E-Mail Subscriptions

24 01 2011

Well, it seems that the e-mail subscriptions to Wild Thoughts from Uganda did not transfer to the new site when I switched it over.

SO – if you are still interested in receiving Wild Thoughts via e-mail, please go directly to http://wildugandablog.com and sign up on the right side of the screen.

Sorry for the inconvenience!



New Domain for Wild Thoughts!

13 01 2011

New Site

With growth comes change.  Wild Thoughts from Uganda has reached two milestones – it just passed 15,000 hits today, and the 18th of January will be its one-year birthday.  This seems like a perfect time to make some changes.

I feel good about its growth, and want it to keep growing, so I am switching to a different platform that will give me more flexibility to develop the site the way I want it to be over time.

But I don’t want you to be left behind!

I will be setting up a redirect tomorrow that “should” forward all links to the new site.  I am hoping this will work for subscriptions, too.  The reality, however, is that things don’t always work exactly as they should.  If you have an e-mail subscription to Wild Thoughts from Uganda, it is possible that you will need to go directly to the new site and subscribe again.  You can be expecting a new post from the new site in the next couple of days.  If you don’t get one e-mailed to you by the end of the day Monday, it probably means the redirect didn’t work for subscriptions.  You can go to http://wildugandablog.com and sign up again.

If you aren’t signed up by e-mail yet, now’s a great time to do that!  Each e-mail you receive comes with a link to unsubscribe, so you always have the option of bailing out if I annoy you.

I really hope you like the new look, and I really hope this change doesn’t make Wild Thoughts drop off the face of the ePlanet.

Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala

Stalking Lioness

12 01 2011

Watch how carefully this lioness places her huge paws…

Video by Mark Jordahl

Cut a Forest and Put a Man on the Moon

11 01 2011
Illegally cut mahogany log

Illegal sawpit logging in Uganda

Yesterday a Ugandan man and I were planning an environmental education training for teachers.  He was lamenting the poor state of the environment in Uganda and said that he wished Ugandans had the same sense of responsibility towards the environment that Americans have.  He said “why can’t we Ugandans see the value of the environment and the forests?”

I pointed out to him that the United States has actually cut down 98% of our original forests, and that we aren’t exactly model citizens from an environmental perspective.

His response was “Yes, but you have something to show for it.  We cut down our forests and have nothing – you cut down your forests and put a man on the moon.”

He has a certain point.  The rampant resource extraction of the 1800s in the United States made us a very rich country, and until recently that wealth was spread much more evenly across society than it is in many other parts of the world.

So here’s my question to you:  Why was the United States able to create national wealth from our resources when Uganda’s resources are just making a few people very rich?

Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala

OK – So Not Totally Peaceful

10 01 2011

Deadly clashes in Abyei on first day of South Sudan referendum

By Ngor Arol Garang

January 9, 2011 (JUBA) – A series of clashes over the last three days involving local police force and armed elements allegedly associated with members of nomadic tribe of Misseriya , in the oil-producing region of Abyei has left an unknown number dead.

A family from southern Sudan, who has been staying in the north for 21 years, waits in Khartoum January 9, 2011 to be transported in a convoy back to the Abyei oil region (Reuters)

Yesterday Khartoum-based Arabic newspaper Al-Sahafah reported the more than 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in the clashes in the disputed area, although this has not been confirmed by the UN. Reports over the cause of the violence are not clear with different reasons put forward from both sides.

Al-Sahafah reported Sunday that, nine people of those killed from the Dinka Ngok ethnic group, while the rest were either police of members of the Misseriya tribe. Both sides accuse the other of attacking first. Reuters have reported that a UN official has confirmed the clashes have taken place but have not confirmed the number of killed or injured.

Read the Rest: Deadly clashes in Abyei on first day of South Sudan referendum – Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan.

South Sudan Peaceful so Far

10 01 2011
Sudan Geography

Sudan as Seen from Space

The news out of South Sudan has been very positive for the last couple of weeks, and continues to be after the first day of polling (polls will be open until January 15).  Turnout and enthusiasm have been staggeringly high.

