The Stray Bulletin

Arts and culture in East Africa and beyond

Coin Hunting in the City May 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 3:59 pm

The cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh hold immense opportunities for finders of all kinds; pickers, takers, and seers. I’m of the former variety, relishing every opportunity for finding interesting little things wedged inbetween nooks of grey sandstone or granite, like rings, diamante hearts, bits of jewellery etc but of course bigger items like hats, hair clips, and scarves are easier to spot. Nothing beats finding a nice shiny coin, nestled in some grimy spot, waiting (no begging) to be taken away.

It’s always a beautiful feeling to be able to collect enough coins for a lollipop, or a trinket from a thrift store. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened in the last four days. Boooooo!

I’ve got two theories. The first is that it’s not yet tourist high season so there aren’t enough people losing unfamiliar coins all over the place. Secondly it’s the recession (silly), every coin counts. I suppose the latter is probably more accurate than the first.

In the end, it’s terribly annoying when your love for a little urban outdoor activity is ruined by pockets and purse strings just being a little too tight. Ultimately it’s more helpful to find a new kind of distraction. Like finding cardigans near bins and arranging them funnily. Oh well I hope buskers are having a little more luck.


May 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 3:10 pm



 When I returned from Somalia, I wrote this article that was published in Uganda’s main independent paper, Daily Monitor, on May 3, 2012 with the title “In Somalia The UPDF Finally Found Its Freedom And Peace”. I was afraid when I was writing the article that I had allowed myself to get sentimental and misty-eyed after seeing for myself and being confronted with the price the Uganda and Burundi troops in the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia (AMISOM), have had to pay in their five-year mission there. I didn’t for a moment imagine that the article would bring down the wrath of Uganda’s president Lt. Gen. Yoweri Museveni, in an angry 3,200 words article in which he refers to “Obbo” or “the Obbos” a record 35 times – although I wouldn’t have been surprised if he found it a minor irritant. That article…

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