Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Zulfa Fadhili has been a member of the Kilimanjaro Club since 2010

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, or those I met during a climb and am aware reached the summit.

As I arrived at Marangu Gate today after a five-day Mt. Kilimanjaro trek on the Marangu route, I bumped into Zulfa Fadhili, with whom I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in September 2010 on the 7-night, 8-day trek on the Lemosho route. She works for Zara Tanzania Adventures, one of the leading Mt. Kilimanjaro outfitters. She reached the summit and takes her place on my Mt. Kilimanjaro roll.

Zulfa Fadhili at the Marangu Gate today.
Zulfa is the thirteenth member of the Kilimanjaro Club. The updated list of the Kilimanjaro Club is:

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

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Dmitry is now a member of the Kilimanjaro Club

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, or those I met during a climb and am aware reached the summit.
On my third climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro when I reached Stella Point at an altitude of 5,756m above sea level just after six in the morning, I met a climber from Russia, Dimitry. He should have been included in my Kilimanjaro Club list a long time ago.
In the photo Dimitry on the left with his guide, Frank, on the right and an assistant guide in the middle whose name I do not recall, with a good excuse: the park rangers on Mt. Kilimanjaro once told me that the freezing temperatures at the summit freeze the brain and memories.

The updated 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
13. Dmitry

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Someone help me explain this

How does the same flight to the same destination with the same airline have two different fares?

I called Precision Air this morning to reserve a seat on the Mwanza - Kilimanjaro flight. I was told the single fare was Shs.240,000 but before I could confirm my reservation I ran out of phone credit. I called five minutes later and this time the fare had shot up to shs.295,000.

"In five minutes?" I asked. And was told it all depends on the available class at the time. Okay, fair enough. In the intervening five minutes someone could have taken "my" shs.240,000 seat.

One hour later on my way to the Mwanza Precision Air office to reluctantly pay my fare I visited a travel agency to get a satisfactory explanation of this class difference.

I left the agency with more questions than answers. They not only managed to find for me another fare class at shs.233,000 but also told me that when they make reservations the agencies and the airline use the same reservation system.
Waiting for a flight at the departure lounge of an airport.
So does this mean the agencies have more competent staff than Precision Air? How then would you explain a class that is available through travel agencies but not through the airline?

Like the Precision Air customer representative told me, the young woman at the agency also said the fare you get depends on the available class.

Pardon my French but what bloody class? I know I will be on a flight that has no class compartments.

Could someone explain this to me?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 18 December

I took a snapshot of the keyboard of my desktop computer after I decided it was way long overdue for a clean up. The recommendations I read on on online article directed the removal of the keys to effect a thorough cleaning underneath the keys.
The photograph would serve as reference should I forgot where each key has to go after the cleaning.

Another post in this 2011 review series:

Monday, 17 September 2012

Chassis, chesisi, or kiunzi?

There are certain foreign words that just don't respect international boundaries and they find expression and usage in far away places, much farther than where they came from.
Chassis is one of them. It made its way from French into English usage. How, I do not know. And where alternatives do not exist in other languages, the use of English words is widespread. Inevitably, in Swahili chassis is also widely used although its spelling is not always correct, as is the case with this instance of a motorcycle chassis number that was written on a motorcycle pending the issuance of a registration number.

The standard Kiswahili translation is chesisi, which sounds familiar or kiunzi, which does not - even to Swahili speakers. As someone who prefers originality, I would prefer the latter word but its use will most likely create a few problems. Try to tell a customs official: namba ya kiunzi ni [the chassis number is...] SH42A-105716 and no will will understand you.

Kiunzi has been in the authoritative Swahili - English dictionary, Kamusi ya Kiswahili-Kiingereza published by Taasisi ya Uchunguzi wa Kiswahili (Institute of Swahili Research) of the University of Dar es Salaam since 2001 but is yet to appear on the online English to Swahili Dictionary.

Post related to this one:

Anne Stolmar visits Butiama

Anne Stolmar from Germany describes her occupation as a photographer and an artist and explains she has traveled to Tanzania to interview individuals about their most important life goals.

She recently visited Butiama and shared some of her impressions about Butiama. In her own words:

"I am interested in what Mwalimu Julius Nyerere said in his vision...what he thinks about life and what is important. When I first read in a book about his vision that Tanzanians should be able to give help not only to their tribe, to their family, to the country, to the continent, but also to the whole world I liked very much his vision because I am an idealistic person.

I have my ideas and I think it is important to stand up for them in life, to do something about them. So I was impressed with the ideas and whether these ideas could or could not be realized in society.

Because I think now in our times we are sometimes running out of a vision. We had some ideas in the past but they could not be reached so now they are just like left behind. So I came because of the words of your father to Butiama because then I was preparing my project to come to Tanzania and I met Maurice and Benjamin and knew about their movie , I got in touch with them and asked whether I could interview some of the people they interviewed for their [film] project and I thought it would be interesting to interview the son of Julius Nyerere.

And then I got in touch with you and you suggested I come to Butiama and I thought it was a good idea because for my project I decide to travel to different parts of the country, although sometimes it is a bit hard for me because I don't know the environment and it is new.

It's the second time I have been to Tanzania. I think Butiama is a nice and peaceful place just to walk around and enjoy the landscape because its also feels safe for a foreigner to come here because people have appreciation for Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. So if I come here as a foreigner they don't take me so much as a stranger because they know I am coming here for Julius Nyerere, for the memory. They know that Julius Nyerere had a lot of contact with foreigners so I feel safe to come here, and be closer to the people.

When I look here around the landscape I really would enjoy to stay longer, to walk around, to discover."

My version of the year 2012 in review: 13 December

The bedrooms of the Ikoma Wild Camp are characterised by unique decor.
The elevated dining area provides an excellent vantage point for viewing surrounding wild animals below.

I found out today that in the wild, lightning strikes more than once at the same place.
Not content with having stuck in the mud yesterday, our car was bogged down in mud again for the second time in so many days.

As we waited for the rescue truck to arrive from the Camp, the German film crew of Benjamin

Leers and Maurice Housni took out some of their cameras and began to shoot footage for their documentary, The Teacher's Country.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

My version of the year 2012 in review: 12 December

Maurice Housni wrapped up the photo session at the Highview Hotel in Karatu in the lobby of the

hotel. I had one of the best breakfasts at the hotel.

Before we left, we were asked to make our contribution against global warming; each one of us planted a tree.
It is time for Maurice to plant his tree.
Then, with his colleague Benjamin Leers, we began a game drive that took us through the
Zebras on the slopes of  the Ngorongoro Crater.
Wildebeest in the Ngorongoro Crater.
A large Elephant in the Serengeti National Park.
A Zebra in the Ngorongoro Crater made its own crossing in front of our car.
In the Ngongoro Crater a family of Warthogs ran away from an appraching Hyena.
In the Ngorongoro Crate a lioness approached the pride after an unsuccesful hunt.
The other lions looked up, noticed the lioness was approaching empty-handed, and continued with their siesta.

More Wildebeests in the Ngorongoro Crater.
The same Elephant from a different angle.
Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, where we saw most of the animals found in these two World Heritage sites.

There is a wide selection of books on the Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, including:

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Great Game Parks of Africa) by Daryl Balfour

The only blotch to the day was when a few kilometres before reaching our destination - Zara Tours Ikoma Wild Camp - our car was bogged down in mud.

However, it only took a while before a rescue vehicle arrived from the Camp and we were soon reunited with delicious meals and comfortable accommodation.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Saturday, 15 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 11 December

A day after completing the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, I traveled by car with the German film crew of Benjamin Leers and Maurice Housni to Karatu, near the Ngorongoro Crater, where we stayed at the Highview Hotel, operated by Zara Tanzania Adventures.

The hotel is built on a hill and provides guests with a beautiful view of the valley below.

Benjamin and Maurice immediately set up their camera equipment to begin their photo shooting assignment for Zara Tanzania Adventures.

In the hotel lounge, Maurice began taking photos of some of the hotel's employees.

When the session ended the employees crowded around the digital camera to view their images.

Having just spent the past week in subfreezing temperatures in a tent with a sleeping bag on Mt. Kilimanjaro it was a welcome relief to spend quality time on a large comfortable bed.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Friday, 14 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 10 December

The exotic flowers of Mt. Kilimanjaro appear in various shapes and colours.

At Mweka Camp I added this specimen to my collection of photos of Kilimanjaro's flowers although I am yet to identify its name.

This was the last day of the climb and before we left Mweka Camp for Mweka Gate I thought it was a good time to take a few mementos of the climb. Before the photo was taken I asked: "Can I hold her?" And I think Deo said: "Yes, but don't get too comfortable!"
Before leaving Mweka Camp, from left to right: the author of this blog, Aneth Tillya, and Deogratias Semiono. They both reached the summit. I managed to reach Stella Point.
So just to be on the safe side, I held Aneth as high as possible.

At Mweka Gate we were received by the District Commissioner and officials from Zara Tanzania Adventures, including Zara's proprietor, Zainab Ansell.
After a few speeches and the award of climbers' certificates, the entire group of climbers, dubbed the Kiboko Team by Cloud TV's Anthony Nugaz (in black jacket), posed for a group photo.

Posts related to this one:

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 6 December

When climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro through the Lemosho route the views of Mt. Kilimanjaro change by the day.
At Barranco camp the image of Kibo would be unrecognizable to the familiar view of Mt. Kilimanjaro from Moshi where, weather permitting, both Kibo and Mawenzi peaks are visible.

One of the expedition members, who everyone called Mpemba (native of Pemba), flashed a thumbs-up sign in the comfort of his tent. The national flag was a reminder that we were climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence.

Post related to this one:

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Letter from Butiama: an answer to our prayers

This is one of numerous articles I wrote for the Sunday News (Tanzania) column "Letter from Butiama" between 2005 and 2011. Publication date: 12 March 2006.
After a long period without rain, Tanzania and other parts of the African continent are experiencing excessive rainfall.

A few days ago I drove through Nyamikoma village and what I saw prompted me to track down a man affected by the recent rains.

Shepherd Andrea Fransisko, who is a mason, is the religious head of the Lake Zone under the Magu sub district of the New Apostolic Church. He also heads the Nyamikoma church of the same congregation.

When I saw the church he heads partially submerged in rainwater I felt I needed to talk to him. I had this feeling that since Prime Minister Edward Lowassa recently asked religious congregations to pray for rainfall, many heeded his call and I was convinced Shepherd Andrea was one of them.

It appears those prayers were answered and by biblical proportions. Large areas which suffered under drought have now experienced periods of rainfall which have caused flooding and also brought extensive damage to property. In Magu district alone 30 houses are reported to have been swept away by floodwater.

I had many questions lined up for him, all with the basic purpose of finding out whether faith still abounded under such conflicting signals from above. After my first question he told me God's actions cannot be criticized and I was effectively silenced. At least for a while.

I wanted to know if he could reconcile the fact that their prayers were answered in that manner, with his church under one metre of water. The response was predictable, but it would have been interesting to find a man who has decided to abandon religion altogether in frustration and stay with the more predictable occupation of masonry. That is a situation that newspapers love to expose.

But I was still curious enough to ask some not so direct questions.

For that much rain to fall he must have contributed to a lot of praying, I asked him. He told me that throughout the 20 centres under his authority he did lead a lot of prayers to ask for an end to the dry spell. That I was expecting. What I suspected was unexpected was not only the excessive rainfall but also the the floodwater causing part of the church to remain under water.

He told me apart from the flooding of the church some religious texts and church registers were also damaged. The damage resulted from a heavy downpour on February 24.

I planned my interview with an intent of testing Shepherd Andrea's faith in his Creator and came out with the impression that he was not only steadfast in his faith, but he also found some positive aspects to the incident.

This became apparent when I persisted in trying to dig out a weak link in the chain under his leadership when I asked, "Didn't any member of the congregation wonder why the prayers could not have been answered in moderate proportions?"

"No," he said, "they were happy to scrub clean the Church and clear it of the dirt and mud. Besides, now that the rains have come people are busy planting rice and sweet potatoes." I could tell he did not become Shepherd for nothing.

I went out in search of a dent in the faith of a human being but only ended up discovering other weaknesses in humans which have nothing to do with religion. According to Shepherd Andrea, the person who was given the task of constructing the church chose a low-lying area in a floodplain. To compound the situation, the church stands next to the Mwanza - Musoma road whose low bridges are not adequately cleared of debris and prevents a fluid flow of rainwater.

The result is, during excessive rainfall, the road becomes a dam allowing water to accumulate on one side of the road and preventing the water to flow freely to Lake Victoria, and eventually, to the Nile in Egypt where the Egyptians of centuries past suffered enough damage from floods to devise effective mechanisms for managing the heavenly responses to human suffering.

