Rwanda from the sky

Rwanda – worth a visit

I’m sure that if you asked around, not many people will list Rwanda as one of their top tourist destinations to visit in Africa. This is partly due to ignorance (It’s a town somewhere in South Africa right? Err, no!), mainly because of the very bad things that happened in 1994 and probably because they just never considered the country for no reason what so ever.

In my field of work, I get to travel quite a bit in and around Africa. Only once you start travelling across the continent and immerse yourself in the local cultures do you begin to fully understand and appreciate the diversity, beauty and opportunity present in each country. More often than not, this is a far cry from the information we are exposed to in the news. Fun and interesting stuff does not always make the front page.

Some people will probably be shocked to hear that Rwanda is ranked the second highest economy in Africa, after Mauritius and before South Africa in the World Bank’s Ease of doing Business rankings. More notably some of the key indicators they scored top marks in Africa: Starting a business (it takes 2 days), registering a property (12 days) and getting credit. Rwanda placed second in obtaining electricity (South Africa ranked 27th) and enforcing contracts and third overall for paying taxes and protection of investors.

The Rwanda government is spending a great deal in promoting the country as an attractive tourist and conferencing destination. To this end they contracted Mammoth media in 2012 to produce their tourist brand videos. After delivering the finished video, Mammoth decided to create another edit to include all the bonus footage and outtakes.

This video certainly left me wanting to get to Rwanda as soon as possible.

Oh and if you do get to visit Rwanda, remember that plastic bags are banned. Tourists are warned not to bring them to the country. Who knew?

Music makes me happy

A couple of years ago, a former colleague once quipped, “The 90’s called, they want their iPod back.” She was of course refering to my 4th generation iPod (photo) which seemed quite archaic by the then nano, classic and touch versions.

Jokes aside, this baby holds 60GB worth of music. That’s over 8,000 songs and surprisingly it is still going strong.

This will come as no surprise then that I have a love for music. I used to immerse myself in the history, detail and quirky factoids of the artists and the meanings behind their songs.

Don’t get me started on music quiz nights. Suffice to say, our team would always remain victorious.

Of course over the years I managed to collect a vast array of CD’s which took up far too much space in the living room.

Thankfully, with the advent of MP3’s and the iPod, this collection has been converted to digital format and stored on the iPod and a number of hard drives.

Pretty much all genres can be found on this music box to suit any particular mood. Except perhaps for Hoomii Mongolian throat singing. I mean have you heard their version of unchained melody? And a better question yet, what kind of mood must you be in to listen to that?

But I digress.

Interestingly and perhaps serendipitously one of my favourite artists José González popped up a few times in my random playlist over the past few days.

I last wrote about the musical genius that is José González back in 2007. His song Heartbeats still rocks.

And if you have been living under a rock, it was first featured in the Sony Bravia Bouncing Balls advert before it was released as a single. Still one of my all time favourite ads.

Today is post 17/100 as part of my #100happydays challenge. Follow my progress on Instagram.

Follow me on Instagram

Happiness mind map - EEPaul

When I grow up I want to be happy

These are the words of 13-year Logan LaPlante when questioned what he wanted to be when he grows up. He wants to be happy and healthy.

Since we’re on the #100happydays theme at the moment, this TEDx talk from 2013 is quite apt.

In it, Logan discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal. He also outlines some of the elements of lifestyle and mental health (as penned by Dr Roger Walsh) which are the building blocks of happiness.

These are: Exercise, relationships, diet and nutrition, recreation, time in nature, relaxation and stress management, contribution and service, religious and spiritual.

Photo credit: Happiness mind-map by EEPaul