First Week of Hanalei Fatherhood


One week ago, today

Wow! Now that Hanalei is home, the shock of her birth is starting to set in. The counsel of “nothing will ever be the same” is gaining value as Amy and I shift to the role of parents and I watch the reactions of our friends and family.

I’m surprised that everyone seems to be fixated on numbers, specifically her birth weight and length. Hanalei was 8 pounds 5 ounces, and 21 inches at birth, but what does either number really mean? Does that convey something different than if she were 8 pounds 1 ounce, or 19 inches long?

I’m just happy she’s healthy, with 10 fingers and toes, and all the needed bits in between. Now if she could just let Amy and I get needed sleep, the whole family could be much happier. And that lack of sleep is serious!

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Please Welcome Hanalei Stockard Vota

Our bundle of joy and love has arrived!

After nine months of looking at life through her own belly button window, a new girl-child came into this world. Please welcome Hanalei Stockard Vota into the family.

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Kigali Bottle Cap Golf


Harrowing conditions

After a long day getting the tools of ICT into the hands of those that need them in Rwanda, its time to unwind with a classic local game: Bottle Cap Golf.

Invented by Solar Sam, this game requires more skill and concentration than any simple 18-hole golf course. In fact, its rivals Moto Polo in complexity and difficulty, and is best played under very strict conditions.

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Rwanda is Not East Africa


The face of success

Many people have put forth the proposition that Rwanda is in East Africa. From high level agreements like COMESA down to the perceptions of East Africans, there is the feeling that Rwanda should be seen in the same light as Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. I am here in Kigali to tell you they are all wrong.

Rwanda is not East Africa. And here are several reasons why…

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How Many Hills in Kigali, Rwanda?


Start counting now

This is the question I have while sitting in the capitol of Rwanda, the “land of a thousand hills”: how many hills are there in Kigali itself? To answer this question, I’m looking to Johnny and Patrick, two Kigali businessmen who should know exactly how many hills are in Kigali – and be able to name them all too.

If you, like I wonder if they have the answer, watch and learn:

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Business is Booming in Kigali


The face of success

While there may be a recession in the developed world, you would not know it standing in downtown Kigali, Rwanda. All I can hear is the sound of business.

Now don’t get all crazy and sell everything to move to Africa. This specific economy is very donor dependent – around half the economy is donor funded, greatly warping the business climate. Still, there is opportunity…

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Ugandan Engagement and Wedding Ring Traditions


Vicky on wedding rings

Vicky, a middle class Ugandan, is about to get engaged to her beau and I wondered if Ugandans had different traditions than Americans when it came to showing love for your spouse.

I noticed that some women had rings on different fingers and I asked Vicky to explain. Listen to her explain the Ugandan traditions for engagement parties and rings, and how they wear wedding rings after the big day.

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Ugandan Opinions on Barak Obama


Obama opinions in Uganda

Crossing the border into Uganda, I was greeted by cheers of “Obama! Obama!” so I expected there to be universal love for Barak Obama here, as I found in Kenya’s endless Obama party.

Surprisingly, that was not the case. Ugandans had pretty divergent and contradictory opinions on the President-elect, from fanboys to skeptics, that I explored one night in Kampala.

First, let’s hear from two Ugandan women, one who says she has “no good feelings about Obama”:

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Boda Boda Motorcycle Taxi Driver Interview


Ugandan boda boda driver

I love the boda boda motorcycle taxis of Kampala, Uganda. Fast, cheap, and fun to ride, they get you where you need to go with the speed and style unmatched by any other African transport.

While going between business meetings, I had the opportunity to interview a boda boda driver about his ride, his job, and making a living as a taxi on the streets of Kampala:

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A Kenyan Equatorial Monument Moment


Looking equatorially good

If you ever find yourself on the road from Kisumu to Busia in western Kenya, be sure to make plans to stop by the side of the road about an hour outside of town. Why? Because you are going to cross the equator and this geographic event deserves a little respect.

Thanks to the Lions Club of Kisumu for the equator monument and thanks to the lenient taxi driver for indulging me on a sweltering hot afternoon.

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