Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tent views at Isuna and on Mt. Kilimanjaro

There is no comparing this tent view (photo below) with the tent view near the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (the next photo, below).

I recently accompanied Ross Methven on part of the Tanzanian leg of his epic cycling trip from Edinburgh to Cape Town and although we both carried sleeping tents, we had to use them only once. On other overnight stops we slept in guest houses or hotels.

Ross is raising charitable donations for UNICEF.
If you want to donate to Ross' cause please follow this link:
At Isuna, close to Dodoma, the owner of a shop offered us a spot in front of the building housing his sunflower seed oil extraction equipment and we camped there for the night. Looking outside my tent in Isuna I saw sacks of sunflower seeds and the shops across the highway. From the tent on Mt. Kilimanjaro I had the breathtaking view of the Furtwangler glacier in front of me.

The sounds from the tent on Mt. Kilimanjaro were the wind and the gentle tremors of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano. The sounds at Isuna were the gentle rumbling of the sunflower extraction equipment which continued operating throughout the night and the sound of trucks passing along the highway.

The cold on Mt. Kilimanjaro was unbearable, at Isuna hardly felt.

Related post:

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 6 December

I was on a Dar es Salaam bound flight from Mwanza. It was the first time I had flown in a budget airline. Fastjet launched its first flight in Tanzania on 27th November 2012.
The view oustide.
The inflight menu.
The view inside.
The flight was pleasant. The only novelty to me was having to pay for drinks and snacks on the flight.

Related posts:

Monday, 23 September 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 8 November

I discovered yet another elaborate cloud formation towards the east of Butiama. Did it transform
 itself into a rain cloud? I do not remember.

Related post:

Monday, 16 September 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 9 October

During a visit to Kagera region, I arrived in Kamachumu and visited the Mshonge Museum where a traditional thatched dwelling of the Haya ethnic group has been built. The dwelling is called mshonge.
The house contains compartments including a cooking area, a living room, storage areas, and quarters for female children. The male children would sleep in the living room area.

Another post in this 2012 review series:

My version of the year 2012 in review: 29 September

At the end of my 5-day Mt. Kilimanjaro climb with more than 20 students from Mwanza's Loreto Girls' Secondary School, we were met at the Marangu Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park by one of the teachers from Loreto, Sr. Poaline Boase.
In the photo, from left to right, Nusra Alkarim, one of only two students who received a certificate for this climb who reached Gilman's Point (the other student reached Uhuru Peak), Sr. Poaline, Samson Guloba from Loreto Girls' Secondary School, and Kilimanjaro guide Hamisi Mbewa from Zara Tanzania Adventures.

Another post from this 2012 review series:

Saturday, 14 September 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 25 September

In the morning I was at the Marangu gate, at the entrance to the Marangu route for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. With me, three teachers and over twenty students of Mwanza's Loreto Girls' Secondary School at the start
of our five-day climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was the first time I was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on the Marangu route, having utilised the 7-day Lemosho route for all of my previous climbs.
Later during the day, we caught a glimpse of Mawenzi peak, the lower peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro which is 5,149m above sea level.

Another post from this 2012 review series:

Letter from Butiama: Racism should not be allowed in today's society

This is one of numerous articles I wrote for the Sunday News (Tanzania) column "Letter from Butiama" between 2005 and 2011. Publication date: 21st January 2007. 
There is an on-going debate in the United Kingdom and India sparked off by offensive comments made by one participant of a reality television programme against another.

Jade Goody, a former dental nurse and currently participating in Big Brother UK, is reported to have made racist remarks against fellow contestant Shilpa Shetty, a famous actress from India.

Goody is apparently also not a very well informed person. A while ago, she thought Saddam Hussein was a boxer. So perhaps it is no accident that such an ill-informed person will make racist comments without considering the consequences of what she says.

One consequences of her foul language has been the decision by a company called Carphone Warehouse to suspend its sponsorship of Big Brother. Another company, The Perfume Shop, has decided to withdraw Goody’s perfume, “Shh..,” from its stores.

She was also sacked from her position as a spokesperson for an anti-bullying campaign, a responsibility that she clearly does not have the character to uphold.

By most standards, both the victim and the perpetrator are extremely wealthy; these are not individuals who go to bed today with worries about whether they will have a meal tomorrow. Shetty is an actress with over 30 films to her credit, while Goody has made a fortune simply from being famous after participating in an earlier episode of Big Brother.

There are far more serious problems in the world than the racist sentiments of a Big Brother contestant: the threat of Global warming to human survival, the threat of another possible confrontation between Iran and another coalition force, and the problems brought upon the world’s poor by malnutrition, incurable diseases, and unhygienic water supply.

Why should we care? It’s simple: when we allow bigoted attitudes to prevail unchallenged within society, we provide space for them to grow and we can risk allowing them to mushroom into dangerous mutations, especially when they find sympathetic supporters in politics.

It is noteworthy that British leaders, including Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, have condemned the racist remarks.

If you hear a bad record long enough, it gradually becomes acceptable. Racist remarks, heard repeatedly, can change attitudes and the attitudes can sometimes become strong convictions. When a large enough group of people adopt those convictions, it is only a step away before desperate politicians step in to represent those convictions.

The basis for racist attitudes is the belief that there is a link between a person’s inherited physical qualities and certain features of personality, intellect or culture. The ultimate conclusion of the racist mind is that some races are superior to others.

One of those minds from the 19th Century was of Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau, a French writer and diplomat. He taught the superiority of the white race over all others, advancing the hypothesis that the fate of civilisation would depend on preventing “contamination” of that race by others.

Joseph-Arthur had some admirers, one of whom was an Englishman called Houston Stewart Chamberlain who expanded his mentor’s theories and generated such a huge following in Germany that even Adolph Hitler praised Chamberlain for providing the “scientific” basis for the superiority of some races over others.

A part of Hitler’s policies were founded on the extermination of “inferior” races, and singled out the Slavs as a first step towards achieving his objectives. If successful, his extermination campaign would have moved to Africa.

In more recent times the Apartheid policy in South Africa, based on racial segregation, shut out the majority of South Africans, restricting their access to land and economic opportunities, as well as political representation, because of the colour of their skin.

So we have many good reasons to condemn what has happened to Shilpa Shetty. While condemning racism, we should also be aware that sometimes what appear outwardly to be racist attitudes can, in reality, be more a reflection of the perpetrator’s insecurity than a statement about her preferred skin colour.

The photos I have seen of Shilpa depict a beautiful woman, who has a black belt in Karate and speaks several languages.

Even with her hands tied, by looks alone, she beats Goody.

Relevant links:
Shilpa Shetty images

Friday, 13 September 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 29 August

Continuing with her research for a planned autobiography on Tanzania's founding president, Mwalimu Julius
Kambarage Nyerere (1922 - 1999), Prof. Saida Yahya Othman, right, interviewed one of Mwalimu Nyerere's brothers, Jackton Nyambereka Nyerere, left.

Another post in this 2012 review series:

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The ever changing face of Dar es Salaam

The city of Dar es Salaam is, to anyone who only visits occasionally, one huge construction site and keeps on changing by the day.

The construction of the planned Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transport system is responsible for part of this huge transformation of Dar es Salaam. The photo (below) depicts a section under construction in the Magomeni Kagera area of the city that which is a principal route of the transport system.
When completed the Dar es salaam Bus Rapid Transport project will comprise high capacity buses with their dedicated roads and thus reduce traffic congestion of the city's road.

More information on the project here.

Related posts:

My version of the year 2012 in review: 27 August

My cousin gave me an old bass guitar and I eagerly began to replace the old strings and was
looking forward to settle down and rehearse when I found out that one of the tuners was defective.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

My version of the year 2012 in review: 25 August

At the Mwigobero fish market in Musoma I observed the new ferry that plys between Musoma and Kinesi load vehicles and passengers for its 1-hour trip across a section of Lake Victoria.

Travel by road between Kinesi and Musoma takes close to three hours.

Another post in this 2012 review series:

Related posts:

Sunday, 8 September 2013

On cycling, and the connection between strange hairstyles and the English language

I recently found myself at the beginning of a long distance cycling challenge, having talked myself into accompanying Ross Methven on his Edinburgh (Scotland) to Cape Town (South Africa) epic cycling voyage.

He is currently cycling though Tanzania and visited me at Butiama where during an evening of drinks (some of them not non-alcoholic) I gave him some route advice on how to get from Arusha (where he had left his bicycle) to Dodoma and onward to the southern Tanzanian border with Malawi as he charted the resumption of his trip to South Africa.

Before the evening was over, I (and probably with some influence from those not non-alcoholic drinks) had proposed an alternative route that began at Butiama, proceeded to Ukerewe Island, Mwanza and down on the main highway towards Dodoma and further to Iringa. I told him if he chose the alternative route, I would accompany him with my bicycle. He did and the story is still unfolding here.

Long distance cycling, I soon found out, has peculiar characteristics and considerations. First, it is a huge challenge. If riding several kilometres leisurely once a week can be a challenge for some then riding an average distance of 55 kilometres (sometimes as far as 80 kilometres in a day) would be a nightmare for most normal people.

Second, it is a mistake to ride in public with an unusual hairstyle. Several months ago, an old friend from Canada informed me that the 'afro' hairstyle has been back in vogue in Canada for some time. I had then just found a cure for my perennial dandruff problem (by eating a fresh orange every day) and was allowing my hair to grow longer. She encouraged me to "go for the 'fro'", as she put it. I did. Perhaps it could have worked in Canada, but was not the best decision ahead of cycling long distance in Tanzania. It is a huge distraction.

The fact that I am increasingly resembling Wole Soyinka does not worry me. The problem is this: with the large white rimmed sunglasses that Ross gave me when we began to ride from Butiama, most people we meet along the way assume that I am a foreigner. Ross rides ahead of me and when pedestrians see Ross and then I (with the huge white-rimmed sunglasses and a matching afro hairstyle) following behind they put one and two together and begin to address me in English.

Cycling consumes a lot of energy and after 50 kilometres of cycling, I normally try to avoid speaking to anyone in any language to conserve my energy on cycling. But, unfortunately, Tanzanians are one people who are always so eager to speak to foreigners. When in good spirits (which is rare when cycling for 80 kilometres against a head wind and trying to dodge rogue drivers who regularly force you off the tarmac) I respond to the greetings with: "Good afternoon to you." When not in a good mood I ask in Swahili: "Don't you speak Swahili?"
On the second day of cycling, with Bunda's Mt. Balili in the background.
Yesterday one of my uncles suggested that perhaps it's time I trim the hair to 'normal.' He made it sound like it was time to end the rebellion on whatever issue I had in mind.

I notice that, increasingly, when I engage people in conversation, rather than making eye contact, they look at my hair.

Saturday, 7 September 2013