Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Friday, 30 November 2012

Trying to make sense of the term 'common sense'

The term 'common sense' does not make sense. Particularly when making reference to human behaviour.

Humans are gifted with the ability to learn, memorize, and gather experience that should allow them to possess the "...natural ability to make good judgements and to behave in a practical and sensible way." In a gist, that is the basic character trait that the author of the phrase 'common sense' assumes every adult human should possess.

There is a limit to this definition. We have to assume that it should only apply to a human being confronted with 'common' day-to-day situations. We cannot assume that any human can possess the common sense that is expected of an astronaut.

Now let us turn to real life examples and my experience of driving on Tanzania's roads provides excellent examples.

Don't forget to read about the next news of a tragic road accident involving a passenger bus in Tanzania where the driver escapes serious injury. What you are likely to also read is that the driver of the ill-fated bus ran away from the accident scene. Why? Because he is running away from being prosecuted for reckless driving and causing the death and/or injury to his passengers. 'Common sense' (and perhaps this is only one of the very rare instances where the use of 'common sense' makes some sense) tells me and you that while driving recklessly with absolute disregard for the safety of his passengers the driver knew that he was driving recklessly and with absolute disregard for the safety of his passengers. We can safely assume this is the case because he runs away after the accident.

That he nevertheless exposes his passengers to the risk of injury and death even with prior knowledge ('common sense') that driving dangerously might produce those tragic consequences makes little sense of the phrase 'common sense.'

There are numerous other examples on the road, including overloading, overtaking on blind spots, driving fast in residential areas where humans who we assume to have 'common sense' show signs of having very little sense in how they behave.

There are many other examples in society that will produce the same conclusion: the phrase 'common sense' makes no sense at all.
Overspeeding was the cause of this bus, plying between Tarime and Mwanza, to veer off the road near Mwanza on 18th October 2012. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported.
On a positive note, psychologist Daniel Willingham, while reviewing the book What Intelligence Tests Miss by Keith Stanovich, says that 'common sense' can be taught. To a bus driver who builds a reputation among passengers by how fast he drives from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza? I beg to differ.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The reason why I plan to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro at least six more times

I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro seven times, and I plan to climb Africa's highest peak at least six more times between now and the end of 2014.

Here' the reason why. When I first decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro my objective was to raise money for charity. It remains the basic objective. So I continue to raise money for a charitable cause during one of my climbs each year. From having planned a single climb each year between 2008 and 2010, in 2011 I have been climbing twice each year, one of those climbs being specifically targeted at raising charitable donations.
During my first ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2008.
I have since decided it is possible for me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro thrice each year, particularly after deciding that I would like to write a book on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. So, for next year and 2014 I have scheduled three climbs annually. I plan to climb all of Kilimanjaro's official routes at least once as part of the book project. Climbing only once a year would have taken too long.

Here's my tentative schedule:


Jan 21 - 27

  • Fundraising for construction of roof for Kichalikani Primary School, Tanga
  • Kilimanjaro book research


May 20 - 26


Kilimanjaro book research


Sept 23 - 30


Kilimanjaro book research


Jan 20 - 27


Kilimanjaro book research


May 26 - June 2

  • Fundraising
  • Kilimanjaro book research


Sept 22 - 28


Kilimanjaro book research

Interested in joining me in one of those climbs? Write to me: madaraka.nyerere@gmail.com

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Frisbee contest? In Tanzania?

I've just received information on a Frisbee throwing contest to be held in Arusha at the end of this week, November 23 - 24.

The East Africa Ultimate Frisbee Contest, organized by the Arusha Ultimate Frisbee Association (AUFA), will match up four teams at the Arusha Technical College: Moshi Kill Killers, Mwanza Tossers, Arusha Ultimate Frisbee, and Nairobi Ultimate.

File:Ultimate at UNC-Wilmington.jpg

I must admit that when this tournament came to my attention it conjured images of Tanzanians engaging in 'foreign' activities to which they would seem to me rather ill-matched and totally out of character. Imagine a Tanzanian sumo wrestler, complete with the sheet wrapped over the groin.

