Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Airport security extremes

I have no idea what they teach at the School for the Prevention of an Incident on an Aircraft but one thing for certain is airport security measures continue to spring new surprises every day.

At Mwanza Airport today I was asked to surrender two triple "A" batteries from my Sony radio. Actually, I volunteered to surrender them. Alerted by his colleague manning the X-ray machine, the security officer asked me: "You have a radio with batteries?" I asked: "Do you want them?" He said: Yes. I gave them to him and he gave me a reason to complain here.

Me? Blow up a plane in which I am also a passenger? They just don't know me.

Friday, 27 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 27 March

I went trekking to Mtuzu Hill with this year's teachers from Queen's University in Canada.

 Karrie, left, and Alex, right, enacted a scene from the movie, The Titanic. Well, almost.

Then Karrie took a photo of a group of children and showed the image to them.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

A dearth of African names on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Africa's highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, has a lot of non-African names. In fact someone unfamiliar with the mountain who glances at the glacier names on the mountain's map can be mistaken he is observing a map of a European summit.

Rebmann Glacier is named after German explorer and missionary, Johann Rebmann who first reported seeing the snow-capped mountain rise above the African plains in 1848. Hans Meyer has a memorial on Mt. Kilimanjaro in recognition of being the first European to reach Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit. Furtwängler Glacier is named after Walter Furtwängler who, with Siegfried König, were the fourth to reach the summit in 1912. There are several other glaciers with non-African names: Credner, Drygalski, Ratzel, Decken, Heim, and Balleto.

A section of Furtwängler Glacier as seen from Crater Camp.
Even when they ran out of names, some of glaciers are combinations of English words: there is a Northern Icefield and a Southern Icefield.

When Hans Meyer reached the summit in 1889 he was accompanied by nine porters, a guide, a cook, and two local headmen. None of them is known by name, but it is believed that one of them was Yohani Kinyala Lauwo who died in Marangu on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1996 at an estimated age of 125 years.

Apparently there is a place on Mt. Kilimanjaro named after him: Yohana's Notch. But I have difficulty finding its location on any map. Which could be a good reason to rename one of those "polar" icefields (Northern Icefield, and Southern Icefield) after him.

My version of the year 2011 in review: 26 March

Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements minister Prof. Anna Tibaijuka paid a visit to Butiama and met Mama Maria Nyerere, widow of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

Prof. Anna Tibaijuka, left, with Mama Maria Nyerere, right, during her visit to Butiama.

The minister laid a wreath at Mwalimu Nyerere's tomb.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 6 March

I discovered that one of the itchiest plants on Earth was inching its way up the building. You do not want to brush yourself against the leaves of this tree. Skin contact produces an extremely painful rash.

In the afternoon, as I worked on my desk, a Rock Hyrax observed me through the bedroom window. For
the Hyrax, I was the 'animal in the cage'.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The minister and his deputy must go

For this year’s nomination for the worst case of how to run a ministry, I nominate Minister Omar Nundu and his deputy Dr. Athumani Mfutakamba from the Ministry of Transport.

They have expertly demonstrated one of the worst cases of bad government.

To members of the public this spectacle began a few days ago during the parliamentary debate of the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure. The report recommended that the Tanzania Ports Authority should go ahead and accept a loan of $US 523.1 million for the expansion of Dar es Salaam Port from China’s Exim Bank.

Hon. John Mnyika then cautioned that rather than accept the loan amount, which was derived from the feasibility study carried out by the same company that will implement the project, the government should carry out its own feasibility study to verify and justify the loan amount. The Chairman of the Committee, the Hon. Peter Serukamba, rejected Mnyika’s suggestion, saying it would delay project implementation by 18 months. Surprisingly, Minister Nundu spoke in favour of Mnyika’s suggestion and began to criticize the manner in which the Parliamentary Committee had recommended China Communication Construction Limited (CCCL). He said, as the sectoral minister responsible, he had not been consulted by the Finance Minister on the loan approval.

Not only was he against decisions taken by another minister, he was against the recommendations of the Committee.

A few days later he held a press conference and accused his deputy, Dr. Athumani Mfutakamba, of working behind his back and, without his knowledge, traveling to three countries, ostensibly at the invitation of another company that is interested in the port expansion project, with the objective of replacing CCCL with this other company.

In the Parliamentary debate, Hon. John Shibuda castigated the minister for not having raised any objections in the Parliamentary Committee, where he is a member, and instead raising these objections at the last stage in parliament. In effect, choosing to hang his dirty linen for all to see. Another member of parliament suggested that the entire tug-of-war is influenced by various ‘interests’. I interpreted that to mean interests of a personal and financial nature.

Dr. Mfutakamba, the deputy minister for Transport, has refuted all allegations raised by his minister.

Members of the public will not know all the details that have prompted a minister and his deputy to go all out at each other through the press, and there are many questions that remain unanswered. But what has been revealed is bad enough to prompt even the most patient appointing authority (the president) to reconsider his patient mannerisms and replace these two fighters.

The Transport and Finance Minister are at odds with each other. Worse, the Transport minister and his deputy are not only in disagreement about something, and rather than sort out those differences in a civil and discreet manner, they have taken out their squabbling to the press and brought into question the government’s ability to work with one purpose to implement the manifesto that their party held up to the electorate in the past elections.

One can accept couples, friends, and even siblings fighting in public. But the same should not be tolerated of government ministers from the same political party.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Back to base

Having completed the Cross Learning Visit organized by the Cultural Tourism Coordinator of the Cultural Tourism Programme under the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), I headed back to Butiama to put into practice at the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE) what I had learned from the visit.

I passed through the Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti National Park.

At Seronera in the Serengeti National Park a Marabou Stork stretched out its wings, seemingly readying itself for flight.

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Saturday, 21 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 26 February

On the third day of the Cross Learning Visit to Arusha region organized by the Cultural Tourism Coordinator of the Cultural Tourism Programme under the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), we woke up at Longido near the Kenyan border.
When I looked out of the window I saw a mountain in the distance and, as with most people who have climbed mountains, wondered what mountain it was and wondered whether anyone had climbed this mountain. As I continued to observe the mountain's silhouette against the rising sun, I realized I was looking at Mt. Kilimanjaro, which I had already climbed three times. I had never observed Kilimanjaro from this far west and it took a while to recognize some of its familiar features.

On this trip mountains seem to have the effect of influencing group behaviour towards posing for a group photograph. Yesterday, it was Mt. Meru, today we had Mt. Longido as a backdrop. The Longido area, including slopes of Mt. Longido, was part of the battlefields pitting German Imperial forces and the British Army in the East African campaign of World War I.
As we continued our trek for the day our guide, Samwel Mollel, told us: "If you look above the hills, just above the clouds, you will see the snow peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro." It took a little adjustment against the bright morning sun but we managed to just barely make out the outline of the mountain.

We eventually reached our destination: the spot where young Masai warriors meet to go through their rites of passage under the tutelage of those who have advanced to older age groups.
The basic objective of the Cultural Tourism Programme is to enable local communities to earn income from tourism through various services, including the sales of handicrafts to visitors. At the end of the trek we visited a handicrafts market.

A book by Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Title: The African Dream: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo
Author: Ernesto "Che" Guevara
First Copyright: 1999
ISBN: 1 86046 847 0
Between December 1965 and January 1966 Ernesto "Che" Guevara spent time in a small upstairs room of what was and still is the Cuban Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and compiled his daily "war diaries" of a military expedition he led in the eastern part of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1965 and 1966 in support of a coalition of Congolese rebel forces against the mercenary-supported army of Congolese leader Moises Tshombe.

The campaign ended in failure and these journals reveal an honest appraisal and analysis of the arena of operations and the conditions that fed the weaknesses that led to the failure. His criticism of some of the 100 Cubans he led, of the Congolese allies he trained, and of his own shortcomings, is unsparing.

A native of Argentina and a hero of the Cuban Revolution, Guevara relinquished his ministerial position in the Cuban government, traveled incognito through Dar es Salaam and proceeded by road to Kigoma, and then crossed Lake Tanganyika to the combat area in eastern Congo.

The journals provide an insight into the thoughts and motivations of an individual described as one of the twentieth century's most influential figures.

In this book Tanzanian readers will find reference to familiar names and settings.

Friday, 20 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 25 February

Continuing with the Cross Learning Visit in Arusha region organized by the Coordinator of the

Tanzania Cultural Tourism Programme of the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), we assembled early in the morning near the offices of TTB and, between buildings, caught a glimpse of Mt. Meru.

We then headed for Tengeru to view the attractions and learn about the activities of the Tengeru Cultural Tourism Enterprise (TCTE). On arrival at Tengeru, Mt. Meru, in the background, presented another excuse to take a group photograph.

After receiving a brief history of the TCTE from its founder, Mama Pallangyo. we began a long trek 

towards Lake Duluti. The route had displays of various signs with Biblical name places and... 


religious slogans, praising the power of the Creator.

Paulina, right, had summoned considerable energy and willpower to walk to the end of the path, negotiating through some difficult sections. Other members of the group had decided to remain behind, exhausted from the long trek. Under a rock shelter we encountered a group in a prayer retreat, one of whom, second right, was Paulina's long lost sister whom she had not seen for years. 

On our way back Paulina had to, once again, summon some extra energy to negotiate through some of the steep sections of the trek.

 We caught yet another glimpse of Mt. Meru and Lake Duluti.

Having done enough walking for the day, Paulina hopped on a bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) and reduced the day's walking by 5 kilometres.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 24 February

As part of a group of cultural tourism stakeholders from Mara region I began the Cross Learning Visit organised by the the Cultural Tourism Coordinator of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) at Mto wa Mbu in Arusha region.
We followed one of the tour itineraries of Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Enterprise (MMCTE), beginning with a visit to ricefields.
The next stop was at the wood carvers' shed. I asked whether they were originally from the area. They actually had relocated from as far away as Mozambique and Mtwara, areas which are known for their wood carving tradition. Rather than wait for the tourists in Dar es Salaam, these carvers had relocated to one of the few towns in Tanzania with a heavy concentration of tourists.

Then we were shown one of the largest cooking pots in existence, used in the preparatory phases of production of the local brew, mbege.

As with the wood carvers, Tingatinga painters have also relocated to Mto wa Mbu.

As we began the last stage of our tour we saw this Peugeot with a heavy load of bananas.

Moments later we walked through banana plantations.
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, 8 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 2 February

Butiama has a variety of bird species including these hawks with yellow beaks.

One of them once swooped down on me from behind and scratched me at the back of my head.
At dusk they perch on this tall tree where they remain at night.

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Friday, 6 April 2012

Godbless Lema's loss of his parliamentary seat is bad news for the ruling party

The news from the Arumeru East constituency, in my view, is not the loss suffered in the poll on 1st April by Siyoi Sumari, the candidate of Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM); it is the reported celebrations that followed the win - not by members of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), whose candidate Joshua Nassari has won the elections - but by some members of CCM, whose candidate lost the elections.

They were celebrating Sumari's loss, not Nassari's win.

For some time, I have heard of in-house rivalries within CCM between opposing candidates seeking their party's nomination in election campaigns. These rivalries are created during nomination campaigns and gain strength and momentum with the nomination and continue throughout the election campaign by the losing sides against their party's candidate.

A political party that has permament in-bred opponents clearly does not need political foes from other parties. It should also be a matter of grave concern for any Tanzanian who prefers politcal stability to chaos.

It appears likely that the custom that encourages those party members whose choice for candidate has lost the nomination to actively undermine the party's eventual choice is well-entrenched within CCM.

This has only become possible because of weak leadership at all levels of the party. Rather than address its inability to resolve within the party's structures the antagonisms that are preventing CCM from becoming a unitary structure with the capacity to take on the opposition, the CCM leadership has allowed these divisions to manifest and entrench themselves in election campaigns.

