Cameroon 0 Japan 1 – My world cup view.

Africans are very proud to hold the world cup on the African continent for the first time ever thanks to South Africa. However, some African teams are already disappointing. Cameroon the highly favored team lost to Japan. They could not get into the rhythm of the game and so the Japanese got their chances and used them well. It was not until the last few minutes that Cameroon got their thing going on but it was too late. If they played the whole game like the last ten minutes, they could have won. Now they have to win against the two heavy weights in their group which is the Danes and the Dutch which is quite a task. Kudos Japan.

Why do you love soccer aka football ?

I have not been able to blog consistently but the World cup has sparked some hype to write something. Most of my American friends can’t really understand why I am so into the world cup football aka soccer. Earlier on in the year it was the same because I was watching the English premier league and also the Champion league football or rather soccer as it is known here. My American friends ask me why I love soccer so much while most of them can’t stand it. The answer is very simple. Just get out of the U.S and travel a little bit and whether you go west south or east, you will find the answer. It is the biggest sport in the world. From Africa to Asia, Europe to South America and apparently once you cross the U.S southern border to  Mexico, it’s all about soccer.

Well I don’t blame my friends because they all have their favorite sports ranging from NFL football, Baseball or basketball. I used to struggle watching these games too but i have come to like them.

In Africa, and more specifically in my country Kenya,  the most popular sports while growing up were football/soccer, volleyball and athletics. We used to make soccer balls with plastic bags and then we would use some sort of stings which would not bra easily to “mend” (that’s what we used to call it).

Now the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA world cup is in Africa and if you are watching it you can tell that Africans love soccer. We might not have the best teams in the world but it is in the blood of the people. However we produce some very talented players once in a while.

Protect yourself from malaria when you travel to Africa

One of the readers posted a question and wanted to know about Malaria and how it is spread. I will run through the a few basic tips that might help you. I have had malaria before and trust me, the feeling is awful.  Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease. It is transmitted by a female mosquito called anopheles. When the mosquito bites an infected person, it draws blood containing the malaria parasite and then after a few days if it bites a healthy person, it injects the parasites through its saliva  and then the parasites travel through the blood stream to the liver where they multiply.

When you become infected, you might start seeing some signs and symptoms. When i had malaria, the signs and symptoms i experienced were fever, vomiting, lack of appetite, fatigue, shivering even in hot afternoons. When you are in Africa and you notice any of these, go see a doctor. In case you develop these in your country after your African trip, specify to your doctor that you were in Africa. African doctors can easily diagnose malaria but doctors in America and Europe might not track it right away because it is non-existent there. I remember I watched a show on TV called “monsters inside me” and a New York woman was turned away several times because they could not detect anything at the hospital. When she returned home her symptoms would reappear and so one day she refused to live the hospital. Eventually they detected the malaria and she was treated. Please do remember malaria kills if not treated.

There are no vaccines for malaria I have heard of and so you have to take certain measure to protect yourself. Wherever you sleep, try to sleep under an insecticide treated mosquito net. Another good thing is to avoid being around areas with stagnant water especially when it is dark. Since my primary school days in Kenya, we used to be taught that mosquitoes bleed in stagnant water.

Most people develop a kind of immunity to certain cases of malaria after they recover from it. One reason why people get malaria in Africa is because of poverty. Most people cannot afford the nets and the insecticides. Malaria is more wide spread in sub Saharan Africa and it claims many lives every year.

Rwandan genocide from a survivor’s perspective

In one of my classes, i was required to do a research paper. I did studies on the Rwandan genocide. It is the African equivalent of the holocaust. Close to a million people were slaughtered in a period of 90 days. There was a lot of pointing fingers among the super powers and the UN, arguing that the bloodshed could have been stopped.

Rwanda is a tiny country in central Africa. It is almost unnoticeable on the African map.In my research i found many useful resources and i happened to bump into one that i want to share. Immaculee Ilibagiza is a young lady who survived the bloodshed but her family was not that lucky except for her brother who was studying abroad. This is her story as seen on CBS 60 minutes. Click here to see the video I was unable to embed that video.

Other useful resources about the genocide include the movie Hotel Rwanda starring Don Cheadle and also UN general at the time General Romeo Dallaire documentary called ” Shake hands with the devil.” (saw it on you tube). I highly recommend all these resources.

Long absence

I have not been able to post on the blog for a long time because i had been overwhelmed by school work. However i also learnt more things and some of which i can use in the blog. I am back and i will continue blogging about Africa to the best of my knowledge.

