Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The forest below Mt. Kilimanjaro

The last day of most Mt. Kilimanjaro climbs involves a trek through lush forest from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate.

It is rich in exotic plants. I have just completed the annual Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb. Posts of the annual event will appear in this blog within the next few days.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

We are on our way to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

We have just arrived at the registration point, at Londorssi Gate, on our first day of the Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My version of the year 2010 in review - July

July 5, 2010

I traveled to Mugumu in Serengeti District to pay my respects at the grave of a friend, Moses Machege, who died on 19th June 2010. A day before he died I called him from Dubai to inquire about a business proposition he had mooted to me sometime in 2009 and for which I found interested parties in Dubai.

He asked me to explore the possibilities with the interested parties and asked me to call him back the next day. I tried unsuccessfully to call him throughout my Dubai visit and later learnt that the day I was to call him he was struck by a runaway truck as he sat on the roadside in a suburb of Arusha and died on the spot.

On my way to Mugumu I captured this image of Mt. Chamuriyo near Mariwanda village. I have climbed this mountain, the highest in Mara region, twice.

At the top of the mountain are located the ruins of a German Imperial communications post. Tanganyika, now Tanzania, was a German colony until Germany lost its East African territories after the First World War in 1918.

Residents of the surrounding villages believe the ruins contain hidden treasures and are suspicious of anyone climbing up the mountain, particularly if accompanied by foreigners.
The road to Mugumu cuts through wildlife country and one can see herds of wild animals along the way including Zebra...
and Wildebeest.

On the way back at a corner, this giraffe stood in front of the car and then calmly walked to the roadside. I stopped and Suman Som, the university student who accompanied me, said he wanted to step out in front of the car and my camera so that I could snap a photograph that he would use in his social network page.

I argued against it because I told him as soon as he stepped out the giraffe would run away. Besides, I said, this was wildlife country and it was not a good idea to get out of the car. He pleaded and I relented, but told him to leave his door open lest he had to run back from something. As I had predicted, as soon as he approached my side of the car the giraffe bolted and ran away, but I managed to take a few photographs.
Later, I felt I should not have allowed him out of the car. If he had ended up a lion's lunch I would have been in extremely big trouble. Lions are easily camouflaged by the dry grass and I recall seeing lions around this area before.

July 8, 2010

Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, en route to Mwanza after a visit to Tarime with fellow clergy, paid a visit to Butiama and signed the guest book at the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Library.

July 16, 2010

I discovered a compass on my camera stand and wondered whether it will ever become necessary to be absolutely certain that I am pointing my camera in a south south westerly direction.
July 20, 2011


I was visited in my room by what appeared to me to be a marsupial. A tour guide who has seen this small animal, measuring about 5-6 cm from head to tail says it is a mouse species. With a fluffy tail? It does not make sense to me.

July 21, 2010


It is yet another beautiful sunset at Butiama.

July 28, 2010

Suman Som, an undergraduate student from the University of Chicago, and Amani Millanga, a PhD student studying Mass Communications from Leicester University sat down to discuss various topics on Tanzania, including its history and politics.

July 30, 2010

Politician Mabere Marando addressed a short meeting organized by CHADEMA, the opposition political party, held at Musoma to introduce residents of Musoma to CHADEMA's presidential candidate for October's general elections, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa.

And so did William Rwakatare...

and Freeman Mbowe, the CHADEMA chairman.
Finally, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa, stood up and addressed the crowd.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Visitors to Butiama: Charles Mwandu

I have just realized that there is a category of visitors to Butiama that I have neglected to mention in the past: those who come to work at Butiama.

Charles Mwandu, at work (in overalls)
One of them is Charles Mwandu, a friend of mine since my student days in Shinyanga, over 30 years ago. He is a satellite television technician and was at Butiama a few years ago to set up the satellite television system for JKN Hotel.

Charles Mwandu, up close.

The one facing the camera in the top photograph is Kihengu who mans a grain milling machine and helped Charles during the installation work.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Jim Becket, Jaffar Amin, and Andrea Wobmann to climb Kilimanjaro next week

I have been on the road (figure of speech) since yesterday on my way to Moshi for the 4th annual Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb. I intended to travel directly from Butiama to Moshi through the Serengeti, but travel through that World Heritage site remains for me most unpredictable. I have ended up in Mwanza and plan to fly to the Kilimanjaro International Airport tomorrow.

There might be less of charity this year because the groundwork for the preparations for the fund raising drive has been inadequate. Before departure, scheduled for the 22nd September 2011 I will decide whether it will be possible to launch an effective funding appeal or postpone this appeal for the next climb.

The other aspect of this year's climb is the decision by a renowned American film director, Jim Becket, to shoot a documentary film during the climb. Jaffar Amin is also joining me to climb again Kilimanjaro this year following our plans during last year's climb to raise more funds for a charitable cause.

Jim has decided that the documentary will cover a range of subjects, including the environment and how it affects Lake Victoria and Mount Kilimanjaro. Since Jaffar will also join the climb, Jim wants to explore the past historical relations between Tanzania and Uganda and how these have changed, focusing on what Jaffar and I have done.

