Mind blowing.. Sahara fertilizes Amazon!

Now this is some extraordinary insight. The Sahara fertilizes the Amazon? Yes, and apparently, without dust from the Sahara, the Latin-American rainforest could not survive. Quite counter-intuitive, isn’t it? It works something like this;

The Bodélé depression is a patch of dessert located northeast of Lake Chad (17°N, 18°E), near the northern border of the Sahel. It is known to be the most vigorous source for dust over the entire globe. The dust that this place, about 1/3 of the state of Florida, produces, travels over the Atlantic in the form of sandstorms, to the Amazon Rainforest. It is a natural fertilizer, without with the Amazon could not exist! (source: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/1/1/014005/fulltext/)

Weird as it may sound, the soil of the Amazon is not very nutrient rich (as this article explains). All the nutrients and fertilizers for the Amazon soil have to come from somewhere else.. From one of the most dry places in Africa! I think it’s beautiful how the earth works, and how we as humans are only slowly beginning to understand its true wonders!

In case you still have some scientific doubts, (I can’t blame ya!), here is the full research paper.

Dust transport from Chad dessert to Amazon

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Making Harleys from scrap

Ashiraf makes the most awesome Harleys Davidson’s from scrap. I interviewed him for the lovely MakeshiftMagazine (A monthly online and print magazine about creativity and social innovation),  check it out!

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Aliens take over Kenyan parliament

This picture appeared this week in the The EastAfrican newspaper. Sure, I understand discussing the fears for renewed election violence is necessary, but what about dealing with the green aliens that have invaded the Kenyan parliament first?Image

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HIV/AIDS in Uganda: Abstinence, condoms and side dishes

Driving through Kampala, you will see billboards everywhere urging people to ‘get off the sexual network!’ This slogan has become quite the catchphrase in Kampala’s streets.

Funny as that may be, the reality of HIV/AIDS in Uganda is shocking. For a very long time the country was the African role model in the fight against the deadly virus. But recently released figures show that Uganda is now the only country in East-Africa where the HIV-prevalence figures are on the rise.

For the Africa Desk from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, I ventured into the world of sexual networks, AIDS, abstinence and side dishes (a side dish is the Ugandan phrase for a lover on the side, also known as ‘spare part’:))

Here is a cute song that serves to remind Ugandans not to take a ‘side dish’. Enjoy

Side Dish Song


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‘Europese barbaren’

Terwijl de Spaanse koning Carlos in Afrika op olifanten jaagt en de Zweedse minister van Cultuur lachend  een taart in de vorm van een donkere vrouw in stukken hakt, vragen Afrikanen zich af; “Wie zijn hier nou eigenlijk  de barbaren?”

In mijn wekelijkse blog op oneworld schreef ik over een hilarisch artikel van Zuid-Afrikaanse komaf dat de Europeanen op satirische wijze in de zeik zet. Zo zou een Ghanese touroperator gezegd hebben “In Spanje noemen ze het een siesta, wij Ghanesen noemen het fucking lazy!”

Klik hier door naar mijn blog en lees wat een Burundese socioloog maakt van het snijden in ‘nigga-taarten’, en het Afrikaanse antwoord op Bob Geldof; ‘Off course we know it’s Christmas time!”

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In Africa, always room for improvisation

I found this picture somewhere in a forgotten drawer of my old computer. I tells me a lot about African mentality; there is always room for improvisation. And sometimes, when means are scarce, you have to push your possibilities to the absolute maximum. Or even further, as this photo suggests;

It is not a rare sight here to see a guy on a bicycle with over 50 chickens tied to the frame upside down. Or see a woman walking while carrying at least 20 jerry cans with her. When the transportation options are not that varied, you can better fully utilise what you have.

Although the people in this picture still seem to be pretty ok with the situation, I feel very sorry for that poor truck! I would like to give credits to the photographer that took this picture, but unfortunately I don’t know who shot this.

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Back on track #2

It has been a while since I posted something here. One reason for that was my one month vacation to Amsterdam (which was amazing). The other is that Internet is so slow in Uganda nowadays that simply trying to open this website can easily take up to 20 minutes. Finally, my new website will soon launch, making it less tempting to write stuff here at my ‘old’ place. Nevertheless, time for an update!

In february, I went to Tanzania and Zanzibar to write about a music festival and heroine-addiction. For IRIN news I wrote about the dangers of the so called ‘ flash blood’, the act of injecting a needle full of blood from another addict that just injected himself with heroin.

For the Africa Desk I wrote about the festival and made radio-items about Swahili music and heroin-addiction on the island.

Back in Uganda I wrote about the freedom of press that is increasingly under attack, useful projects that deal with plastic waste, a story about the opposition leader and off course I had to write about Joseph Kony and the movie made by Invisible Children. For oneworld I blogged about the nodding disease and I’m currently doing a story on the increase in HIV/AIDS and the possible ban on bodaboda’s from Kampala’s city centre.

Links etc coming soon! Stay tuned for more

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