So it was with some scepticism that I sought out some additional information from an official of AUFA. The more I learnt, the more interested I became, and the more scepticism I shed. Some of the rules, in brief:
  • two teams of seven each play against each other
  • at least two of the players should be female
  • the teams play on a field of 110 X 37metres
  • team members throw the Frisbee to fellow members and will score against the opposing team when a team member catches the Frisbee at the end zone of the opposing team
  • the Frisbee is lost to the opposing team when it is either intercepted, blocked, or is thrown out of the field
  • the opposing team will also loose a Frisbee if an opposing player takes too long to pass the Frisbee to a team member
  • a team who has caught a Frisbee must remain on the spot until he throws the Frisbee to a teammate (a rule that is similar to one applied in netball)
The AUFA official also told me that the game is played for 60 or 90 minutes, the time to be set before the tournament kicks off. He expects the tournament will be organized on a regular basis from next year.

Contrary to what I imagined there are far more Tanzanians than foreigners in the Arusha team. I probably should be the last person in Tanzania to question the adoption of unusual pastimes by Tanzanians. Jaffar Amin, with whom I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro twice told me that the first time his close family members heard he was going to climb Africa's highest peak commented about his preference for doing 'strange things that white people like to do.' Jaffar has climbed Kilimanjaro twice; I am scheduled to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for the eighth time next January.

As I just said, I should the last person to question: Frisbee contest? In Tanzania?

For more information on the tournament and venue: call 0684082908, or 0752216040.

Friday, 16 November 2012

How to remove a poisonous snake from the house

From the bathroom, to be more precise. A black mamba chose the worst moment to enter the house last month, just when students and teachers from St. Constantine's School in Arusha were completing their dinner.

As she walked out of the washroom, one of the teachers casually informed me that there was a snake in the toilet, the guest toilet near the dining room. She was my preferred kind of visitor, not the type who screams at the top of his or her voice at the sight of a snake.

As I cautiously peered behind the toilet door to size up the snake, the lead guide/driver who had accompanied the group of 25 students and three teachers asked me not to kill the snake.

File:Dendroaspis polylepis by Bill Love.jpg
Photo of Black Mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis, used under Creative Commons License. Details at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

I said: "Don't worry. We don't kill snakes in this house", I said to Costa Simba.

Step 1: Using a broomstick, I gently coaxed the snake out of the washroom and it squeezed itself behind the opening under the door hinge.

Although its entire body had shifted past the door opening, it coiled up and lodged itself firmly behind the door with its head facing me. I have seen enough nature documentaries to be aware that it was not in a mood to make friends with anyone. It had taken a hostile position.

Step 2: I placed the broomstick in front of its head with the expectation that it would crawl on and I would be able to pick up the broom and take both snake and broom outside the building to release the snake.

From time to time, Costa kept checking on my progress on removing the snake. At one stage, apparently more concenred about what I would do to the snake then what the snake might do to me, told me: "It's all right, the elders have come to say 'hello.'"

That, he had no need to explain. According to Zanaki tradition a guardian spirit called Muhunda takes many forms: a large baboon, a leopard, or a snake. That tradition forbids humans from harming these creatures.

Simba explained to me that, according to tradition, the 'right' way to remove a snake from the house is to coax it onto a stick and then when it slides onto the stick, to lift both stick and snake and throw it out of a window. Through the window, he insisted, not the door.

That was what I was trying to do but the snake obviously wanted to stay a little longer and was not going away anytime soon. I was still desperately trying to complete step two; he wanted to make sure I followed the instructions well.

At some point I decided the broomstick was too thick for the snake to crawl on to and I changed tactics.

Step 3: I walked out to the garden and cut a thin branch which I assumed would be easier for the snake to relate to.

It was probably unwise to try to coax a snake onto a plastic broomstick in the first place. With the thin branch I tried too much and the snake turned back into the door opening and slid back into the washroom and began slithering up the egde of the door.

In the meantine the teacher who had casually announced the presence of the snake, seeing how much time I was spending trying to remove the snake asked me why I could not just scoop up the snake with a short plastic container. "It seems like a harmless tree snake," she said. No, I explained, this was a black mamba. One of the most poisonous snakes in the world.

She said she wished I did not reveal that; now she was afraid. Now her earlier casual fearless announcement about there being a snake in the bathroom made prefect sense.

Step 3: It was not the gentlest snake removals I had done, but when the snake coiled its upper part on the stick I gently and gradually forced it off the door and wall until most of its body was suspended in the air and it had only one option: to coil itself around the stick that I was holding.

I walked past the dining room and headed for the nearest window.

Step 4: With ample warning to those who are petrified by the presence and sight of snakes, I called ahead to those near the nearest window to open one window.

The closest window was in the kitchen and I am glad I announced my approach because it is not common for me to walk into the kitchen with a snake on a stick. I recall walking into the dining room with a snake in a plastic bag but this was an entirely new experience. Eventually, I stretched my hand through the window and placed the stick on the ground and the snake uncoiled itself and disappeared into the evening.

It was also a different experience from another perspective. I have on a previous occasion removed a snake from the house in a similar manner, but I walked out of the main entrance with the snake on a stick and released it out on the garden. The window tradition was a first for me.

Epilogue: Actually, I am the only one who does not kill snakes at home. Lucky snake.

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

I am reducing the tags on my posts

If you visit this blog regularly you will notice that some tags are disappearing and new categories appearing. To allow easier navigation around the blog, I am drastically reducing the number of tags to just over twenty.

I will also continue to strive to improve content to make your visit here enjoyable.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Letter from Butiama: How not to forget

This is one of numerous articles I wrote for the Sunday News (Tanzania) column "Letter from Butiama" between 2005 and 2011. Publication date: 4 June 2006. 
Children spend a considerable amount of time pretending they are adults. They can be doctors, nurses, drivers, and even parents.

When they do become doctors, nurses, drivers, and parents, they sometimes long for the days when they were children, without the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. And when they grow old, they long for the youthful energy and vigour of younger generations.

I recently pretended to be “old”, as old as a grandfather of about seventy years of age, and someone who is a grandmother reminded me that I was far from even being considered joining the senior citizens’ club.

I find myself increasingly preoccupied with growing old because of the frequent signs I get that I associate with ageing. If I were a car I would probably be approaching the reconditioning stage. New is out of the question.

In the recent past, whenever I misplaced my cell phone and could not find it, I would dial my number using another handset and when it rang I would unearth it from a pile of books or clothes. Recently, I misplaced my handset, called my number, and it rang from the pocket of a trouser I was wearing.

Science is yet to conclusively establish how human memory functions, but one thing that is certain is that older people are affected by memory loss. The good news is that it is a gradual process. We do not suddenly go from having normal memories to none. We begin by forgetting where we left the house keys, and progress to more serious memory deficiencies.

Fortunately, there are many aids that can help to counter the effects of age and memory loss. When I once complained to someone about my poor memory, she told me that glucose intakes improve memory, but I have a problem remembering to buy the glucose. I am not a doctor so you may want to consult one if you consider that option.

Frequent participation in memory exercises also helps those who are affected with memory loss. Some of these exercises involve looking at a large list of names or numbers and then attempting to recall as many as possible.

Improvements to electronic gadgets and accessories may also help to reduce incidences of forgetting. Cell phones and computers contain personal reminders that will remind us of an appointment next year as long as we remember to feed in the information beforehand.

I have other suggestions. If you happen to be one of those people who remember the right thing at the wrong time, such as remembering that your birthday is next August, but actually forget it is your birthday on the day itself, then what you probably have to do is get used to carrying a small notebook. The procedure is that each time you remember some errand, task, or appointment you note it down on the notebook and later transfer it to a diary.

If remembering is crucial to your daily activity it is quite helpful and convenient and will save you from a lot of disappointments. One important point is you have to develop the habit of opening that diary first thing every morning before you begin work; otherwise, whatever you record will be of no use.

A common problem I encounter is forgetting an item I have to carry out when I leave in the morning. To remember I place that item at the door in such a manner that the only way I would leave the room is to step on it or over it.

If you have stick-on papers they are extremely convenient as reminders. You jot down your reminder and place them where you cannot miss them: on the monitor of your computer, on your desk, on your bedroom mirror, on the toilet door, or on the first bottle of your favourite beer when you sit down to relax with your fellow “stakeholders” of the beer industry. Normally, one’s memory should not be affected by one beer.

There are some memory problems that may not have immediate solutions. I once opened a file to inspect some documents and placed my car keys on the open file. I believe I turned over a few pages of the file, forgetting to remove the keys, closed the file and returned it to the shelf. I discovered the keys some years later on opening the file again. I do not remember the file subject, but I suspect it was my employees’ pay rise applications.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Dr. Thomas Molony's quest to become a Munroist

Dr. Thomas Molony, a regular visitor to Butiama, is on a mission to climb 283 mountains in Scotland. He has climbed 28 already. Known as the Munros, these are mountains of a height of more than 914.4m above sea level. A comprehensive description of the Munros is found here.

While the heights of these mountains are relatively modest they pose considerable challenges to mountaineers, because of exposure to Atlantic and Arctic weather systems.
Dr. Thomas Molony at the summit of Meall Ghaordaidh, his 28th Munro, in August 2012.
The attempt to climb all the Munros is called "Munro bagging" and one who accomplishes this task is called a Munroist. I have asked Dr. Molony to keep me abreast of his future Munro climbs and will be looking forward to addressing introducing him to fellow mountaineers as "Munroist Dr. Thomas Molony."

Dr. Molony is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of African Studies of the University of Edinburgh. He is also putting final touches to a biography on the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Letter from Butiama: the downside of budget travel

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.
Budget air travelers once used to sit in the economy class of airplanes. Today I understand there are several creative names given to classes with passengers who are not in first or business.

The market niche of budget travelers has existed and will continue to do so and various airlines have targeted this group, consisting of people who demand minimum service, fight for elbow space amongst themselves, occupy a relatively smaller area per passenger compared to other classes, and are mostly interested in getting from point A to B, even when they have to travel by way of Mars. They reach their destination drained of energy.

Passengers willing to pay a higher fare demand space, comfort, and the shortest possible route to their destination. When they get off the plane they seem like they have returned from a long holiday instead of having arrived at the end of a long journey.

I took advantage of economy travel in the past and it has its ups and downs, mostly downs. Ethiopian Airlines used to offer a morning departure from Dar-es-salaam to Tokyo, via Kilimanjaro International Airport, Entebbe in Uganda, and a stopover of several hours at Addis Ababa. In the afternoon passengers took a flight with the same airline to New Delhi, India, with an overnight stopover. The next day, in the afternoon, passengers would take an Air India flight to Singapore, arriving late in the evening and later, at night, board a Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo and arrive the next morning.

Three airlines, four transit countries, and two days later one would arrive in Tokyo in need of a short holiday.

I took that flight once, and switched back to the more expensive option of the defunct Swissair that involved one airline, one transit country, and one day later, arriving in Tokyo energized.

The trouble began when I presented my ticket to board the Air India flight out of Delhi. I was told my name was not on the passenger list, economy class was full, and had to wait for the next available flight in two days. I protested that I had a confirmed ticket from Dar, but was asked to stand aside for the next passenger. I raised such a commotion that I was given a seat in business class.

I once heard the same story about my name disappearing from the passenger manifest of an Alitalia flight in Milan, Italy, but, as a student, it did not bother me to spend an extra day to see Europe. At the New Delhi check-in, I was a young busy businessman with a lot of outstanding work on my desk.

Apart from disappearing names, the other down side of budget travel is the limited range of accommodation one can choose from. I once stayed in a hotel in Tokyo that had such small rooms that if I had to stretch in the morning I had to stretch parallel to the bed’s length. If I stretched sideways, I would touch the walls.

The compact room was nothing compared to the treatment I received from staff at a hotel during a stopover in Zurich. When checking out I asked for the bill and was told that “the computer was malfunctioning” and it would not be possible to issue a bill. I asked to speak to the Manager and was told I was speaking to the Manager, so I insisted that I had to account to for my travel expenses and that I had to have some document showing my expenditure. That was also not possible.

When I persisted, she turned to a colleague at her side and made a racist remark in Italian, a language I understand and which is one of the official Swiss languages.

I reacted, In English, beginning with the words, “Madam, with all due respect…” What followed had nothing to do with respect. I went on to reveal to her my honest unreserved opinion of what I believed she was. It was too much for her and she lamented, in Italian, to her colleague. I then took the trouble to repeat, in Italian, my honest reserved opinion of what I believed she was. For my honesty, I returned to Dar without the bill.

