surrounded by people--i suppose it's more about a connection than anything else. if you feel disconnected to your surroundings or to the people by whom you are surrounded--whether or not they are familiar--it's more than easy to feel incredibly isolated.

since i arrived here two weeks ago, i've gotten quite a few warnings that my existence here be lonely. i suppose that comes with living anywhere that is relatively isolated, but it's been emphasized a few times. people keep reiterating how it's especially difficult when one is single and a woman, to be embraced into an already tight society. for a minute there, the situation looked bleak. how am i going to make the most of this incredibly stunning place with no one to share it with--no family, no friends, no familiar.

but then i remembered that everything really is what you make it. and that even though i miss all i know so much right now (especially because no one can reach me by phone!--ok, that still freaks me out a LOT), it's to be expected when one suddenly finds themselves in new surroundings. it is much better than feeling disconnected and isolated when in familiar surroundings, isn't it? and so, after a brief momentary panic session, i'm back to thinking of this whole experience as a challenge. as an opportunity to take advantage of the solitude, force myself out of my comfort zone, and ultimately learn more--about myself, about the world, about how many different ways one can cook fish....

but--for this first little while--i may just come back here every once in awhile to cry about how i ain't got no one to talk to! because these are my random ramblings, and i don't have to be all india.arie-ish and spew insight, maturity, and wisdom every single day, dammit!

Currently listening :

By Amy Winehouse


Saturday, July 21, 2007


i lost my niece in a car accident today. we're all sitting around in a state of disbelief, hoping--as one does under these circumstances--that it's all a big mistake. a year ago, this week, we lost a cousin in a car accident. and now it's happening all over again.

she was only 22. just completed her degree. she was driving to a funeral when it happened. a car full of young men and women on the way to bury a friend. it's a bitter and harsh irony.
i pray for her mother who adored her. i pray for her father. i pray for the sister with whom she was so close. i pray for those of her friends still in critical condition. i pray for those who died instantly. and i pray that she didn't suffer.

i feel so heartbroken, i can't even imagine what her parents and sister are going through...what the loved ones of the other victims are going through.

and, most of all, i can't accept that this was "her time to go."


Saturday, April 7, 2007


this month marks 13 years since the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda which took place over 100 days.

today, some of us remember.

today, all of us reflect.

today, we pray--for those gone, and for those left behind.

today, words alone do not suffice.

today, we pray that our generation will ensure the realization of "never again."

today, we acknowledge that what was done to some of us has an impact on all of us.

today, we accept responsiblity that we, as an international community, failed a people.

today, we realize that we are not alone.

today, we recognize that we are still not doing enough for others facing the same fate.

today, i pay tribute to the women and children victims of rape and sexual torture who continue the struggle to survive.

today is about the victims.

today is about the survivors.

today is about honoring memory.

today is about honoring faith, courage, and determination to persevere.

today is about hope

for tommorrow.


Monday, March 26, 2007

the struggle continues

yesterday, march 25th, marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-atlantic slave trade. and while poignant speeches are being made in the UK by Blair, etc; while apologies are being offered by everyone from descendants of former slave owners to the mayor of London; while debates rage on concerning whether or not apologies are enough, whether or not reparations should be granted (and what form reparations should take); while questions are raised as to whether or not celebrations in the West are to centered on white abolitionists and not enough on slave rebellion...the fact remains that today, in 2007, over 12 million people are in slavery all over the world.200 years ago, in addition to the tireless efforts of abolitionists, and the rebellions mounted by slaves all over the Americas, a petition was submitted to the British parliament that contributed to the signing of the abolition act. today, the very least we can do is sign another, and remain aware of and engaged with the continuing struggle to put an end to all forms of enslavement.

Currently listening : Exodus

By Bob Marley & the Wailers


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

return of the chronicles

so after weeks and weeks of not being able to blog (hindered by the seldomly cooperative ethionet), i'm back! i think. who knows how long this spell of good fortune will last, really. sadly, despite this minor victory, it's much too late and i'm much too tired to write anything of substance. yeah, seriously. but i'ma be back soon to tackle such topics as "africa: whither our continent" "the return of leggings: why is it 1989 again?", and "amy winehouse: if she wasn't so drunk all the time, would she be this good?"

watch this space!

Currently listening : Back to Black

By Amy Winehouse


Friday, February 9, 2007

just what we need

US to get Africa command centre

President George W Bush has approved a Pentagon plan for a command centre for Africa to oversee US military activities on the continent.
"This new command will strengthen our security co-operation with Africa," President Bush said.
Mr Bush said he had asked Defence Secretary Robert Gates to get the new command, known as Africom, up and running by the end of September 2008.
He said the US would consult African leaders on the command's base.
Mr Gates said the new Africa Command would allow the US to better co-ordinate action and counter potential threats.
The US gets more than 10% of its oil from Africa and is worried about increased economic and diplomatic competition from China, the BBC's defence and security correspondent Rob Watson reports.
There are also a variety of US security and humanitarian concerns ranging from the potential rise of militant Islam to the threat of failed states and the spectre of future genocides, our correspondent says.
The Pentagon has voiced concern about potential threats, including terrorist threats that could emerge in war-torn areas such as Somalia.
US forces carried out at least two air strikes in Somalia last month, targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants.
Africa Command would be the fifth regional operations base for the US.
Unlike other regional US commands, the Africa command will not be about preparing troops for major combat operations, as no African nation poses a direct military threat.
Rather, US officials say, it will focus on military training operations designed to help local governments.

'Outdated arrangement'

Responsibility for Africa operations is currently divided among three regional commands.
It was unclear whether the new command centre would be located in Africa or the United States, as are the US Central Command, the Southern Command, and the Pacific Command.
The US currently has an anti-terror task force based in Djibouti.
Mr Gates revealed the new plans as he addressed the Senate Armed Services Committee on the defence spending President Bush proposed in his 2008 budget, submitted to Congress on Monday.
"This command will enable us to have a more effective and integrated approach than the current arrangement... an outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War," Mr Gates said.
He said the Africa command centre would "oversee security, co-operation, building partnership capability, defence support to non-military missions, and, if directed, military operations".

Story from BBC NEWS:

i'm too disgusted and tired to write anything about this right now. "building partnership capability" sure are some fancy words for outright military occupation! hello, colonialism...welcome back.

Currently listening : The Dusty Foot Philosopher

By K'naan


Thursday, January 18, 2007

masterpiece of minimalism

I've been sitting in front of this damn non-thesis for five hours now. Five! And not a single good idea has popped into my head. I'm thoroughly uninspired, unmotivated, and frustrated that I can't seem to get anything down on paper. I'm hoping that writing this rather useless blog entry will act as some sort of a mental laxative and the genius will soon begin to flow, unabated. Ok, that was admittedly a rather gross analogy. SEE! My brain is useless today.

And to top it off, I have that song from Fresh Prince on permanent rotation in my head: stuck in the basement, sittin on a tricycle, girl gettin' on my nerves….

*bursts into frustrated sobs*

Currently listening : Tumi and the Volume

By Tumi and the Volume