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Hurricane recovery business opportunities unequally spread
Hurricane Harvey left 77 dead, caused $200bn in damage and left thousands homeless, and the rebuilding will be the largest effort since New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. And the clear-up is proving equally dangerous. (After a report in The Guardian.)

A new report produced by the University of Illinois Chicago in conjunction with workers’ rights groups paints a startling picture of the inequity experienced by many of the immigrants doing the hard, often dangerous work of rebuilding. Many have experienced wage theft, the majority have had no safety training and workers are rebuilding without access to basic safety equipment.

Already, battle lines are being drawn between a vision of equitable reconstruction being driven by worker’s rights groups and their allies in the Houston government and a free market vision championed by the Trump administration and their Republican allies in the Texas state government.

More than a decade after Katrina, immigrant and workers groups say that they have learned the lessons of storm recovery and are applying them to a massive political movement being launched under the banner of Houston Rising Coalition.

“Black workers were primarily excluded from rebuilding efforts and had to fight their way in while immigrants workers, while included, suffered extraordinary exploitation” said Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworkers Alliance, who headed the New Orleans Workers’ Center after Katrina.

Original Source

African art evades Africans as popularity, recognition increase
Writing in the NY Times, Chika Okeke-Agulu emphasized the dilemma of African art, which is being more appreciated and valued than ever, bringing record prices, at the same time it is becoming ever less available to the peoples of the continent. The need for national and regional museums to bring home-grown art to the public from whom it sprang is a key requirement for recycling Africa's creative talents into new generations.

(Thanks to JGC for calling this to our attention via Facebook.)

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Uganda Equator worth a visit

The equator that crosses through Uganda approximately 72 kilometers south of Kampala, along the Kampala – Masaka road, which has become a famous visit destination for visitors and tourists visiting Uganda. It has also become a booming hub made up of several craft shops and art galleries that sell souvenirs and handmade products about the equator including T-Shirts with words “I crossed the Uganda Equator”. Besides, there are nice restaurants with delicious food and good coffee.

The equator traverses the land and territorial waters of 14 countries and seven of them are in Africa. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world that the equator intersects. It must be noted that equator is one of the five notable circles of latitude on earth, the others are– the two polar circles and the two tropical circles – the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. Fascinatingly, the equator is the only line of latitude that is a great circle.

While at the Equator, tourists have a chance to see an experiment of how water drains straight down at the Equator. You can stand on the Equator with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere and be in both sides of the world. Because the Earth bulges at the Equator due to the effects of rotation, gravity is reduced. Thus one weighs about three percent less than normal, but of course upon leaving the Equator one's weight returns.

At the equator, the sun rises and falls quickly, with equal number of hours in day and nighttime. The weather and temperature around the equator is stable throughout the year making it a nice place to be at. Water runs down in sinks clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern hemisphere and right on the line the water goes straight.

Scientists say that areas on the equator experience the quickest sunrises and sunsets. Since the sun rises and sets almost vertically throughout the year, the length of a day from `sunrise to sunset` at the equator is almost constant during the year. Each day is about 14 minutes longer than night because of atmospheric refraction.

March 21 and September 23 are equatorial equinox days where the sun rises and sets directly above the equator line at midday on these two days; you will not see your shadow because the line is straight up.

Christmas in Uganda

In Uganda, Christmas is called Sekukkulu. It is celebrated on the 25th of every December to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

During the Christmas season there is high movement of people from the city to their respective villages to share Christmas holiday joys with their families and friends. It is a joyful season, quiet and reflective holiday with very few decorations and lights spread over the city. This is a time to relax, reconnect with family, enjoy good meals, and make visits to old friends and relatives back in the village.


Stone of Karegyeya Worth the Side Trip

In one of the Ugandan villages called Karegyeya in Kikoni parish, Ntungamo district along the Ntungamo – Rukungiri highway, there is a very tall and giant stone that is commonly known as “eibaare rya Karegyeya meaning the stone of Karegyeya” which according to the local residents has been in existence for over 100 years.

It is believed that the bachwezi or demi-gods once lived inside this stone and still inhabit it up to date. The surrounding communities claim that they used to see flames of fire burning at night but nobody could find any ashes in the morning and that the people could find there the food and money in the morning when no one knows who puts those things there.


Mississippi Church Arson Investigation Continues
Normally we try to be as scrupulous as possible about borrowing reporting from other publishers, but in this case we feel there is no moral equivalence between any claim of plagiarism and an offense against all Americans. The apparently politically motivated burning of a community church in Mississippi shocks everyone of good will.

CNN reports: Police are investigating the burning of a black church in Mississippi during which vandals spray-painted "Vote Trump" on an exterior wall.

A 911 call reporting the fire at Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville came in at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

Most of the damage to the 111-year-old church was to the sanctuary, pastor Carilyn Hudson said at a news conference.

As of this review the investigation is continuing. We've also learned that the public has contributed much more than will be need for rebuilding. One assumes that Christians will have no trouble recruiting carpenters.

(Readers are encouraged to register and comment. Attacks on political personalities are probably useless, but if you can volunteer to help this community rebuild, give them at least a kind word. -Ed.)