After my disappointing experiences with budget accommodation, I have tended to choose internationally recognized hotel chains when in transit. They are used to handle clients black, white, pink, and orange skins. If they are racist they, at least, are sophisticated enough to suppress their attitudes.

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Here's yet another CV update from Prof. Sospeter Muhongo

Early this month, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo was in the United States at the invitation of the Geological Society of America (GSA) for his appointment as Honorary Fellow to the GSA. This updated CV includes the recent addition to his accomplishments and also expands his other contributions in the field of geology and mineral maps.

If you need help writing your CV, you might want to look at author Corinne Mills' top-rated book You're Hired!: How to write a brilliant CV which is available through Amazon.
Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, a distinguished scholar, is the Minister of Energy and Minerals of the United Republic of Tanzania and a Nominated Member of Parliament. He is, "Officier, Ordre des Palmes Académiques", an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America (HonFGSA), 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 Tanzania Academy of Sciences (FTAAS). He is a fellow of ten highly learned professional societies. He is the first recipient (2004) of Prof. Robert Shackleton (UK) Award for Outstanding Research on the Precambrian Geology of Africa. He is the Vice President of the Commission of the Geological Map of the World (CGMW). He is a Full Professor of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and an Honorary Professor of Geology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Prof. Muhongo was the Chair of the Jury for 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).

Mama Maria Nyerere with
Prof. Dr. Sospeter Muhongo (Officier, Ordre des Palmes Académiques), FGSAf, FAAS, FASI, FASSAf, FTAAS, FGIGE, FTWAS, HonFCAGS, HonFGSA, HonFGS, CGeol, EurGeol
 during his visit to Butiama.
He is effectively involved in various high level regional (Africa) and global science, technology and innovation strategic policy processes (Africa-Europe STI partnerships). 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 the 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 the International Geoscience Programme (2004 - 2008), and the Chair (2007 - 2010) of the Science Programme Committee (SPC) of the UN-proclaimed International Year of 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 Vereinigung (Germany), Geological Society of Africa, Geological Society of South Africa, and the Tanzania Geological Society.

He was the Chairman (1995 - 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. Prof. Muhongo was the Chairman (2002) of the Tanzania Government's Commission of Inquiry on the deadliest Merelani Tanzanite mine's accident.

Prof. Muhongo is 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).

Prof. Muhongo has published over 200 research papers in international journals of high impact factors. He has co-authored widely used geological and mineral maps of Africa, East Africa and Tanzania. He has co-authored widely used geological and mineral maps of Africa, East Africa and Tanzania. 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. Prof. 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 sustainable 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 (Tanzania), and Gӧttingen (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).

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Friday, 9 November 2012

Visitors to Butiama: Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru

Over the years, thousands of visitors have visited Butiama including prominent political figures. Many of Butiama's visitors decide to visit Butiama in recognition of the lasting social and political legacy of one of Butiama's famous residents, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who died on 14th October 1999 and was buried in Butiama on 23th October 1999.

Mzee Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, being one of the politicians who served under the administration of President Nyerere, would have visited Butiama many times during his tenure in his various capacities within the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and in government.

This photo was taken during his last visit to Butiama several years ago when he attended the funeral of Josephat Kiboko Nyerere, Mwalimu Nyerere's brother.

If past records are reliable there should be an increase in the number of visitors to Butiama as we draw closer to the elections in 2015.

Oldoinyo Lengai, the mountain of God

I have plans to climb Oldoinyo Lengai, but which have been on hold for the past several years. It took me close to a decade between the time I decide to climb until I eventually climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2008. So, Oldoinyo Lengai might have to wait for a while.

It is an active volcano and the last eruption was in 2010 - the first in 1883 - and the eruption is still described as "on going." Which provides me an excuse for postponing my climb. The temperature of its lava is said to be only 520 degrees Centigrade. I interpret this to mean there are for more hotter volcanoes on this planet.

