Tomas Tranströmer: reading his poems, playing piano

In this video Tomas Tranströmer reads several of his most evocative poems (in Swedish, with subtitles in English) against translucent backdrops of the Swedish countryside that so inspires him.  The video also tells of the 2011 Nobel prize and highlights his piano playing, which echoes through the whole piece.  I was pleasantly surprised to find some of my favourite poems are in the video. I have read them at Reddit’s poetry – usually switching between my imperfect Swedish and the English translations.  I came across his poems quite by chance three years ago when I saw his collected works (in English) in the Academic Bookshop, Göteborg. After quickly browsing through them I bought the book.  Then I had to pluck up the courage to find them in Swedish translation and attempt to do justice to them by reading them aloud at Reddit’s.

Return to Kenyatta University

The MyCOE/SERVIR fellows and mentors were taken on a tour of the main Kenyatta University  campus by Prof. Onywere (you can see him greeting Dean Shisanya in the picture taken outside the main administration building). Kate and I both lectured at Kenyatta University at the start of our careers (1979 to 1985) so for me it was nostalgic return back to KU.  In those days there were 1000 students, now they have 14 separate schools and 43,000 students!  Quite a transformation. We were introduced to the Deputy Vice Chancellor and many colleagues but for me the highlight was to walk around the campus and see how it has been transformed – like so many other things along the Thika Super Highway.  There are plenty of new showpieces nestling side by side with the old facilities I remember well, and lots of green space still maintained. Here’s a selection of pictures showing the new facilities and the impressive signs.

MyCOE/SERVIR: at the Regional Centre and on the Field Trip

It has been one week of intensive work since the cocktails posting …. so here are my pictures and some quick reflections.  Lots of lab work has been done at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development: remote sensing applications, GIS work, mentor presentations.  The day has started with the walk from ICIPE (the Duduville Guest House) through the dust of Kasarani in the morning, then work all morning, walk back through the dust for lunch and then repeat for the afternoon, evening, the next day and so on ….the first few pictures show some of that.  Of course there has also been the chance for the occasional beer later. Then yesterday we were up early for our field excursion to Mt Kenya to see the tree planting activities and Green Belt Movement communities in action.  Things got a little delayed at the start and then of course we arrived just after the rain made the last few kilometres impassable.  So we walked and were ferried up to Gathiuru,  This meant that we arrived very late in Tumutumu (lunch came at 6pm) but we were rewarded with a brief and fascinating glimpse of the sustainability activities in the heart of the highlands.  Then it was the long drive home through the traffic to Nairobi.

MyCOE/SERVIR programme opening cocktails

Last night we had a small cocktail event on the lawns of the RCMRD centre, Nairobi.  It had been a long, but very interesting, opening day listening to each of the students in the MyCOE/SERVIR programme for East Africa presenting their research proposals. Here are a few pictures from my phone of new colleagues relaxing as the sun went down – I am getting this post up as we start today’s sessions ….

The Eastern Cape’s population growth: animations 1996-2011

These animations clearly show the population increases (and some decreases) in the three population censuses of the post apartheid period.  I was just about to work all these data out manually when I came across Thomas Brinkhoff’s excellent City Populations website and discovered he had already collated comparable data for the Eastern Cape’s municipalities and metropoles.  All I had to do was type the data into the appropriate format and import into UUorld – the software that produces the 3D animations.

The animations loop through the data twice so you can get a decent look at what they show.  I really like the first one that looks eastwards along the axis of the province.  The north view is included to orient you.  The rise of Nelson Mandela Bay is very clear, it grew at 1.37% per annum from 2011 to 2011.  What is less obvious are the even higher rates of growth of Kouga (3.28%) and Kou Kamma (1.68%) – the two coastal municipalities immediately west of Nelson Mandela Bay.  All three grew at rates well above the province’s average of 0.44%.

If you want to use these videos please acknowledge this blog post as the source:

Roddy Fox 2012: The Eastern Cape’s population growth: animations 1996-2011. [Online] [04/12/2012]