Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Information Technology guys out there, Government of Macedonia Needs You!

The deadline for application is 15 August 2011

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia announces the Call for Applications for scholarships at the University of Information Science and Technology “Saint Paul the Apostle” in Ohrid, Macedonia. The scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cameron, China (People’s Republic of), Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Turkey, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, United Republic of Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, United States of America, Vietnam and Niger wishing to pursue under-graduate studies for the academic year 2011/2012 in the following programmes: (1) Communication Networks and Security; (2) Computer Science and Engineering; (3) Information Systems, Visualization, Multimedia and Animation; (4) Information Theory and Analysis and (5) Machine Intelligence and Robotics. One full scholarship will be awarded to a candidate from each of the eligible countries.

The scholarships will be awarded for under-graduate studies for one of the above mentioned programmes; the Programme Outline and Course Overview are included in the annexes of this Call and are also available on the website of the University: http://www.uist.edu.mk/faculties.htm; the study language of the programmes is English. The courses are held by distinguished international lecturers; the scholarships cover the following: full cost of the tuition fees; visa and residence permit fees (proof of good health condition and immunization chart might be required); return air fare from the applicant’s home country; accommodation and food (full board) in the University dorm “Nikola Karev” in Ohrid, Macedonia, health insurance and additional monthly allowance of 5000 MKD (approximately 82 EUR); in case the applicants do not hold an international certificate for English proficiency or have studies in English language, the knowledge in English language will be examined by authorized representatives from the University; the selection process will be implemented by a five member committee appointed by the Minister for Education and Science of the Republic of Macedonia; applicants who have not completed their high school education by 01 May 2011 may receive a conditional offer for admission pending their high school diploma. Successful applicants must finalise their high school studies and submit their transcript and diploma no later than 01 August 2011.

The successful applicants will sign a contract with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Macedonia. The scholarship will provide the funds for the fist academic year and will be extended annually based on the satisfactory progress of the student, as determined by the University, until the end of the studies; the students will be encouraged to return to their home country after the completion of their studies; additional information about the University and the programmes is provided on the website of the University of Information Science and Technology “Saint Paul the Apostle”: http://www.uist.edu.mk/. General information about the City of Ohrid, the UNSECO protected city that hosts the University can be found at: http://www.exploringmacedonia.com.
The Application Form can be found in the annex of this Call for Scholarships or can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Macedonia: www.mon.gov.mk. For additional information and enquiries, please contact Ms. Viktorija Dinkovska at: + 389 2 3140 168 or e-mail: viktorija.dinkovska@mon.gov.mk. The candidate should send the following documents:

· application Form with passport-sized photography attached; · one academic letter of recommendation from a high school teacher; one personal letter of recommendation from a person testifying the applicant’s skills and abilities. Both letters are confidential. In case they are sent by hard copy, the documents must be sent in a sealed envelope, signed by the referee across the seal. In case they are sent online, the documents must be e-mailed by the referee himself/herself with subject stating the applicant’s name;

· notarized copy of the high school diploma or certificate (translated into English language); · notarized copy of transcripts showing the obtained grades for each high school year (translated into English language);

· proof of English proficiency (In case the applicants do not hold an international certificate for English proficiency or have studies in English language, the knowledge in English langue will be examined by authorized representatives from the University before the admission is confirmed ); passport copy. Application can be submitted in hard copy to the appropriate Ministry of Education of the applicant’s home country, in electronic version with attached scanned copies of the required documents to the following e-mail: viktorija.dinkovska@mon.gov.mk or an electronic version of the application can be completed on the following website: www.mon.gov.mk.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BNP, a love Note, Will you be there?

There are many excuses not do something that costs money, right now. Something that distracts you from dedicating yourself ever more to eyes on the ground, watching for the cracks in the sidewalks, hoping to spot a stray gold bitano coin no one else has yet seen and make it all yours. Heck, I have reached for the excuses myself more than once or twice-economic downturn, recession, increasing fuel prices-to put a halt to activities that threatened to further reduce my wallet to a decoration in my front pocket.

I should have known though nothing would deter BNP organizer and founder Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva. Nothing did last year, after all. When the threat was greater, more immediate, and not many were willing to crane their necks outdoors after 8pm, when the devastating twin Kampala terrorist bombs had gone off, in an instant reminding Kampala it is not so far off from turning into another Beirut, another Jerusalem. Even then, in 2010, after those bombs, Beverley had bravely planned, found some interested parties, and put on her BNP awards that seek to tear poetry from dusty library pages and get poetry loving graffiti all over the city, into our everyday lives, GNL rhyme droppers.

I don’t know why I should have been surprised at all that with the just ‘ended’ February 18 general elections that ‘cleaned’ us all out, the April Walk-to Work demonstrations (riots?) where we all have our own harrowing narrow escapes to narrate, the ever rising fuel prices that have made some of us re-find our love of walking longer distances ‘Kale, I had no idea Kampala still has stars in the sky at night,’ & no one I know (who is not an MP) has talked of a salary increment at work. What don’t you know, even BNP’s patron Rebecca Kadaga has eaten so big (becoming the first Ugandan female Speaker of Parliament, will she still have time for BNP?), Beverley could with all grace have been able to postpone or not hold a dinner BNP event at Kati Kati as she is going to do this July 1-just hold a digital award ceremony, and no one should nose turned up.

But no, not Beverley & not the BNP. They will be there. They are on. July 1st, Kati Kati restaurant. & even Iwaya’s ka-humble www.madandcrazy.blogspot.com is now considered one of the sponsors. I had no idea love could lead to these big things! So I’m going to be there.

I’m going to be there because I love to meet new writers, people performing poetry. I’m going to be there because there are so many young/not so young writers I have never yet met in this town, and when I’m in that room it is like I’m on the I can talk about books page on FB and no one will find it ‘strange’ that instead of a blue pocket Bible with much referred to curled page ears, I carry a book that is obsessing me so much, I have had dreams of chats with the author. Like I chatted once with It’s Our Turn to Eat author Michela Wrong and found her no man hater, African despiser, but a passionate soul (what had I expected? Kyoka Iwaya!).

I’m going to be there, because at the BNP, July 1st, Kati Kati, I intend to make my first public speech, like I have not done in years. Since when last? Primary school? You can be there for that, at least. Delight in the crash or something. Or you could be there because BNP is a cultural event, an artistic soul liberating one, there are hot chics who love books (like Mildred Apenyo etc, just saying), and if you must date a guy writer (don’t, if you are female writer), Kati Kati July 1st will be happy hunting ground. (Wait! Won’t even Ishta be there? I hear she is in town. Kati, how can you miss? You even downloaded her YouTube videos, you shamless...) Kati if Princess Ikatekit & Scotchbiscuits could show up...see what BNP does?  Makes you dreamy with possibilities and fancies. Anything could happen. Nze wendi. My gunners, Joshua and 27th   (Tendo, Ivan, Nathan, Dalton, anyone?) you got to show face. Mukimanyi bulungi, we have revolutions to start & I’m a procrastinator when you guys are not there. Let’s do this!

Venue: Kati Kati restaurant, Murchision Hall 

Time: 18:00 hrs-21:00 hrs 

Day: Friday, 1st July, 2011  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Proud Sponsor of the BNP now!

Have you got your July 1 ticket yet? I might even make a speech! :-)

The BNP invite you should be looking for!

Friday, June 17, 2011

2010 RFI winner Maurice Kirya is back in town, meeting young musicians etc

Just why is 2010 RFI winner Maurice Kirya about the most relevant young Ugandan musician around? Check this out...

With any little success (a song hit or increased media attention), the first thought on most Ugandan musicians’ mind would be to hold a cash generating album launch. Not that that is bad. We all gotta eat. But that is not what Maurice Kirya is doing. 

