Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Friday, 26 August 2011

Nyerere Road, Moshi

I am in Moshi today and have just discovered a road name that I had not noticed in the past during my frequent visits to this city: J.K. Nyerere Road. I must have walked under this roadsign close to 50 times.

It is one of the busiest roads that cuts through downtown Moshi and whenever I travel to Moshi it is near to impossible to avoid this road.

Prior to today if you had stated that I know the whereabouts of Moshi's J.K. Nyerere Road I would have suggested you were confusing me with another person.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Tasty cakes, poor service

Sometime in June I traveled to Arusha by road through the Serengeti fielding a baseball cap to protect me from the dust kicked up by the cars on the unpaved road. I forgot that cap in a café in Arusha.

On 3 August I found a receipt from the café and, in anticipation of another visit to Arusha in eight days, I called them to find out whether they saw my cap. They did and had kept it. On my next visit to Arusha, I was told, I had only to ask for Faith, the manager, and I would happily be reunited with my cap.

On 12 August, on my 51st birthday, I showed up at the café and was told that someone would be sent to the office to collect the cap and bring it to the café. And to a highly anticipated reunion, I thought. I returned that evening and none of the employees on duty had heard of any cap, not to mention a reunion.

I began to sense this was a birthday I would write about. Furthermore, I sensed I was beginning to lose my composure. So I asked the waiter serving me would he please relay a message to whoever has my cap to bring it to the café the following day. He assured me he would.

The next day, about 24 hours later, I showed up at the café to claim my cap and, again, no one had ever heard of a cap, a reunion, or a waiter who guaranteed the previous day that there would a cap and a reunion. The cashier on duty said she would try to call the manager, and I sat down to order the one item that drew me to the café in June: a scrumptious Black Forest cake and an oversized mug of coffee.

Forty minutes later I had paid my bill but it seemed that a vision of manager, cap, or reunion were unlikely this century. The manager could not be reached on the phone.

Incredible, I told the cashier:
  • I called you eight days in advance to announce my arrival
  • I traveled 700 kilometres to reach Arusha
  • I came here yesterday twice to tell you I am already in Arusha
  • I have come back today for the third time in two days

Since I do not live in Arusha, I pleaded with her to accept ten thousand shillings from me to pay for mailing my cap to me. She said she could not accept the money. She pleaded with me to have some patience [and faith?] and wait for Faith, the manager. I said I could not, and walked away.

As I explained to the cashier, the cap had no value to me. I had responded to their telling me that they had it, and I was only furious because they had made me waste my time by failing to fulfill their own promises.
A street in Arusha.
There is no way that the incident will prevent me from enjoying my Black Forest in Arusha, but it won’t be at the same place. I am afraid that the constant reminder of their appalling ability to communicate amongst themselves would make me choke even if I just sat at the café to breath. Faith and company swept away any faith I had in them when they initially assured me they had kept my cap.

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Friday, 19 August 2011

Joas Kahembe, the godfather of cultural tourism in Tanzania

Joas Kahembe is recognized in Tanzania as the ‘doyen’ - the godfather - of cultural tourism.

Joas Kahembe at this year's Karibu Fair in Arusha.

Born in Karagwe in 1942, he worked as a coffee taster and in other capacities in the Tanzanian coffee industry between 1966 – 1979. He resigned from the coffee industry in 1979 and in 1980 began to develop cultural tourism activities through experience he gained during his international travels.

In 1992 he addressed the annual meeting of the Tanzania Tour Operators (TATO) and only two of TATO’s members at that meeting considered his concept of cultural tourism worth offering to their clientele. Other tour operators decided that ‘luxury tourism’ was inconsistent with exposing foreign visitors to a Tanzanian cultural experience.

L-R, Tome Ole Saikar of SNV, Joas Kahembe, and Birgit Steck, the outgoing SNV Senior Tourism Advisor during a recent meeting in Arusha where Kahembe presented Steck with a shield from the Tanzania Organization of Cultural Tourism Organizations (TACTO).
His relentless efforts bore fruit in 1994 when his activities were listed in the 4th edition of Brandt Backpackers Guide for Eastern, Southern Africa. He was also listed in the following publications in various editions:

·  Dutch CBI Business Bulletin (1994)
·  Lonely Planet’s Africa on a Shoestring
·  Rough Guide
·  Footprints
·  German Tansania Reise

When the Netherlands Development Organisation, SNV, decided to provide assistance to Tanzania’s cultural tourism sector the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) may have been selected as their Tanzanian partner only because SNV was not mandated to work with an individual (Kahembe) who was, at that time, recognized to be more than anyone else experienced with the cultural tourism concept in Tanzania.

Mr. Kahembe is the current chairperson of the Tanzania Association of Cultural Tourism Organizers (TACTO).

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Serengeti, again

I am on a Kimotco Bus enroute to Arusha, a few kilometres short of Karatu. The bus seems to have had it, given up, come to its knees after a gruelling crossing of the Serengeti.

I have experienced yet another tiresome trip. This time, because of the rough road condition, the bus was rattling so violently that a section of the window on my right fell off and some of my fellow passengers unexpectedly had an unrestricted view of the wildlife - and a higher intake of dust.

Before the window fell off every passenger resembled a cement factory employee who had just completed a shift. After the window fell off we were totally enveloped in dust and everyone has to be looking forward to a bath. That is, if whatever has made us stop now is fixed soon.

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