Tanzania
Sokon

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8 travelers at this place:

  • Day414

    Tribal trinkets

    December 15, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    I walked passed the Mt Meru Market, now named the Masai market as part of the Great Masaii Brand Naming convention, and paused there a while to check out the gewgaws in a large tin shed with 110 stalls lined with identical tourist paraphernalia. Unlike Australian tourist knick-knacks which are made in China, these momentous are locally made. (Its cheaper!)
    Some of the paintings are quite distinctive, copies of those in the cultural museum. Printing copies from a photograph is far too expensive in Tanzania, so the copies have to be made by hand, using oil paints. Fools a lot of Americans!
    I noticed some good quality cloth bags which could have come from anywhere and many rhinos and elephants carved from ebony. Ebony is light on the outside and black on the inside which allows the skilled artisan to make some amazing two tone pieces. Big wooden spoons or salad fork / spoons are nearly as common as giraffes and rhinos and of course brightly coloured Tanzanian shirts which Tanzanians eschew in favour of Man United T shirts.
    Many beads. Many many beads. It was Beadlam in there.
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  • Day431

    True Native culture

    January 1 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    Most Masai warriors are photographed in the bush wearing a red blanket, holding a staff and pricking liking startled gazelles. So here is the real thing; the man who started the Kyosei Training Centre, Steven Saningo, a Masai man who himself only just managed to complete his education.
    It is his birthday today and the girls had to drag him kicking and screaming outside to have buckets of water thrown over him; for this is the custom. He was so reticent a week ago when it was his sister's turn to get soaked.

    His wife Riziki runs the accommodation side of the project, looking after a varying number of children / young adults who are unable to return home each day. One of the unmentionable things about having a child is that one loses one's identity. In Tanzania this fact is acknowledged by ever after calling the mother by the name of her firstborn. It is considered respectful to call her Mama Lau. Since I am older than all of them I am allowed to call them by their names, so I do.

    And here is their 6 year old daughter Lauree, known as Lau, back from her boarding school for the holidays and livening things up.

    Steven's sister Mary has been lodging here whilst she finished her Secondary Advanced Certificate in November: now she awaits the results before deciding what career to pursue.

    Another resident is Luciy another impoverished student from the countryside hosted by Steven and Riziki. Hers is a sad tale of absconding from an arranged marriage and drifting around until she ran across the Kyosei programme. Since her English was non-existent a year ago, it will be a miracle if she gets a Pass mark in the exam; which closes off most options. Here she is cooking dinner for all of us in her room.
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  • Day445

    Stone me

    January 15 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    In Merelani, (Northern Tanzania, underneath Kilimanjaro,) whilst the women fetched water and did other household chores, Masaai warriors played the ancient game of strategy called Enkeshui, more commonly known as Mancala. They filled the cups with rough lumps of rock such as can be seen in the photos.

    Mancala is perhaps the oldest game in existence. A little evidence suggests it was played 5,000 years ago in ancient Sumeria, (modern Iraq); more evidence that it was played 3,600 years ago in ancient Sudan, (upper Nile); compelling evidence that ancient Egyptians played before 1400 BCE. Whatever.

    In 1967 a Masai tribesman showed one Manuel d'Souza, a man with an eye on the main chance. Thinking he had found saphires he quickly registered four mining claims. Well, the bad news from the crystal gazers was that it was only blue zoite: the good news was that it was found nowhere else on earth and polished up nicely.
    If deBeers could create an artificially high price for common diamonds, Tiffany & Co decided to do it with zoite. The first thing they did was rename it Tanzanite. Then they found it sells itself as it is attractive and rare.

    This shy stone does not like to be photographed and hides its particular beauty behind a blue veil. It suffers from pleochroism, a disease usually associated with politicians who show different colours when viewed from different directions. The colours revealed inside the gem as it is rotated are red-violet, deep blue, and yellow green, but heat treatment removes or reduces the yellow green or brownish colour, maximising the blue and violet.
    Gazing into the blue stone flashes of red can be seen like corona discharges or the interior of a well lit fire. I've never seen it before and would have bought it on the spot - except that I did not have half a million USD in my pocket and the nice lady would not take my IOU.
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  • Day415

    Around Arusha

    December 16, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Arusha is a growing town that serves as the starting point for many safaris to the West - mainly the Serengeti and Ngorogoro parks - but is itself by a national park, (Arusha NP of course.) It lies at 1300m altitude on the side of the second largest mountain in Tanzania (Africa?) the 4566m Mt Meru.
    The main streets of town are lined with individuals selling handfulls of veggies or fruit from recycled junk turned into stalls, or straight off the pavement.
    I hoped to try some fresh Tanzanian coffee that I thought was being brewed Turkish style in a market cafe. Sad to relate, the kettles just had water and the coffee was instant. At 200 TSh though one doesn't want to complain too much.
    If the main mosque didn't have Arabic writing along the freize it would look just like all the other churches I passed. Most of them seem to be Lutheran or some sort of Pentacostal. I listened to one where there were two choirs taking turns to woo the audience who were all swaying and clapping in time. It certainly seemed a joyous occasion to them. Just as well since I am told that they can easily go on for 4 hours.
    The clock tower is one of the main landmarks as it is the only building on a roundabout. Its claim to fame is that it lies half way between Cape Town and Cairo.
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