I’m Scared of Nigerian Scooter Drivers

Nigerian death on two wheels

Do you want to get crazy? I mean really insane? Living life on the edge, with glory or death a millisecond apart? Then forget hang gliding, BASE jumping, or any other “extreme” sport you can think of. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the death-defying act of riding a scooter in Nigeria.

And this act of utter bravery stupidity has nothing to do with the cheap-ass Chinese scooters that the Nigerians buy by the crate, no the risk comes with the suicidal Nigerian drivers themselves who have no sense of road rules, basic safety, or even common sense.

Let’s just take a look at some scooter fools in Kafanchan:

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Abuja from the Ogun State House

The pyramids of Abuja, Nigeria

When you are a foreigner visiting Nigeria, sometimes you have opportunities afforded to you that are special. Like say a wandering across the top of the Ogun State House in Abuja, Nigeria.

When you find yourself on the top of a building in a nation’s capitol, there is only one thing to do. Make a video! But not just any video, a pure tourist video for those that you love who cannot share in the amazing experience that worldwide travel affords you.

So when I found myself in that situation, on the top floor of the Ogun State House in Abuja, I made my smoking hot pregnant wife an overview of Abuja:

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Reinhard Bonnke’s Religious Chaos in Kafanchan

Muslims are lovers not fighters

Nigeria is of two religions, mostly. In the south, its very Christian while in the north is mostly Muslim. This historical split represents the original foreign trading partners of each region – Europe for the southern coasts and the Middle East for the northern interior.

While there is some grumbling that the country should be split in two or that the poor north takes too much largess from the rich south, in general, Nigerians of all faiths get along like an old married couple. Well, if not without nitpicking and an occasional joke or tiff.

Then into this mix comes religious interlopers like Reinhard Bonnke.

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Busted by Bad Nigerian Beer

I need Power Herbal now!

When I took the first sip of that second Star Beer, it didn’t taste right. I took a second sip, and it still had an off taste. Putting that bottle aside, I went for the third bottle instead. It too tasted funny, so I figured that must be how Star Beer tastes.

Wow! Was I wrong on that idea.

I really should have followed my instincts that night, and skipped the third beer too. I don’t remember if the fourth beer was also bad, but the next morning, my body sure knew. My pre-run morning tea came back up as fast I drank it down. Unable to stand up afterwards, I gave up on the morning run idea.

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My Nigerian Mission: Beer Can Chicken

American Beer Can Chicken

Over the last year, I’ve perfect my beer can chicken grilling technique. That would be the production of succulent, moist, and tasty whole chicken, cooked on a barbecue grill, using lemon marinade and a half-can of beer. I am now in Nigeria and on a mission to spread the word of this culinary delicacy to the land of boot-leather tough over-cooked chicken.

First off, beer can chicken is a surprisingly simple yet effective way to produce the most delicious chicken you’ve ever tasted. You’ll need four very basic ingredients. Once you have all these ingredients lined up, the execution of beer can chicken is crazy simple.

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OLPC News Community of Practice

olpc wayan
Enlightened by OLPC News success

Recently, I’ve been looking at OLPC News in a whole new light. I’m seeing it as more than just a blog. In fact, when you bring in the OLPC Wiki, I see a three part system that is the community of practice around the One Laptop Per Child program.

First, a definition of a community of practice:

A community of practice is a group of people who share a common passion for a subject and through regular interaction and communication, improve their knowledge and expertise in the topic area. Communities of practice differ from teams and networks in that they are bound by a shared desire to learn, and implement the learning through practice.

I believe that the triumvirate of OLPC News, OLPC News Forum, and OLPC Wiki serve to accomplish four goals typical of a community of practice.

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Navigating Nigeria at Night

Avoid flaming crotches

I am walking down this dark lane in Lagos, happy. It’s the end of a long day of work meeting many different IT people here in Nigeria, the “Giant of Africa” and I am feeling good.

Maybe it’s the excitement of being back in Africa, her sounds, sights, and smells fresh in my mind. Maybe it’s the feeling of progress in meeting our local partners and doing work I love. Or maybe its just the beer.

No matter, I am excited this night, and so I perform a small miracle.

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No Hurry in a Lagos Go Slow

A late-night “Go Slow”

Think back to a bad traffic day. When you sat in your car, inching along in a morning commute that seemed to take forever. Or a drive home that doubled in length because a traffic accident. Now think yourself lucky.

In West Africa, traffic is approaching total and permanent gridlock. And I’m not talking about the American kind, where a one-hour commute, becomes a two-hour commute, or your average speed drops to 30mph.

I’m talking about gridlock that makes vehicles useless, has managers sleeping in hotels next to work, and sends the populace out at 6 or 7am to travel 5km in time to start the work day. I’m talking about the Lagos “go slow”.

In the commercial capitol of Nigeria, there are four and five lane highways. There are overpasses and rapid bus lanes. And there are a mix of buses, cars, and motorcycles for human conveyance. But for the 14 million people of Lagos, cross-town movement has become impossible.

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Generating the Nigerian National Anthem

The morning growler

Disregard what others may say is the Nigerian National Anthem. It is not the first anthem “Nigeria We Hail Thee” nor the second “Arise, O Compatriots“. Those may be official decrees, and “Nigeria We Hail Thee” may be the most popular of the two, but neither compare to what I say is the real national anthem.

Anywhere in Lagos, any time of the day or night, there are two sounds guaranteed to sing forth in a chorus of noise: the rumble of big diesel generators turning on and high squawks of little horns from every passing vehicle.

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From OLPC to ASUS: An Overview of 4P Computing

Three years ago, the IT industry was shocked with a radical idea – a “$100 laptop” designed specifically for education in the developing world. Price would be low and yet quality high, through innovative design mixed with low-cost components, and sales would be focused exclusively on the developing world.

This heretical bombast upset the longstanding computer manufacturing tradition to keep adding functions to maintain high prices in the developed world, while ignoring the developing world. While the revolution was lead by One Laptop Per Child and its visionary founder, Nicholas Negroponte, we now have a whole plethora of revolutionaries – from the upstart Asus to the goliath Intel – who are developing 4P Computers.

4P Computing is a new class of appropriate technology – computing power, performance, portability, and price specificity designed for the realities and markets of the developing world.

Now join Wayan Vota, an expert on ICT in the developing world, in an overview of this revolution, the resulting 4PC’s, and their impact on the whole information and communication technology industry:

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