I can’t hear the vuvuzela’s yet…

If there was a week when I have been sorrier than ever to be out of Africa, then this is it. To watch the continent erupt with such colour and sound to the starting of the World Cup has reminded me of what makes the place and its people so special and I am glad … Continue reading

A Delicate Issue of Universal Human Rights

It’s not every week that I open my copy of The Economist to be greeted by the words of somebody I have met. Bishop Joshua Banda is a high profile Zambian: the leader of a large evangelical congregation in Lusaka, a successful business man and as it happens, chairman of the National AIDS Council (NAC). … Continue reading

The Devil’s in the Data

To know whether one is doing the right thing is a devilishly hard task. No matter how pure your intention or ingenious your intervention, it is never a simple matter to prove beyond doubt that you are having the impact you desire. The line between cause and effect is often far more blurred than one … Continue reading

The Cure and the Cause

The pharmaceutical industry to which I have returned to is in a pretty bad state. Across the world, the ‘blockbuster’ drugs (those with annual sales above $1 billion) that have fuelled the sector’s growth during the preceding decades are coming to the end of their patent protected lives and with few exceptions there are no … Continue reading

The Lean Green Grass of Home

This weekend I have been enjoying the comforts of a warm welcome back to my childhood home of Ireland. At close to 1,5 years since I last visited, this is the longest single period of time that I have been away and as much as I enjoy the adventure of life far from its shores, … Continue reading

N'gombe Team

What N’gombe did next….

I have enjoyed many surprises over the last year but perhaps none more positive than the response received to my idea of hacking around the Paris Marathon in a Zambian tribal dress. What started out as a daydream during a relaxed little run on a steamy night in Lusaka turned into a much more concerted … Continue reading

The view from the bottom of the bottom

The way they used to pack slaves in the ship, that is how we sleep. – Kenneth, 37, Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison, September 30, 2009 This week I have been trying to digest a remarkable report from Human Rights Watch on the state of Zambia’s prisons. During the last 18 months they managed to  interview … Continue reading

Getting Volcanised

It has been an interesting week to sit back and observe how things we take for granted can, every now and then, give us a sharp nip on the backside and remind us exactly how feeble we can be in the face of forces greater than ourselves. I was afforded more than enough time to … Continue reading

Allez le Lozi!

After three long months of training, 7am last Sunday morning found what I am pleased to say was only one Irish man in a Zambian tribal dress basking in the bright light of a beautiful Paris springtime morning. With my colleague Maria (official photographer for the day) still complaining about the early hour of our … Continue reading

Eyes on the finish line

This coming week marks the conclusion of a number of pretty significant events in my recent history. First up there is the small matter of 26.2 miles or more appropriately whatever that translates to in kilometers along the byways and boulevards of la belle Paris, all to be completed in my siziba, the tribal dress … Continue reading