When it rains in Kisumu, it pours

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from Kisumu with love

This past weekend I had work in Kisumu and ended up in the village to count my chicken and wash their feet. I am happy to report the chicken looked happy, healthy and now have clean feet after all the work I did.

The last one week has seen a crackdown on private taxis (public transport) requiring them to meet some basic safety and institutional standards which in effect has meant that there are few matatus on the roads. This combined with high fuel prices following a recent imposition of a 8% tax on fuel has seen fares in my village go up 50%. Where formerly we paid about 3.35 sh per kilometre, the transport authority approved a 5 sh per kilometre rate. I see a situation where we will go back to walking or using donkeys for long distance travel.

In other news, there was this young woman whom we shared with a seat this afternoon and she had very interesting stories. First she belongs to Legio Maria church and was dressed in the recommended church wear of yellow, from head to toe. But this is not the interesting part. She told me the spirit, do give her a screen of what others were saying about her, on demand. I was not in the mood to question her beliefs so I let a great opportunity pass and besides I was tired.

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Is liberalism anti-culture?

Deneen argues that it is. That for the liberal, cultural constraints over the individual are obstacles to the pursuit of happiness and only those restraints imposed by the liberal( expansive state) are acceptable. He argues, legitimate limits upon liberty can arise only from the authority of the consent-based liberal state. In essence, the goal of the liberal project is to create a homogeneous populace all over the world, a world devoid of culture.

He argues further, and I agree in part, that a healthy culture is akin to healthy agriculture which industrialized agriculture is not as its aims is to overcome natural limits through short-term solutions whose consequences will be left for future generations. These solutions, he lists, petroleum based fertilizers, genetically engineered crops that encourage increased use of herbicides and pesticides whose genetic lines cannot be contained or predicted; widespread use of plant monoculture that displace local varieties and practices etc. He writes, and most would agree, that the above practices eliminate existing farming cultures.

Is liberalism a failed project?

I am reading this interesting book in which the author makes the case for rethinking liberalism. If he’s correct, liberalism is self-contradictory and is a failed project.

Somewhere in the book, he writes that liberalism’s end game is unsustainable in every respect, that is,

It cannot perpetually enforce order upon a collection of autonomous individuals increasingly shorn of constitutive social norms, nor can it provide endless material growth in a world of limits.

By the time I finish reading the book, I will know how I feel about it. Though I know of a tweep who has been consistent in arguing that liberal democracy has not worked for Africa and instead we have ended up with electoral authoritarianism. He argues, the claims made or goods that liberal democracy was claimed would make possible have remained but a chimera and it is time thoughtful citizens among us developed a system that would answer our present crises while offering hope for future generations.

from Mogadishu with love

Of all my trips to Mogadishu, this was the least eventful. There were dancers like those who received me in Garowe, no running across the terminal like the last time I was there.

That said, however, I took a picture in a restricted street. The guard saw and almost ate me and my phone whole. We, that is, I and my colleagues from Somalia were able to convince him there was no ill intent. We deleted the one picture and I was left to go on with my business. Mental note: no taking photos left and right.

There was an explosion near my hotel. No, I wasn’t hurt.

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I like the mosque coming up in the foreground

I think this was dusk at the beach

how not to take a picture

who would have thought the beach is this full of life

no good travel blog ends without food

view from somewhere to the airport

here is where to buy your tickets

tuk tuks are everywhere

I don’t feel black

Can I identify myself as grey? Can I go to court and contend this? Is complexion and by extension colour a social construct?

I ask all these because of this post from WEIT, where a man has gone to court to contest his age. He argued

Doctors had told him his body was that of a 45-year-old man, Ratelband argued. He described himself as a “young god”.

In my defense, when I look at the mirror and compare myself against a black object (social construct- pun intended) I don’t look black. So I will consider asking my lawyers to file submissions in court next week to address this issue.

How things change

Do present day Republicans in the US not feel any shame when they recall that

the party of Lincoln was the party most closely associated with respect for contemporary science, liberalizing trends within Protestantism, and the separation of church and state.

That the GOP was the party of Ingersoll and was pro-abolition and all, while the Democratic party couldn’t give Ingersoll a nomination for a political seat because of his anti slavery and anti religious sentiments.

How things change!