Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The weather in Moshi today

It is cloudy in Moshi. Mt. Kilimanjaro is enveloped by thick rain clouds.

The temperature is 28° Centigrade at the Moshi bus stand.
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The weather today

At Seronera, the headquarters of the Serengeti National Park, it is a sunny morning. The temperature is 27° Centigrade.
posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

On my way to Kilimanjaro

I am just about to leave Butiama for yet another rendezvous at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This time with 12 visitors from Tanzania Development Support in a charity climb to raise money for construction of a library and teachers' documentation center for Nyegina Secondary School.

There is no better excuse for wearing a t-shirt from my December 2011 "Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb."
posted from Bloggeroid

The weather today

As I embark on my fifth climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro I will post my observations of the weather every day, network and weather permitting.

At Butiama it is a sunny day with a temperature of 28° Centigrade.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, 28 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 21 April

As the day drew to a close, the aggressive hawks of Mwitongo gathered on the highest branches of

a high tree to spend the night.

 The soft sunlight from the West enhanced the natural colours of the foliage...

 and the colours of the traditional grain silos.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Getting ready for June's Kilimanjaro charity climb for Nyegina Secondary School

A lot of preparation goes into planning climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. For the individual climber pre-climb activity includes regular exercising to prepare for the rigour of hiking up Africa's highest mountain and the World's highest free standing mountain.

One important activity is to use the hiking boots one will wear during the climb prior to the climb. These pair of boots have taken me up to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro a few times, but remain in storage in between climbs.

This time, for the first time, I have worn them around to soften the leather for my next climb, the June 3 to 9 climb in aid of Nyegina Secondary School's library and teachers' documentation center.

They probably need some cleaning up also.
Amazon offers several selections of hiking boots for women including this pair:

Berghaus Women's Explorer Trek Hiking Boot

And a selection for men from the same manufacturer:

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My version of the year 2011 in review: 20 April

Driving on my way to Butiama I caught a glimpse of a rare occurrence: two rainbows, over Lake  

Victoria, near Ryamugasile Island. The second rainbow, fainter, on the left hand side of the photograph.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Public offices in Tanzania

I have been moving to and from Mwanza for the past few years to visit a public office to sort out a land issue. On my most recent visit to Mwanza, one of the land officers informed me that I should make a request to the head of his department to formalize my request. He told me the application that I previously thought had to go through the ministry in Dar es Salaam would be processed in Mwanza.

Having missed the department head in his office, I made a call from Butiama a week ago and told him what his junior had advised me. The department head then asked me to call his junior and tell him to report the matter to his boss "on Thursday." There is distance of 190 kilometres between Mwanza and Butiama; there is a distance of about 20 metres between the boss and his junior in that lands office. Fortunately we have a telephone communication system that works and I saw no problem in carrying out a task for which the the department head receives a salary.

A telephone system that works is one matter; to guarantee that a subscriber switches on his phone is another matter altogether.

Had it not been for the fact that I have been unable to reach the junior officer by phone, despite repeated attempts, I would have no reason to complain. But, even before complaining, I tried what I thought would conclusively resolve the matter. I called the department head and told him his junior officer could not be reached by phone.

I thought it was not even necessary to suggest one possible solution: that he could summon the junior officer by shouting at the top of his voice and have the junior officer scramble to the boss's office in less than 15 seconds.

His response left me with a loss for words, literally. First he asked: "Where are you?" When I responded I was calling from Musoma, he said: "How do you expect to solve your problems from Musoma? And then he recounted a Swahili proverb: nilikwambia fimbo ya mbali haiuwi nyoka. [I told you a stick that is at a distance cannot kill a snake]. He left me with little doubt that he believed he had made a profound philosphical statement.

The practical meaning to me was just as clear: if you want to get results, you won't get them from Butiama, or Musoma, or wherever else you might be. You have to be in Mwanza.

His response would make sense only if he is senile. That he does not remember that he had requested me to ask his junior to go to his office "on Thursday." Any other scenario would make little sense; it would mean he expected me to travel 380 kilometres (roundtrip) to go to the office next to his and tell his junior: "Your boss wants to see you on Thursday."

My fear is that there are thousands of workers in public offices who make similar demands on citizens every day.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Baraka Elias, the tallest Tanzanian, just visited Butiama

The tallest Tanzanian (until someone proves differently), Baraka Elias, paid a visit to the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE) on Friday 18 May 2012.

He works with mobile operator, Tigo, and the last time I communicated with him he was 7' 4" tall. He is 22 years old. The photo, below, of a secondary school student standing in the same spot provides a perspective of how tall he is.

The tallest living person is Sultan K√∂sen from Turkey. He stands at 2.51m or 8 feet 3 inches.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 19 April

The combination of a setting sun...

and a dark storm cloud...

created the semblance of a raging fire in the horizon and rising smoke.

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The Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise has a new guide

Warioba Magige has just joined the tour guiding team at the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE) as a trainee guide.

He has completed Form VI and expects to join university at the end of this year.

Since taking this photo, he has received instructions to smile when guiding visitors around the various attractions within the BCTE area.