This Saturday at the National Theatre, Maurice Kirya will be meeting up and coming ambitious young musicians, those interested in any sort of career to do with music and the arts. And entry is free! At the National Theatre green room…

In honour of that magnanimous gesture…running a piece I wrote 2/3months ago…on meeting Kirya again-
2010 RFI Discoveries Winner Maurice Kirya is back in Kampala after a 2 months African tour that seemed like 4. For the band & the experiences they went through, when you talk to them, it actually seemed like 6. & I can’t stop listening to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida (tale of fallen monarchs, dead dreams & return to humility.) a talk with Kirya will always do that. It took a 25 year old Kirya to teach this 30 year old blogger, talk of art does not matter, it is the done art that matters. (A bad book is better than no book at all. Really?) Then after a 3 months not meeting (all of us a year older), again, where is the art

Is this Maurice Kirya’s importance to Ugandan music? To Ugandan art? Art yes, because Maurice is not just about the music. He is a whole package whose silhouettes often disguise from view he is more than just a singer. He could be a designer, from clothes, to lifestyle, to how fully and usefully live your life; a leader who can enthuse even those older than him, who had dreams but dared not follow them, because experience and years before had knocked them down again and again, like the bloodied Kampala rioter for a better life who finally realises to stay alive, stay down, don’t provoke the ‘Red Tops’ anymore-stay down. 

So Maurice Kirya is back in Kampala, in yet another dramatic entrance. They seem dramatic. Each time he has left Uganda and come back, two years in a row now (for this blogger, this reporter, at least), he has come back just when Kampala & Uganda seemed about to catch fire. When all our breath was held, in terror, in anxiety, on our minds a what’s next? After the July 11, 2010 bombings & now after the April 11, 2011 Walk to Work demonstrations prominently led by FDC party leader Dr Kizza Besigye.  Bloody marker events in Uganda’s history, in the NRM government reign we all know, somehow, are just heralds, chart maps to more turmoil and blood to be shed on the way. To this mind, Maurice like the soothing balm reminding, art can live, art exists, for this reason-it is not divorced. 

He is done with RFI honour tour and when you talk to him, you get a feeling he is not too sure of what’s next for him. But it is a terrified what’s next that haunts him, in Good African Coffee at Lugogo bypass musing, it is a liquor blues infinite possibilities what’s next, trying to decide what to start with, but not leave anything behind either. You can sense him wondering, should the Maurice Kirya Experience be revived, or should we be more audacious and go for the Maurice Kirya once or twice a year Music Festival-a Maurice Kirya festival, wow! Will the music fans buy that? Isn’t it a bit of over reaching? Or are we just under estimating and they are ready? But what about the Maurice Kirya thank you concert? Supposed to be an aesthetic experience of the heights no Ugandan musician has yet attempted, Michael Jackson levels of stage complexity, every last happening detail forethought? A stadium level Namugongo martyrs pilgrims’ mass devotion with the Opera ballet intimacy of indoors? 

We could do all that and more! 

Maurice Kirya is back in town. 

& I’m listening to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida (it’s a celebration of life).

Friday, June 10, 2011

A short tale of two strangers in Uganda

We were strangers once, two kids from families so disparate everyone wondered what was the attraction, would it last. You had your reasons, I had mine, like everyone brings to relationships. 

I did not know yours (in hindsight, bitterly) I like to believe to you misled me into revealing my own reasons too early (showed you my hand and you have had me forever-no matter what you do, you know I can never really leave. 

You on the other hand always believed in having choices, options-I was not your only (even from the beginning) you were just better at disguising it then, trying harder than you do today. 

But I loved you, oh God help me, I loved you madly enough to believe in more than my own Gods, my family and myself. I saw the world because of you. 

Am I being sentimental and a fool? There was a time when I didn’t even think that, worry about it at all, pleasing you  was all that concerned me (I thought). 

