Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, 31 January 2013

This car was for sale

This is a Dodge Nitrro 4X4 with a six gear manual transmission. It was for sale. Not anymore.
If you are in Dodoma today, or in Mwanza tomorrow and want to have a peek at a powerful machine, post a comment to let me know.

The New Dodoma Hotel

The New Dodoma Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Dodoma, having being part of the properties of the defunct East African Railways Corporation (EARC).
The EARC was one of the corporations of the defunct East African Community, which lasted until its collapse in 1977, formed by the governments of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in the early 1960s.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Zanzibar doors of Butiama

There are (probably) only two Zanzibar doors in Mara region and they are all found in Butiama, at Mwitongo.

When the war between Idi Amin's Uganda and Tanzania under President Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere ended in 1979, the Tanzanian army chose to build a house for its commander-in-chief as a gift for the victory against Idi Amin's forces.

Over a hilltop, steps from where he was born and is now buried, he pointed to a spot where he wanted the house to be built. We refer to the house as the Kagera residence, using Tanzania's preferred naming of the 1978-9 war with Uganda: the Kagera War.

During the construction of the Kagera residence the then president of Zanzibar, Salmin Amour, donated two Zanzibar doors to the house. One of these doors is located at the house's entrance while the second one is located at the entrance of the personal library of Mwalimu Nyerere that contains more than 8,000 volumes.
The Zanzibar door at the Kagera residence at Butiama, at the entrance to the personal library of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere that houses more than 8,000 volumes. A Zanzibar chest is seen on the lower left side.
The doors are not as elaborately decorated as this one, but they provide a unique view and serve as a permanent link between Butiama and Zanzibar.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Curious, at a Chinese restaurant

When she brought me the bill at table number 14 I asked: "Why do you communicate in English?"
She said that is how it has always been at home. Even the parents, owners of a Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam where I had just completed a lunch of Chicken with juicy black mushrooms and egg fried rice, would speak to the children in Chinese and accepted responses in English. Interesting.

Perhaps even more interesting that afternoon, the two younger sisters, both less than 12 years of age, were working at the restaurant - folding napkins and, once, one of them returned some change to a customer. In some countries they could sue their parents for being made to work at that age.

The elder sister, who answered my question, was the 'head waitress' taking the lunch orders. She appeared to be in her mid twenties.

The mother was cooking in the kitchen. The father was probably also cooking.

The entire family was working. I wonder why the Chinese seem to be a step ahead of the rest of the world?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Musician Abdul Salvador is visiting Norway

Tanzanian musician and owner of Hisia Sounds Band, Abdul Salvador, is on a private visit to Norway since 10th January 2013 at the invitation of the owners of Bomani Beach Bungalows, located near Bagamoyo, where he performs regularly.

I haven't asked, but knowing how hot it is in Dar es Salaam (where he lives) and comparing that with the amount of snow I see in the photos he has sent, I believe he'd rather be indoors behind his keyboard than outdoors in the cold.

Actually, he does confirm my suspicions with an entry on his website where he reports he experienced temperatures of -16 Celcius. Now, that's cold for anyone who who travels from Tanzania's tropical conditions.
In Oslo he performed at the Bomani Beach Bungalow booth at the Travel Fair, from 11th to 13th January 2013, and attracted great interest from visitors.

He also plans to visit local bands in Grimstad.

Post related to this one:

Friday, 11 January 2013

Thursday, 10 January 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 18 February

I was the guest of honor at the 5th graduation ceremony for the Form VI students of Mwanza's Loreto Girls' Secondary School.
The non-graduating students staged a performance for their departing colleagues.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 15 February

Students from Rwamkoma Primary School visited Butiama and the mausoleum of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere today.

 Meanwhile, the cactus plant on the same grounds visited by the students kept growing skyward.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

My version of the year 2012: 13 February

I thought I witnessed the beginnings of a tornado as I observed a raincloud west of Butiama. In the following sequence of photographs I briefly recorded the recognizable lowering of a column of clouds which is known as a funnel which weather experts use to identify the rotating part of a tornado that eventually reaches the ground and begins to wreak havoc and unleashes pandemonium on its path.