Now, to make matters worse, yesterday's court ruling that has stripped CHADEMA's Godbless Lema of his Arusha Urban parliamentary seat presents yet another occasion for CCM's members to excel, once again, at showing how good they are at undermining their own electoral campaigns. Within CCM, the same political factions that were at odds with each other in Arumeru will also be present in the Arusha Urban by-elections.

There is every likelihood that Godbless Lema will re-emerge the eventual winner in the Arusha Urban by-election. With another win, Tanzanian voters will begin to associate CCM with losing and CHADEMA with winning, a prospect that should be extremely disturbing for its leadership and threatens CCM's pivotal position at the helm of Tanzanian politics for the past fifty years.

If I was a staunch supporter of CCM, I would have wished that Judge Gabriel Rwakibalira would have ruled in Lema's favour. It would have been one less headache that CCM and its leadership would have to deal with.

The best option for CCM is to opt out of the Arusha Urban by-election and take time off to re-engineer itself.

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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Jim Whitney, the latest member of the Kilimanjaro Club

Jim Whitney, left, aims the camera at Jim Becket, right, during the last day of the climb.
The Kilimanjaro Club lists people I know who have scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro, including those who join me every year on the annual Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb.

I am in awe of anyone who climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro with the additional task of carrying a video camera, limiting other tasks to only one hand, most of the time.

During my September 2011 climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro Jim Whitney carried a video camera and when most of us were concerned with negotiating the next obstacle, he had the additional task of finding a suitable spot for shooting a memorable scene.

He becomes the 12th member of the Kilimanjaro Club. The complete members’ list is:

1.       Markus Geiger
2.       Madaraka Nyerere*
3.       Le Huynh
4.       Gerald Hando
5.       Notburger Maskini
6.       Jaffar Idi Amin
7.       Mary Kalikawe
8.       William Rutta
9.       Jim Becket
10.   Andrea Wobmann
11.   Steve Kamau
12.   Jim Whitney

*I add my name in this post, having forgotten that I also belong to the Kilimanjaro Club.

My version of the year 2011 in review: 29 January

A Chinese construction firm that won the tender for the rehabilitation of the Mwanza to Musoma road began to set up some of its equipment near Sabasaba village.

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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

World story telling day

On 20th March 2012 I overheard on a radio news bulletin that it was World Story Telling Day.

What story could I concoct for my visitors at dinner? I did not need to conjure up any story after I encountered a snake outside my bedroom as I headed out to dinner.

More remarkable, I managed to capture the snake in a plastic bag and carried the bag and its contents to the dining room with my hand holding the bag clenched in a tight grip. I thought the visitors would be interested to see the snake. They were, although only one of them, Caroline, came close enough to observe the snake.

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Monday, 2 April 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 28 January

At the junction of the Mwanza to Musoma road, 11 kilometres from Butiama, I noticed that the old signboard featuring President Jakaya Kikwete and our Member of Parliament for the Musoma Urban constituency Nimrod Mkono had been replaced by a new one.
posted from Bloggeroid

My version of the year 2011 in review: 27 January

For the umptieth time, I sat on my reading glasses.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A chicken has to die

Several days ago, a student of Butiama Secondary School carried to school a present for two of the five Canadian visiting teachers. A live cockerel.

When I drove to pick them up at school the teachers asked me: "what do we do with it?" A pertinent question as they will shortly leave for Canada. I said: "you eat it."

That did not go down smoothly. The visitors, unlike the hosts, did not not take too lightly the cessation of one life and transforming it into a dinner menu.

I have pledged to keep the cockerel as a permanent pet. I expect future visiting teachers from Canada's Queen's University to demand to see the gift that the teachers from 2011 left behind.

Zanaki culture

One cultural practice of the Zanaki ethnic group that could be considered unusual in other societies is effecting burial on residential compounds.

The photo depicts, on the left, Chief Nyerere Burito's grave. He died on 30th March 1942 and was buried on the grounds in front of his house at Mwitongo in Butiama village.

The round building in the photo was constructed as a memorial on the spot where his house stood.
On the right is the grave of his fifth wife, Christina Mgaya wa Nyang'ombe. She died in 1997 and was estimated to be 105 years old.

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