CNN Source article

‘Engozi’ Stretchers: Traditional Transport

During the 1930s in Uganda, there were clan heads locally known as Abatikyiri. These were leaders who were extremely respected due to the positions they held. Clan heads were not supposed to travel long distances on foot for administrative purposes. For this reason, the clan heads came up with a solution that would ease their transportation from one place to another.

As a result, people started gathering bamboo trees and other plant species to make a stretcher commonly known as ‘engozi’ wherein the Omutikyiri, carried by slaves, would sit comfortably with a calabash filled with local porridge to drink while on a journey.


Tap Into 1.1 TRILLION Dollar AA Economy
Black Enterprise reports that there are 43 million African Americans in the United States, 13.7 percent of the total population, the second largest racial minority in the country. The median age is 32 and 47 percent are under 35 years of age.

The report’s findings, which will be presented at the June conference of the National Association of Black Accountants Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, found that the African American population is an economic force to be reckoned with, with a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015.

Black Enterprise Source

Malwa, Uganda's Magic Drink

In Uganda, drinking malwa, a local brew, is one of the things you will see in almost every part of the country. It is consumed under tree shades, in the comfort of a home or at the market place. Consumers in different parts of the country have different names for it: Ajon (in Teso), Malwa (in Buganda) or Amarwa (in the Western region).

Unlike in the bars and pubs where a drink is shared by only one person, for malwa, it is served in one pot or bucket which can be shared by over 30 people. This local drink brings together all classes of people and it is taken using long, slender bamboo straws.

Probably through such social gatherings, many broken hearts are mended, because as they drink, a lot of things are discussed including problems and misunderstandings in their homes and work places. They also talk about politics comparing the past regimes and the current regime.


It's for the birds: Wild Birds Guide Humans to Honey
An African bird called the greater honeyguide is famous for leading people to honey, and a new study shows that the birds listen for certain human calls to figure out who wants to play follow-the-leader. (Read the story below.)

Especially interesting is the set of prospective, follow-up scientific questions raised by the observation of this symbiotic relationship; be sure to read through to the end of the article.

Image:; one of several varieties.


Original source

Mobile phone users in Uganda up to 19.5M

Uganda's telecommunications companies serve more than 19.5 million mobile subscribers out of an estimated population of 36 million, a 52.3 percent penetration rate according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) as of December 2014.

Rage (2011) reported that Uganda was ranked among the top ten African countries with the highest number of mobile phone subscribers and that MTN and Airtel Uganda have the biggest share with more than 17 million users split in between them. While Maestas (2013) has it that a huge part of the population has not just one cell-phone but always two and sometimes more.

Meanwhile, Freedom house (2014) reported that internet penetration in Uganda had grown steadily following the deregulation and liberalization of the information and communications technology sector in 1997 which ushered in a reduction in mobile telephone tariffs and bandwidth prices.


Ol' Blac'Donald Had a Farm...
I saw a an African American preacher on TV recently extolling the virtues of Donald Trump, complete with all the stereotypical intonations of the rural pulpit (can I have an "amen"?). That made me wonder whether such attitudes in the 21st Century, which of course strike me as self-destructive, might have originated in an earlier era. So of course I went to that font of historical truth, Google.

Using the search string "19th century black writers supporting slavery" I got the following result (graphic). I conclude therefrom that the preacher was just seeking his 15 minutes of fame.

Akaro, or millet bread, arguably Uganda's most liked food

As much as people from the Northern, Eastern and Western regions of Uganda may differ culturally, when it comes to the dining table where millet bread is served, they all become united as one. For many years, millet bread has been the main food of the day for people in these regions.

[Ed.: This is the first contribution by our Uganda correspondent Emily Kembabazi. We look forward to more articles. We welcome submissions on topics of mutual trans-Atlantic interest.]

This delicious meal has a variety of names in the different tribes and regions. For instance among the Bakiga, Banyankole, Batooro and Banyoro in the western region, it’s called akaro /oburo whereas among the Bacholi and the Luo in the Northern region, they call it kal. In the Eastern region, the Bateso tribe calls it atap and obwiita among the Basoga.

The Baganda in the central region also call it akaro and this is the only region in the whole of Uganda where millet bread is rarely the meal of the day.

Some researchers have it that millet bread originated from the tribes of northern Uganda during the Gipiiri and Labongo Luo migration before spreading southwards. The akaro is extracted from dried millet grains by using either the traditional grinding stones or modern ways of grain milling.

According to Fellydath Bagamba from western Uganda, millet flour is often not considered suitable for a meal unless cassava flour is added to it. The difference in taste, aroma and appearance of this dish is determined by the proportions in which the flours are mixed. The cassava flour element brings both a sticky and a soft texture making the mixture relatively easy to prepare.


Looking for Senior Discounts?
Here are some sites with information on senior discounts. We regret that we cannot independently verify all the listed providers. Feedback is encouraged; please register, sign in and tell our readers about your own experiences, or add to the list. To suggest additional lists, write to the editors.

Gift Card Granny; The Senior List

Free Lawnmowing for Elderly Wins Praise
Here's an inspiring story about one young man who's creating a service to his community by organizing a volunteer lawn mowing service for the elderly and disabled. Source: Huffington Post

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