Skip to content

Farewell to the Nile?

October 8, 2009

Well the rapids, anyway. I had a hell of a good time rafting them last year (and have since heard from people unknown to me that my guide has picked up my joke about safety kayaks; it was repeated back to me, nearly verbatim, and I said, “Ah, you had the guide from Zimbabwe?” “How did you know?!”)

Last year, I wrote a story about the Bujagali jumpers, four (and sometimes more) guys who make a living hurling themselves into the whitewater of the Nile in Uganda. It’s a treacherous way to earn a living, to put it mildly, but it’s also an endangered job: When the Bujagali dam is finished (soon, soon, they say), the rapids won’t exist any more.

Here’s the skinny on that dam — and the controversy it sparked. Environmentalists were never fans, but the government said it desperately needed the new power supply. The World Bank, in the mean time, did what critics say it does best: Pretend to listen to local concerns, and then plow on ahead with whatever it wanted to do in the first place.

Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. grace permalink
    October 13, 2009 11:48 pm

    Hi Jina!!

    My name is Grace, and I was one of the students that you spoke to when you came to Ms. Pierce’s class. I just want to first off tell you how much I enjoyed hearing you talk about your travels, and your different experiences in Africa :)). Secondly I talked to Ms. Pierce and she said that I should post something on your blog about a seminar that I attended this past Saturday.

    I went to a private seminar that only about twenty people attended. The speaker’s name was Kimmie Weeks. I don’t know if you have heard of him or not, but he is from Liberia and he has done many great things for child soldiers and the less fortunate in his home country of Liberia. He told us of his story about growing up in a war-torn country with the rebels attacking and killing people, and how he survived it while many others died by either getting killed or of diseases.

    Nowadays, Kimmie is the head of an organisation called the HUB, which stands for “Humanity Unites Brilliance”. It strives to help make a positive impact on the planet for people who are less fortunate, espcially in Africa.

    Well I hope that you enjoyed that connection as much as I did:))

    Thanks again for having come to speak to us!!

    Sincerely,
    Grace

  2. grace permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:50 pm

    Ooooops! Sorry Jina….. My Dad says I misunderstood about Kimmie Weeks and HUB– Kimmie’s not the head of HUB; HUB is a Multi-Level Marketing organization (MLM, like Amway…….?) that raises money, and they have given some? a lot? to Kimmie Weeks’ organization, Youth Action International. Sorry……….

  3. GraceDad permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:07 pm

    At the meeting they mentioned that CNN was going to have a program on Kimmie Weeks around October 17.
    It looks like CNN posted it to their site last Friday, October 16.
    Here’s the information I found about that:

    “CNN Completes Profile of Kimmie Weeks
    CNN International has completed its profile of Kimmie Weeks to be featured on CNN’s African Voices.”

    Watch now: Liberia’s young hero
    Great survivors were molded from Liberia’s bloody war that ended just six years ago.
    Among the violence and tragedy, new leaders emerged, including youth activist Kimmie Weeks.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/10/18/kimmie.weeks/index.html

    Human rights activist Kimmie Weeks talks about the horrors of Liberia’s civil war and
    how it inspired him to fight for children’s rights.
    • Show Pages – African Voices – CNN.com

    Source: CNN | Added October 16, 2009

    Making a difference 10:21
    Liberia full of hope 5:18
    Moving past the scars of war 6:55

    The story
    Great survivors were molded from Liberia’s bloody war that ended just six years ago.
    Among the violence and tragedy, new leaders emerged, including youth activist Kimmie Weeks.

    “Going through the war and having that experience of nearly dying, essentially made me a stronger person,”
    he told CNN.

    At the age of 9, civil war entered Weeks’ life.
    He had to flee his family home during the fighting, turning his life upside down.
    Weeks published a report on the Liberian government’s involvement in training child soldiers in 1998
    and was then forced into exile in the U.S.
    The experience of finding other children his age engaged in the fighting,
    and being so close to death himself, was a profound one.
    Read full article »

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/10/18/kimmie.weeks/index.html#cnnSTCText
    Kimmie Weeks: Liberia’s young hero
    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    1 Kimmie Weeks experienced Liberia’s bloody civil wars first hand
    2 Forced to flee his home and country after publishing a report on child soldiers
    3 Works tirelessly with Youth Action International to improve children’s lives

    October 19, 2009 — Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)

    (CNN) — Great survivors were molded from Liberia’s bloody war that ended just six years ago.
    Among the violence and tragedy, new leaders emerged, including youth activist Kimmie Weeks.

    “Going through the war and having that experience of nearly dying, essentially made me a stronger person,”
    he told CNN.

    At the age of 9, civil war entered Weeks’ life.
    He had to flee his family home during the fighting, turning his life upside down.
    Weeks published a report on the Liberian government’s involvement in training child soldiers in 1998
    and was then forced into exile in the U.S.
    The experience of finding other children his age engaged in the fighting,
    and being so close to death himself, was a profound one.

    Since the war in Liberia he has dedicated his life to saving the country’s children
    from war and its devastating long-term effects with Youth Action International.

    Youth Action International is at
    http://www.youthactioninternational.org/yai/index.php/about
    Youth Action International, or YAI, is an international nonprofit working to rebuild war-torn African communities. The organization promotes the wellbeing and development of children.
    YAI also works to provide economic empowerment for war-affected youth (ages 13-30).

    Specific program activities include:
    • Scholarships and educational services_
    • Small business development (including micro-loans)_
    • Vocational training_
    • Agricultural/farming_
    • Health care and awareness

    YAI is run by a network of young international leaders who are
    defining a new approach to delivering humanitarian aid.
    By leveraging the use of local materials and employing local people,
    YAI maximizes the economic and social impact of programs which include
    building schools, vocational training centers, and micro-lending.

    YAI was started and inspired by acclaimed youth activist Kimmie Weeks,
    a survivor of the Liberian Civil War. At age nine, after nearly being buried alive
    as a result of disease, hunger and suffering, Weeks pledged to spend his life helping children.
    At age 16, Weeks successfully headed Liberia’s Children’s Disarmament Campaign,
    an effort to lobby the disarmament of approximately 20,000 Liberian child soldiers.
    Two years later, his work led Liberian President Charles Taylor and his government
    to attempt to have Weeks assassinated.
    As a result, Kimmie was forced to flee to the United States.

    While in the U.S., Kimmie continues to grow his vision and invite other youth to partner in the mission.
    YAI focuses on post-war countries that have faced the worst situations of all – they are beyond the need
    of international emergency services, but not yet advanced enough to have a self-sustaining commercial economy. These countries face the daily realities of hunger, and a lack of basic needs such as clean water,
    safe schools, parks and medical care.

    We inform young people in industrialized countries about the plight of the world’s children
    and channel their desire to create positive social change.
    We create tangible opportunities for young people to take action.

    We have active chapters at colleges and universities across the United States.

    http://www.youthactioninternational.org/yai/index.php
    English · Spanish · French · Japanese |
    IN THE NEWS: Watch Kimmie Weeks and YAI on CTV Canada

    CNN Completes Profile of Kimmie Weeks
    CNN International has completed its profile of Kimmie Weeks to be featured on CNN’s African Voices.
    African Voices is a 30 minute weekly show that highlights the life and work of a range of people
    from across Africa. Individuals already profiled include the president of Botswana, Ian Khama,
    as well as Kofi Annan.
    With a viewing audience of over 200 million people in 250 countries, CNN International
    reaches a wide spectrum of society.
    In a letter to Kimmie Weeks, CNN producers stated that they selected him for a profile
    because of his “outstanding story” and “exceptional humanitarian work”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: