Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Friday, 31 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 12 November

I took a bicycle ride through a scenic route of Leipzig with filmmaker Benjamin Leers, with whom I will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro next month to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence. It was good exercise for the upcoming climb and I told Benjamin I would tell my guide, Yahoo, that this time I trained in Germany for my climb.

Later at a cafe', we met his co-partner, Maurice Housni, with whom they will film a documentary during the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.

Within a few days, I went from drinking from the smallest Coca-cola can I had ever seen to drinking coffee from one of the biggest coffee cups I have come across.

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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 9 November

On a relatively cold morning and after an overnight flight from Nairobi, I looked out of the
departure terminal of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport as I waited to board a flight for Berlin.

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Monday, 27 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 8 November

I was on a Nairobi bound flight that took off from the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam when I photographed the Dar es salaam night skyline. I expected a photograph. Instead I managed only a blur.
When the seat belt signs went off and the drink trolley approached I asked for a Coke.
He asked: "Should I give you two?"
I thought: "Who do you think I am? The Coke monster?"
But said: "No. One only."
When he handed me the midget can, I understood why two cans made sense. One was barely enough. It was the smallest Coke can I had ever seen.

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 31 October

For less than an hour, I hosted a motorcyclist from Dodoma who passed through Butiama on his
country-wide tour to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence. For less than an hour; because he wanted to leave early before sunset for his next stop: Bunda.

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 26 October

The Executive Secretary of HakiElimu, Elizabeth Missokia, and fellow colleagues from the civil
Elizabeth Missokia, fourth from right, hands over a gift to Mama Maria Nyerere, third from left.
society organization visited Butiama and met Mama Maria Nyerere and presented her with books and other gifts.

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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 23 October

I captured this image of old rock art, located at Mwitongo, Butiama on a granite rock face.
The lower left side shows two distinct animal figures, perhaps antelopes or giraffes. A circular image in the mid lower section could be a representation of the sun or moon.

A lecturer from the Archeology Unit of the University of Dar es Salaam who has seen these images has pointed out that they could be as old as 20,000 years.

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Monday, 20 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 22 October

Tour operators from Arusha and one from Rwanda, accompanied by two travel writers, arrived at Butiama in the afternoon during their familiarization tour of the Lake Zone as part of a tour organized by tourism stakeholders in Mwanza and Mara region to promote their regions' tourist attractions.
At the Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere Museum, Bwire, one of the museum's guide, provided a brief introduction before they began their tour of the museum, Mwalimu Nyerere's mausoleum, and watching a performance of the Egumba Dance group.

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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Saturday, 18 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 13 October

Having embarked from a flight from Mwanza at the Julius K. Nyerere International Airport
in Dar es Salaam, I was the only passenger in a 20-plus capacity shuttle bus from the airport to the city center.

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

View from the top of Mt. Mtuzu, Butiama, Tanzania.

A scenic view near Butiama, at the end of an hour-long trek which I have used frequently when preparing myself for the next Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.

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With the huge natural gas discoveries on the Mainland, the dismantling of Tanzania is more palatable

The calls from some quarters in Zanzibar for the breakup of the Union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika – Tanzania – have never been louder.

I believe if a referendum were to be held today, a majority of Zanzibaris will vote for a break up of the Union. The culprit: oil.

Relations between Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania have been characterized by contentious issues for some time and according to the minister responsible for Union Matters, a good number of these differences have been resolved over time while both sides are still working on resolving the remaining contentious issues.

It did not appear that the contentious issues were so critical they would threaten the survival of the Union. That is, until the scent of oil rose from the Indian Ocean that separates Zanzibar and the Mainland. The quiet murmurs for separation from Zanzibar have grown into a torrent of protest.

To the more radical voices speaking against the Union, the mainlanders are considered ‘colonialists’ who have continually thwarted Zanzibar’s independence and right to self determination.

Now that huge natural gas reserves have been discovered on the Mainland, it is highly likely that if a referendum were to be held today Tanzanians on the Mainland would also vote for the breakup of the Union simply because there is enough resource wealth on both sides of the shaky Union to prevent prolonging the squabbles about sharing the oil revenue in the Zanzibar channel.

Whether the future oil and gas revenues of the disunited republics of Zanzibar and Tanganyika will ever benefit the populations of these two peoples is another matter altogether.

My version of the year 2011 in review: 7 October

I was invited to the nearby village of Nyamuswa where Juma Makongoro, who works with the Fisheries Department in Mwanza region, donated school desks to the primary school where he studied in his formative years.

One of the beneficiaries, on the extreme right of the photograph, appeared to be bored by the proceedings.

To entertain the visitors was a traditional musical group composed of elders of Nyamuswa.

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Monday, 13 August 2012

Sunday, 12 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 28 September

I attended the Form IV graduation at Sungu Secondary School near Moshi. The guest speaker was the Chief Park Warden of the Kilimanjaro National Park, James Wakibara. His presence could not have been more appropriate for me, having just completed climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
When given an opportunity to say a few words, I told the graduating students that they should seek the opportunity to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, a World Heritage site that is climbed by more foreigners than Tanzanians.

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Saturday, 11 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 27 September

After seven nights and seven days, my fourth climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro was over. With me at the end of
the trail and the beginning of the few kilometres of road to Mweka gate was (from left to right): Jim Whitney, the author of this blog, Jaffar Idi Amin, Jim Becket, and our intrepid guide, Pius "Yahoo".

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 25 September

On the sixth day of the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, I reached Barafu camp at 4,800m above sea level.

Barafu is Mt. Kilimanjaro's base camp, the final camp before climbers head for the summit, Uhuru Peak, reached after between 7 - 10 hours.

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 24 September

Continuing with my fourth climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro I arrived at Karanga camp, at 4,000m above sea level. When the clouds cleared before sunset, I saw a snow-laden Kibo peak witho more snow cover than I have
seen before.

On the otherhand, the outhouses were familiar and appeared to be crying for retirement.
The same toilets with the same grafitti. And most of the users of the toilet were still missing the hole.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 23 September

On the third day of my fourth climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro we walked up to Lava Tower at 4,000m above sea level and it snowed considerably at this location.
Apparently, when it snows there is a higher level of oxygen in the atmosphere and the resultant effect is that most climbers, who at this altitude are increasingly deprived of oxygen, become rather excited by the snowfall and appear to be re-energized.

From Lava Tower the route takes a long descent towards Barranco camp. It is a route that is

populated with some of Mt. Kilimanjaro's exotic plant species, including the Lobellia.

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Today's handsets and those of yesteryear

My friend Kim used to mock me for not knowing what is 'in' and what is definitely 'out' and extinct in my choice of mobile phone models. I would sit among his friends in Dar es Salaam and reach to answer my archaic mobile handset and he later would tell me that his friends had suggested I probably had been away from Dar es Salaam for too long and was acutely in need of guidance on technologically correct handsets.

Perhaps I have spiced up the narration a little, but it is undeniable that in the past I kept holding on to my handset until some compelling reason literally forced me to buy a later version. Sometimes it would seem I would stay with a phone long after the manufacturer had discontinued its production.
As long as I could make and receive calls, I continued to fathom the strange looks I received in Dar es Salaam each time I reveled my handset to Dar's discerning subscribers.
As the number of mobile phone users gradually grew - they reached 14 million in 2009 and are expected to reach 36 million by 2015 - so did my contact list and, correspondingly, my phone preferences had to change. The phones I preferred could not handle the numbers and I opted for increased memory and a slightly higher price tag.
Yesteryear's handsets.
In the meantime, prices for what once were considered 'high end' handsets began to fall and cost of purchase was not a considerable impediment to those who owned phones for the sole purpose of receiving and making calls.