Now we are back to where we started, two strangers, shyly shaking hands, before wondering, jig-saw puzzle eyes. Circling the obvious, ticking the boxes of the unimaginative, working the pattern, trying to figure out what keeps us going, what keeps us together. 

But you and I remember, you’ve kept the secret, like I have.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Dear Woman, I Love You

For the lovers, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, female friends in our lives-from a guy…
"And woman I will try express,
My inner feelings and thankfullness"

Dear Woman, 

Before anything else, after everything; after all the arguments, the scenes of tears, the angry silences, the phone calls that go unanswered, I want you to know this-I love you. You’re amazing. Just when I think I know how, that you hold no more surprises for me, you casually toss another my way that leaves me breathless with wonder. Wondering, “Could I do that, if I was in your place?” 

Your acts of love seem to surpass everything I’m capable of doing, yet you keep on giving. You have seen me at my worst and stayed. When honestly I do not think I could have borne it all and stayed. When everybody else said I could not change, change was exactly the demand you made of me and the price of keeping your love was making the change. It was then I learned your love was not just about Cadbury chocolates, greeting card romance, Valentine Day expensive hotel candlelit dinners! 

Your love can be fiercely unforgiving, demanding, refusing to yield that I’m afraid I’ve lost it. Making me question us, still unable to bring myself to face what I have to face. The challenge you understand, the first time we meet it we will have to deal with it or it may destroy everything or mean we will never be able to accomplish everything we can when it is not dealt with. Your love is the grown up then until its goal is accomplished, in the unhappy months (sometimes years!) of striving when I’m so unsure of myself. 

You’re my restraining anchor though I sometimes behave like I resent you for it. I would run out into the street with furious patrolling ‘Red Tops’ strapped for death to hurl rocks for my rights were it not for your cautious reminder, “What’s your point when you’re dead?” Yet, if it were not for you, we would not be here when, like a weary KCCA street sweeper, tired of not being paid by another bad employer, I was thinking of walking away, with nothing again. It was all I could do, go back and assert my rights (to my stunned surprise successfully), to placate your seething rage, “No, leave me. let me go and tell them! Do they know how many times you have risked your life to do their work? No, please, leave me and I go and tell them.” I never thought I would be in more awe of you than then. I was wrong. 

I used to think you were a coward. Who’s afraid of geckos, spiders, cockroaches, moths and butterflies? You are. Nothing amuses me more than dashing from the bedroom, hearing your screams, to find you in one corner of the dining room, stamping your foot on the floor like a pawing bull, facing off with one confused equally terrified cockroach. I have the courage for those things. But I don’t know if I would have the courage you had, pregnant with our son. 

I like to think I have a high threshold for pain. I near drove you crazy, when we had just met, having on continuous replay that Tupac Shakur-Biggie Smalls collabo, House of Pain, in one of my phases. I have since learned from you that handling pain is not about taking it, then preparing for the blowback before you dish it out. Sometimes pain is love. Love-pain is whimpering at 3 am in the morning, lips tightly pursed to stop from crying out because you do not wake me who came home past midnight from work, in one of the many stages of pregnancy. 

Love-pain is the letting go of your dignity, for this being unseen in you, with the leg and foot cramps that come with being pregnant, the wild-haired in a night gown before dawn standing next to a pit latrine cravings like a ‘night dancer,’ the embarrassing piles that demand levels of intimacy you never thought you were capable of. Then the sweaty brow, belly screaming, steaming red-eyed, aching voice, throes of labour. In all this my own inconsequence emphasised. How do you, in all these world-in-their-own world experiences remember to gently reach for my hand, slipping your thin fingers through me, to remind me, “You’re a part of this.” 

You have left me speechless. My own eyes have welled up with gratefulness I could never express from a heart that raced with lung bursting speeds no caffeine ride has ever given me. Then some more! So this is my humble thanksgiving. I may not always be able to say this and I may not always be able to show you how much you mean to me. But I can now.