After several minutes in which I noticed the funnel descend towards the ground it later dissipated before touching the ground.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Monday, 7 January 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 5 February

I attended the national celebrations at Kirumba Stadium, Mwanza, to mark the 38th anniversary of the founding of Tanzania's ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

The celebrations were kicked off by a procession from the CCM regional office to Kirumba, led by CCM Chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete.

At the end of the procession, I found myself seated behind former CCM Secretary General, Yusuf Makamba.

Later the celebrations continued at the Kirumba Stadium marked by colourful processions by CCM's supporters.

As I sat observing the procession, the world's leading Kiswahili language blogger who is also Assistant Press to the President, Muhidin Issa Michuzi, stood in front of me as he made the rounds at the stadium.

Later President Kikwete, CCM's chairman, presented membership cards to new party members.

After attending a late lunch hosted by President Kikwete at State Lodge, Mwanza, I strolled along the Lake shore past the Bismarck Rock and back to my hotel.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

My version of the year 2012 in review: 1 February

Professional boxing promoter Lucas Rutainurwa, below centre, of Kitwe General Traders held a press
conference at the Mango Garden Hall in Dar es Salaam to announce the forthcoming IBF Africa Middleweight title fight between Mada Maugo, left, and  Francis Cheka, right.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Sunday, 6 January 2013

I have empathy for the residents of Mtwara, just that

The recent demonstrations by Mtwara's residents demanding tangible benefits from the natural gas discovered off Mtwara's coast, and protesting plans to transport the gas to Dar es Salaam for electricity production has focused the spotlight on how Tanzania's natural resources should be utilised for its citizen's welfare.

A single incident, the demonstration, could produce a multifaceted scenario that can lead to catastrophic ramifications.

In rather plain language, the protesters in Mtwara said: "this is our gas and we want to benefit from our natural resource." This is a first; Tanzanians have rarely made such public pronouncements claiming ownership of the natural resources that are discovered in their neighbourhoods.

Mtwara's residents have taken a leaf from Zanzibar (the Zanzibaris having successfully negotiated a specific share of the petroleum that is believed to be underneath the Zanzibar Channel to be set aside for the exclusive use of Zanzibar) and are demanding the planned gas to electricity production production planned for Dar es Salaam should be carried out in Mtwara. Rather than transport the gas by pipeline to Dar es Salaam Mtwarans demand the plant should be based in Mtwara where its residents will benefit from employment and other associated perks.

Reacting to those demands, Dr. Antipas Massawe, a mining engineer at the University of Dar es Salaam, made two basic points:

1. the gas is ours (every Tanzanians) and not the property of Mtwara's residents
2. only economic parameters should determine whether the production of electricity should be carried out in Mtwara or in Dar es Salaam

So while agreeing with the Government of Tanzania that every Tanzanian has a stake in the natural resources of this country (add, in theory), he might not necessarily agree that Dar es Salaam should be the location of the planned gas to electricity production. There are many economic factors that may, in his estimation, provide strong arguments for locating the plant in Mtwara. He is saying to Mtwara;s residents: "It is not your gas and should never be but there could very well by economic justifications for producing the electricity in Mtwara.

I agree. Preferential policies aimed at favouring particular residents of Tanzania regions on account of the natural resources found in those regions is the best recipe for fomenting discrimination along ethnic and regional lines. Coincidentally, one of the cornerstones of the policies of Tanzania's opposition political party, CHADEMA, is a federal structure that will provide concessions to Tanzania's regional governments and allow greater autonomy on natural resource use on a regional basis. It is not surprising that its leaders have issued statements in support of the demonstrators in Mtwara.

CHADEMA might have seen an opportunity to further erode CCM's support among not only Mtwara's residents but among Tanzanians in general but my fear is that while the demand for direct benefits from "their" natural resources by all Tanzanians throughout the country might provide immediate political mileage for any opposition political party today, in the long run those parochial demands will prove the demon that unhinges any semblance of social order that remains in Tanzania today.