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 18 April

I was on my way to Igalagala when I noticed a light plane on a landing approach to Mwanza Airport. I took out my camera and snapped one photograph of the approaching plane. Not near enough, I thought and readied myself to take a better photograph when the plane was close enough.

Too late! I only managed to catch the tail section.

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Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Le's travels: Seychelles

Kilimanjaro Club member Le Huynh, a native of Vietnam, is a globetrotter and has traveled to the farthest corners of Earth. He normally sends reports of his travels, this time from Reunion in the Seychelles.


Mentioning La Reunion to a non-French person and you'll either get a blank stare or something like "what meeting point are you talking about?" Be that as it may, La Reunion holds a special place in the heart of the Vietnamese for it was here that one of our emperors mysteriously met his tragic end.

Mafate: A UNESCO World Heritage site.

In 1907, emperor Duy Tan was only 7 years old when he became the 11th emperor of the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam. Unwilling to live a life in luxury as a puppet emperor for the French, he tried to organize a rebellion to liberate his beloved country. Unfortunately he was betrayed and captured by the French authorities in 1916.

Since executing the young emperor would turn him into a martyr and spark a revolt, the French sent him into exile to the most remote corner of their empire: the island of La Reunion.

The green field of tamarind trees.

During World War II he joined the Free French Force to resist the Vichy Regime and became lieutenant-colonel under General Charles de Gaulle. It was said that General de Gaulle talked to Vin San, the ex-emperor about returning to Vietnam to reunite the country for possible independence (similar to Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia). Unfortunately his plane disappeared on his way home to Vietnam in 1945 and the great hopes of many died with him as the country once again was torn apart by a senseless war for the next 30 years.

Beautiful black sand from the volcano.

The first thing a visitor to Reunion will notice is how green it is: all kinds of shades of green undulating as far as the eye can see, lined up countless flowing angel hair waterfalls, accentuated from time to time vivid red or pink flowers...a multicolour diamond necklace glittering under the sun.

The highest point of Reunion (3,070m).

White clouds dot the horizon, moving leisurely across the sky, stopping here and there to visit the surrounding high peaks. Suddenly, a sweet yet delicate fragrance perfumes the air, stirring long dormant memories of one's youth as whole fields of frangipanier flowers came into view, revitalizing the already pure air with musky almost honey taste. A symphony of singing birds greets the visitor at the end of the day or early in the morning.

Le poses at one of the popular points on the Mafate trek.

Indeed, the best impressionistic tableau can only by painted by mother nature: no mortal artist can have access to such a palate of infinite shades of that colour of life. Surprisingly one is never saturated by so much stimuli to all of one's senses. On the contrary, your body and soul are soothed by a feeling of deep satisfaction as you relishingly immerse in such beautific surroundings, so much that you may never want to leave....

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The curriculum vitae of Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim

My blog statistics reveal that readers are particularly interested in curriculum vitaes. Proof of this is the high ranking that the page on Prof. Sospeter Muhongo CV has received (my popular posts on the right column). Prof. Muhongo has recently been appointed minister for Energy and Minerals.

So, I present the CV of Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former prime minister of Tanzania: http://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/25566

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 17 April

In Mwanza, I noticed two flags of the political party Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) towering way above the billboard advertising a popular beer brand, Kilimanjaro Lager.

The city of Mwanza is a CHADEMA stronghold.

Visitors to Butiama

The tour guide's narrative to visitors to the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE) at the gazebo next to the residence of Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere says: "This is where Mwalimu Nyerere preferred to spend some of his free time playing bao [a local board game] with his friends from around Butiama village."

Occasionally, a visitor will ask where exactly Mwalimu Nyerere preferred to sit. The guide will respond: "Right at that corner." And, invariably, that is where the visitor will prefer to sit and pose for a photograph. On this occasion the visitor was a secondary school teacher from Nanga secondary School in Igunga, Tabora region, Amon Mwamwenda.

Butima Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE) Facebook page related to this post:

My version of the year 2011 in review: 7 April

I was invited to Zanzibar to attend the 39th death anniversary of Zanzibar's founding president, Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume.

The desk at the CCM Headquarters at Kisiwandui where Karume was assassinated while playing dominoes with Sheikh Thabit Kombo.
The annual commemorations are held at the CCM headquarters at Kisiwandui, where Karume was assassinated in a room where I was informed he was playing dominoes, known in Zanzibar as dhumna.

Outside, ITV's Farouk Karim interviewed Ahmed Amani Karume, one of the late Karume's grandsons.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Cultural Tourism Program nurtures cultural expressions

The basic purpose of the Cultural Tourism Program (CTP) which is supervised by the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) is to encourage tourists to enjoy the rich cultural heritage that Tanzania offers.

Tanzania is not only about Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar (to mention only a few of the stupendous attractions offered by Tanzania). Also on offer is the rich and varied cultural traditions of the more than 120 ethnic groups found in the country.

Butiama participates in the CTP through the Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise (BCTE). The people at BCTE, I included, always keep their ears and eyes open for new cultural groups that spring up within BCTE's area.

I recently saw one of these groups in practice, and BCTE expects they will also be performing for BCTE's visitors in the future.

