Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas to you all!

Christmas Day, December 25 2010: It's that special time of the year when kids get rewarded for being good. Santa brings the rewards, rain or shine, winter or summer. The kids were very excited to receive their gifts from Santa. We spent the morning opening gifts and assembling toys. Kids loved it! Actually, we all did. Thank God for the day.

We wish you and yours a wonderful day and many more wonderful days ahead!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Touching Poem...... (on the perils of drinking and driving)

A Touching Poem......
I went to a party Mom,
I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom,
So I drank soda instead.

I really felt proud inside, Mom,
The way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom,
Even though the others said I should.

I know I did the right thing, Mom,
I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
As everyone is driving out of sight.

As I got into my car, Mom,
I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me,
So responsible and sweet..

I started to drive away, Mom,
But as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn't see me, Mom,
And hit me like a load.

As I lay there on the pavement, Mom,
I hear the policeman say,
"The other guy is drunk," Mom,
And now I'm the one who will pay.

I'm lying here dying, Mom....
I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon..

There is blood all around me, Mom,
And most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom,
I'll die in a short time.

I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom.
The others didn't think.

He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank
And I will die.

Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin your whole life.
I'm feeling sharp pains now.
Pains just like a knife.

The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
And I don't think it's fair.
I'm lying here dying
And all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom,
Put "GOOD BOY " on my grave.

Someone should have told him, Mom,
Not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom,
I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
I'm becoming very scared.
Please don't cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you, you were always there.

I have one last question, Mom.
Before I say good bye.
I didn't drink and drive,
So why am I the one to die?

Someone took the effort to write this poem. So please, forward this
to as many people as you can. And see if we can get a chain going
around the world that will make people understand that don't mix drinking
and driving.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book review: I Was a Secret...But Not Anymore: A Memoir (Queen Juliet El Shaddai)

I Was a Secret...But Not Anymore: A Memoir

Book review: I Was a Secret...But Not Anymore: A Memoir (Hardcover) By  Queen Juliet El Shaddai   (Author)
 This book is about the personal life of Juliet, a Sierra Leonean lady, who endured the pains of domestic violence and abusive relationships. The book is full of sad moments covering the period of her early childhood, the war in Sierra Leone, her adventures in Senegal, etc. One can easily relate to these events, even if you have never been a victim yourself. Sometimes people get trapped and do not realize that they are victims until it is too late. In some cases, the perpetrators (abusers) may not also be fully aware of the long-term implications of their actions.

Juliet's story is about hope and survival. A recommended reading. You can purchase a copy at or other bookstores.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Sierra Leone Launches Nationwide Malaria Campaign

    A mother and her child sit on a bed covered with a mosquito net in Africa, 30 Oct 2009
    Photo: AFP Photo: A mother and her child sit on a bed covered with a mosquito net in Africa, 30 Oct 2009
    Sierra Leone launches a $23 million anti-malaria campaign Thursday, aiming to get treated mosquito nets into every household in the country.

    Nicknamed the "White Man's Grave" in the nineteenth century by British colonials because of the high death rates from malaria, Sierra Leone has a long history with the mosquito-borne disease.

    Today malaria is still the country's biggest health concern. It is the leading cause of death and disease and your average Sierra Leonean is likely to suffer three to four bouts of the debilitating disease a year.

    Now the country aims to reduce malaria cases by up to 40 percent thanks to a campaign that will see every household in the country receive insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

    Read full story here -->

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Eradicating malaria: Experts say efforts to beat malaria may backfire (extract from BBC News)

    Efforts to eradicate malaria in some countries may be counter-productive, an international team of researchers suggest.

    Read full article here -->

    Shrinking map
    Malaria is caused by five species of a parasite that can be carried from human to human by mosquitoes.
    Over the last 150 years, the portion of the world where malaria is still endemic has shrunk, but the disease is still endemic in 99 countries.
    However 32 of these countries, most of them on the edges of the endemic zone, are attempting to eradicate the disease, while the rest are trying to reduce infections and deaths though control measures.
    A global malaria map
    But switching from a policy of controlling the disease to one of eradication brings with it problems and risks, according to the report.
    The authors point out that malaria and mosquitoes do not respect national borders and that both parasite and insect may develop resistance to existing drugs.
    They also warn switching funds from control to eradication may negatively impact upon measures which have been shown to reduce infection and mortality.
    A spokeswoman for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said: "Malaria eradication is a long-term goal.
    "We believe that the WHO will play an important role in helping countries decide when they are ready to undertake elimination and what conditions and capabilities need to be in place for them to do so.
    "High-level, sustained control will be essential before elimination can be attempted, and premature efforts at elimination, before countries are ready, will be counterproductive."