The difficulty cannot be in convincing Tanzanians that they deserve a share of the natural resources that happens to be under their village, rather it will become how much should be shared and with whom. It has taken an extremely long time for a handful of politicians on the Mainland and those in Zanzibar agree on sharing the oil revenues between Zanzibar and Tanganyika. If Mtwara's residents will successfully push forth their demands, we are inviting thousands of communities throughout the country to demand to sit with the government in power to demand a share of "their" natural resources.

And when those concessions are granted I believe that the next logical step will be every Tanzanian will ask every other Tanzanian to 'go back home' to their native region for employment, investments, and every other activity that we take for granted as Tanzanians. It happens in nations; there is no reason why it cannot happen on a regional level within our borders.

This is the monster that those accepting that the natural gas off Mtwara is the property of Mtwara's residents want to unleash. When it gets out of the pen it will prove difficult  to tame.

To say CHADEMA may be toying with a dangerous animal is not to say that CCM is blameless. At Mtwara CCM has reaped the outcome of natural resource policies that elevated the importance of the investor to royalty and the Tanzanian citizen to serfdom. Those policies conceded a ton of perks and incentives to the investor because we need "their technology, their business acumen, their capital," and we need to remain in the good books of our 'development partners'; in turn, the Tanzanian will was granted employment, a 4 percent royalty from the investor's export proceeds, and other insignificant outcomes. And I suspect whenever we demonstrated we were good students of this lopsided arrangement, our president received an invitation to attend a G8 summit.

Not only CHADEMA saw how lopsided this arrangement has been; they were only clever to take it up as their mantle to stoke the existing ill-feelings against the already bad name associated with foreign investments, particularly in the extractive industries.

The anger and the frustration that has boiled over onto the streets of Mtwara is the result of policies that have taken its citizens for granted. They have nowhere to go, and will swallow decades of neglect without reacting. They have begun to react and it is the duty of both CCM and those who want to replace CCM to replace partisan politics with leadership to prevent this monster from wreaking havoc throughout the country.

I have empathy for Mtwara's residents. That's all.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 27 January

I hopped off a bus from Mwanza at Nyamisisi, close to Butiama, and paused for a few while before I decided to board a bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) to Butiama, 12 kilometres away. I had few choices to choose from.
Bodaboda has become a popular means of travel for many Tanzanians, particularly in the rural areas.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 17 January

At a meeting I attended titled Empowering Women Organizations in East Africa to place culture at the centre of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005 - 2015 held at the Giraffe

Ocean View Hotel in Dar es Salaam, participants listened to the presentation of a Ugandan delegate, Marylyn Kabelere from NAWOU. Also in the picture are, first left, Ayeta Anne Wangusa, Executive Director of CDEA (the organizers of the meeting), second from right, Prof. Alinah K. Segobye of the University of Botswana who delivered the keynote presentation, Culture and Development: The Significance of Cultural Indicators of Development, and on the right, Gertrude Ngenda of UNEP.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

My version of the year 2012: 15 January

Ahead of a meeting I will attend tomorrow, I was booked at the Giraffe Ocean View Hotel located along the
Indian Ocean coast, north of Dar es Salaam. It was a refreshing view from the hills and mountains of Butiama.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 8 January

In a series of posts from today, I present some of my photos and recollections from 2012.
At Butiama, I joined a meeting to set the bride price for my cousin Daisy for her upcoming
At the meeting from left to right: Vincent Nyerere, the bridegroom's brother and Member of Parliament for Musoma Urban constituency, Julius Kiboko Nyerere (the bridegroom's brother), Joseph Muhunda Nyerere (the bridegroom's uncle), the groom's uncle whose name could not be obtained, and The Rev. Nyakarungu (the groom's father).

The bride price tradition is still practiced among most of Tanzania's ethnic groups. Before the actual bride price is discussed, the suitors are asked to bring along 'presents' for the aunts of the bride which include such items as cooking utensils and khanga clothing.

The bride price negotiations involved intense 'demands' and 'counter offers' from both sides but all done in a good spirit.

Another post in this 2012 review series: