Donate to East Africa

One of the young clients where I work was in the office earlier tonight when he noticed a link to an article up on the Yahoo! News homepage. It was about a man from Somalia and the hardships he faced while fleeing from famine, so I clicked it and let him read a little bit about it. (He’s from the general area, though not Somalia specifically.) Then it got me looking for things on my own later and I found this:

Yahoo! News spoke to a reporter who is in Somalia and has seen first-hand what it’s like in the refugee camps of the war-torn and famished country.

“There was no food, no help. There are kids dying left and right—I’m not exaggerating. They buried 12 on the day I visited,” said Jason Straziuso, a reporter for the Associated Press.

“The most touching thing so far has been when this small child waved at me yesterday. I stuck my head in her tent and she was lying, motionless, flies flying everywhere and she sort of stuck her head up and waved at me,” he said. “That put a lump in my throat because I don’t know that she’s going to get better, in fact I think she has a good chance of not getting better.”

African Union forces have launched an offensive to keep aid agencies safe as they bring food and supplies to the thousands of refugees in Mogadishu.

We can’t donate to all the awful tragedies around the world, but this strikes me as one of those instances where because it isn’t a sudden event like a tsunami or an Earthquake, it can easily be overlooked. That’s why I’ve used this link to donate a little money.

Feel free to do the same, if you wish.

Fastest Boston Marathon

Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon with the fastest time ever:

Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon Monday in two hours three minutes and two seconds, the fastest time ever recorded over the grueling distance.

Mutai slashed almost a minute off the official world record of 2:03.59, set by Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie at Berlin in 2008, but his time was not ratified as a new record because he was aided by a tailwind on a hilly course with too much downhill from start to finish.

“Boston marathon performances cannot be ratified as world records as the course does not satisfy two of the criteria for world records,” USA Track and Field told Reuters.

Whatevs. It’s still effin’ fast. And certainly faster than the 400lbs guy who completed the L.A. Marathon (which was still impressive).

Forget about the time. I’ll be happy to just run half the distance of a marathon without stopping.

Hartlaub’s Turaco

Look at these manly legs.

This comes from Shira Camp 1, the first and least creatively named camp site on my trek up Kilimanjaro (or perhaps Shira Camp 2 wins that title). Since it was practically dark by the time we rolled in that first day, I’m going to hazard this comes from the morning of Day 2. (Actually, the warm water for washing – say it with a Swahili accent – tells me it definitely was morning.) So that means you’re seeing me as I wonder just what all the sounds were from the prior night.

My initial thought was baboon. In fact, several baboons. We had seen some on the way to the head of the Lemosho route.

They aren’t easy to make out, but they are there. And as far as I know, they may have stayed there because they actually weren’t surrounding the camp site that night. Or if they were, they were tucked in their beds snug as could be. What was actually making all the racket was the Hartlaub’s Turaco.

It’s a pretty awesome bird that is native to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. From what I’ve been reading, it appears to be most numerous in Kenya, at least in small part because of excessive hunting in Tanzania. Fortunately, however, it faces no significant danger to its overall health as a species at this point. (In fact, its conservation status is “LC” or Least Concern, the lowest, and thus best, it can be.)

But I know as great as pretty pictures are, what everyone really wants is some sound. (It will link you out, but do click anyway.)

ARKive video - Hartlaub's turaco - overview

I think the deep throatiness of the baboon is discernible through the Hartlaub’s Turaco’s call. But perhaps it was the quiet of the encompassing night that made it seem all the more phenomenal to me; I couldn’t help but be convinced I was hearing baboons. Without a deeper knowledge, I can only speculate why the bird makes such a sound: perhaps it is imitation, but that doesn’t strike me as the most plausible explanation off-hand.

Thanks to Mike for providing the necessary information, the first photograph, and even the link to the video. I appreciate it.