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 5 April

I drove to Mwanza and at the outskirts of the city I found myself behind a passenger bus whose owner is probably a fan of English Premier League side Arsenal.

The rear of the bus had the image of Arsenal's manager, Arsene Wenger. Wenger has an asteroid named after him: 33719 arsenewenger.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 3 April

The teachers from Canada's Queen's University visited Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's library and found my book: A day in the life of Canada. 

Later that evening, at dinner, Mosses who had cooked for the visitors during their stay had a special parting gift: a cake.

After dinner, I had a feeling that Mosses got a disproportionate share of the evening's hugs. It pays to cook well.

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My version of the year 2011 in review: 2 April

The teachers from Canada's Queen's University held a farewell party prior to their return to Canada and invited everyone they knew at Butiama.

Before long David Liu, and one of the invitees, hit the dance floor and unleashed a series of the latest Canadian dance moves.

The invited Tanzanian host made a few equally commendable moves. And David, unperturbed, came out with yet unseen moves with upward swings of his arms.

As the dancing duel unfolded, Morogoro Ibrahim posed the philosophical question of the day, albeit without the question mark.
posted from Bloggeroid

Kibo and Mawenzi

When one gets over the initial challenge of climbing a mountain, there are two possible outcomes: one either becomes engulfed and takes interest in mountains wherever they appear, or one becomes totally repulsed by the initial experience and does not want to come close to even an anthill.

Mt. Kilimanjaro with Kibo, on the left, and Mawenzi, on the right as seen from Moshi.
I believe I am one of those in the former group and, had I started climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro twenty years ago, I would have attempted the Seven Summits challenge, climbing the seven highest mountains of each of the seven continents.

The highest peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro is on Kibo.

Friday, 4 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 1 April

On April Fool's day, there was no fooling around when the Egumba Ngoma group performed for the year's visiting teachers' group from Queen's University in Canada.

In an hour-long performance, the dancers performed a number of traditional dances from the Mara region and from selected regions of Tanzania.

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Prof. Sospeter Muhongo and Janet Mbene appointed ministers

Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, who was yesterday nominated member of parliament by President Jakaya Kikwete, has just been named in the new Tanzanian cabinet as minister for Energy and Minerals.

Janet Mbene has been appointed deputy minister for Finance.

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 29 March

Walter Bgoya, founder of Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Limited, came to Butiama, at the request of a French researcher, Alain Ricard,  who was supervising the production of a documentary film that had the tentative title: "Nyerere's Dream."
Walter Bgoya stresses a point during his interview. The mausoleum of Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere is in the background.
The film was intended to discuss the "future and the limits of the development of the Swahili language as a national and international language."

Ricard was accompanied by film maker, Nicolo Gnecchi.

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President Jakaya Kikwete appoints Prof. Sospeter Muhongo member of parliament

President Jakaya Kikwete has appointed Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, a full professor of geology, a member of parliament in Tanzania's parliament effective today. Also appointed were James Mbatia, and Janet Mbene.

Prof. Muhongo's CV best describes his accomplishments.

James Mbatia is the leader of the Tanzanian opposition party, NCCR-Mageuzi.


Janet Mbene is an economist and is the Managing Director of SIA Limited. She has previously worked with the United Nations Development Program, and Oxfam International.

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At Butiama we play bao, the board game

Not just the residents, even the visitors play bao. Bao is a popular board game that is widely played in countries of East and Central Africa, including Tanzania.

Susan, left, plays bao against Alisha, partly seen on the right, as Caroline watches. The game has a variation of rules. During their recent stay in Butiama, the Canadian visitors, learnt to play bao under the Zanaki rules of the Zanaki ethnic group.

For more information on bao under Swahili rules, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bao_%28mancala_game%29

The next Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb is from 3 to 9 June 2012

In less than a month, I will be joining more than 20 individuals from Tanzania, South Africa, and the United States to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity.
Tanzania Development Support is sending a group of 11 from the United States to climb Africa's highest peak to raise funds for building a library and teachers' documentation center for Nyegina Secondary School. A teacher and two students from Nyegina will also participate in the climb.

Tanzania Development Support has raised funds in the past for various projects at Nyegina. For details on past activities and the Kilimanjaro climb and how to donate in support of Nyegina Secondary School, please visit their website at:


To donate in Tanzania, please use the following:

Account Name: Umoja wa Maendeleo ya Bukwaya
A/C Number: 01J1062002302
Bank: CRDB Bank

All climbers pay for all their climbing expenses, and all sums donated go directly to the project.

  Student dormitories under construction at Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls' Secondary School in Buturu, Mara region. More than $US20,000 was raised during the Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2008, which contributed to the construction costs of these dormitories.
A consignment of cement donated after the Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb 2008 by Mr. Elifariji Lima of Exactline Engineering (Group) Limited is unloaded from a truck at Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls' Secondary School in Buturu, Mara region.
Eleven climbers from Tanzania Development Support will join the climb, in addition to a teacher and two students from Nyegina.

The South African contingent will be raising donations for the Red Cross in South Africa as well as for improving the working conditions of the porters on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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