With these new affordable 'smart phones' a whole new paradigm of uses for telephones became possible with the accompanying applications on the handsets. The upshot is an increased range of uses for the handset including a compass, guitar tuner, a GPS tracker, just to name a few. The benefits are enormous, limited only by the user's imagination. I once parked my car in the middle of a farm just before it got dark and wandered off to carry out some errand well after dark. Without a torch, I lost well over an hour trying to locate the car on a moonless night. I can see how easy it would have been to locate the car with a GPS-enabled phone.
Today's handsets.
The downside, as with too much of anything, is information overload. With the ability to constantly receive email updates, the traditional 9 to 5 workday has been transformed into a 24-hour work cycle. And for those who want to conceal their whereabouts from their partners for no good reason, these handsets make it impossible to lie that you are on the farm in Butiama while you are actually partying your heart out with a live band in Kinshasa.

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My version of the year 2011 in review: 22 September

On the second day of my fourth Mt. Kilimanjaro climb I was at Shira 2 Camp, 3,850m above sea level. On a clear day, the Shira hills are visible on the lower left side of the photograph.
The Shira hills are the remains of a once massive volcano that was higher than the summit on Mt. Kilimanjaro's Kibo peak at 5,895m above sea level.

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 21 September

At 6:11 PM on the second day of the Kilimanjaro climb, I was in my tent at Shira 1 Camp on the Shira Plateau, at 3,500m above sea level. The routine of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on the Lemosho
route is wake up early, have breakfast, hike for an average of 7 hours every day to the next camp, rest for a while, have dinner, and sleep as early as 7:30 PM.

The solitude inside the climber's tent provides an ideal environment for reflection. As I add the number of times I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the reflection gradually shifts from the challenge of the climb itself to other matters that have little to do with mountains: "Did I lock my bedroom windows when I left home?"

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Saturday, 4 August 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 20 September

On the first day of my fourth climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I stayed behind the group - as usual - and so did Jim Whitney, who in this photograph, took a low angle shot of the other climbers with his video camera as we inched our way towards Big Tree Camp, the first overnight stay of the 8-day climb on the Lemosho route.
The Lemosho route has one of the highest climber success rate for reaching the summit of all of Mt. Kilimanjaro's routes. It allows gradual acclimatization of the body to the high altitudes.

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My version of the year 2011 in review: 18 November

The Africa Week in Dresden included both an Energy Workshop, which I attended, and an exhibition showcasing African culture.

The African culture part also involved regular performances by African musicians, including Angolan Jack Panzo who created a rule of handing one of his Ghanaian drums to anyone within reach and embarking on an impromptu drumming lesson. I was not spared.
I, in the centre, enjoying the sounds of African drums at the Centrum Gallery in Dresden. 
That evening I imagined someone calling up the German Embassy in Dar es Salaam and saying: "Guess what? That guy who said he was traveling to Germany for an energy meeting has joined a group of street musicians performing in Dresden. Don't issue a visa to him ever again."
Benjamin and Maurice's newspaper interview on our forthcoming Mt. Kilimanjaro climb finally appeared on the day's newspaper. The accompanying photograph made me appear like an experienced mountaineer who could even conquer Mt. Everest. So I thought.
Andrea Wobmann with whom I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in September 2010, and who was in Dresden for the Africa Week, presented me with a coffee mug filled with Swiss chocolates.

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Friday, 3 August 2012

Animal footprint at Butiama

Less than ten years ago a dog walked on a pathway at Butiama where workmen had just poured a concrete mix. The single paw imprint of the dog appears on a stretch of concrete walkway that is about 40 metres long.

I believe the dog was chased away when someone saw it stepping on the wet cement and that would explain why there is only one footprint.

Fast forward to a few million years into the future and the paw imprint is covered by a layer of earth and to a further few million years into the future and a palaentologist or archeologist discovers the footprint that had remained buried for millions of years.

Barring someone unearthing this blog post several million years from now, I am curious to know what scientific revelation could emerge together with the discovery of a single footprint of a dog on a concrete surface.

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