Jun, 2013 back to Jun, 2010: (nothing)
Road in Kimihurura (a neighbourhood in Kigali) at night.
I must have been asked the question a thousand times, but I never know how to answer.
"How do you find Rwanda compares with other countries in East Africa?"
Luckily, this time around I could turn the question back on its asker. Our night guard, Moses, was born in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and has lived in western Tanzania as well. He settled halfway between in his fatherland, Rwanda, after the war in 1994.
Everybody was somebody on today's RwandAir flight.
On the tarmac, I met a woman from the check-in counter: the same woman who sold me my ticket in downtown Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
The flight attendants appeared twice in the in-flight magazine. (I suppose most RwandAir staff are in the magazine, with the predictable exception of the white people in the cockpit.) It's the magazine's first and only issue, in RwandAir's first and only airplane, a fifty-seater made by Quebec-based Bombardier.
In front of me, a journalist who studied in Kigali under Allan Thompson, the same Ottawa-based professor who coordinated the Rwanda News Agency internship I'll be learning from for the next two months.
Those aren't boats: they're buses. This is a picture of Dar es Salaam's main public transit canal, Posta.
It's the rainy season.
If you've lived in Canada all your life, you might never have seen rain like this.
When people talk about a developing country, they usually lump every part of that country together. But that's misleading.
I found a neat way to display indicators on a map of Tanzania. I tested it out with Tanzania census data and the result was so neat I figured I should publish it.
If you are not using Internet Explorer (8 or lower), check out a map showing some of Tanzania's development indicators.
As you can see, the level of development varies enormously depending on where in the country you are.
In Dar es Salaam, "mbongo" is the way to be.
An "mbongo" is a cool person, and using the slang term is the first step to becoming one.
The next step is to speak the lingo, often stealing from English. For instance, instead of saying you're "mzuri", you might say you're "fit". This kind of high-school level English sets you apart from your rural countrymen and marks you as a legitimate resident of Dar es Salaam.
Few facets of life in Dar es Salaam are as reliable as the queue.
It begins near sunrise. The dala-dala pulls over, the conductors yells, "I'm going to Posta, climb in, hurry!" and each collected passenger obliges, squeezing into the territory inside until the few gaps between standing people carry drops of sweat to their feet. Hearing a hurried rat-a-tat on the door frame, the driver yanks the gearshaft into place, swings his steering wheel (sustained by electrical tape) clockwise, lurches back into the fray and promptly stops.
Montreal and Dar es Salaam share a love of sport.
Sunday I took a bus around 2 p.m., before the soccer game between Simba and Yanga. The traffic was intense, to say the least.
On another bus around 6 p.m., the radio broadcast the end of the match. All of a sudden, "GOAL!" and Simba took the lead. The bus erupted in cheers and claps.
People high-fived me as I walked down the street.
I am in Tanzania.
I wasn't excited. I wasn't worried. I wasn't afraid. I was only wondering: when does preparation end and the feeling of "Tanzania" begin?
The plan, in broad strokes, is this:
- Work for three weeks for Femina HIP Ltd., the same Tanzanian HIV/gender/sexuality awareness media house I worked with in 2007-2008.
- Work through May and June for Rwanda News Agency, in Kigali.
- Spend July in Tanzania on a secret project.
- In August until the 18th, laze around Tanzania, do some journalism in Tanzania or Rwanda, and/or travel to nearby countries.
Apr, 2010 back to Feb, 2010: (nothing)
The iPad Apple announced today is, from what I understand, an oversized iPhone—which is great, in my opinion, especially considering it's cheaper than analysts expected. But web developers have already noticed that this mega-iPhone is missing one tool: Adobe Flash.
What's Flash? Only the most ubiquitous proprietary format on the Web. It plays videos on YouTube, handles file attachments in GMail, tells interactive stories on the New York Times, energizes punch-the-monkey online ads, and….
And, it's proprietary. Adobe owns the file formats and the only tools that produce and play Flash files properly. That means YouTube, GMail, New York Times, and just about every web browser on the planet depend on Adobe to function, because Adobe has the right to dictate what happens with Flash files.
Flash isn't the only proprietary software out there. Mac OS is proprietary, as is Microsoft Windows. Internet Explorer is proprietary. Microsoft Word is proprietary. But here's the thing: they're commodities. You can replace Microsoft Word with a Google Doc; you can replace Mac OS with Linux. You can't replace Adobe Flash with anything.
The correct headline for this post is, "Headlines Should not be Questions."
Television news ads ask unanswered questions all the time. When I care about the answer, I look it up online and boycott the news that night on principle.