Traveling to Africa 101

Africa is a great place to visit because it has very many attractions that will make your vacation fun. From Cairo to Capetown, and from West to East Africa, there are many nice places in different countries that you can visit. However, to enjoy your vacation to the maximum, you need to plan your trip in advance so that you don’t encounter problems that may ruin your trip. Below is a list of  some things I think you may need to know or have;

  • Passport - When traveling outside your country, you require a passport for identification purposes. Different countries have different requirements for passport applications.
  • Visa – Many countries require their visitors to have a visa to enter their country. You can apply for a visa in the foreign country’s embassy/consulate in your country. I usually base my posts mostly on Kenya. If you travel to Kenya, you can get a visa to enter the country at the airport in Nairobi once you arrive. This is more convenient than fist visiting the consular office.Kenya welcomes tourists and so it is hard for them to deny you a visa unless they suspect you are on an illegal mission.
  • Plane Ticket – This is an obvious requirement. Choosing an airline is also something to consider. Some airlines have more layovers than others while others are cheap. Do your research well before you buy your ticket.If traveling from Europe, you might just need one flight to any destination in Africa or two. However, if you are traveling from the Americas, you might even have three connections except if you are traveling to West Africa. If you are traveling to East Africa, for example Kenya, i recommend British Airways and KLM if traveling from the Americas. I came to these  conclusions because i have talked to many Kenyans who travel home every year and these are the  most popular choices. BA has cheap fares and long layovers at Heathrow Airport while KLM lay overs are short but fares are a bit high. Kenya airways is an excellent choice when flying from Europe. It also  works with major US airlines because it is a member of the sky team.
  • Luggage - Make sure you have marked your luggage well so that it is easily identifiable. People lose their luggage sometimes during these long flights to Africa. Don’t put any valuables in your checked luggage.
  • Accommodation-  Shop for hotels before you travel. Make sure when you travel you know where you are going to stay because some flights arrive at night. Unless you know a hotel really well, don’t do online transactions.
  • Currency - Most tourist destinations in Africa might accept foreign currency but it is a good idea to convert your money. Research the exchange rate. Most reputable hotels do the conversion risk free. Carry newer notes/currency because they get a better exchange rate.
  • Travel  – Most hotels pick their visitors from the airport. However if that does not happen, you can seek help from the information desk to be directed where to get a good taxi cab. If you get into a bad taxi, they might overcharge you. If you want to get around the country you visit, the hotel can help you with information of where you can rent a car. Make sure you have your license handy but leave your other documents in a hotel safe box. Some African countries drive on the left side of the road and others drive on the right.
  • Directions – If you are driving a rental car, you might want to know how to get around. Recently, Google maps started to cover Africa and you can pull your directions from there.(To be specific, they are covering Kenya for now.) They are great to use around the city and also on major highways. However some small roads are not named.
  • Camera/Camcorder - Make sure you remember your camera to capture memorable moments in your trip.
  • Communication – Most cellphone companies will give you roaming services even though it is a bit expensive. You can also purchase a prepaid cellphone to use in your stay which is a cheap option. If you want internet access, there are cyber cafes which charge you a certain fee per minute but it is cheap.

Those are just a few basics you need to know/ have for your trip. I will guide you more in future posts to the best of my knowledge.

Are there roads in Africa?

 

Hollywood depicts Africa as a jungle and i guess its the right technique since most of African land is still intact and has not been touched. Other than that, many people in the western world have no idea of what Africa is like and many even fear to go and visit. A friend asked me if there are really roads in Africa or do people still walk in bushes.

a road in rural kenya

a road in rural Kenya

 

 

Actually there are roads in Africa and most developed African countries like South Africa have very nice roads similar to the ones you will find in the US, UK or any other first world countries.

However there are many places which have unpaved roads which are a great problem when it rains. They become unpassable when it rains.

kilifi-mombasa-road-by-putneymarkflickrcomThere other places which have paved roads but then they lack good maintenance and hence they tear up and get pot holes.

When you ride a vehicle in such roads, you have to be prepared for a very bumpy ride.

 

Like i said, all places do not have bad roads. Other places have smooth roads especially near towns and cities. 

The most developed countries in Africa like South Africa have nice roads like indicated above.

renovation of roads in south africa ahead the Fifa world cup

renovation of roads in south Africa ahead the Fifa world cup

The pictures clearly show the difference and the contrast of roads in Africa. If you visit Africa, you can find different roads with different conditions. The pictures are just an example  of what you might see and it does not mean  that the country named has all its roads as shown.

 

 

a road in Capetown  South Africa

a road in Capetown South Africa

Mostly, the roads are better near the cities but when you go to the country side, they are bad.