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    In 2006
    Ivory Coast

    In 2007

    In 2009

    In 2010
    Saudi again!,

Location: Saudi Arabia

Network Infrastructure and Rollout. Fancy climbing this ladder!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nairobi leftovers

...photos for me like a panarama view can hold my attention for a long time. As I sifted through the jpeg files from my phone camera I came accross 2 that particularly peak my memory. The first here is the Parmesan cheese at the Brazilian restaurant in the Panari Hotel complex on the way to the airport.
The other is a creation quality landscape that takes my breath away. I was there! pinching myself...a great vantage point and what an amazing view over the vast plateau in central Kenya.

This view is best accompanied by Rebecca St James song "Loved Being Loved by You" turned up loud...really loud

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Flight BQ502 from Nairobi - No landing gear!

We flew out of Nairobi on Kenya Airways (Boeing 767-700). It seemed a normal flight, we flew for 6 hours to Abidjan (Cote D'Ivoire) and then the flight routes back to Nairobi via Accra (Ghana). Apart from;
  1. Loosing the luggage I had to put in the plane because they didn't like the the toothpaste and mosquito spray, and
  2. the onboard enterntainment tv's were broken so I had to strain your kneck at 90 degrees to see the screen that was working right over my head or train I eyes to the bulkhead way ahead to see the faded big screen in the distance,
  3. oh and the water had run out in the toilets (yuk) and
  4. my seat was changed at the boarding gate in Nairobi when we boarded...

it was a good flight, and after all it is Africa. (Really the contrast is different, Kenya Airways don't have the budget that other larger airlines have so expect a more economy version of flight than with other airlines economy) Some say it's better to fly across Africa back into Europe and then back into the country of choice than to attempt to cross using the African carriers.

So we took off from Abidjan, just an hour to go, weather in Accra we were advised was 28 degrees with a slight 5mph wind and fine. As we approached the airport over Northern Accra (Est Legon where I live) I recognised the location and felt we were a bit high for landing. (Now I'm not the expert but after enough landings in Accra you can make a judgement, and I thought we were high)....well as we flew over the airport perimeter, we were definately high! Then the engines burned hard and we started to climb just 100m in height from the runway! Ok so we missed, big deal! Then the Captain came ever the intercom and said:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may have noticed we did not land and have climbed to altitude. The reason for this is we have a disagreement with the landing gear! and need to fly by the control tower again to see if they can see it down!!!"

It would have been ok if the Captain had said we have a dissagrement with the Control Tower, or we are circling to rerun, but he told us the landing gear was not working!

You know the end of the this story because I am writing about it and there are no headlines on CNN about Flight BQ502 from Nairobi. On reflection though the Captain had to tell us the real situation because what if the gear didn't drop down properly, what if there wasn't a manual override for this kind of situation, what if? Everyone went quite, there was no panic in an audible way, I could see many praying...and ten long minutes later (after circling around Accra) all we heard was the Captain say "Cabin crew prepare for landing 2 minutes". There was no "it's ok now", or "don't worry everyone we have rectified the situation". I believe we landed and there was still a great deal of uncertainty that all the landing gear was firmly fixed down..

We landed normally, though throughout the whole approach there was an audible electonic pinging from the plane, betraying the longer we heard it that this was the sound of a malfunction alert

Many of us actually said some fairwells on the last minutes of BQ502, and I'm sure some put their hearts right with God....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friends I missed...but caught up with

Michel and Alice together in the Stanley Hotel Nairobi. Ommani at his desk in BTL. Friends I missed last August because my passport was stolen, but due to the meetings last week I managed to catch up with them and spend a morning with Ommani and an hour at the end of the day with Michel and Alice going over photos.

http://www.btlkenya.com/ are the Kenya representatives of Wycliffe Bible Translators

Friday, September 22, 2006

Over looking Nairobi wildlife park

So we arrived at Kenya Airways this morning ready to fly direct to Accra and when we got to "check in" they lady said with a smile, "Sorry Sir we're over booked". So after 4 hours at the airport we walked out with a ticket and bording pass for tomorrow!

Some clouds have a silver lining! This cloud's lining is 5 Star hotel (1 year old) and located 2 miles from Nairobi international airport. It over looks the Wildlife park, might see some animals (Giraffe) from the 1oth floor in the cool morning...so I'm told.

This photo is the 10th floor lobby.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I don't play golf!

I'm sitting writing this by the pool at the Windsor Golf Resort, Nairobi. The luxurious complex has been venue to 2 days of meetings. It's high above an amazing vista looking across and dowm the plateaux in a westwards direction.

The photos of this place I will post over the weekend.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

5 Stars in Nairobi

After a sleepless night in a 737-700 Boeing in a seat that didn't recline (because I was by the window escape hatch) I have made it to the centre of downtown Nairobi in the Sarova Stanley Hotel. It's a palace, and I'm enjoying it, a swimming pool on the 5th floor terrace. Wifi to use the laptop at the pool side table. I'll Skype you Nae from the pool, better than Vancouver Starbucks anyday :) Check this place out!!!! click below

Stanley Hotel, Nairobi

All I need to do now is go to sleep, since with Kenya 3 hours ahead of Ghana, I landed at 2:15am Ghana time and haven't slept since Thursday night.

This makes 5 African countries in 7 calender days! Phew time to relax here and slow down.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Travel Advisory - to Ivory Coast

Fragile Future of Ivory Coast

After spending 2 days in Abidjan, it was obvious immediately there is a new tension here not present or even felt as much in places like Togo or Benin. As I slowly started to realise the nature of the tensions it became increasingly obvious there are "No Go" areas in the capital and times not to travel.

I thought back to my arrival at the airport, when my Ivorian contact commented about my Hotel "La Licorne" that is was a French run establishment and had many French visitors, so if there was any trouble the French Army would be there immediately to ensure evacuation. I didn't think about it at first, thinking this was just a little OTT. (Over the top). Then I turned the news on the same evening and watched news shots of the Transport Ministers burnt down house and heard the account of the rioting mobs who had attacked him and his gaurds...the news went onto interview a very angry citizenship at the governement. A toxic waste issue has been a catalyst for raised tensions see link ...Chronicle News

Just 20 months ago, French citizens were fleeing the country due to indiscriminate attacks on whites...see link BBC News

In the hotel I met a humanitarian worker (the rest is best left anonymous), she confirmed my Ivorian friends concerns and enlarged on attrocities (present day not readily publicised) at the hand of the forces of the present incumbent president, and that he had boycotted the planned peace process meeting update on some weak grounds ...see link Voice of America

In the airport I met a Liberian refugee trying to make money by marketing a new travel agency, I was at the airport early so we sat and talked about life and God and about Abidjan and life in Liberia. (He'd been a refugee for 15 years, watched his father murdered in the rebel attrocities back then and still a refugee under UN protection here in Cote D'Ivoire) He was a broken man in his late 30's or early 40's. My heart went out to him, he had dignity. And then he said something..."I saw the bodies of 2 babies floating in the Koumasi (A suburb of Abidjan) canal this week!"

I hope Mr Gbagbo is convicted that a peaceful and open route is the only way to help the people of Cote D'Ivoire reach democracy..

Friday, September 15, 2006

Breezy Abidjan for 2 days....

Made it to Abidjan in Ivory Coast last night after waiting for 2 hours in Cotonou airport that was running on battery back up because of a power cut. Really was hot, sweaty and something out of one of these rebel movies! We filed accross the tarmac to the plane, through the security check in between the departure room and the plane which was completed by torch light......

....and then this morning I had a French breakfast here at the Licorne Hotel (Mid price range) in the Deux Plateaux area of the city. Bacon omelet, with fresh orange juice a croisant that tasted french and black coffee and the birds were singing outside the window.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A day in Cotonou

A view of downtown Cotonou from the offices of Telecel the mobile phone operator here in Benin. A warm day in a city full of moped taxi's that zoom around shuttling a population quickly around town.

Benin's last elections had 26 presidential candidates of which an independent won, who came from a banking/finance background. It's similar to Accra in it's hussle and bussle but a little less congested due to the moped and motorbikes everywhere.

Looks like a trip to Abidjan will happen in the morning...still negotiating final terms with the Chinese before confirming the flights. Good I packed for extra days!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Visiting Benin again....

Yesterday after a 7 hour drive I made it again to Benin, my passport this time is firmly with me 24 hours a day.

Spent some time with new clients and the team here working. The appartment has just received window screens, so the mosquitos are firmly on the outside.

We're right next to the local Mosque, so I don't need an alarm clock at the crack of dawn. Reminds me of Saudi with the 5 times a day.

On stand by to fly to Abidjan to sign with the Chinese, rather than drive back to Accra. Will know tonight or in the morning. Life on the road - Africa style, it's a little different from commuting Europe style.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Death of an orphan!

It happened on Friday 18th of August 2006. One of the orphans I had met just the weekend before who was so engrossed in a camera phone that we had a great time pushing faces into the screen.

I mentioned here a few posts ago that this news was such a shock, well Thursday 17th he was playing but came home complaining of a bad stomach and then he had Diarrhea quite badly. His gaurdians gave some herbal remedy and it seemed to calm his stomoach. The problem was that the gaurdians didn't have enough money to take him to the clinic, which with HIV is so important to do. So the next morning (Friday) the man went out to see if he could get a loan from some of his contacts and when he returned the same day found his young orphan dead at home.

How sad that this young life already struggling with the Aids virus, then can't get the desperate help he needed because the money was not there.....look at the faces at the top of this blog, he was a child like these, in fact these boys were his freinds....

If you want to help inject support into this kind of thing, let me encourage you to give towards the work of Lihop, the agency working with these amazing children... thank you Julie for your gift it will reach them this week and go towards the premises that forms the 1st chapter in Lihop having a complete centre to love and support these children and their adult HIV gaurdians...

If anyone would like to give then email me at the liveafrica email.....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thought for the day....

During the American Civil War a little slip of paper found in the pocket of a confederate soldier, who had been shot read like this:

“I asked God for strength that I might achieve,
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked God for riches that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of man,
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life,
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for..
but everything I hoped for and I am among all men most richly blessed.”

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Abidjan - another friendly West African welcome...

Abidjan, a sunny couple of days, meetings, negotiations and a very plush Novotel in the financial district "Le Plateaux" of downtown Abidjan. A view from my hotel was the central mosque. It's eclipsed a bit by the high rise buildings around it.

The view from the the Lagoon side of the hotel was just as impressive. Abidjan has the same kind of industrial spirit as so many of it's neighbours. There is a lot of anticipation now that the rebels have dissarmed, but also a "fragileness" about things. (No such word I know)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Meeting friends again (minus) ONE

I had the chance to meet again the children and adults in the north of Accra (Madina). Attended a meeting where the adults with the HIV/Aids virus were given information on how to recognize and prevent Malaria in their lives. It was helpful for them.

I also met afterwards the children, their beaming faces and smiles and instant communication. Then I was told that one of them had died in the last 3 weeks (One of the faces in the top of this blog I think). Alex and Vivian said they were going to visit the family and find out what happened. Really shocked about it!

Lihop have taken a great step and committed to rent a small room where they can continue their work, it will involve space for the book making enterpirse which the women do to raise an income and to host their desk top computor they have sourced. There is a real need to meet the funding for the premises. It's going to cost the equivalent of US$770 or £420 for the 2 years rent which is needed in advance.

If you want to give towards this need, then let me know and I can pass on a contribution towards the amazing work being done here. Contact me at the live africa email.

This little one sat through the meeting, I think wanting to get Mum out of it. These are the children benefiting from the work of Lihop

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Program Managers desk - "mine"

Here are my top 7 Project Management sayings that are worth a read:
  1. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.
  2. If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.
  3. If you don't attack the risks, the risks will attack you.
  4. If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven't understood the plan.
  5. If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.
  6. If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.
  7. Good project managers admit mistakes: that's why you so rarely meet a good project manager.

Bonus: If it wasn't for the 'last minute', nothing would get done.

Friday, September 01, 2006

August in Africa

(Photos - Lamu, Kenya - Bole, Ghana - Hindi, Kenya)

Over the last few weeks the images of Africa have been stunning, the scenery, the wildlife and the people, what a rich continent.

<--- Flickr has a few more selected photos. Possible schedule for the next few weeks:

Fly: 5th-6th Tues/Wednesday - Abidjan - Ivory Coast
Road Tour: 11th-16th Mon-Fri - Northern Ghana - across Togo to Northern Benin - South to Coutonou - back West to Ghana. (Passport firmly in pocket!)
Fly: 22nd-24th Nairobi - Kenya.