The highest point on Oldoinyo Lengai is only 2,980m above sea level; Kilimanjaro's summit is 5,895m above sea level. And yet I have heard from those who have been on this volcano that its steep slopes create a formidable challenge to the climber. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro involves continuous instances of going up and down, particularly during the initial few days on the Lemosho route. I am told Oldoinyo Lengai constitutes a continuous upward movement, all the way to the top.

Some of the information in this post accessed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ol_Doinyo_Lengai.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Moshi's Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge

Nowadays I take every opportunity that places me within striking distance of tasty cakes and a good cup of coffee.

The last time I was in Moshi I walked into the Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge on Chagga Street (facing the main market) and ordered a sizable cup of coffee with Chocolate cake.

The place has a piano and the owners permit those who want to show how well they play the piano to go ahead and enjoy themselves. As I waited for my order, and being the only client at the time, I sat in front of the piano and played one of a handful of songs that I learnt more than 30 years ago.

The Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge also offers 'traditional light meals,' grilled chicken, grilled beef steaks, Schnitzels, and a variety of other dishes that I have not had the opportunity to taste.

The coffee was perfect; the Chocolate cake too sweet for my liking.

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Here's a question: where do you get the best view of Mt. Kilimanjaro? Kenya or Tanzania?

Someone at Jamii Forums recently raised a question: where is the best view of Mt. Kilimanjaro; is it from the Kenyan or the Tanzanian side? This commentator suspects there is a conspiracy by Kenyans to lure tourists to Kenya and thus the reason why such a question has surfaced.

This question should not be asked. The view of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the Kenyan side is slightly different from the view from Tanzania. From Tanzania Kibo peak is on the left side while Mawenzi peak is on the right side. From Kenya the two peaks take opposite positions, Kibo on the right and Mawenzi on the left. If anyone prefers the Kenyan view it is outrageous to claim that Tanzania offers the better view.

Kibo peak, seen from Karanga camp on the Lemosho route.

I repeat, again, that this Tanzanian pastime of accusing the Kenyans of getting more out of Mt. Kilimanjaro than Tanzanians while Tanzanians do little more than complain provides no improvement whatsoever to our prosperity.

I believe that the visitor who has traveled from abroad for the purpose of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro cares little whether this World Heritage site is in Kenya, Tanzania, or on Jupiter. The visitor is interested in the mountain and not so much on where Kenya ends and Tanzania begins.

I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro a number of times and the truth is that comparatively few Tanzanians climb this mountain compared to foreigners. On Mt. Kilimanjaro Tanzanians are the visitors while the foreigners can claim to be the hosts because of their large numbers. Recently on the Marangu route I even met a large group of Kenyans heading to the summit.

I would be extremely pleased to see some of these complainants don some mountain gear and join me on the next climb. Afterwards they can speak with authority and conviction on Mt. Kilimanjaro instead of complaining and asking awkward questions.

One thing they will learn is that the best views of Mt. Kilimanjaro are right on the mountain itself. But that is only my opinion.

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Monday, 5 November 2012

Political party CCJ has resurfaced as CCK

Remember the short-lived political party, Chama cha Jamii (CCJ)? Well, they are back in politics, now re-named Chama cha Kijamii (CCK).

A press report last week reported changes in CCK's leadership. Among the changes, the former secretary general, Renatus Gregory Muabhi, will be re-assigned other duties. He was the founding secretary general in CCJ, together with the then chairperson Richard Kiyabo, who abandoned CCJ after it became apparent that the party would not meet the registration requirements before the 2010 general elections.

As part of their launch campaign with CCJ, Kiyabo and Muabhi traveled around the country to drum up support for their party and promised mass defections from the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi's parliamentarians. They traveled as far as Butiama. When the count was concluded, only one MP defected.

During a visit to Butiama in March 2010, Renatus Muabhi (L), and Richard Kiyabo (R) lay a wreath at the grave of Tanzania's founding president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere

Maybe this time Tanzanians might have the opportunity to assess the policies of another political party in the next general elections in 2015.

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Friday, 2 November 2012

The road to Musoma is excellent

The Chinese construction firm that has completed the construction of the Nyabange to Kiabakari section of the Musoma to Mwanza highway has done an excellent job.

The video clip fails to capture how well this road has been paved.

The government certainly deserves credit. The ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi, should not take credit. I believe that it is the least that any government should do.