Swiss national Andrea Wobmann who has worked as a volunteer in Mwanza is also joining this climb.

Friday, 16 September 2011

My version of the year 2010 in review - May

May 12, 2010

I leafed through a book in the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Library at Mwitongo, Butiama, and found this book whose author, the late Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah, contained a dedication dated 9th April 1964 by the author to Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

May 19, 2010

A week later Dr. Thomas Molony, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of African Studies of the University of Edinburgh, was at Butiama on his first visit for the purpose of conducting research for a biography on Mwalimu Nyerere. As part of his research, he spoke to my brother, Magige, above.
May 20, 2010

The following day Dr. Molony also spoke to Jack Nyamwaga, a retired teacher and a resident of Butiama....

and to my uncle Jackton Nyambereka Nyerere and his wife, Wakirya Sondobi.

We then traveled to the neighbouring village of Muryaza where Dr. Molony interviewed Elias Nyang'ombe, Mwalimu Nyerere's cousin, who posed for my camera with one of his sons.

Later in the day, it was the turn of my uncle, Joseph Muhunda, to respond to Dr. Molony's questions.

May 25, 2010

Just before sunset to the west of Butiama, I captured this image of what I would imagine to resemble the few seconds following a nuclear bomb explosion.

My version of the year 2010 in review - June

  June 10, 2010

I met this young woman who recounted the story of how con artists visited her home and convinced her husband to sell all his belongings, 6 head of cattle and an oxen plough. Promised instant riches, the husband obliged and handed the cash to the connivers.

The couple were taken to a graveyard at a hilltop in the district headquarters at Bunda and the woman recalled seeing the cash being wrapped in some old newspapers, and a mysterious voice from one of the graves issued instructions to wrap the cash in newspapers, bury it in their compound, and retrieve a larger stash of cash after a few days. They followed the instructions and retrieved old newspapers without the cash.

Her husband was ashamed to tell his neighbours of his misfortune and she wandered off to beg for money to buy food to feed her children. The only cash earner for the family was the oxen plough which had been sold at the suggestion of the con men.

June 16, 2010

The Mwanza railway station building used to be an extremely busy place during its heydays when rail travel on the Central Railway Line used to be the main conveyor of goods and passengers between Dar es Salaam and most of the Lake zone regions of Kagera, Mara, and Mwanza.

Now, road travel has replaced the rail as the principal conveyor of goods between Dar es Salaam and the Tanzanian hinterland.

June 18, 2010

I was in Dubai at the invitation of Jaffar Amin who visited Butiama in April 2009. At his office he, left, extended to me the “official” welcoming handshake.

Later in the afternoon, we visited the World's tallest skyscraper and I looked down at other shorter buildings that appeared like toys.

The immense height of the building is illustrated by the necessity to tilt a camera diagonally to fit the entire building in the viewfinder of a camera.

June 19, 2010

Jaffar donated a new Nikon digital single reflex camera to the Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb, my annual fund raising drive for charitable causes. Now, in addition to my small Sony Cybershot, I had a serious camera to document the annual charity event involving climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and I had one less excuse for climbing the mountain again.  

June 20, 2010

On a walkabout in Dubai, I learnt about some of the strict laws that are in force in Dubai.

June 23, 2010

After I returned to Dar es Salaam I walked past my old secondary school, Tambaza, and it appeared to me that right in the middle of what used to be our football grounds were two apartment buildings under construction.

Many years earlier I noticed the same encroachment on the school grounds of my old primary school, Bunge.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Profile: Susan Daudi

Susan Daudi is the fourth of the students in the Bachelor of Science Program of the University of Sokoine on her field attachment to the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE). She has completed her studies and will graduate soon.

With her other three colleagues, she is currently working as a tour guide until the end of September 2011.

Ever since she went on a school trip to the Mikumi National Park while studying in secondary school in Morogoro, she has remained interested in tourism and wildlife.

She observes that for most Tanzanians only a visit to a national park to view wildlife is considered tourism. Cultural tourism as a concept has yet to catch on among Tanzanians. “There are some visitors who arrive here and do not even understand why they are here,” she says.

She sees herself as following a career in tourism and perhaps with additional training she believes she might even identify a cultural tourism attraction and launch a Cultural Tourism Enterprise following the guidelines of the Tanzania Cultural Tourism program.

Why should anyone visit Butiama? It is easily accessible, she says. “For example, now that the new district headquarters will be at Kiabakari, it is possible for someone visiting the district to also visit Butiama.”

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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mawenzi peak

On a perfect day Mawenzi, which towers at 5,149m above sea level and is one of

Mt. Kilimanjaro's lower peaks, offers the best backdrop for descending from the summit.

I took this photograph on 13th December 2010 (exactly 9 months ago to the minute of this post) during my descent from the summit at Kibo, at 5,895m above sea level.

My version of the year 2010 in review - March

March 18, 2010
At the end of January 2010 there were rumors of a new political party that was about to be registered to challenge the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in October's general elections. The rumors, stoked by frequent news reports, spoke of planned mass defections by current members of parliament of CCM

to the new party.

Some panic ran through the leadership of CCM although the public statements from CCM attempted to project some boldness with some leaders warning that any CCM member who dared cross over to any new political party was doomed to fade into political oblivion. It was CCM that was popular, the warning went, not individual members of CCM.

Sometime in early March, I received a call from Renatus Muabhi who told me he was one of the leaders of the new party, called Chama cha Jamii (CCJ), and requested to pay a visit to Butiama with his chairman and, specifically, to pay their respects at the mausoluem of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. I told him they were welcome to visit Butiama. 

I received them with Chief Japhet Wanzagi, above left, and during a private meeting both leaders reaffirmed they had overwhelming support from a majority of the CCM members in parliament. They further said that they were holding their positions temporarily only because after parliament is suspended for the elections in October, those intended to lead CCJ will emerge and abandon CCM.

They even mentioned a few names of some of Tanzania's political heavyweights and it all sounded convincing.

In the end only one CCM member of parliament quit from CCM to join CCJ. CCJ itself ran into obstacles and failed to obtain registration from the registrar of political parties. The chairman, Richard Kiyabo, abandoned ship and first joined another opposition political party, then later quit that party and emerged as the presidential candidate for another political party.

Finally the nail on CCJ's coffin was hammered when Kiyabo appeared in a news report with CCM's Secretary General, Yusuf Makamba, and declared he had rejoined CCM!

When CCJ faded into political oblivion, I desperately tried to call CCJ's Secretary General, Renatus Muabhi, for an explanation of what had befallen CCJ. Neither his mobile phone, nor a landline number I was given could be reached.

I imagined I heard a collective sigh of relief from CCM headquarters. And maybe a few diehards said, "we told you!"

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Monday, 12 September 2011

Profile: Egidia Justinian

Egidia Justinian, 24, is the third of four students who are at the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE) for their field attachment from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). She is a second-year student in the Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management, learning tour guiding skills through the BCTE.
“I have had great interest in discovering the tourist attractions that are in our country.” She decided that one of the ways she would be able to discover these treasures was to enroll in the university program and work in a tourism-related field.

She says in high school she had three preferences of study: tourism, teacher training, and law and was eventually selected to study tourism.

What are her impressions of Butiama? She feels the Tanzania Tourist Board should sensitize the local communities on the concept behind cultural tourism to ensure smooth operations when a cultural tourism enterprise is launched in a particular area.

“It is after the residents within the communities understand the concept behind cultural tourism that the enterprise should be launched, because we face various challenges with residents complaining that they are used to visiting this area without paying entrance fees.”

She has advice for other young Tanzanians. “Because tourism is an expanding sector, I advise the youth to study tourism, and one important thing is they should learn various languages. Not just English, even French and Spanish.”

She has plans to work in a national park, or if that is not possible, she prefers to work in a cultural tourism enterprise.

Why should anyone visit the BCTE? She says Butiama has an attractive environment; the visitor will learn about the various activities that Mwalimu [Nyerere] has done; will visit the Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere Museum; the visitor will see where Mwalimu was born, and will also learn about the Zanaki, Mwalimu's ethnic group.

“The other important reason for visiting Butiama is to visit Mwalimu's mausoleum because some visitors believe there is a switch that once turned on allows visitors to see his remains. They should come and see for themselves instead of listening to rumors. I even had students today who asked me the same question,” she concludes.

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My version of the year 2010 in review - March(2)

March 20, 2010

The Japanese manufacturer of this car may not imagine that the boot can pack in a few passengers. These cars ply the route between Butiama and Kiabakari.

March 22, 2010

The Egumba Ngoma Group came back to Butiama, once again, to perform for a group of students from the University College of Los Angeles.

March 30, 2010

Hon. Nimrod Mkono with his constituency members.
I was riding in the car of Hon. Nimrod Mkono, our member of parliament, at Butiama on our way to the Butiama Hospital to wait for the arrival of the First Lady, Mama Salma Kikwete, when bystanders, having seen the MP, waived the driver to stop.

Hon. Mkono told his driver to stop the car and said, tongue-in-cheek, "It is an election year, the voters are the waheshimiwa [the honourables]. He mockingly gave each of them a shikamoo, a greeting normally given by a young person to an older person and we left.

The First Lady, Mama Salma Kikwete delivers her speech at Butiama Hosptal.
Mama Salma Kikwete visited Butiama Hospital and after delivering a speech donated hospital equipment.

With John Lukuwi, right.
With the First Lady's entourage was a friend of mine and press photographer, John Lukuwi. I first knew him as an employee of the Department of Information and had asked him to develop a copy of a photograph taken at one of Mbilia Bel and Tabu Ley's concerts in Dar es Salaam. When I told him I intended to ask Mbilia to autograph her photograph for me, Lukuwi made an extra copy that I carried to the old Kilimanjaro Hotel, knocked at her hotel room which was opened by Tabu Ley and I had the photos autographed by her.