Even up to a month ago, many people believed northern Sudan would never allow the south to secede.  However, recently, Bashir, the ICC-indicted president of Sudan, made public statements that he would recognize the legitimacy of south Sudan if (when) voters approved secession and that he would not take military action to prevent south Sudan becoming independent.

So now the fears are not so much about what the north will do, but what the southerners might do to themselves.  Already on Saturday, a southern militia led by Gatluak Gai staged an attack to disrupt the referendum vote.  It was quickly put down by the South Sudanese army, but it shows that there are still elements in the south of the country that want to keep things destabilized.  There are also tribal rifts that will not be mended by a referendum and a new identity as “South Sudanese.”

The issue of identity is interesting on a continent where national boundaries were drawn by Europeans with no regard to existing realities and where families were split and enemies merged.  The secession of South Sudan is one step towards rectifying this, as north and south Sudan really are two different worlds – Arab/African, Muslim/Christian.  It is unrealistic, however, to redraw the map to recognize the thousands of traditional kingdoms, clans and tribal boundaries that existed a few hundred years ago.

I recently read an article in The Monitor, called South Sudan: Countdown to Freedom, that got me thinking.  It refers to a South Sudanese politician talking about “Suganda.”  Basically, that South Sudan and Uganda have more in common than north and south Sudan, and that they could form a unified state.  This got me thinking about a single country comprised of South Sudan and Northern Uganda.

It could make a lot of sense.  Northern Uganda already feels disenfranchised from control and power in Uganda, and culturally there as many, if not more, similarities with South Sudan than with central Uganda.  Intermarriage and cross-border trade already make the boundary fuzzy.  The oil wealth in southern Sudan and the agricultural potential in northern Uganda could combine to create a formidable economy.  Once Uganda builds an oil refinery, a pipeline could even be built to that facility, making the current one through northern Sudan obsolete.  This would further cement the independence of the African south from the Arab north, and also justify a larger refining facility in Uganda.  It could also make it easier to manage for the wildlife that migrates across the current border.

Obviously there are challenges to this.  Part of the reason why northern Sudan is allowing this referendum to go forward is because the oil currently must go through the north, enabling them to continue sharing in the oil revenues.  A reroute of the oil would reduce this willingness.   The power center in central Uganda would also not take secession lightly, leaving Suganda landlocked and surrounded by uncooperative neighbors.

Northern Uganda has also not been abused by the central government of Uganda nearly as much as South Sudan has been by the north, so the political will is not there at this point.  However, if South Sudan becomes strong in the next ten years, and the trade relationship grows even more, who knows?  With national identity being tenuous in many African countries, success in South Sudan could cause many people to take a new look at old boundaries.

This referendum is momentous.  It is a victory after a hard-fought battle that raged for years and took many lives.  There are still challenges ahead, such as establishing the boundary between north and south, and getting control of the many militias still operating throughout the south.  Hopefully the visionary leadership that got South Sudan to this point, and who captured the world’s attention, will create a new country that can represent all of its citizens and make them proud to be South Sudanese.

Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala

New Vision Online : Yellow fever kills 45 in Northern Uganda

29 12 2010

Yellow fever kills 45 in Northern Uganda

By Anne Mugisa

AT least 2.5 million people will be vaccinated in northern Uganda against yellow fever that has so far killed 45 people and infected 178.

According to the Ministry of Health, 2.5 million vials of the the yellow fever vaccine will be urgently imported to protect the people from the deadly viral disease, which is spread by mosquitoes.

The disease has been reported in nine northern Uganda districts of Abim, Agago, Lamwo, Kitgum, Pader, Gulu, Arua, Kaabong and Lira.

The deadly disease, which doctors say can kill in one week, is recurring in Uganda after almost 40 years. It was last in Uganda in 1972, according to officials from the health ministry.

A statement from the Ministry of Health said they had instituted measures to fight the disease in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the Centres for Disease Control.

Read the Rest:  New Vision Online : Yellow fever kills 45 in Northern Uganda.