    Alpha's comments:
    "Malaria eradication should be both a long-term and short-term goal. It is possible to eradicate malaria as history has shown. We now have more sophisticated tools and a lot of studies has been done to achieve this goal. Where there is a will, there is a way..."

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Dakar, or is it "Darker"?

    The persistent power problem in Dakar, and the rest of Senegal, is hitting its inhabitants very hard. This thriving West African nation has become very dependent on electricity to the point that when electricity fails, the water supply fails too. Most residences (including mine) endures water shortages to compound the electricity problem as the pump that drives the water ceases to function. No electricity no water!

    To complicate matters further, there is now constant shortage of cooking gas!

    Dakar is obviously not the darkest city in West Africa, but it is indeed becoming "Darker".

    See article from Reuters: "Senegal sacks minister as anger over power cuts grows"

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Eradicating malaria: a missed opportunity?

    Read about how we failed to eradicate malaria in the world. A missed opportunity indeed.
    My question is: Why control something that can be eradicated?
    Where there's no will, there's no way...

    Click here for the full article from CDC.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Book Review: Sandbox Wisdom - Revolutionize your business with the genius of childhood (by Tom Asacker)

    I have developed the habit of taking a "good" book with me for reading on the plane or at airports when traveling. It does lower the frustration of waiting for delayed flights or sitting in a plane wondering what to do with your time.

    This time round, I took "Sandbox Wisdom" to read on my flight from Dakar (Senegal) to Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). It turned out to be an interesting experience. The book is very provocative and inspiring. It makes you recall the child in you and the beauty of innocence. Coming to think of it, if we behave like children, then there will be no problems in this world. In the mind of a child, everything is possible. As we grow older, we become too self-conscious and concerned about the risk of failure and we start making excuses for not trying. The focus shifts from "how it can be done", to "why it cannot be done."

    The flight was quite smooth though the we landed in Bamako as if we were shot down from the sky. To make amends, the pilot was extremely careful when landing in Ouagadougou (our next destination) to the point that we kept floating above the runway for quite some time before hitting land - a very smooth finish!

    Going back to "Sandbox Wisdom". I recommend that you read this book to see how modern-day business problems can be solved with child-like attitudes.

    For more info, please visit

    Front Cover

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Remembering September 11, 2001: Killing in God's name or Killing God's name?

    Today marks the 9th anniversary of the September 11 attacks; a day that came to be known simply as 911; a day that will never be forgotten, but most importantly, a sad day for humanity - for the billions of people who believe in the existence of a one true God. A day for reflection.

    If the love of God and the fear of his wrath implies that one should neither take his/her own life nor the life of others, how can someone kill in God's name? Or is it an attempt in killing God's name?

    Throughout recorded history, the world's major religions have been embroiled in violence; desperate to either gain new converts - sometimes, by any means necessary - or to gain territory to consolidate power. All are guilty of a violent past and in using God's name to justify their actions. Religion has been used as justification to deprive fellow humans of their basic rights. Religion has been used as justification to enslave people. Religion has been used as justification to kill, to insult, to provoke, to go to wars.

    If religion came about to lead humans to the right path - primarily to avoid evil - how can acting evil be God's way? Should it be a case of "I am right and you are wrong. I worship HIM in the right way and you are a loser"? Is this really what God wanted?  Are we killing in God's name or are we trying to kill God's name?

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Eid Mubarak!

    Eid mubarak to all muslims who celebrated the end of Ramadan today.

    We had some friends over to join us in celebrating the Eid.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Hunger-Fighting Word Game FreeRice Is Now Social! (source: WFP)

    Hunger-Fighting Word Game FreeRice Is Now Social!

    Hunger-Fighting Word Game FreeRice Is Now Social!

    Published on 07 September 2010

    Players of the new Free Rice can log-in using their Facebook or Twitter profiles, share the amount of rice they've raised and create groups to play with friends or classmates.

    The viral word game that builds vocabulary while feeding the hungry has had a major upgrade that’s made it even more addictive than before. Players of the new version will be able to compete with friends, tout their scores on Facebook and play on the go by mobile phone – all while fighting hunger. Check it out!

    ROME – FreeRice went "social” on Tuesday with the arrival of a highly anticipated upgrade, which draws on the power of online communities to attract new players, raise more rice and spread awareness about fighting hunger.

    The new version combines the fun and easy gameplay of the original with the fun of social media, allowing players to track their scrores, play in groups and recruit their friends to the online fight against hunger.

    “The race will be on to see who can top the FreeRice rankings,” said Nancy Roman, Director of Communications and Private Sector Partnerships.

    Where does the rice go?

    Since launching in 2007, FreeRice has raised enough food to feed more than 4.2 million people for a day in countries like Bangladesh, Uganda and Cambodia. The next batch of FreeRice will be sent to victims of the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan.

    What’s New

    The basic premise of FreeRice hasn’t changed: players face increasingly difficult vocabulary questions and for every right answers, earn ten grains of rice donated through WFP and paid for by advertisers.

    The new version, however, takes the game one step further, by bringing players together in an online community where groups of friends or classmates can pit their wits against each other. Learn more about how schools are using FreeRice.

    Players will now be able to post their scores on Facebook or tweet about how much rice they’ve donated. Weaving social media into the game not only makes it more fun, but will attract new players.

    “FreeRice is making Internet history, said Roman. “It’s a stellar example of how a fun and simple idea can harness the internet’s potential to contribute to the world’s most pressing global issue – hunger.”

    Humble beginnings

    FreeRice was launched in 2007 with no official marketing campaign and at no cost to WFP. Its designer, John Breen, says the programme started out as a simple word game to help his teenage sons prepare for their college entrance exams.

    Breen, who was already working on a number of humanitarian causes, realized the game’s potential to help, putting it at the service of WFP. An instant success, in its first month, the game had raised enough rice to feed over 50,000 people for a day.

    As it continued turning heads and winning converts, FreeRice won Yahoo!’s 2007 Charity Website of the Year Award. A year later, Breen was recognized by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for the game’s outstanding contribution to the Internet’s impact on society.

    Today, thousands of loyal players log on everyday to learn new words or improve their English language skills, while donating rice to the hungry. As this online community of hunger-fighting word fans continues to grow, so does their contribution to WFP’s operations around the world.

    Coming soon
    • Take your game on the go with the new iPhone/iPad app coming this fall.
    • Look out for new French, Spanish, Italian and German editions of the game coming out soon.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    The Fastest Helicopter on Earth: article from IEEE Spectrum

    The Fastest Helicopter on Earth
    Helicopters have many advantages, but speed is not one of them. Until now the greatest speed ever reached by a helicopter was no better than what a 1923 biplane could do. But Sikorsky Aircraft aims to shatter that speed record by combining active stabilization, software-simplified controls, and an unusual coaxial rotor design.
    Read more.

    What an E-Waste (interesting article on electronic waste: Source - IEEE Spectrum)

    Interactive Map: What an E-Waste
    Consumer electronics, critics charge, are designed for the dump. The latest gizmo enjoys a year or two of cutting-edge relevance and another two to five collecting dust. Then we throw it away, often to another part of the world. This map shows where e-waste originates and where it ends up. 
    Read more.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    ISD Boys Scout 2010 - End of Year Awards

    ISD Boys Scout 2010 event: Akela Ayesha giving medals and awards to the cub scouts. Congratulations to the pack!

    ISD 2010 - EndOfYearAwards

    ISD 2010 End of Year Awards: Elementary School end of year awards ceremony and graduation to Middle School.

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Visiting Niger - the floods after the drought

    I returned to Niamey on Friday 13th August from a visit to a place called Zinder (east of Niamey). It is about 3 hours by air with a short stop in Maradi. On the return leg, we encountered some stormy weather as the rains keep pouring on this once barren land.

    I was also able to see, first hand, the damage caused by the floods in Niamey on the banks of the River Niger.

    Ramadan mubarak!

    Muslims around the world have started fasting during this Holy Month of Ramadan. I believe, for the majority of Muslims, if not all, Ramadan started on Wednesday 11 August.

    I pray that Allah accepts your prayers and fasting.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Visiting Niger - the Sahel food crisis response

    I arrived in Niger in the early hours of this morning, Tuesday 10 August, after a stop-over in Casablanca (on transit) from Dakar.
    Niger and most parts of the Sahel are suffering from a major food crisis, with close to 8 million people affected in Niger alone! This is a real natural disaster - resulting from failed harvest due to drought.
    The World Food Programme and its humanitarian partners are in the midst of a massive emergency operation to save lives of those affected by this crisis.

    This happens to be my second visit to Niger this year, as part of support towards this humanitarian response.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Introducing the AlphaBah.Net family blog

    Dear family and friends,

    Welcome to our family's blog!

    We'll use this forum to share our thoughts and experiences with you. We hope that you will find time to read them and post your comments if possible.

    Love you all.

    Alpha, Mariama, Mariama Marissa, Bella, Razzaq & Binta

    Featured post

    Family news: Proud moment - Our daughter Fatmata (Binta) Bah is the proud recipient of the Middle School Ambassador award for 2018

    DAA Grade 8 Completion Ceremony (2018): Our daughter Fatmata (Binta) Bah is the proud recipient of the Middle School Ambassador award f...