Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Memphis, Tennessee, lies on the eastern side of the Mississippi River.
Many people visit Memphis for the blues music centered around Beale Street, or to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion.
But if you get to Memphis, do not miss out on the fantastic bar-b-que at places like Neeley's.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Life here is just ridiculous, right now. My mom goes to the bank every day (on my behalf, as I have not had a bank account in three years) to get ZD50, 000, which is enough to buy a loaf of bread. If we don’t buy bread that day, then we may have ZD100,000 the next day, and perhaps even have enough money by week’s end to buy pizza. This is not really (completely) because we don’t have the money. It’s because we are limited to ZD50,000 withdrawals per day.
And why would any government- nuts, hare-brained or not- do such a thing? Because, of course, they were trying to put a lid on inflation, because they don’t want to print any more money. And why would they have to print more money? Well, in Zim that’s rhetorical anyway, but there’s a new reason: “burning”. That’s the term Zimbabweans use for a new and slightly insane stratagem, which must have Gono (our reserve bank governor) taking ulcer medication.
The basic principle is: there is a shortage of foreign currency in the country. Foreign currency makes its way into the country by mostly illegal, informal means. There is already a black market for foreign currency; however, there are a few individuals who have so many Zim dollars that there is no numerical term for them (perhaps scientific notation?). These Zimbabweans are anxious to turn their play money into real money. Therefore, they will pay a premium to do so. They cannot use cash to buy this foreign currency on the black market (as it is stuck in the bank), and that pushes this exchange rate up further (which is called the “transfer” rate, referring to the fact that the money was originally transferred electronically between buyer and seller). At present, the ratio of the “normal” black market rate to the transfer rate is approximately 1:15,000 (if you can imagine that). Now, if I were the reserve bank governor, I would make sure people never ever ever have access to that money; if you could get all that cash out of the bank, there would not be a Zim dollar to speak of. (Which there isn’t- but that’s another story). And that’s what Gono has done. And so now, instead of transferring the money electronically, people use cheques to pay each other.
All of which leads to prices like ZD50,000,000 for a can of baked beans. Because you can’t get cash, and almost everyone knows that there is money in the banks, and so if you have a card and can pay electronically, everyone wants a share of that huge pile. Which is insane. The average salary (if such a thing exists) ZD20,000,000. I suspect that no one actually knows, anymore, what the Zim dollar actually is, let alone what it’s worth.
Sure wish I had USD to “burn”. But then what would I do with what I get when I can’t spend it?
On another note; I shared on facebook about what we in Bulawayo call “rand shops” (the “rand” being the South African currency), which started with a few people going to South Africa, bringing groceries back and selling them in rand from their homes. (This goes back to the days of the farm invasions, and when farmers moved into town for security, they would sell milk and meat from their homes). These have gradually grown into almost-actual-shops (being as they are outside the law). However, the government recently introduced licences for businesses to sell their goods in foreign currency- which licences cost USD20,000- and now we have a few real (read: official) rand shops, where people can spend the money that gets sent to them from outside Zimbabwe (which merits a post all on its own- maybe in the future). This has meant we can actually get food, which is a relief… But has also made things that much harder for ordinary Zimbabweans. (Someone told me that rural folk are eating the seed maize that the government has given them for this farming season…)
So the troubles continue, for now.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Murder took place at a college in Khatai District of Baku.
Sabir Khudiyev, 60-year old teacher of the Finance College in Afiyaddin Jalilov St., 22, was killed with knife at 12.00AM on 20 October, the police office 37 of the Khatai District Police Department told Trend News on 20 October.
Farhad Mammadov, a killer of Khudiyev, was arrested as a result of operation, the police office said.
At present the police and prosecutor employees are holding investigations at the scene of incident.
The reason of the murder, which took place at the Finance College in Khatai District of Baku, has been determined.
The primary investigation revealed that a dispute aroused between Khudiyev and Mammadov because of Khudiyev’s oppressing Mammadov and not allowing to lessons. Mammadov inflicted two knife injuries upon Khudiyev during the dispute and Khudiyev died at the place.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday evening I went to an art exhibition held in the Kuwait Arts Association. The exhibition is for the work of the late Kuwaiti Artist Mohammed Al-Ayoubi [1973-2007]. he was a young Kuwaiti artist who had passion for art yet studied engineering, he passed away at the age of 34 after having a stroke while driving.
The young artist was very creative his work showed his passion to humanity and what a person held inside him clearly and how he/ she looked outside vaguely. He expressed in many paintings humanitarian feelings such as Envy, gossip and as the picture I took below expressing craving/ lust
By the late Kuwait artist Mohammed Al-Ayoubi
The artist did not lack artistic techniques nor accuracy in painting, he had lovely detailed portraits and yet concentrated on his ability to reflect what is inside a human, his feelings, and from my tour around the gallery I noticed that most of his paintings lacked the details and faces of people he drew, yet were simple and very effective in delivering the point.
I posted about this event in my blog and a other Kuwaiti blog did, its an artistic blog named The Sami mohammed Art group after the wonderful Kuwaiti Artist Sami Hohammed, which is a pleasant young artistic effort to spread art all around.
This is a piece of the Kuwaiti art for every one to see....
Monday, October 13, 2008
*Allays fears that Limbe Sea Port, Shipyard Projects are abandoned.
CAmeroon's Prime Minister has unveiled a huge package of government projects earmarked for Fako (his division of origin)in particular and Southwest province in general to justify his call for the province's continued trust in the Biya regime and loyalty to the CPDM.
Premier Ephraim Inoni, who delivered a keynote address last Saturday at an all-Fako CPDM conference organized under his patronage, said a school of technology and a maritime academy will go operational next year in Limbe, while Buea will have a national school of sports.
The PM used the conference, attended by over 4000 militants and sympathizers and described as successful by observers, to allay fears that the much –talked about Limbe deep Seaport and shipyard projects have been abandoned.
Limbe Bank Robbery
Inoni insisted that the government would carry out a detailed investigation of last September 28 Limbe bank robberies so to prosecute the culprits. He urged the public to always report suspects and criminals to the administration.
The PM advised militants to "close ranks and work together so to consolidate our achievements in Fako and Southwest in general". He called for genuine and lasting reconciliation in the five sections of Fako.
He warned against political slumber in the sections. "We should not be seen as a party that only reawaken when elections around", he said, calling for the holding of various section conferences.
No Mention of Albatross Scandal
With allegations of the PM's involvement in what is now known as the Albatross Scandal still hanging on his neck, some militants who spoke to this reporter had expected that, Inoni was going to use the conference to clear his image, face to face with militants. But Inoni, who did not look quite cheerful, made no mention of the issue, leaving militants in suspense.
For her part, Dorothy L.Njeuma, CPDM political bureau member and chair of the conference's organizing committee, said the choice of Muyuka for the conference was deliberate. She said CPDM won last year's twin elections in Muyuka, a town that for many years was opposition stronghold. Njeuma said the province by partnering with the CPDM stands at the threshold of opportunities. "We are indeed valid partners of the CPDM in the Socio-economic development. With President Paul Biya the future is bright", she noted
Chief Tabe Tando, who led Party's Central Committee delegation that included Minister Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, gave words of encouragement to Fako CPDM.He thought that "the CPDM will continue winning in Muyuka for 50 more years".
Another word of encouragement came from Minster Etoundi Ngoa, leader of the Mfoundi CPDM delegation, who said they came because Fako elites in Yaounde are working and very active in the Mfoundi sections.
Muyuka Ripe for Division
Earlier in his welcome speech, Muyuka Mayor Njie Mokoto called on the PM to upgrade Muyuka subdivision to division. He expressed need for CDC to surrender land for Muyuka is now short of land for settlement. He also called for improved social facilities in the municipality.
Conference resolutions included a condemnation of recent Limbe bank robberies, a call for security to be beefed up in Limbe and a request for rapid investigation of the bank robberies.
A motion of support was also issued for President Paul Biya and his regime.
Cultural dances and songs animated the conference
Dignitaries present included Philemon Yang, assistant SG at the Pressidency, Hon Francis. Nkwain, former Prime Minister Mafany Musonge and SouthWest Governor Eyeya Zanga Louis