GVO: Uganda: Bloggers Respond to Controversial Daily Monitor Articles

My next piece is up at Global Voices Online:
Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community has gotten a lot of press recently in the form of a number of articles written by Katherine Roubos, a 22-year-old Stanford student from the United States. Most recently, Roubos covered the first ever LGBTI press conference, a story that prompted an anti-gay rally in Kampala.

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horror, in pictures

My strongest support goes to my friend Katherine Roubos, whose courageous coverage of the GLBT community in Uganda has garnered this:

I went to the rally to be a part of a team of white female decoys (Katherine's editor sent her to cover it, which theoretically gave her some sort of journalistic immunity, but the purpose of the rally already nullified that. Better safe than sorry, not so?) and to exercise my own curiousity: the event was organized by Martin Ssempa, a conservative Ugandan religious activist with whom I recently exchanged words.

Wow. Martin Ssempa is undeniably charismatic. He is also undeniably creepy. For all you Lawrencians: imagine Fred Phelps shaking your hand. I came home and took a very long shower.

P.S. Aga Khan, if you fire her, that's it. We're done.

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August UBHH

The August Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour will be this Thursday (yeah, that's tomorrow) at 6:30 PM at Mateo's in downtown Kampala.

I hope to see everyone there (including you, SAGE), as this is my last UBHH before I head home for the rest of the year.

I promise not to cry.

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GVO: Uganda: Happy hour unrest, Blogumentary and Sam Cooke

My next piece is up at Global Voices Online:
Ugandan blogger/hip-hop artist Saving a Generation Endangered (S.A.G.E.) stirred up controversy this week when he lashed out at Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour (BHH) attendees in a Blogging a Blogger interview conducted by Country Boyi:

He (S.A.G.E.) further lashes at the Blogger Happy Hour logo that describes Ugandan bloggers as “intelligent, witty, sexy and occasionally ridiculous.” He finds an alternative description for the Ugandan blogging scenario.

“I'll just call it the theatre of the absurd,” he says, “because the ‘best' bloggers are the same guys that have been setting themselves the goddesses and gods -the idols they worship. They don't want anyone to make negative criticism about these goddesses/gods; the whole thing is basically absurd!”

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Mulago Hospital

On Tuesday morning I took my students to the Mulago National Referral Hospital, a free, government-run hospital in Kampala. You can read about the visit on the GYPA blog, but I think Jasmine gives a more accurate picture:

"have you seen the nurse?"

that's a question you will hear alot in mulago hospital. especially after 1am. i had to ask too. on a whole other floor, in a different year.

you walk/run to the nurse's room/station only to find no one, then you go round the whole floor. knocking on the doors of each room asking 'have you seen the nurse?'

if you are lucky, you will find her in one of the rooms. if you are not, like i was, you'll run back to your room, check on your patient, then try the nurse's room again.maybe she'd have come back.

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marburg, schmarburg

Tomorrow afternoon, the American delegates for the Global Youth Partnership for Africa's conference on Youth, Development & Health arrive, meaning that blogging time will be limited as I guide American and Ugandan youth leaders around the country.

I probably shouldn't be saying this, but my public health experience is limited to a basic familiarity with the ABC policy and the knowledge that, generally speaking, clean = good and dirty = things like cholera and tuberculosis. That's okay, though — it looks like I'm about to get a crash course in health disaster management:

Uganda: Ebola-Like Virus Hits Kamwenge
Uganda: Marburg Feared in Kampala

Oh, goody.

My little brother's greatest worry when I told him I was moving to Uganda was that I would contract Ebola, a disease he studied extensively in school and consequently fears like the plague (ba-dum ching). If I remember correctly, I laughed, patted his head and told him I'd be "just fine." Look who's obsessive-compulsively washing her hands now?

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blogger hates me

Well, not exactly. But I did get flagged as spam, which shut down my ability to post until a "human" (I'm quoting the Blogger notice) reviewed JF and gave me the green light.

Thanks, human.

And, now that I'm back, I've been tagged by Glenna to participate in the 8 Random Things meme. It feels a bit hypocritical, given my last Global Voices post about the blogren being all fun & games.

But then, what's the matter with fun & games? So here goes (I'm skipping the rules because everyone's already been tagged except for Josh — your turn):

I hate these. I think they're a waste of energy, pixels and kilobytes. (Grumble, grumble, arrrgh.... 27th, I'm turning into a pirate already.)

Until three years ago, my biggest aspiration was to work for the CIA. In my defense: they teach you languages. For free. And they pay you for the ones you already know.

I was supremely relieved (and thoroughly amused) today when I noticed that I'm not the only one who edits local media in my head.

In my book, barbecue sauce is its own food group and should be applied to most other foods, including mashed potatoes and omlettes.

I read so much that as a kid I could never clean my room without constant parental prompting — I'd get caught up in the copyright tags attached to toys, old homework and the backs of cereal boxes.

I never travel without my pillow.

For all the times that I've sheepishly introduced myself as a Russian major attempting to work in East Africa, I wouldn't trade my degree for the world.

I bought a ticket home this week. Talk about mixed emotions. I've lost count of the number of times I have hated this experience, the number of times I have curled up on my bed and cursed everything: corruption, poverty, the Anopheles mosquito, incompetence, bureacracy, misplaced deference, war, rain, matooke.

And then there are the wonderful things: Breakdance Project Uganda, the Nagenda Academy and the visionary behind it, watching the sun rise during the early-morning bus rides north, the French-speaking owner of Maq Foods in Gulu, the youth leaders I've met working for GYPA, my 27 housemates (and counting), the blogren.

My good friend Chris recently left Uganda after a year in Gulu. I've been reading his blog a lot lately as he grapples with returning to the States, and this post made me miss Uganda already. In the words of Locus Amoenus: "Funny then, how Uganda always seems to redeem itself when you want to lay under the mosquito net and sob."

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