My version of the year 2011 in review: 5 December

On the second day of the Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence,
Deo Semiono and Aneth Tillya.
we stopped briefly for a rest and I told John Semiono, left, of Zara Tanzania Adventures and Aneth Tillya from Leopard Tours Arusha, that they will be the most photogenic couple on this climb.

Looking good on a photograph has nothing to do with the ability to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They had both qualities and reached the summit a few days later.
As a group of porters approached Aboubakar Malipula (with back to camera), a cameraman from Clouds TV, took some low angle video footage.

When we resumed the trek towards Shira 2 camp, his colleague from Clouds TV and host of Kambi Popote, Anthony Nugaz, edged his way up the Seven Hills section, the most testing part of the day's trek.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 4 December

Early in the morning we assembled for a photo session at Springlands Hotel before embarking on our first day of the Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb organized jointly by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) and Zara Tanzania Adventures.
Zainab Ansell, third from left, Zara's proprietor, and her sister Remmy Adam, fourth from left, joined staff and some of the climbers to see off the group of twenty-plus climbers that I was leading on this historic climb to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence.
When we stopped briefly in downtown Moshi, the German film crew of Benjamin Leers, right, and Maurice Housni, second from right, joined Aneth Tillya, second from left, and another unidentified climber for a photograph.
The four made a photogenic quartet and attracted the attention of others who took several additional photos.
After we registered our names at the Londrossi Gate of the Kilimanjaro National Park we began the 25 minute drive to the edge of the rain forest where the 4-5 hour trek to the first camp, Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree), begins.

Because of the wet road condition, the minibus dropped us some distance before we reached the drop-off point and we were asked to wait to be picked up by an off road truck described by one American climber as "a truck with attitude", a menacing truck that can tackle the worst road conditions. Others decided to begin the walk before the truck's arrival.
The road conditions were so bad that even "the truck with attitude" had to stop some distance before reaching the end of the road and the beginning of the foot path. It would be at least an entire hour of walking before we reached the normal drop-off point.
Some of the porters began to walk ahead of us. My fourth Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, the first time I had attempted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro twice in a year, was underway.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Prof. Sospeter Muhongo gets more accolades

In addition to the other numerous awards and distinctions that he has to his credit, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, who is also Tanzania's minister for Energy and Minerals, has received yet another honour in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in the field of Geology.

He is now also a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), a recognition bestowed by the GSA on individuals in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences.

Here  is the latest CV of Prof. Muhongo:

Professor Sospeter Muhongo, is the Minister of Energy and Minerals of the United Republic of Tanzania and  nominated member of parliament. He is, Officier, Ordre des Palmes Academiques, an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America (HonGSA),


Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, (Officier, Ordre des Palmes Academiques), FGSAf, FAAS, FASI, FASSAf, FTAAS, FGIGE, FTWAS, HonFCAGS, HonGSA, HonFGS, CGeol, EurGe

an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London (HonFGS), an Honorary Research Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (HonFCAGS), a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (FTWAS), a Fellow of the Geological Society of Africa (FGSAf), a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (FAAS), and a Fellow of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences (FTAAS). He is a fellow of ten highly learned professional societies. He is the first recipient (2004) of the Robert Shackleton Award (Outstanding Research on the Precambrian Geology of Africa). He is the Vice President of the Commission of the Geological Map of the World (CGMW). Prof. Muhongo is a Full Professor of Geology at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Prof. Muhongo was the Chair of the Jury of the African Union (AU) Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards - Continental Awards for Outstanding Scientists 2011 Edition. He is a member of the Executive Board of the African Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (AIPF-STI).

He is effectively involved in various high-level regional (Africa) and global science, technology and innovation strategic policy processes (e.g. Africa-Europe STI partnership). He is a member of the International Experts Group (Global Science Forum) of OECD and has occupied numerous important national, regional and international professional positions dealing with STI, earth resources, science policy and science diplomacy. Prof. Muhongo was nominated by his country to be a candidate (2009) for the post of Director General of UNESCO.

He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of African Earth Sciences (Elsevier), Associate Editor of Precambrian Research (Elsevier) and a member of several editorial boards of science journals and bulletins. Prof. Muhongo is the Senior Editor of the published book (2009) on "Science, Technology and Innovation for Socio-Economic Development: Success Stories from Africa."

Prof. Muhongo was the President of the Geological Society of Africa (1995 - 2001). He was the founding Regional Director (2005 - 2010) of the ICSU Regional Office for Africa, Pretoria, South Africa. He was the Chairperson of the UNESCO-IUGS-IGCP Scientific Board of International Geoscience Programme (2004 - 2008), and the Chair (2007 - 2010) of Science Programme Committee (SPC) of the UN-proclaimed International Year of the Planet Earth (IYPE). He is a Chartered Geologist and an active member of numerous professional societies including, the Geological Society of America, the Geological Society of London, the Royal Commonwealth Society, Geologische Vereingung (Germany), Geological Society of Africa, Geological Society of South Africa, and the Tanzania Geological Society.

During a visit to Butiama, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo with Mama Maria Nyerere, left, widow of Tanzania's founding president, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere.
He was the Chairman (1999 - 2005) of the Board of Directors of the State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), Tanzania, and was the Head (1997 - 2000) of the Department of Geology, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Prof. Muhongo was the Chairman (2002) of the Tanzania Government's Commission of Inquiry on the deadliest Mererani Tanzanite mine's accident.

Prof. Muhongo is intensively mentoring young scientists, engineers and technologists around the world. He is the Patron of the University of Dar es Salaam Geological Association of Students (UDGAS), a Patron of the National Young Earth Scientists Network (YES, Tanzania) and is an Advisor to the Global Young Earth Scientists Network (Yes, Global).

For those seeking useful advice for writing CVs, Author Midred Talabi offers useful advice in her book 7 Keys to a Winning CV: How to create a CV that gets results.

Prof. Muhongo has published over 200 well acknowledged research articles, geological and mineral maps. He has delivered more than 300 invited keynote speeches around the world at international conferences. He has undertaken over 100 contracted scientific research projects, and consultancy services in the mineral industry, environmental issues and STI policy matters. Pro. Muhongo has been on many STI review/evaluation panels and advisory boards for both national and international institutions and organizations. He has been an external Examiner/Referee for numerous universities, i.e. examinations moderator and academic staff referee/evaluator (e.g. candidates for professorship positions). Over the past two decades, Prof. Muhongo has co-organized over 100 expert group meetings and international earth sciences, STI and science policy conferences, including those on "Science with Africa (Rapporteur-General)" which are hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and their partners.

Prof. Muhongo has developed a special interest in the application of STI for sutainable growth and socio-economic development of the global society. Prof. Muhongo who is the recipient of numerous scholarly and professional awards, recognitions, grants, and fellowships studied geology at the Universities of Dar es Salaam and GHttingen (Germany). He graduated with Dr.rer.nat. degree from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. Prof. Muhongo is fluent in Kiswahili, English, German and French (basic).

Posts related to this one:

My version of the year 2011 in review: 3 December

The hotel bedroom prior to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is normally littered with clothing and other items necessary for the climb as each climber sorts out what to take on the climb and what to leave at the hotel. It is an untidy mess of relatively clean clothing and mountain gear.
The bedroom after the climb is worse: it is an untidy mess of dirty clothing and mountain gear.

In the afternoon Benjamin Leers and co-filmmaker Maurice Housni decided they should begin to interview me for the documentary, The Teacher's Country.
They chose a scenic spot among the rice fields close to Springlands Hotel. As they set up their equipment and carried out a sound check, a noisy bird attracted their attention.

Other posts in this 2011 reviews series:

Sunday, 9 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 2 December

The filmmakers, Benjamin Leers and Maurice Housni, arrived in Moshi from Dar es Salaam today and in the evening they spent time in an Internet cafe' near the Buffalo Hotel in downtown Moshi to link up by videophone with their relatives in Germany.
In two days we embark with them on the Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb organized by Tanzania Tourist Board and Zara Tanzania Adventures to mark 50 years of Tanzania's independence. Benjamin and Maurice will also shoot part of their film documentary in which I will also answer questions on how Tanzania has evolved during its 50 years of nationhood.

Other posts in this 2011 review series:

Saturday, 8 September 2012

My version of the year 2011 in review: 30 November

Once again, I was ready for Kilimanjaro. The mountain, not the lager.
I packed my climbing gear and some clothes in two bags and waited for the bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) to take me to the Musoma - Mwanza road for a bus trip to Mwanza and an onward connection to Moshi. It is amazing to see how much can be loaded on a motorcycle.

Post related to this one:

Other posts in this 2011 review series: