Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The League of Nations sought a world peace that remains elusive

At the end of World War I the allied victors formed the League of Nations, later to become the United Nations, as part of the outcome of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The first session of the League of Nations was held in Geneva on this day, 97 years ago.

The principal objective of the League of Nations was to maintain world peace, a quest that has remained elusive throughout.
Bell Uh-1, Helicopter, Iroquois, Huey
The Vietnam War estimated deaths: more than 2 million.
The League had 42 founding members who agreed to avoid future wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling disputes through arbitration and negotiations.
Landing Craft, Omaha Beach, Normandy
World War II casualties: more than 50 million deaths
Fast forward to today and throughout the existence of the United Nations and it would appear that humans are still grasping to learn the principles of the maintenance of peace. There have been more than 180 armed conflicts in the world between 1900 and today, claiming an estimated 80 million battle-related deaths.

As the United States flexes its muscles against North Korea, we know we still have a long way to go to grasp the painful lessons of war and find a lasting solution to the elusive nature of the peace we claim to cherish.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

it is the 37th anniversary of Voyager I's Saturn approach

This day, 37 years ago, NASA's Voyager I spacecraft approached Saturn and sent back images of the outer planet.
Saturn from Voyager I. Photo: NASA
The spacecrafts' statistics are mind-boggling:
  • it has travelled through space for forty years and two months - and counting
  • it's the spacecraft that has covered the farthest distance from Earth
  • it became the first craft to enter interstellar space, having crossed the boundaries of the heliopause on 25th August 2012. That's 14.4 billion kilometres away.
  • it travels at 17 kilometres per second. It would take just over 7 minutes to cover the distance between Cairo and Cape Town
  • it will continue its trajectory for the next 40,000 years, perhaps eternally, if it does not collide with any object
YouTube video links:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Today is International Day of the Girl Child

It's United Nations' International Day of the Girl Child today.

It has been commemorated since 2011 through resolution 66/170 of the UN of 9th December 2011 and has been observed since October 2012.

It is a day for reflecting on the plight faced by adolescent girls worldwide and the challenges that constrain their empowerment and human rights.


Links on the International Day of the Girl Child:


Customs and traditions throughout societies have provided lifelong advantages to the boy child and left girls with less opportunities for their education, security, and a healthy life.

As we mark the fifth year since its launch, let us join forces to increase efforts to raise opportunities for girls on an equal par to the opportunities given to boys.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Reasons for Mwalimu Nyerere's choice of two governments for Tanzania

Ever since Zanzibar merged with Tanganyika to form the United Republic Tanzania, there have been continuous discussions on the ideal structure of government.

A two-government structure has remained in place since the union's inception on 26th April 1964 with a government for Zanzibar and a union government. Tanganyika's affairs were absolved into the union government machinery.

Although Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar had initially suggested there should be a single government, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere objected. Two principal reasons were given by Mwalimu Nyerere for establishing only two governments, instead of three:

  1. It was imperative that Zanzibar's position (whose population was 300,000) was safeguarded by establishing its own government. Tanganyika had a population of 12 million 
  2. The additional cost of establishing a third government for Tanganyika would be carried by Tanganyikan taxpayers, a burden that was considered unnecessary  

Nevertheless throughout its existence Tanzanians from both sides continued to demand a restructuring the union. The latest of these demands arose in the recent constitutional review process whose commission, led by Judge Joseph Warioba, recommended a three-government structure, accommodating demands for a Tanganyikan government.
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume exchange the signed Article of the Union at Karimjee Hall on 26th April 1964.
When a similar demand was about to be accepted by President Ali Hassan Mwinyi's administration in the early 1990s, Mwalimu Nyerere vehemently opposed it and published his defense for a two-government union in his book, Our Leadership and the Destiny of Tanzania.

He wrote:-
"Let me add that only 8.91% of the Mainland CCM members favoured a Three Government structure - so much for the "mass support" for this proposal about which we heard so much in the earlier months of last year."
The constitutional review process, launched by President John Magufuli's predecessor Jakaya Kikwete has been put on hold for the moment. If Mwalimu Nyerere was around there is little doubt he would have written another book to defend the movement towards a single government, rather than three.

Related post:

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Esperanto is a language you probably haven't heard about

Not until early this year did I learn of the existence of this language. Esperanto is a language you probably haven't heard about.

I always thought of myself of being capable of identifying many of the world's most-spoken languages, but when a group of visitors showed up at Mwitongo in January I realized I had overestimated my capabilities.

Through their own introductions I learnt that the visitors represented several nationalities: European, Asiatic, African, and South American. But they communicated in a language that sounded familiar, and one I could not identify. Sometimes the pronunciations sounded Spanish, but I just could not figure out what language was used.
The group of Esperanto-speaking visitors to Butiama
I asked and was told they were speaking Esperanto, a language first developed by a Polish physician, Dr. Ludwig L. Zamenhof, in 1887. One of his objectives in constructing a new language was to enable all nationalities to have a common language of communication.

Esperanto's grammar is derived from Romance and Germanic languages, while its vocabulary is derived from Slavic languages.

Here's more information on Esperanto:

Worldwide estimates of users of Esperanto range from 2 to 10 million.

The visitors to Butiama had taken time off from a meeting of Esperanto users held in the nearby town of Bunda.