Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Friday, December 21, 2012

Edinburgh University's Julius Nyerere Master's Scholarships for 2013 - 2014

The University of Edinburgh is offering three scholarships for three Tanzanian students for postgraduate Master's study for any subject for 2013 - 2014. The deadline for submitting applications is 1st April 2013.

The university set up the Julius Nyerere Master's Scholarship in 2009 in memory of Tanzania's founding president, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who received a scholarship in 1949 and studied at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1952 with a Masters of arts degree.
Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922 - 1999)
The scholarship is worth £10,000 and will cover full overseas tuition fee, living costs worth £10,000 and return air travel to Edinburgh.

The scholarship is for one year only.

Further details can be obtained here:

Post related to this one:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4 reasons why you should fly with Fastjet between Dar, Mwanza, and Kilimanjaro

I'll update this list as I remember more reasons.

There are many reasons why you should fly with Fastjet between Dar es Salaam and either Mwanza or Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), the two destinations that are currently on offer. I have four.

1. Savings
Fastjet's fares are unbeatable at the moment. At Shs.32,000/- (pre-tax) for a one way trip from Dar es Salaam to either Mwanza or KIA, Fastjet beats all other airlines serving these two routes.

2. Cutting out the middlemen
When making reservations I have had extremely horrifying experiences with travel agents and airlines whose prices change by the minute to the same destination, and when you seek an explanation they come up with half-baked excuses about the fare on offer being provided depending on when you make your booking and about the availability of classes in aircraft that do not have any class compartments.
Approaching Mwanza airport to land.
With Fastjet the fare remains the same whether you buy direct from the airline or whether you pay through an agent.

3. Convenience of booking
Fastjet provides a simple method of making your own reservations online. No phone calls to airlines that keep you on hold listening to strange music, or to agents who never respond to your calls because they already have enough business to keep them busy until Christmas next year.

4. Pay for what you get
All airlines will charge you for services that you may not use, from the 20 kilo baggage "allowance" for unchecked luggage, for meals that you might not eat during the flight, and the ten beers that the passenger next to you will drink.

With Fastjet you pay for the service you use, from the extra luggage to the in flight drinks and meals. One likely bonus is there will be fewer drunk loud-mouthed passengers on Fastjet's flights.

Monday, December 17, 2012

America's gun culture

America's obsession with guns is in the news again with the recent fatal shooting of elementary school children by a gunman whose mother, also killed by the gunman, was a gun enthusiast who frequently took his son to the shooting range.

When a few days ago someone posted a statistical comparison on Facebook showing gun deaths for selected countries, I thought some analysis might reveal that, proportionally, American gun deaths may not be as serious as initial numbers would suggest if these countries' populations are applied.

I was wrong.

In terms of numbers the United States outstrips many countries in the world but the United States is not, historically, the leading country in the world for firearm related deaths per 100,000:

    No.
    Country
    Killed
    1
    United States
    10,728
    2
    Israel
    58
    3
    Canada
    52
    4
    Japan
    48
    5
    West Germany
    42
    6
    Switzerland
    34
    7
    Sweden
    21
    8
    Great Britain
    8

But at almost 11,000 deaths the United States does not only have the leading number of gun deaths, but even when population is factored in the comparison it still takes the lead for the selected countries.

Individuals killed by guns for selected countries (ranked by percent killed):
No.
Country
Killed
Population
Percent Killed
1
United States
10,728
314,947,000
0.00340629
2
Israel
58
7,956,000
0.00072901
3
Switzerland
34
8,000,001
0.00042500
4
Sweden
21
9,546,217
0.00021998
5
Canada
52
35,009,100
0.00014853
6
West Germany
42
81,874,000
0.00005130
7
Japan
48
127,547,000
0.00003763
8
Great Britain
8
63,100,000
0.00001268

On another Facebook update on the same subject someone defended the right of American citizens to bear arms and defend themselves and their families from all the bad elements in society that may want to cause harm to them. He suggested that people should not be swayed by the emotions of the time.

I am trying to imagine someone remaining "emotionless" by the killing of children. By the killing of anyone, period.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Misconceptions about Spain

Picture this: a Spanish shepherd herding sheep in Spain.


Perhaps there is nothing incompatible between being a developed country, such as Spain, and still have some of your nationals roaming the Spanish countryside herding sheep just as one would find in less developed countries such as Tanzania. This is an image that I see regularly at Butiama.

I'll live with it, but it wasn't the image I had of Spain.

In 2011 Spain had a per capita Gross Domestic Product of $US30,478 and it is the 12th largest economy on the world.

Monday, December 3, 2012

No shortage of people who believe in magic

Mganga is the name of the Tanzanian medicine man, or woman in some cases, and like other Tanzanians, many members of the Zanaki ethnic group who reside around Butiama regularly consult a mganga.

To believers the mganga has a remedy to most problems affecting humans, from health issues to the resolution of conflicts arising out of social relations. Some even claim to possess potions that can bring instant riches to their clients.

In the book Bantu Customs in Mainland Tanzania author P. van Pelt writes:
When we speak about religious beliefs, we do not only speak about a Bantu's understanding of Being or of a Supreme Being and his relationship and conduct towards this Being or Supreme Being. We speak also about his understanding of other non-human beings and his consequent relationship with and conduct towards these other beings. As a matter of fact the Bantu is very much occupied with those other beings. The question is then which are the consequences for his relationships with human beings and his synthetic understanding of the universe. These other beings exist in nature, that means they are not transcendental. They are spirits or things having forces which surpass in power people who are bodily living and these forces can act on living persons, animals and things. But it happens also that specially gifted people by themselves or with the assistance of spirits can command these forces.

This belief gives rise to magical practices.
The mganga falls within this class of "gifted" people.
A medicine woman preparing her tools of trade before consultation with a patient.
In a consultation I witnessed, the mganga began the healing process by summoning the spirits of her ancestors through incantations, the spirits having provided indications of the problem that was only fleetingly hinted by the patient.

Post related to this one:
http://madarakanyerere.blogspot.com/2008/11/letter-from-butiama-modern-day-witch.html

Even the Pope has a Twitter account? Maybe it's time to reconsider...

Now that it has been revealed that Pope Benedict XVI has a Twitter account, I am thinking perhaps it is an opportune time to consider opening one myself. I actually already have, but I have not used it since I did about two weeks ago.

As a following and compared to how many might 'follow' the Pope, I might not have much to start with but I could start with the handful of readers who visit this blog every day. I will also consider stirring up some controversy to lure followers to my Twitter updates.

I have to admit though I am normally reluctant to hop on the latest social media fad because of the huge amount of time that one has to devote to keeping up with updates. I have an extremely slow Internet connection speed at Butiama and, rather than spend time on social media, I would rather spend my time responding to routine email correspondence related to my current work.

But since some of my work involves writing visiting and commenting on social websites sometimes provides ideas for topics. It's a balancing act that requires devoting time on both activities.