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Kokoya Millennium Village Education Projects: High Hopes Dashed

first_imgJ. Keith Gboe, Vice Principal for Operations at the Quoikapor Elementary and Junior High School in Kokoya District, Upper Bong, was upbeat and overwhelmed with joy when he was informed in 2007 that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was spearheading a Kokoya Millennium Village Project (KMVP) that would ensure that the Quoikapor School is raised to modern standards.Gboe’s high hopes have been squashed, as there are no signs that Quoikapor Elementary and Junior High School will be any better since the KMVP has proven a project deferred, if not failed.The rural school Vice Principal divulged that in 2005, the REVOP, an NGO, built Quoikapor School with subvention from the UNDP. The school, he said, lacked the needed facilities for smooth academic operation. “But because of our love and passion for preparing the children of Quoikapor and adjacent villages to be future leaders, we decided to make do with the little facilities available”, Gboe explained.He further asserted that “When UNDP came back in 2008 with the ambitious plan of upgrading the standard of the school and its teaching staff, we were more than thankful and certainly believed that a new day was dawning in the academic history of the Quoikapor School; behold we were wrong.”Gboe, like Martha Daniels, Registrar of Tugbablee Elementary School, Michael Nyean, Instructor at the U-LAH Elementary and Junior High School and Morris Laykpdoe, Vice Principal for Administration at the Weseh Gardea Elementary and Junior High School in Botota, are all disappointed over the non-implementation of the attractive promises made by the UNDP-led Millennium Village project in the area of education.In separate interviews with the Daily Observer, the three rural school instructors recounted numerous stories of poor learning environment and lack of incentives and sufficient teaching staff in the three schools listed as the main schools to be upscale and upgraded under the Millennium Village project.These schools were slated to have been the pilot for the model of the quality of schools that are expected to be built in the follow-up Millennium Villages across the country. Daily Observer later established that these promises were more or less a mirage and bluff as much as they were deceptive and far from what is now obtaining at those schools five years after the project was launched.In its ambitious proposal and project blue print, the UNDP-KMVP inserted under Objective three that in order to ensure full primary school attendance, it will need the following programs: School meal program, School teacher housing construction, School Supplies and equipment and secondary school education.According to the proposal, these program were expected to be rolled out over a five year period with a total cost of US$60,400 in year one; year two US$29,600; year three 4, 500, US$17,000 and US$11,000 respectively.With that funding, the project would have constructed and rehabilitated primary schools, eliminate school fees for primary schools, recruit and train teachers, provide school meals for students, provide computer literacy program for students and construct vocational schools in Kokoya District.By these interventions, the project promised to have transformed the learning environment of the school going age children of Kokoya Districts for the better and ignites a trickledown effect on the lives of the people and the micro economy of Kokoya District.    But five years after the wacky implementation of the project, instructional staff at the three targeted schools  have told the Daily Observer that all the promises were practically not met and appears to be a mirage and a scam that have not been achieved in any sense of the word.Daily Observer investigation established that at all of the three schools, there are no libraries, no laboratories, no training opportunities for teachers, and no supplies of school equipment. A further search revealed that there are no secondary school scholarship programs and no vocational school facilities constructed by the KMVP as projected in the proposal.A cursory glance at the physical structures of U-LAH, Quoikapor and Botota schools in Kokoya Districts speaks of schools far in the back woods of the deep forest that lack all of the facilities that are appropriate for primary education and the preparation of a  student population that is  basically from rural poor family that can barely make ends meet on a daily basis.Tugbahblee elementary school that was tipped to be turned into an educational oasis in the deep forest of Kokoya, has 320 students, six teachers and constructed in 2006. In spite of the attractive line up in the KMVP proposal, the        Registrar, Martha Daniel, revealed that the school has no feeding program, and the students sit on pieces of cut rubber trees stumps as a result of the lack of benches.The female registrar further asserted that, at the school, “there is no library, no reading room and some of the six grade students have not seen a computer since their academic sojourn. They have not seen a microscope nor do they have the appropriate stationery to facilitate learning. There is no computer program, no electricity power by solar panels and the hopes of the students’ remains in limbo”.A youth activist, Samuel Blackie, described the situation in Kokoya as a fickle, saying, “what is obtaining at Tugbahblee and what is inserted in the proposal are diametrically opposed and there is a need to let the entire world know the hoax in the KMVP.”The stories at the Wesseh Gardea Elementary and Junior High School in   Botota and the Quoikapor Elementary and Junior High School are no different.  The two schools, like U-LAH, selected as model of what all schools in the districts were supposed to be, following in line with the KMVP concept, shared commonality in the lacked of libraries, laboratories, internet facilitates, school feeding programs and score of hapless students and an underpaid teaching staff.In fact, the Daily Observer team noticed that there are no drinking water facilities at both Botota and Quopikapor. At Quoikapor for example, the Vice Principal for Instructions, J. Keith Gboe did not mince words in asserting that, there is no latrine , no play ground, no reading room and the 249 students may go through junior high school without known how a desktop computer looks like.Gboe, sounded downbeat, when he intoned that there are only five teachers and although they were made to understand that they would have operated a night section, the lack of electricity, power by solar panel, has inhibited the running of a night adult literacy section since 2008.It was the Vice Principal for Administration at the Wesseh Elementary and Junior High School in Botota, Morris Laykpdoe who expressed the frustration of the citizenry of Kokoya District when he  narrated how contrary to the project blue print, not a single vocational school has been built in the entire Kokoya District.The now disappointed rural instructor said, he and the District authorities do not know  of a single student who has been given academic scholarship under the KMVP high sounding program for transitioning students from Kokoya rural  school system to the high school in the urban setting.A youth activist in Quoikapor, a border town with Nimba county, Peterson Toby, expressed his indignation over the apparent failure of the implementation of the Computer Literacy program propose in the project. “Since they promised to have introduced training in the three schools as a pilot project, they have not brought in one computer or a mouse”.As for the construction of a teaching staff quarters at the three schools, the Develop0ment Superintendent of Kokoya Statutory District, Theophilus N. Mulbah, said, after the project was taken over by the Ministry Of Internal Affairs in 2013, The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) embarked on the project of building a staff quarter for the Wesseh  Gardea Elementary and Junior High school in Botota.However, Vice Principal Laykpdoe of the Wesseh  Gardea school in Botota was quick to point to the Daily Observer that what is being described as a staff quarters is a four bed room house.It can be recalled that in the blue print of the project it was proposed under Objective three that the project will construct and rehabilitate primary schools in the District and eliminate school fees for primary school for all children in the village; provides meals  for students with locally produced and nutritional balance foods.In its ambitious overtone, the project KMVP promised to eliminate gender disparity in school attendance, promote computer literacy, provide secondary school going students from Kokoya with scholarship and establish vocational education by building polytechnic and other vocational institution.But five years after these lofty promises were embedded in the proposal, what the Daily Observer team uncovered in Kokoya can best be described as a mirage. There is no sign of a vocational schools in the offing and the views of our character interviewees supra on the myriad of failed in the area of education seems to be hard to counter. Stay Tune.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgGAA: The Donegal SFC has reached the knockout stages, four games are down for decision – but the one clash that everybody is talking about is the clash between Glenswilly and holder St Eunan’s.The last FOUR Donegal SFC titles have been won by either Glenswilly (2011, 2013) or St Eunan’s. (2012, 2014) St Eunan’s were deserving winners last year and defeated Glenswilly in the decider in what was a tense and physical encounter.Many local GAA commentators had tipped Glenswilly to win consecutive titles but Maxi Curran and St Eunan’s had other ideas.His young side showed great maturity with many on the team winning their first ever Donegal SFC title.Glenswilly were in rampant form during the group stages and recorded comfortable wins over Gaoth Dobhair, Malin and Mac Cumhaills. St Eunan’s on the other hand suffered a heavy defeat at home to Naomh Conaill and then stuttered to a win over Dungloe to ensure their passage to the last eight of the Donegal SFC.However, Maxi Curran’s side will be boosted by the return of Rory Kavanagh who has been absent all summer.Kavanagh was in the USA and helped Donegal Boston win the county championship title and his return is a real lift for Eunan’s.Glenswilly will be keen to avenge last year’s win over their bitter local rivals and are desperate to reclaim the Dr Maguire Cup.Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher as always will have a major bearing on the encounter but Glenswilly also have serious quality at their disposal in the form of Gary McFadden, Caolan Kelly, Ciaran Bonner and Keelan McFadden.The game is at 6.45pm at Mac Cumhaill Park on Sunday night and a massive crowd is expected to attend the match. It promises to be a cracking championship encounter and there will be very little between the two sides at the end.Glenswilly have built up good momentum and look solid and settled and have a real look of a side that mean business.While question marks have been raised over St Eunan’s since their heavy defeat to Naomh Conaill a few weeks.St Eunan’s have serious quality all over the pitch and will relish the prospect of taking on Glenswilly. The reigning champions will be in no mood to relinquish their title and bow out of the competition to Glenswilly.However, Glenswilly’s physicality and the Michael Murphy factor might tip them over the edge.Verdict – GLENSWILLYDONEGAL SFC PREVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS AS ST EUNAN’S AND GLENSWILLY FACE OFF was last modified: September 9th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal SFCGAAnewsSportlast_img read more

Jumping on the 49ers’ bandwagon? Here’s a glossary of need-to-know verbiage

first_imgMy cell phone buzzed as I walked into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before last month’s 49ers-Rams game.A college friend painfully asked how to convert from being a Raiders fan. I’ll snitch so far ​as to reveal that Kevin’s loyalty traces to his childhood days as ​a Raiders ball boy. He is surely not alone in his new 49ers fandom.The Bay Area is full of front runners, so, to help, I’ve compiled an “Introduction … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img read more

Telkom strengthens Nigerian presence

first_img26 January 2009Telkom’s African expansion has taken another step forward with the acquisition of an additional 25% stake in Multi-Links, giving the South African fixed-line operator full ownership of the Nigerian telecoms company.Multi-Links is a national private telecommunications operator that has a Universal Access License, which allows it to provide fixed, mobile, fixed-wireless, international and data services in one of the continent’s fastest-growing telecoms markets. The company also owns an internet service provider license.An independent expert has valued the 25% stake, to be purchased from Kenston Investments, at US$130-million (about R1.31-billion). Telkom acquired 75% of Multi-Links in May 2007 for $280-million.“Our 100% ownership of Multi-Links not only meets Telkom’s broader investment criteria, but also provides us with the opportunity to expand our mobile capacity,” Telkom CEO Reuben September said in a statement last week.Impressive growthSince Telkom’s acquisition of a 75% stake in Multi-Links two years ago, the company has increased its mobile subscribers from around 262 000 to more than 1.7-million as of the end of September last year. At the same time, the company has been increasing capacity in order to provide quality data products, especially to the corporate market.September said that with its low penetration and pent-up demand for voice and data services, Nigeria was market that would help advance Telkom’s goals of becoming Africa’s leading information communication technology provider.“The prospects for the company are strong, and by capitalising on Telkom’s access to international data connectivity, and the quality of such connectivity, Multi-Links is well-positioned to service corporate, wholesale and retail customers in Nigeria,” he said.Preferred telecoms partnerSeptember added that the Multi-Links deal demonstrated Telkom’s determination to expand both domestically as well as beyond South Africa’s borders, into areas of high growth, healthy returns and value creation for the company’s shareholders.“We are investing in, and enhancing our long-term future by accelerating our drive towards becoming the preferred telecommunications provider and partner in Africa, as Telkom’s expertise allows us to provide the full spectrum of information communication technology solutions on the continent, including voice, mobile, data, video, and internet services.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Fall decorations add diversity at Neeley’s Pumpkins

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Decorative agriculture is big business and can yield big results for farmers. Brian “Dude” Neeley, of Fairfield County, knows this well. In addition to a small cattle operation and growing field corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and sweet corn on 600 acres, Neeley also plants approximately 25 acres of pumpkins and gourds each year to meet the growing consumer demand for autumn-themed decorations and entertainment.“We started growing pumpkins in 1998,” Neeley said. “It was a different niche market. We were selling sweet corn out of the front yard and already had consumer traffic. The pumpkins just added another attraction. When we started growing pumpkins, people bought pumpkins at the grocery store, but in the past 10 years, fall agri-tourism exploded and we expanded. One of the reasons that it has exploded like it has is that everyone likes to have family fun outdoors and school is back in session. This is one of the last things to do outside before wintry weather hits. And people can do all sorts of things with pumpkins, so there’s pretty much something for everyone — pumpkin painting, carving, catapulting, bowling, and decorating the house and the yard for the season.”While it may not seem like much, 25 acres will yield a lot of pumpkins, and a significant amount of land is required in order to effectively produce pumpkins from year to year.“Twenty-five acres of pumpkins actually takes about 40 acres of land because I leave driveways in between rows in order to make harvest easy and accessible and so I can get farm equipment into the field. You almost need to farm 600 acres to sustain 25 acres of pumpkins. I need at least a three-year rotation before coming back and planting pumpkins in the same place due to the soil-borne diseasesThe autumn sales display on the farm brings customers back each year.associated with low lying crops,” Neeley said. “One year I figured up that we picked 270 tons, or 540,000 pounds of pumpkins. That’s a lot of pumpkin pie, as some people say. But in reality, probably only 1% to 2% of my product goes into food consumption. The rest is decorative.”Neeley sells his pumpkins both wholesale and from a seasonal stand located in his mother, Carola’s, and his late father, David’s, front yard. He estimates that 35% of his sales are retail sales from the stand and that over 40% of his pumpkins are sold wholesale within a 20-mile radius of his farming operation.“Most is being sold locally to various businesses and farms, such as greenhouses with fall entertainment activities and some pumpkin patches that sell 100% of their own product and then come to me to pick up the slack,” Neeley said.Neeley sells some of the pumpkins at produce auction and he said that about 10% of his sales are to out-of-state buyers.“The largest amount of my out-of-state wholesale goes to Paintsville, Kentucky. A guy there takes three or four semi-truck loads a year,” he said. “The guy also wants big 40-pounder cushaw squash. His customers want them to make old family recipes.”And indeed, if folks are looking for a rare or unique variety of pumpkin, gourd, or squash, Neeley is the man to see. The pumpkin patch at harvest time and his seasonal stand are ripe with diversity, as he plants over 60 different varieties.“I plant 1.5 acres of gourds and 3.5 to 4 acres of colored squash. The rest of the acreage is pumpkins. We grow pumpkins from a third of a pound up to 60 pounds, and a couple jumbo varieties that can grow up to 250 pounds. Some have longer stems, some are tall and skinny, some are short and fat. Some are yellow, some are white. We have gourds of all different shapes, colors, and sizes. I grow a very wide variety to appeal to what different consumers like,” Neeley said. “I grow a lot of ‘Touch of Autumn’ pumpkins because they are a nice small pumpkin for school kids to take home and carry. That’s a niche pumpkin I wholesale a lot of because the people I sell to have a lot of school group tours that come in. There’s another one that is white with red veins that looks like a bloodshot eye. It’s called the ‘One-Too-Many;’ it looks like the eyeball of some guy who had one too many last night. There’s one called ‘Snowball’ that looks like a snowball and you’ve got the ‘Peanut Pumpkin’— which actually has a French name — that has growths on it that look like peanut shells.”Neeley begins to prepare for his early summer pumpkin planting the preceding autumn and picks the pumpkins from late summer through Halloween.“I plant rye in the fall after soybean harvest. We mow the rye off and leave it lay for a bed for the pumpkins to grow on and to keep them off the dirt. It keeps them cleaner, retards the weeds, and also holds soil moisture. I plant the first week of June, weather permitting, and do fungus and weed control before harvest. I strive to start picking on Sept. 1, but a couple of times we’ve started at the end of August,” Neeley said.Neeley said that the biggest challenges from a production standpoint are the standard gripes of nearly all farming operations: “Mother Nature, broken down equipment, and getting the pumpkins picked before the deer eat them.”He said the greatest challenge when dealing directly with consumers is “pleasing everyone, having the right, unique item for everyone at the right time. On the other hand, sometimes having too much inventory can be a problem. ‘There’s just too much stuff to choose from, I just don’t know which ones to pick,’ is a comment I get a lot.”To please the buyers, the Neeley family sets up a beautiful seasonal stand. It is meticulously cared for, making it clear that much love, thought, and time have gone into making certain that a trip to Neeley’s Pumpkins and Gourds is a pleasurable family outing.“At our place to sell stuff, we strive to power wash everything before displaying it and have built specially designed display tables to keep pumpkins off the ground in order to keep them clean and put them directly in front of our customers’ faces,” he said. “We also sell mums, corn shocks, and offer three different sizes of straw bales—a tabletop sized bale, a ‘porch’ bale (1/2 bale), and regular bales, in order to attract the market for seasonal decorations.”Sharing a fun experience and providing the consumer and community with nature’s bounty and beauty is something that the Neeley family prides itself on. Neeley’s favorite thing about pumpkin farming is the “enjoyment of fellowship with the consumer and seeing kids — young and old — have fun picking pumpkins at the stand.”Even with all of the pumpkin sales Neeley does, there is still some surplus that he generously donates throughout the community.“We donate a display of some of the best, most unique pumpkins and gourds to our church, where they are displayed throughout the building for Thanksgiving Sunday. We have taken in three pickup loads before and totally decked out the whole church — the sanctuary, the pews, the altar, the fellowship hall. We even had pumpkins in the elevator,” Neeley said.Additionally, some pumpkins are donated to local schools and non-profit business organizations. Of special importance to Neeley is his work with one particular group of students from a local high school.“I donate my time at Sheridan High School with the MRDD class. They have a field trip every year and come out to the pumpkin patch and we harvest pumpkins and I teach them some aspects of pumpkin farming. Then we return to the classroom and decorate the pumpkins in fun, creative ways. I do this toward Halloween at the end of a very long picking season where we pick six to eight hours a day, seven days a week, for 60 days straight. My work with Sheridan High School is what makes all the stress and monotony of the pumpkin harvest worth it,” Neeley said.Those who have worked alongside Neeley and his father throughout the years can attest to their passion for agriculture and their desire to share their knowledge and love of farming with others. The pumpkin business that Neeley runs reflects this strong connection to the land and his community.Follow Neeley Farms on Facebook for updates and visit the pumpkin stand at 2574 Mudhouse Road outside of Lancaster to see and appreciate the impressive fruits of Neeley’s labor.For more visit www.neeleyfarms.com.last_img read more

City updates

first_imgLondonCapital drawsWhen Pierre Koffmann hung up his apron a few years ago there was such outpouring of grief. But the pull of the restaurant business must have been just too much. At Koffmanna’s (The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge; 020 7235 1010) there is nothing of the razzmatazz of his earlier Michelin fame. Instead it is a mix of brasserie and restaurant but the flavours are intact, be it mashed potatoes or lamb shanks. London is so cosmopolitan that nobody bats an eyelid on finding an Indian deity. So Ganapati (38, Holly Grove; 020 7277 2928) is par for the course. But those expecting pan Indian will be tripped up here: Ganapati serves only South Indian, and authentic at that. There should be no doubt what Sushi of Shiori (144 Drummond Street; 020 7388 9962) specialises in, though there are hardly any such restaurants in London. The restaurant dishes up the usual but fabulously delicious range of sushis, but the novelty is also the tasting menu–omakase–which is tailored to the amount you want to pay.For those who adored the TV series Yes, Prime Minister, here’s its stage adaptation (Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue; 0844 482 5130). The drama version deals, in keeping with the current global scenario, a financial meltdown. But what is comic is that the PM and his cabinet secretary have to seek the help of dubious allies which brings with its delicious comic capers. The play runs through mid January.Must seeIt has been 50 years in coming, but art connoisseurs feel it’s worth it. Titled just Gauguin (Tate Modern, Bankside; 020 7887 8888) the show depicts the legendary French artist’s stunning impressionism and creative brilliance. It features paintings and drawings sourced from all over the world depicting such diverse and colourful themes as women in Tahiti and landscapes of Brittany. The exhibition runs through January.New YorkBig apple, big biteSoon after World War I, artists across the world consciously shunned depiction of two-dimensional abstracted spaces, fragmented compositions, and splintered bodies and moved towards figuration, clean lines, and modelled form. Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy and Germany 1918-1936 (Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street) showcases this period with the works of Balthus, Jean Cocteau, Giorgio de Chirico, Otto Dix, Hannah Hach, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and August Sander.Tamarind Tribeca (99 Hudson Street Franklin Street, TriBeCa; 212 775 9000) is distinctively Indian, but with a an endearing twist. It dishes up food from Punjab, Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Lucknow.This summer, New York has seen a sudden spurt of beer gardens. The one to look out for is Studio Square (35-33, 36th Street, Long Island City, Queens; 718 383 1001).The new food hall at Plaza Hotel (1 West 59th Street; 212 986 9260) is creating a buzz. Various stations serve pizzas, salads, meats, sushi, dumplings, fish and even a barbecue.From just handmade jewellery Gabriela de la Vega has graduated to a store in her name stocking a variety of interesting garments and knick-knacks. The store (88 South Portland Ave between Fulton St and Lafayette Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 718-858-1152) has stuff from a clutch of designers such as Pucci and Velvet.Must seeThe US president and an irreverent, rollicking musical hardly seem appropriate company, but Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Barnard B Jacobs Theatre), dealing with the 7th US President and the birth of the party, is a Wild West musical which is a lot of things at the same time: ironic, silly, smart. Opens on Broadway on October 13.DelhiMaximum delightsLobster Mac n Cheese, Trout Almondine, Thai Poon Shrimp, Lobster Tails…savour all this and much more at the October Seafood Festival at all Ruby Tuesday outlets in Delhi NCR. The restaurant also has a good collection of white and red wines to go with the menu. Timings: 12 noon to 11.30p.m.Between the 1940s and ’60s, a young woman photographer captured historical events that took place on the soil of a newly independent India on her camera. She is Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman press photographer. Over 100 of her images are on display at Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art (Jaipur House, India Gate; 2338 4640). Runs till October 31.Gallery Art Positive (Old MB Road, Lado Sarai; 4160 2545) pays tribute to the Mahatma with an exhibition of art works by Gopal Swami Khetanchi. Through oil paintings and installations the artist shows the difference between India and Bharat. Runs till October 31A ‘complete’ sports destination has come to Delhi NCR with the opening of Atlantis–The Club at Jaypee Greens, Greater Noida. From athletic track and field, lawn tennis courts, swimming pool and jogging tracks, Atlantis is all set to keep Delhi and its citizens in good shape. It also boasts a resto-cafe.The new menu at Sequel by United (Defence Colony Market; 96505 96117) includes Chicken Souvlaki, French Farmers Steak, Jheenga Lahsuni to a range of sizzlers–London Mix Meat to Barbeque Cottage Cheese.DubaiDesert stormIt surely is slated to be four days of sheer indulgence. The Dubai International Jewellery Week (Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sheikh Saeed Hall 1-3, Trade Centre Area) from October 7 to 10 has gained reputation as being among the world’s best jewellery and luxury watches showcases. This year the event is bigger and better with more than 400 exhibitors from over 20 countries.Gary Rhodes is as much an entertainer as he is a Michelin chef and he has sought to bring some of that chutzpah to Rhodes Twenty10 (Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, Dubai Marina; 04 399 5555). He dishes up exquisite salads, funky burgers such as those which omit the bun and are substituted with duck fat and foie gras, while ‘design your meal’ concept governs the main course. Dubai’s Afghan cuisine just got a fillip with the opening of Shahista (Garhoud, Dubai; 04 286 5060). Expect pakowras, mantu, kebabs and lamb qorma.Italian cuisine fans in Dubai have a new place to sink their teeth into their favourites. Dante (Grand Millennium Dubai, TECOM, 04 429 9999) is unpretentious to look at, as it its food. Try the Bucatini with Pancetta, Swordfish Carpaccio, the salads, tagliolini, prawns with pesto, while almost all the desserts are uniformly sinful. It’s called The Address (Dubai Marina, 04 436 7777) and might as well be the hottest address in town at the moment. Though the hotel has siblings elsewhere, this particular one speaks of sophistication and class, not to mention its Marina location.Hot DealWeekend offer: Special rates at Ramada Hotel on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights. With late check out and discount on meals; www.ramada dubai.comAhm’badSmall wonderSix Strings (Judges Bungalow Road, Bodakdev; 4002 6673) is a local version of Hard Rock Cafe, but with a charm and elegance all its own. Rock legends stare down from the walls while there’s thumping music and a menu which is mostly Italian and Continental.The tag line for Delizio (Sanidhya A, Anandnagar, Satellite, 4032 4031) should set even the most fussy eater at ease. Mom approved food is what it reads. It is a vegetarian place with exotic items on offers–Australian garlic bread, stuffed mushrooms and Tiramisu Shake. At the curiously named Veni Vichi Restaurant (Ognaj Cross Road, Sardar Patel Ring Road; 90999 31999) the accent is all about having a meal in a lovely setting. There’s outdoor garden seating which fronts a mini lake with a fountain.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more