Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hassan Mwakinyo: Another pride for Tanzania

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

Newspapers across the world last weekend reported about one of the biggest upsets in boxing for the year. This was after a Tanzanian man, they described as “unknown” and “unheralded African” made a shock defeat of celebrated former European welterweight Sam Eggington.

Since Hassan Mwakinyo is one of us, it was only natural for many Tanzanians to celebrate his victory. It feels good when our nation makes headline for the right reason(s). Our brother, Hassan has rightly made Tanzania proud.

The 23-year-old defeated his opponent in a very spectacular way, that made him noted by many boxing experts. Some commentators were categorical that Sam’s defeat was “catastrophic”.

For Tanzanians that may think it was a small win, just note that after the fight Boxrec – a website dedicated to holding records of professional boxers, Mwakinyo climbed 158 places to 16th in the super-welterweight category.

Position 16th in the world! Yes, our brother Hassan did wonders! In our academic life, such a position in classes, which mostly have 50 or more students, is usually counted as good. For Hassan, he is in that number globally in the field of his choice.

To make sure the history made by Hassan is recorded, Sports minister Harrison Mwakyembe, while in Parliament congratulated the boxer, for defeating his opponent only in the second round.

According to the minister, before the defeat, Sam was number 8, in ranking. Hassan win had huge implications because he becomes the 16th out of 1,852 boxers across the world, and more importantly he is the first both in Africa and Tanzania to rise up to such a position.

After the win, some video clips emerged of Hassan training- using makeshift materials like old tyres. No modern gym for training like others, but only very basic home-made gadgets. The man from Tanga, coming from such a background no one could have thought, he would make it that big.

But listening to him, he has his sights set to become a world champion. He wants to fight the best and the greatest in his chosen category for boxing. It is hard not to notice his resilience and determination.

Hassan is sending a message to all of us that, we can attain our dreams, despite the environment not being very friendly. For the student with no textbooks, you can still make it academically by using the available resources in the environment. Just be very keen at class and use your class guiding notes very well. Hassan was practicing with at no gym. He has made it.

Sports are all about practices to make perfect. Even in all other aspects of life, practices makes perfect. The one in high class gym, and the one doing the sessions at home, both can equally make it. It’s the determination and the amount of efforts that counts!

You think challenges and obstacles should hinder your dreams? For Hassan, he told BBC that “hard life” has contributed to his success. For millions of Tanzanians who like Hassan have hard life, they should know that, their efforts can propel them to great exploits. We should, in all what we do, not look at competing just locally, but regionally and globally. Whether its sports, business or education, we can compete with the rest of the nations across the globe.

Let me wish our newest star in town all the best, and hope he gets a fight with Kelly Brook and Amir Khan as he wishes, and defeat them! At the same time, it’s a good reminder that as a country we need to invest more in boxing. We have great Tanzanian boxers of the past, and it seems that, if we take the right direction, this is a sport, which Tanzania can greatly excel.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Be who you are to succeed in life

 

By Azim Jamal

Each one of us is born with an inner light that reflects the true radiance of your being. This is the light of the ‘authentic you’. It shines brighter whenever you are authentic to yourself, to your life purpose, to your innate gift.

Authenticity is something so natural yet so difficult. As children, this light of authenticity is fairly evident. It shines through the twinkle of a child ‘s eye, in his laughter, his natural exuberance for life.

But with time, you begin to cloud this light with prejudices, beliefs, conditionings, and pursuit of false trappings, brought upon by parents, teachers, and society.

You forget the real purpose of why you are here and what you need to accomplish.

Lets look at some of the ways to reclaim your self and shine the light you are born with:

1. Practice meditation daily - Meditation is one powerful vehicle to connect to your inner self. Through this practice you gradually gain insight into your innate gifts. Ensure you meditate at least 15 minutes daily. Take a spot in a quiet room and sit down comfortably. Now close your eyes and simply watch your breathing. In the beginning you might feel conscious of your breath or lose focus. But with regular practice, your breath will gradually begin to slow down and with your breath, your thoughts too will start slowing down. Because our breath follows our thoughts and vice versa. You calm one, the other slows down as well. This silencing of your incessant inner chatter alone will begin to calm you down enough to centre yourself and encourage your innate being to surface.

2. Knowing what excites you - Looking back from your deathbed also puts things in perspective and attracts attention to your purpose in life and the accompanying gift you were born with. Finally the cause that excites you the most will give you an indication of what you are passionate and care about. When you passionate about what you do, you feel enthused enough to put in your very best and make a benchmark in whatever field you choose to be in.

3. Be who you are – Generally most of us know our life purpose and have a certain vision or belief of how they would like to see themselves. But this vision is relegated somewhere in the distant future because they either feel they don’t have the necessary skills or are not ready yet. But the difference between who you are right now and who you want to be is simply the lack of intent. If you want to be a painter, start painting. Paint every day. Paint whenever you can. Take classes, start studying other painters. In short, be a painter. Act like one. Whether or not the world around you recognises you or not should not be your concern right now. Right now it is to experience who you think you are. So go ahead and live your vision of yourself. And gradually you will see your vision become more vivid and real in your daily life.

Also by beginning your journey to what you aspire to be, it becomes easier to invite and attract the right circumstances to lead you an inspired and authentic life.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Team reaches ‘expire’ date, villa ‘houses’ for sale

 

By Abdi Sultani

Clarity is the hallmark of journalistic communication—your audience should be able to understand what you’re saying without having to torment their brains. That explains why media tutors constantly preach the essence of brevity and simplicity. Use short sentences as opposed to long, convoluted ones.

Having thus lectured—sorry—let’s now do what this column is basically all about, namely, sharing linguistic gems. So, here we go…

We start with what we picked up from Bongo’s huge and colourful broadsheet of Sat, Sept 8. In a Page 1 picture featuring the President, there’re insets of headshots of persons whose skins have been damaged by contaminated river water, and the caption reads:

“Victims of USERS of water contaminated by gold mine pollution of Tigiti river in Tarime that President John Magufuli want THE LIGHT to be turned on the MATTER.” Space constraint doesn’t allow us to rewrite this mumbo jumbo of a caption; please do it yourself, reader.

On Page 3 of the same edition, there’s a story headlined, ‘Minister: Task force formed to probe irregular sugar imports’. Therein, MP Diodorus Kamala is reported as taking to task the Trade minister over improper sugar imports by crooked businessmen. The scribbler thus writes in para 4:

“According to him, to carry out their illegal business, the traders have been repackaging the SUGAR in LOCAL materials to make THEM look like local ONES.” Something is seriously wrong with the use of pronouns THEM and ONES, so let’s do a partial rewrite: “…the traders have been repackaging the SUGAR in LOCALLY BRANDED BAGS to make IT (not “them”) look like it was produced in Tanzania.”

On Fri, Sept 7, the tabloid closely associated with columnist has a story on Page 3 entitled, ‘TRA to invest Sh19.5bn in civil servants (sic) houses’ and the following is what the scribbler says in the last para:

“The low-income houses are sold at between Sh38 million and Sh49 million…while VILLA HOUSES price stands at Sh330 million.”

Villa houses? The qualifier “houses” is totally useless, for a villa can’t be anything other than a house. Our dictionary defines “villa” as a HOUSE that people stay on holiday/vacation or a HOUSE in the countryside with a large garden.

On Page 27 of the same edition, there’s a story entitled, ‘World swimming body endorses TSA leaders’. The gems in this story are so glittering we’ll just deliver them without offering analyses. Here we go:

• World Swimming Association has finally endorsed Tanzania Swimming Association leaders (TSA) who came to THE POWERS OF August 26;

• For not less than three months, all swimming activities in the country were under heavy CROWD;

• The NSC was given the mandate to supervise the game following the EXPIRE of the interim committee;

• The CURRENTLY chairman for TSA is Imani Alimanyanya;

• Fina President GAVE THE BEST WISHES for the success of THE future sports projects of the TSA…

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Chauffeur? I think not!

 

By Waheeda Shariff Samji

Right about when our children start primary school, we trick ourselves into believing that they are finally old enough to be occupied gainfully for the day, and that we might even find ourselves with a few spare hours where we can have a breather, chill out with friends, or be more productive. Little do we know that the opposite is in fact true, and we find our lives caught in a whirlpool of extracurricular activities on weekday afternoons (and most weekends too!), morphing into chauffeurs for our children.

We somehow get ourselves caught in that seemingly endless rut where we sign our children up for all the possible activities of the world that we think will magically make them into the well-rounded personalities that any good college would want.

Whether it is music (piano and violin lessons here we come!), the arts (endless evening rehearsals at Little Theatre productions), or sports (swim clubs and soccer training galore), we want them to do it all.

Whether or not it makes a blind bit of difference is another article altogether, but we hardly pause and think about whether we, as parents, actually want to spend all our free time carting children around to the various places they have to be – it is literally a full time job as a chauffeur! There have been a few interesting studies around this phenomenon of parents getting overwhelmed by their children’s activities, with most of them suggesting that most parents find it incredibly stressful to manage the multiple demands on their time, and the lack of any free time for themselves.

Many parents reveal that they find it more stressful than a full time job, and some find it more stressful than doing taxes! And for those parents who have more than 1 child, it just gets worse with the number of activities increasing exponentially.

I do understand the rationale of parents who get pulled into this – we all want what’s best for our kids, and if it means that we have to sacrifice 12 years of our lives to drive our children around, we (not so happily) do it. But there also comes a point when we must stop and smell the coffee.

The years when we have children to cater to are also the prime years of our adult lives, and we shouldn’t feel obliged to completely burn ourselves out driving them around endlessly. We also need to feel content and happy. We all know that confident young adults emerge by having parents who are involved and engaged in their lives, rather than parents who only service them and burn out.

It’s all about finding that perfect balance that keeps us sane enough to make decisions that are in the interest of ourselves and our children.

Waheeda Shariff Samji is a Director at The Latham School

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

In Uswaz, we are superstitious people

 

By Peter Muthamia

It is yet another mating season for Uswaz cats – at least in our god-forsaken Uswaz. Eerie sounds as cats happily mate away that has been wafting from roofs, ceilings and the Uswaz allies has been sending everyone to the brink of death with fear of the unknown. Rats, out of fear are no longer inclined to sing their national anthems. Mating cats need more energy and therefore, the rats have taken to hiding in the nooks and crannies of the Uswaz tenements. These sounds are not ordinary mews wear are accustomed – they are death knells in Uswaz.

As with my neighbours, it is even worse for in the mango tree just behind our tenements an owl has incessantly been hooting away and making all sorts of the spookiest and doleful sounds any Uswahilinite has ever heard for three months running. You know from African mythology what owls stand for; don’t you? It spells doom – a bad omen.

It is as if the end of the world is eminent. It seems that the age-old belief of our remote past is not extinct. I remember recently in daladala how my one-and-only Bisho Ntongo cringed when a standing mother requested Bisho to hold her baby. Bisho declined. Why? Because the baby resembled a miniature witchdoctor with charms, weird trinkets, armlets and waist beads that conjured up a scene in a Nigerian movie. She later confessed to me that she dared not touch the child adorned with all sorts dedications to the devil lest she defiles herself (Bisho is a ‘born again’ Christian).

Even a hardened idiot like me is beginning to be on vanguard. I never minded when rats sung their carols and national anthems but the noise that is coming from without is forcing me to be the next candidate for Mirembe madhouse. The incidence that took the biscuit was the Uswahilinites purporting to have seen a msukule (a zombie) of a man Ally Masharubu who had recently died. Had the police not swung into action on time, Amina would have been lynched for it (she was accused of turning Ally inot a msukule. Masses of people stood in front of door baying for her blood, claiming that she had bewitched Ally even though I know he died of the big disease with a little name.

As result, I have been desisting from taking shortcuts through the Uswaz graveyards especially after dusk. Talking of taking shortcuts through the Uswaz graveyard, do not imagine that I go to make incantations to the dead. Nay! I prefer that route because so many Uswahilinites are baying for my blood over unpaid debts.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

AT A CROSSROADS: Tribute to heroine Mama Zippora Shekilango

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

In remembering Mama Zippora Shekilango, the chairperson of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party, Hon Zitto Kabwe tweeted one of her quotable quotes:

“Without quality education the nation will find itself stagnant and this is why it’s always important to meet and discuss the way forward.”

While giving out her views on envisioned new constitution for Tanzania, in the run-up to the Warioba draft, the famous lady was adamant that the document must uplift Kiswahili to take the nation to the next level. That was the typical Mama Shekilango, always having great thoughts for the betterment of mother Tanzania.

While her late husband, Hussein Ramadhani Shekilango, is embedded in the annals of Tanzania’s history, and has a road named after him (Shekilango Road, Dar es Salaam), it’s only fitting also to consider Mama Shekilango on her own merits.

The matriarch, who was born in 1938 was part of the history as she witnessed the liberation struggles not only for Tanzania, but also for several other Africa countries. She supported her husband, who was part of the liberation of Uganda from Idd Amin dictatorship.

On her own, she had been a long time teacher and headmistress, but more importantly despite coming from a generation, where both men and women celebrated patriarchy, she had been instrumental in advocating for gender equality. About 25 years ago, out of conviction that gender equality was the way to inclusive development, with others she mooted Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), an organisation, which has greatly helped in the fight for our motherland to make gains in gender equality.

In her career as a teacher at one time or the other, she was the headmistress of schools that used to do extremely well like Zanaki, Msalato, Kisutu, Jangwani and Forodhani. It was her love of education, for the girl child to have equal chances of education as the boychild, that led her to become one of the gender rights activists. She was against gender based violence and such other vices rampant in our patriarchal society.

According to the late matriarch, the education problems facing Tanzania are “shared problems”, so there should be no blame games, rather “all stakeholders with collaborative efforts” should participate in solving the problems.

In her philosophy- the woes in the sector have all stakeholders partly to blame and the most important thing, was for each entity- from parents, students, teachers, community, etc, to relook at what they were doing to solve the problems. She attributed good performance during her heyday to “patriotism and commitment by teachers in assisting students”

As Zitto Kabwe quoted her about lack of quality education being a recipe for stagnant nation, the good lady was right. Time and again, we have said that our quality of education is at crossroads. The guidance of this departed good lady is still vital. Let us correct our mistakes and make our mother Tanzania a giant in the education sector. Children going to the most remote schools in the village and those in cities like Dar es Salaam, all should get quality education.

I was saddened to hear that our beloved Mama Zippora Shekilango had died. Let me take this opportunity to send my condolences to her family, relatives and friends. May God comfort you all at this very difficult time, and rest her soul in eternal peace!

Lucky, the knowledge that a teacher passes on to the students, more often than not outlives the teacher. Her values will live on. Hopefully as a nation we can learn from her dedication to teaching, gender activism and all in the spirit of patriotism. To the likes of Mama Zippora, Tanzania always came first in their doings. This is a great lesson to all of us in public services today.

Saumu Jumanne is an Assistant Lecturer, Dar es Salaam University College of Education

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI: Sharpening your awareness



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

Being alert and aware of the present moment, besides enhancing your productivity, also functions as an excellent tool for gleaning critical insights from your environment, and this helps you to make well thought out decisions at work.

For example, when you meet with your team, you can have two different types of meetings. One is where you are alert and open to both the verbal and non-verbal cues of your team, which helps you gather critical information to decide the next course of action. The second is where you have already made up your mind, and the meeting is held merely to manipulate the others to accept your point of view; hence, you receive no valuable feedback from team members, which leads to sub-par performance.

During the course of your work it’s easy to miss the present moment and get overwhelmed with the demands of the day. However, you can regain your present- moment awareness with these simple exercises.

1) Every hour, stop and ask: Am I really present in this moment? If not, what are my thoughts focused on? Doing this often will help you return to the present moment. You may wonder how to practice this if you are already doing an activity that is very engaging. Taking a moment to reflect on these questions will help you assess if you are really present and focused on the priority task– which is good – or if you are focused on a less important task.

2) Spend a few minutes each day with Nature; it will calm you. Watch a tree’s leaves move when the wind blows, reflecting non-resistance. While looking at the ocean, see the abundance, neutrality and oneness of the Universe. Nature has many messages for us and this practice will help separate your good thoughts from the cluttered ones.

3) When in the moment, look at difficulties you have and ask: “What can I learn from this problem?” How is this problem affecting you in the larger scheme of things? Think about one thing you can do to minimize the problem and act upon it right away. Why this approach? Because it takes you away from worrying about the problem, which is pointless. Instead, you can view the problem from a distance objectively and act on the problem. 4) ASK yourself: “What can I do in the present moment to create a positive impact?

5) Say thank you a few times in a day for all the good things in your life. As you count your blessings, they multiply.

6) When driving, observe your surroundings, listen to music or an educational audioto stay in the present moment and avoid worrying about the serpentine traffic.

7) Forgive someone in the present moment by giving him the benefit of the doubt. This is liberating! Start with small things, such as when someone does not thank you for a favor you did, or when someone fails to apologize when they accidentally push you. As you get good at this, you will realize how much negative energy you stave off. This will help you forgive bigger transgressions, such as pardoning someone for taking away some of your business or cheating you on an investment deal.

8) Think of someone you care about and send loving thoughts in the present moment.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

OUR KIND OF ENGLISH: Assault ‘of’ city ‘militia’ by vendor shocks Dar

 

A misstep in the use of the preposition can lead to disastrous falsification of your message. Just look, for instance, at the story appearing in the Sat, Sept 1 edition of Bongo’s senior-most broadsheet. It’s entitled, ‘Three held over assaulting Dar resident’, and intro reads:

“The police in Dar es Salaam have swiftly acted on a report of severe assault OF three militia (sic) on a Dar es Salaam resident after he failed to pay a fine…”

Assault OF three militia…? Nope! Why, the preposition “of” gives the meaning that three city askaris were victims of the said assault, which isn’t true! The truth is, there was a “report of severe assault BY three militia (sic)…”

By the way, Bongo scribblers seem to have endorsed the word “militia” as referring to some individual/individuals. But then, all the dictionaries we’ve consulted educate us that militia means “a group of people who aren’t professional soldiers but who’ve had military training and can act as an army.”

Which is to say, persons like those thuggish persons who were videotaped beating up a hapless city resident should—if anything—be referred to as militiamen/ militiawomen (not just, “militia”).

On Page 2 of the same edition, there’s a story headlined, ‘Local traders fail to supply frozen beef, says chef’, in which the scribbler says in Para 2:

“Chef (sic) of Hyatt Regency, Mr Cyril Dieumegard disclosed this in Dar…” In Para 4, the scribbler writes, “Mr Cyril also added that…”

In Para 7, our colleague further writes: “Hyatt Regency Marketing and Communications executive Ms Lillian Kisasa, said this during a press conference…” In the next Para, he writes: “Ms LILLIAN also added that…”

Mr CYRIL for Mr Cyril Dieumegard, and Ms LILLIAN for Ms Lillian Kisasa? Nope! Why, our colleague has violated etiquette, which is part of proper communication—at least with regard to the English language. These two Hyatt officials are Mr Dieumegard and Ms Kisasa (not Mr Cyril and Ms Lillian)!

And then, the tabloid closely associated with this columnist (Fri, Aug 31 edition) has a story headlined, “Campaign against bilharzia launched’, and the scribbler thus reports: “FOR HIS SIDE, Dar Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda said…”

For his side? Nope! That’s Kiswahili—kwa upande wake. In English we say: “For HIS PART…”

And then, the scribbler, referring to Mr Makonda, writes: “…The COMMISSIONER revealed that preparations are at an advanced stage. “The commissioner” for regional commissioner? That’s new to us! Why not simply, the RC?

And finally, our esteemed reader, Mr Weston Tawonezvi , emailed to point at what we purported to be a correction for the sentence, “…I started to STAND up ON MY FEET”, as used by a Sunday broadsheet scribbler. In our rewrite, we suggested that the scribbler should’ve said “…I started to RAISE to my feet”.

Mr Tawonezvi said we goofed, for the sentence should be: “…as I started to RISE (not raise) to my feet…”

Our response: “Guilty as charged…and thank you, Weston, for the apt intervention.”

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

Send your photos and linguistic gems to email abdisul244@gmail.com or WhatsApp on Tel No 0688315580.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

FROM THE CLASSROOM: School absences and your child



Waheeda Samji

Waheeda Samji 

By Waheeda Shariff Samji

I have often wondered why, as parents, we are so lax about our children attending school every day in term time. Although for the most part, we all have annual school calendars sent to us well in advance of any planned vacations, we tend to plan a bit vaguely, and become flippant about our kids missing school for what are essentially elective days off.

We don’t think twice about our children missing the first few days of school to catch a few more vacation days, or about taking a long weekend off in term time. We are less cavalier when it applies to us – we certainly wouldn’t dream of taking a day more than is given of our leave time from work, and it wouldn’t even cross our minds to take the Monday off if a Tuesday is a public holiday. Is it because we think there are no ‘real’ consequences for our children missing school?

I am almost always taken aback when I see relatively low attendance rates at the start of each school year, with children trickling in even 2 weeks into the term! There is such a wealth of information out there on how these absences affect our kids, particularly at the start of the year or the term.

Learning to operate in new environment

The beginning of the school year is such an important time in class, with children entering a new grade, with a new teacher and new classmates. Expectations for the year, and norms of the classroom are set. Children learn to operate in a new environment, and with different rules (where to go for lunch, what to do with your bag).

It is a really important time of the year which cannot ever be caught up on. Children arriving late for the school year will often feel left out, and can take longer to make friends. Their anxiety often translates into less productivity in the classroom as well.

We tend not to realize just how much these absences have an impact on their lives, and we like to think that ‘its just a couple of days, how much will they do anyways?’ We expect class teachers to make an extra effort to make up for our children’s lost time, without understanding how the whole class gets held back while latecomers catch up.

We also forget that those are unlikely to be the only days the kids miss – invariably children will get sick and miss school, there might be rain days, or days when we have to get their passports renewed. These add up.

And from a purely financial point of view, we tend to forget the daily price we are paying for our children to be in school, whether it be $2/day or $200/day. Surely we have a responsibility to make certain our children get our money’s worth at least without missing a day!

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

CANDID TALK: Why the devil lives in Uswaz despite our religiosity



Peter Muthamia

Peter Muthamia 

By Peter Muthamia

Welcome to this mad column written by a bloke fitting the profile of a Mirembe Madhouse patient. Also, prepare yourself for a comatose for I am dying to bore you stiff, my dear reader, and I have no apologies. It is believed by my friends and foes alike that I should long have been confined to that ‘horror’ house where they treat hollering people gone gaga because, as Winchinslauss Rwegoshora (BA, MA Dip UDSM) avers, I have in the past made a goof of God’s ‘servants’ (did I say God or Satan?) and gotten away with it.

Winch swears by all the gods of Lake Victoria, Mt Kilimanjaro that the good Lord upstairs will someday unleash his wrath in form of fire and brimstone upon me if I continue to be a stiff-necked moron insisting on rubbishing religious doctrines that have been garnered over centuries by clever folks.

See? We live in religious times and are supposed to put on a holier-than-thou disposition. We are instructed to seek the elusive holiness. Our piousness should be one that is capable of turning away angels with shame – we should exceed the angels in their commitment, love, kindness etc. According to Fr Ruteshobya, the Uswaz padre, we are supposed to walk, breath, talk, love in the same way that the Nazarene did some 2,000 years ago when he proved that on did not need water ski boards for he comfortably walked on water.

The Nazarene proved something else more appealing to the likes of I, the Uswahilinite; that there was no need for money-guzzling drinking holes such as Mzee Shirima’s beer drinking hole he could convert water into beer. I sometimes wish that we, in cockroach and rat-infested Uswaz had been living in that golden era, for I would not have to be enriching Mzee Shirima the bar owner.

Recently, a man I have always seen at Mzee Shirima’s beer drinking hole stormed into the newsroom seeking the help of any fearless and tough scribe who could smoke out the padre. His sole mission was to expose the evil that the cassock-dressing, ever smiling Fr. Ruteshobya of the Uswaz Parish had unleashed upon him. His beady bloodshot eyes darted from one corner of the room to another, as if expecting the ‘good’ old padre to pop up from somewhere. From his looks, he was indeed a man already in deep pain – a beat man ready to throw himself from the top of PPF towers.

As he talked to the scribe a few meters away from where I was sited, I gathered that his local “Baba Paroko” had been having some steamy unholy and illicit intimacies with the poor man’s wife – the wife he had ‘bought’ with fifty breathing cows for. What a blasphemy? How could the man accuse God’s (…errr devil’s) own representative of such sin? My nosy scribe’s brain ran fast. I knew here to find him. On that day, I arrived at Mzee Shirima’s at 5.00 on the dot. I expected to find the fellow drowning himself to death in beer - drunk like a skunk. He poured out his heart to me, a stranger - talking of how the padre sired his second and third born children.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

My 10-year battle with schizophrenia

 

By Karen Mbuya Muriuki

Innocent Awuor Yogo has been battling depression and schizophrenia for the last 10 years. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that usually appears in late adolescence or early adulthood. It’s characterised by delusions, hallucinations, and other cognitive difficulties.

The 29-year-old project administrator and business owner does not let her mental illness put her down. Instead, she strives to be the best she can be, both in her personal life and career through medication and therapy. She shares her story with Karen Muriuki.

“I had a relatively good childhood. I grew up in Ahero where I enjoyed swimming in the river, playing with other children and working hard in school. I come from a very humble background. My parents struggled to bring food to the table and raise school fees for us. Seeing this motivated me to work hard in school so that I could improve the quality of their lives when I grew up.

When I was in Class Three, a stranger sexually assaulted me when my friends left me behind when we had gone to buy sugarcane. He carried me to a plantation and had a panga which he threatened to kill me with if I screamed. I only talked to someone about it when I was 17, but it was too late because I could not even identify him. This affected me for a very long time.

I started feeling different and depressed at 19. Yes, I had some low moments like the rape incident while growing up, but what really triggered this depression was the fact that I could not pursue the engineering course I had dreamed and hoped to do all my life.

I was sad on most times and felt worthless. I could barely eat well because of my lost appetite. I secluded myself. When I was not in class, library or choir practice, I would lock myself in my room. People assumed I was introverted because I never socialised.

I hated myself. I became lazy and failed to take care of myself to a point that cleaning my clothes became a problem. I didn’t seek any help nor did I get medication. I took it as normal at times. I only started hearing voices when I turned 24. They would tell me negative things like “You are stupid and ignorant. We will kill you”.

Most times, I would talk back at them. My sister, who I lived with at the time, heard me on one of these episodes. She immediately called my parents who took me to church for prayers. I was then taken to hospital where I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression.

I was given a number of prescriptions; an antidepressant, Duloxetine, and Haloperidol and Benzexhol, both antipsychotics. I was also put on Nifedipin and later on Lorsatas HT because I was hypertensive. I was enrolled for counselling sessions later on too.

It was hard for me. For about a year, I could not accept the fact that I was mentally sick. I attempted suicide at one point. I questioned God. I felt that the medication was too much for me because I was always drowsy. I could not go to work at a point but my boss encouraged me after I opened up to him. He even suggested a better psychiatrist for me.

I lost most of the few friends I had. One of my former colleagues even bullied me. One day during lunchbreak, he jokingly said that he could not imagine a manager with mental health problems. I was offended and confronted him about it, but he became defensive and said that he was not talking about anyone in particular.

My parents and siblings supported and encouraged me a great deal through this period. My church gave me emotional support as well because the pastors not only prayed for me, but also provided counselling.

They check up regularly to this very day. My psychiatrists at Aga Khan and Nairobi hospital have also been very helpful. My boss is also very understanding.

Even though the relationship with my family has remained the same after my diagnosis, I felt that I was no longer the responsible sister to my siblings and hardworking daughter to my parents. I lost my mother last year and I blamed myself because I thought she was too worried about me.

I felt like a burden because I had to stay with someone at all times to avoid a relapse.

Eventually, things took a change in my life. I came to accept the fact that I was sick and told myself that mental sickness is just like any other disease.

The doctors reduced the dosage each time I went for check-ups because my condition really improved. I started working on myself. I pray and read my bible every day, I use affirmations and read Christian books during my free time.

The treatments have helped me. I no longer hear voices in my head. I am not as sad as I used to be. My view of life changed and I stopped hating myself. My appetite also improved drastically and I became more competent at work. I even managed to enrol for a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Nairobi where I was able to graduate with honours. This was last year.

This is to that person out there struggling with their mental health: Never give up; what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. You can still achieve your dreams. Seek help; do not suffer in your own silence. Above all, believe in God.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Overcoming the death of a loved one

 

Death brings a lot of emotional crisis to those left behind when a loved one passes on. Many go through a lot of pain and take long to heal.

Florian Kajala,42, for example is still grieving his wife, four years after she died. It was a sudden death. The mother of his two sons complained of a headache which lasted for only three hours. The doctors could not save her life.

According to Florian, life has never been the same. Rahabu’s absence is felt everywhere in their home. She used to take care of everything from house cleaning, tending to the garden, taking care of their sons and himself (Florian), just everything.

Although he has a househelp, the difference is so very clear. Florian says no one can fill the gap his wife Rahabu left. The house has since been very quiet and so have their sons. They too are still grieving their mother’s death, which pains Florian a lot.

Florian says raising their sons alone has not been easy given that he spends most of his time at work. Their first born, aged 15, is in Form III and the last born,13, is in Form I.

“My wife used to lead us in prayers every night. Now that she is gone, we rarely pray at night. Every time we pray together, we get fresh memories of her,” says Florian, tears welling up in his eyes as he stares into space.

Both good and bad memories keep flooding his mind and he sees her image every time he enters their bedroom. During the first year of his wife’s death he would wake up in the middle of the night and would remain awake for hours.

But like they say, time is the best healer. Today he can sleep through the night though he still remembers and mourns her every single day.

Why it takes long to heal

A Dar es Salaam-based psychologist, Charles Nduku says there are many reasons why people grieve for so long.

“Some do so out of love, some get hit by guilt conscious because after the loss they realise how poorly they treated their loved ones. While some grieve due to the loss of a family bread winner as they remain orphans” says Nduku.

The psychologist says it is important to try to get some sleep during bereavement to avoid health complications that can lead to depression. One has to keep themselves busy to reduce the feeling sad periods.

A Morogoro-based sociologist, Gozbert Lawa advises people who experience sleeping problems following the loss of a loved one to engage in exercise to help their bodies respond to sleep.

Lawa says trying to engage in their hobbies helps relax one’s mind and helps them sleep. In the process this helps keep depression at bay and hence suicidal thoughts.

Five coping stages

Psychologist Nduku says there are five steps that people go through on the journey to coping with grief. He mentions the steps as being denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Nduku explains denial as being the first stage of grief. This he says helps us survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on.

“Denial helps us pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle,” says Nduku.

The second stage, anger is a necessary stage of the healing or recovery process. “Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.”

The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this?

With bargaining stage, before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. Please God, you bargain, I will never be angry at my wife again if you will just let her live.

After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realise this has all been a bad dream? We become lost in a maze of if only or what statements,” he adds.

Commenting on the last stage Nduku says, acceptance is often confused with the notion of being all right or ok with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel ok or all right about the loss of a loved one.

This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognising that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it ok, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it, he says.

Such a long journey

Marina Shirima, 35, a primary school teacher shares the same experience as Florian. She has been grieving the loss of her sister for four years now. She was raised by her sister following their parents death when she was four years old.

Holding back tears, Marina tells me that talking about her sister’s death is the subject she avoids as it brings so much pain every time she talks about it.

“My sister died of cancer four years ago. It is has not been easy dealing with the loss as she invested a lot of love and money in me after my parents died a long time ago. I just can’t move on with the memories I am carrying in my heart,” says Marina.

Uncontrollable pain

She has been unable to control her pain and cries almost every day. In the first two years after her sister’s death, Marina would sometimes lock herself up in her room and cry.

The only time that she did not cry much was during some training in February 2017 that kept her busy and distracted. She would get tired and sleep the moment she hit the bed.

Marina believes in the power of prayer. Prayers have helped her a lot since during prayers she cries and allows herself to mourn once again, hence reducing her pain in the process.

“I hate how some people think I am over grieving,” she says.

Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor in Kinyerezi, Rev Lucas Liundi says, the most important thing to do to help a grieving person is to learn to be a good listener. Let someone pour their heart to you about the loss of a loved one and what it means to them.

“I will pray for you to get over this is a common phrase for most Christians though sometimes these people never pray for you as promised. Instead of telling someone I will pray for you, just pray for that person at that particular time,” advises the pastor.

Commenting on why people spend years grieving, the pastor says, the loss of a loved one involves of lot of changes and adjustments in the family. People close to those surviving grief should try to be patient with the victim as it is a long journey to overcome.

“I have seen people grieve for years. It is not an easy step to go through that everyone can just simply get over it. Such people need to be treated with patience,” says Pastor Liundi.

Sarafina Joseph agrees it takes time to heal following the death of someone so close to you. She hersefl has lost many relatives but she says it took her a very long time to finally accept and move on after she lost two people she considers to have been so very close to her heart.

“I used to cry a lot every time I remembered my niece and my elder brother who were so very dear to me. At least I can now think about them with much less pain. To avoid crying, I normally brush aside the thought of them,’ she says, fighting off tears.

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

The woman who makes things happen at ZIFF

 

By Salome Gregory

I have known Sabrina Faraji, for more than four years now. The 38-year-old mother of three is a popular person at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), an annual event that brings together people from all over the world to the archipelago.

Sabrina is always up and down during the festival as she co-ordinates three important programmes at ZIFF. The hard working woman who never seems to take a rest during the event co-ordinates the Dhow Race, Baba Bora campaign and Village Panorama programmes which involve the local people.

Since the festival brings together people from the world over, Sabrina’s responsibility through the three programmes she coordinates is to make sure locals too participate.

She engages the locals through the programmes and her work has been a great success as participation has been increasing year after year.

The dhow race for example is a cultural landmark of the seafaring peoples of Zanzibar Island. The race involves fishermen who compete at the foreshore of the Tembo Hotel. The winning dhow is awarded money and a trophy.

“The event which is the icon of the festival symbolises a long history of communication, migration and interaction which has produced cosmopolitan cultures as the manifestation of the human experience and expression of the region,” says Sabrina.

Promoting gender equality

Baba bora campaign which recognises the best father on the other hand is an initiative that engages fathers in changing attitudes and behaviours towards women and children in Tanzania. The campaign engages men and boys in preventing violence and promoting gender equality.

“ZIFF in collaboration with Save the Children conducts a photography exhibition highlighting children’s opinions on positive parenting and on the closing ceremony, government officials and religious leaders participate in a public debate on the importance of positive parenting,” Sabrina says.

The third programme, the village panorama, is an integral part of the festival that involves different villages in Unguja and Pemba through artistic activities.

The five villages that participated in this year’s festival include Kidoti, Matemwe, Jambiani, Mahonda and Donge.

The aim of this programe is to bring together various groups of people in the community to share experience and talents as well as skills and also to celebrate Zanzibar cultural and moral ethics.

This programme improves access to film through outreach activities relevant to youth and women. It also helps improve ZIFF’s capacity to provide outreach services. Through the programme film screenings are conducted in villages on topics relevant to women and youth in order to stimulate their interest in the art of film.

Involving local women

Through ZIFF Sabrina meets different people who have really been of great help in making her work a successs. Through these people, Sabrina has also been able to support and motivate women in Zanzibar to be a part of the international festival.

Through the programmes she coordinates, Sabrina works with women in different areas includinng traditional dances, in the Baba bora campaing as well as in the village panorama and dhow race.

Although these programmes have helped increase local participation, Sabrina admits it’s not always as easy as it may seem.

The difficulty is partly caused caused by the fact that each project has got a different sponsor, different audiences and all the events need special attention each.

getting sponsors has never been easy and it’s not always that these sponsors pay the money on time as agreed.

This makes things hard for Sabrina for it means she can not pay the service providers if money does not come in early as expected. time as agreed. It usually is a hustle making things happen, Sabrina says.

It takes a lot of effort to convince service providers to provide service and wait to be paid once the sponsors release the sponsorship funds. It’s not always easy, Sabrina notes.

However, this never slows her down and it is her perseverance that in the end sees everything go as planned.

Balancing work and family

Sabrina says it is not easy juggling ZIFF programmes co-ordination, her job and motherhood. But she manages anyway.

She thanks her mother who helps her look after her children when she is working.

When she is not coordinating programmes at ZIFF, Sabrina works as a production manager with Amani tailoring industry in the archipelago.

Before the establishment of Amani, Sabrina used to work as a shopkeeper at Kanga Kabisa, which was a Swedish company dealing in kanga garments’ collection. The company used to buy kanga clothing from different tailors for sale in Sweden.

Later on, Kanga Kabisa stopped buying ready-made kanga garments and instead employed tailors to make kanga clothes for export to Sweden. This is how Amani industry was born.

Hard-working Sabrina was promoted to the position of production manager and was given a 70 percent share in the business. It was a way of rewarding her good sales and marketing job.

Amani tailoring also makes hotel uniforms, seat covers, curtains and laptop bags among others.

Email: sgregory@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Master of the gigolos

 

By Jackson Biko

A friend told me the story of some guy whose rent is paid for by his girlfriend. I stared at her in bemusement. “Is he unwell?” I asked my friend. She said the guy was fit as a fiddle – ate three square meals a day, all that stuff.

“So why is she paying his rent?” She shrugged. “Because they are dating and she fancies him and he’s not employed now. She is one of those with good hearts.” Oh, those. “How long have they been dating?” I inquired. “Eight months now.”

I sipped my whisky and stared across the room at this waitress called Rose, whom I like flirting with sometimes when I’m in a good mood, but who was now flirting with another customer wearing a gold chain and a t-shirt with the emblem: “Listen to Ghostface.” He himself looked like a ghost.

“And how long has he been jobless? “ I asked, and she said nine months. “So he lost his job then met her a month later and she has been paying his rent during the whole relationship?” I said to no one in particular and I let that statement hang between us for a while, for her to process. That didn’t happen. Instead, across the floor, my waitress giggled furiously at something Mr Ghostface had said. Oh, so Ghostface was funny, now? I wanted to throw my glass at his ghostly face. “Is this chick loaded?”

I turned to my friend. Turns out she isn’t even rich. She is like the rest of us, going through this city, one penny at a time – and watching those pennies.

I thought about that guy. I wondered what kind of man gets his girlfriend to pay his rent. How lucky can you be? Is it even luck or is it pure talent? Or perhaps it’s some level of charisma that only the gods know about.

Was his grandmother a medicine woman? You make a woman reach into her bank account for your rent when the rest of us can’t even get them to reach into their purse to pay for a soda?

I honestly don’t know how these men even ask for rent. What kind of a face do they wear? A straight one? Pained one? Desperate one? A look of love? Or of promise? How does that rent conversation start? “Honey, I’m in a small bind here, business has been slow and I was wondering of you could help me settle the small matter of my rent this month. And maybe next month. Also perhaps the month after that… well, at least until the shilling settles. It’s only 900K. Will you, honeybun?”

Do they hypnotise women?

Do they hypnotise these women into paying their rent? “Honeybun, look at this swinging pendulum. You are getting veeery sleeeepy now. When I snap my fingers you will wake up and start paying my rent.”

Urban lore has it that men who get paid for rent are good in bed. That they are keen, attentive lovers who put their women’s pleasure before theirs. They also go for longer than the average two minutes. That same urban legend has it that men who get paid for rent are dandies or metrosexuals who have perfectly chiselled torsos and stomachs that women can sip drinks off. Or that they are dapper dressers… which means they wear red trousers and bow ties and smoke pipes and use words like ‘hence’ in conversation.

How smooth do you have to be to have a woman pay your rent? Do you speak like Shakespeare? Do you ooze poetry? But even most important, how into you does this woman have to be to pay your rent? Is this sorcery, people? This is sorcery, right?

I asked another female friend if she would pay her man’s rent. She said, if he lost his well-paying job. Note, the keywords are ‘well-paying’. “If he has a well-paying job it means he has potential to get another job,” she said.

But she’s Nyeri and they take care of their men. I asked an Embu girl and she said, “No, because then the dynamics of the relationship change and I don’t know if I could handle that.” I asked another girl from Kisii and she said, “Did his money go down with Chase Bank? It better have.” I asked a Kamba lady and she said, she wouldn’t, “because it’s against my religious beliefs.” Then I asked a Luo woman and she said she would pay but only if he had been supporting her when he had a job.

If not she’d hang him out to dry. (Of course these opinions are not representative of entire tribes, so don’t call me tribal.)

I remain confused. I still don’t know why a woman would pay a man’s rent.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Points to note when buying a ‘mtumba’ car

 

By Gavin Bennett

The country has a great number of “new” motorists, and the majority of them are starting their motoring careers with mitumba cars... and a lot of questions.

About traffic rules, about driving techniques, about fuel types, about repairs and maintenance and garage choices. And not least about what they need to do to the car itself, to make a model specified for use in Japan suitable for use in Africa.

One answer might be, “do nothing at all” — either because the make and model you’ve chosen is quite okay as it is for your gentle use; or because the make and model you’ve chosen is so inappropriate that nothing you can do will save you from imminent mechanical disaster, so don’t waste any more money.

There is no “stock” modification you must make to ensure a car specified for use in cool and smooth conditions will run properly and trouble-free in a hotter, rougher, dustier place. It depends on the make, the model, the individual vehicle, and your intended use (around town or long-distance highways or rough tracks; heavily laden or nearly empty; fast or slow?).

And not least on the mechanical know-how at your disposal.

What you need to appreciate is that there are differences in specifications, and some of them can be significant. Some are simple to adjust, with little risk. Others are complex and can have severe side effects.

Mix not match

For example, domestic models for non-tropical markets may have smaller radiators or softer springs and dampers.

This does not mean the car will immediately overheat or that all its legs will snap and fall off; but the car will be less able to cope with extremely hot or rough conditions, have less margin of tolerance for neglect or defects, and be more prone to premature failure.

Softy-softy specs of used cars originating from markets with smooth conditions may be found all over the vehicle — in engine and body mountings, exhaust, brackets, springs and control arm bushes.

Changing some of these components and not others can produce some negative side-effects.

Manufacturers are careful to “balance” every element of the suspension system all the way from the tyres to the driver’s seat (and everything in between); and when they fit heavy duty suspension specs they often also reinforce parts of the frame and body-welding to match.

Mix-not-match issues can arise all over the place, whatever modification you try to make (eg, to ground clearance by fitting spacers, or changing wheel sizes or tyre profiles) so modifications to avoid one problem can often cause another unless you (and/or your mechanic) are tech savvy.

There are a host of one-off quirks on particular parts of particular models, but the foregoing gives you some broad principles on which to decide whether your newly-arrived used car should just be given a thorough service and wash (to get rid of the sea salt), or whether it should spend its first few African days (rather than the rest of its life) in a workshop.

As ever, prevention is better than cure, so picking sources and makes and models with proven track records in this market is the rational starting place.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Waking up a sleepy village

 

By Haika Kimaro

It is hard to comprehend that one would spend Sh6,500 to just get a cold drink.

But such used to be the case in Nakopi village in Mtwara Region’s Nanyumbu District. Before December last year, Nakopi villagers who needed to quench their thirst with a Sh500 cold soda had to pay Sh6,000 bus fare to and from the district headquarters in Mangaka, 60 kilometres away.

Similarly, whoever needed photocopy service had to go all the way to Mangaka for the service.

Ever since the village was established in 1975, the 5,305 Nakopi residents had no power supply until towards the end of last year when they had power for the first time, thanks to a Sh780 million solar power project by PowerCorner Tanzania Limited.

December 2017 will remain in Nakopi’s history books. It was the month in which the first electricity bulb was switched on, bringing joy to all the villagers, some to whom it was the first time to see electricity. Now, a cold soda and photocopy services are now available in the village.

PowerCorner Tanzania Limited which generates electricity from solar energy was developed to capitalise on the significant opportunities presented by electrification in Tanzania and across Sub-SaharanAfrica, both to impact rural communities who currently do not have access to power and to build a sustainable business model.

The 30 kilowatts project has not only provided Nakopi villagers with light during the night but it has also created many income generating opportunities. A number of villagers have invested in various projects such as welding, carpentry, secretarial services and other businesses which need electricity to run.

Rashid Hashim is one of the prominent people in Nakopi. Hashim says travelling all the way to Mangaka to buy a cold soda or make a photocopy, was common, especially among villagers who are financially better off.

“Travelling to Mangaka to drink a cold soda was common here. In order to make the best of the trip, we would make sure we had more to do in town, so we would not travel all the way there and spend that much money to just get a cold drink. Most of us used to make such trips twice in a week,” Hashim says.

Availability of electricity in Nakopi has created a lot of business opportunities. Many people have ventured into activities which need electricity to run which were impossible to execute in the past.

A drinks outlet owner in the village, Bakari Issa, says his business has more than doubled since the village was connected to the mini-grid. In the past he used to sell two crates of soft drinks per week, today he sells more than five.

“In the past I used to sell only one crate of beer but now I sell two. I have bought an additional refrigerator to accommodate my booming business. I thank God that electricity has opened up new opportunities,” he says.

He paid Sh150,000 to be connected to the grid and to recoup this investment quickly, Issa has also started showing football matches, at a fee and business is good. He charges Sh500 per football match.

“I also offer preservation services to people who want to preserve their perishable goods such as meat and many others at a fee,” he adds.

Ms Sophia Matumla, another villager, says the power has helped villagers to do away with paraffin lamps.

“Now children can review their studies at night without much problems. Health services at our dispensary have also improved and are offered around the clock because we have electricity,” she says.

Another villager, Ndawambe Waziri, a power distribution system supervisor with PowerCorner project, has also grabbed the opportunity by opening a stationery and secretarial services shop.

“Because I have another job, I have employed two people to run my business. I plan to expand thebusiness because the market here is huge,” he says.

Despite spending Sh3,000 electricity bill every day on average, Waziri still makes profit because his business serves people from neighbouring villages as well.

“Villages in Michiga ward have no access to electricity. They now travel to Nakopi for services just like we used to travel to Mangaka,” he says grinning.

Business has also picked up for Mohamed Rashid, a technician and owner of a welding and carpentry workshop. With electricity access, he now serves more people within a short period. He says his life has improved because he now makes more money.

“Running costs have also gone down because we now have cheap electricity. We make various forms of furniture using timber and iron bars,” he says.

Improved health services

The Chief Medical Officer at the village dispensary, Anna Lucas, says availability of electricity has improved health services at the facility. She says they can now handle many emergence cases such as pregnancy complications at any time.

“We no longer have electricity problems. The only challenges we have remained with are shortage of medicines and other medical supplies. We can now store drugs which need to be stored in low temperatures,” she narrates.

But all these developments would not have been possible if the villagers had not offered the necessary support.

Nakopi village chairman, Hassan Said, commends villagers who agreed to give out their land for the project without demanding to be compensated.

“If it were not for these villagers this project would not have been realised. They showed a high degree of cooperation and willingness to make this project possible. Others agreed to lose their crops so that the power lines could pass in their areas and they too did not ask for compensation. This is the true spirit of togetherness and working for development,” he says.

PowerCorner Director, Mpembe Ngwisa is optimistic that the project will enable Nakopi residents to contribute to the country’s economy. Nakopi villagers can now participate in the implementation of the government’s dream of building an industrialised economy,” he says.

Email:life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

New experience at Burudika Manyara Lodge

 

By Elisha Mayallah

My companion and I spent a cool weekend at the Burudika Manyara Lodge just off the popular Makuyuni to Ngorongoro road recently.

When I returned to Burudika Manyara lodge this time around, lonely winds and serenity suggested a more humdrum countryside and its untouched spaces. It takes in the best views of the vast Lake Manyara and the undulating escarpment of the Great Rift Valley.

The landscapes here are astonishing. Initially proclaimed to host the local Maasai and now protecting the wildebeests, zebras, Thomson gazelles, elephants, lions, hyena, jackals, ostriches and more roaming the Jangwani wildlife corridor area.

This wilderness lodge is the stuff of dreams- to sleep and being waked up by the sound of

hornbills, doves, lovebirds, Nightjar, plovers and many other bird species found in the proximity of the bungalows.

On the first morning after breakfast, we set out to explore the latest facilities in the lodge that sits on 10 acres of land.

In addition to fine dining and contemporary accommodation in ordinary and family bungalows, the lodge has added three more family bungalows. The lodge now has five family bungalows, which can each accommodate six people, and eight chalets able to host single, twin, double and triple clients each.

According to Mr Erastus Lufungulo the MD, the lodge now can accommodate 38 guests or more depending on the clients’ requirements, making it an exclusive family-friendly lodge in the neighbourhood.

And it will take on a far more favourable meaning and comfort when an inviting swimming pool with a liberating look attached to a snack bar opens in October this year, it will come up with a 180-degree panoramic view of Lake Manyara, according to Mr Lufungulo.

This lodge, which is the first in the area to provide swimming pool services, will encourage guests to explore the Magnificence of the lodge services from an entirely new perspective, from which visitors will enjoy the best sundowner and make the most of the sunset.

After a few hours, we returned to the Baobab restaurant ready for our dinner in the evening, I was happy to meet a host of tourists with families from Italy Belgium France UK and Canada. Mostly they commended the lodge for its tranquillity, good food, comfortable accommodation and high-speed internet services, which I also made the most of. A guide from a Kili Trek tour company, Mr Hamari said they have been using the lodge for years with optimum comfort for their clients.

The lodge has been used repeatedly by different tour companies who take the tourists to visit the popular triangle tour in the north of Tanzania that joins the Tarangire – Manyara - Ngorongoro Ecosystem.

New prospect for Burudika facilities, according to the MD Mr Lufungulo, a new Burudika Serengeti Luxury Tented Camp in Serengeti National Park has already been finalised ready to operate early this month.

It will include two family tents with connecting rooms and four tents that will accommodate single, double, twin to triple clients. This expansion is to sustain the connectivity of the clients staying at the Burudika Manyara Lodge during their visit to Serengeti National park, one of the best leading tourist parks in the world.

Given that the location of the tented luxury camp is away from the overcrowded Seronera area in the heart of the Serengeti National Park, the tents are stationed on the sweeping Hembe hill between southern and northern Serengeti along the Seronera-Ndabaka road.

Email: elisha.mayallah@gmail.com

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Benefits of outdoor play activities for children

 

By Devotha John

Children’s recreational facilities are very important in child development. Apart from giving children the opportunity to have fun, they also help in developing their social skills.

In cities like Dar-es Salaam children go to recreational centres along the beaches, at home and any other sites set purposely to ensure children are happy after being strained by homework and house chores the whole week.

Speaking to Young Citizen children from across the city opened up on how they enjoy going to these facilities.

A Grade Five pupil at East Africa International School, Rebecca Johnson, says the centres are places where children meet and make new friends, adding that it is through these places that the young ones awaken each others’ talents.

“Outdoor play activities are very important as they help us learn game rules. I particularly like swimming and have been able to learn its rules while at these sites,” says Rebecca.

Baraka Mlawa, a Grade Five pupil at the same school says he enjoys when his parents take him to the children’s sites. He appreciates the way his parents value his interests.

“There are many recreational centres for children in Dar es Salaam. My friends and enjoy Kunduchi Beach and Lamada. They are lovely indeed and have so many games for children to explore nature,” he says.

Baraka says his parents always take him out to have fun with friends twice a month where he also gets time to enjoy the delicacies at nearby hotels.

Zulekha Juma, a Grade Six pupil at St Mary’s school in Tabata says she likes visiting children’s recreation centres as a way of beating stress. While having fun outdoors, she tends to forget all the disturbances at home.

“I normally feel at ease without worrying about homework and house chores,” says Zulekha.

She says children enjoy different games, including jumping castle, swimming, playing on the roller coaster, slides and many others.

Jema Philip says the recreation centres have huge play grounds unlike the ones at home where children face interruptions from pedestrians.

At home they also fear to destroy the gardens and breaking glass windows.

Ajia Mohamed, a parent says recreation centres are vital as they develop children’s creativity, which in the long run sharpens their talents.

“The centres enable children to explore the world. Children get ample time to practice social skills and gain confidence alongside having fun.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

GENDER TALK: Ladies, wash your men’s feet, please

 

By Jackson Biko

A man comes home. He’s had a long day. His wife also works, but this is not about her; this is about this hardworking man.

She waits at the door when he walks up the staircase. She waits with a smile and a warm hug or a peck on the cheek.

She takes the man’s laptop bag from his fatigued shoulders and follows him to the bedroom where, as he sighs heavily as only a hardworking man can, she gently unties his tie, a tie that represents the yoke of capitalism.

“How was your day, my love?” she asks with concern. She calls him her love even when she doesn’t feel the love. She also calls him other sweet things like “sugar” and “sweetheart” and “tomato.” It’s what a dutiful wife does.

He moans about his day, sighing through the bland narration. He is handed a towel and he disappears to take a warm shower.

As he towels his (strong) back, she sits on the edge of the bed and admires him, knowing that she is the luckiest woman on earth. And why shouldn’t she be lucky? Look at him, hardworking and doesn’t leave the toilet seat up.

Unlike other men who have to warm their own dinner, this man get served by his wife. She warms the dinner herself, sets the table, and serves him. Then she sits near him and listens to his wisdom and if he’s not in the mood to talk because he’s had a long day, she can also just sit quietly and watch him eat.

She can also share how her day was but only if she is asked. Mostly she isn’t asked because she has a way of abusing that question by giving a windy and exhaustive blow-by-blow account that, if not nipped early, can last the whole of his dinner right up to the time they retire in bed.

Talking of bed-time: She can’t have headaches. She can’t be too tired for his conjugal needs. She is there to serve and satisfy all his needs. On certain days she should be able to oil his ashen feet, cut his nails, pick his clothes, buy him grooming items. If there is a man like this out there I would like to sit at his feet and ask him what chapati it is that he sat on for these privileges.

There was a small uproar recentlywhen a certain video blogger mentioned that she washes her man and treats him like a king. A cross-section of women thought she was mad.

“Treat him like a baby, treat him like he’s King, even the small things that you think are not necessary, do it, trust me it goes a long way,” she said. “If he wants to take a bath you should go and wash him, scrub him. Don’t let him do anything by himself, clean his ears like how you would wash a baby. Try it, put mafuta on his body, dress him.”

I liked the part about washing his ears and oiling his body, but I think she was being hyperbolic. Every man wants to feel like he’s the man. Not a man, but the man, and certain things that women do will make us feel that way. But we have stopped being treated like kings.

We guys are seen as lazy and unromantic and with a bad sense of dressing. We are clustered with the undesirables. We are compared unfairly to West African men who apparently kiss the ground women walk on.

We are made to believe that in the whole of Africa, we are the at the very bottom of the rung. We are made to feel so low and unworthy of being treated well that when someone suggests that we have our ears washed there is an uproar.

Our women have become so unappreciative of their own men that when someone suggest that we be treated well, it seems like an April Fools day.

And it’s sad. Talking of babies, when you tell a child that they are stupid, and you tell them every day, they will never rise above what you think of them. Some of us grew up being told, “Why can’t you be like Tony from next door? Very disciplined boy who does very well in school.”

As a result we sought to be anything and everything else but Tony. It’s time our women started thinking of us in a different light. It’s time, perhaps that they started washing our feet.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Putting the sizzle in the steak at Red Onion

 

By Tasneem Hassanali

When you walk into a restaurant, have you ever ordered a dish that you found interesting in your neighbour’s table? It happened with me last month when I placed my order without looking at the menu or price (warning: at your own risk).

Upon finishing last-minute grocery shopping at City Mall (located along Morogoro Road) at lunch hour, I decided to find something to eat within the premises. Perusing through, I came across a restaurant that reminded me of Mumbai – Red Onion.

I recognised the owner as he used to initially own a small restaurant in Kariakoo, where I used to regularly go for my chilly paneers [an Indian cottage cheese dish] on Sundays. After exchanging greetings, I sat by a table neighbouring a young couple. Their food arrived sizzling and smoky on a hot metal/wooden plate. I inquired as to what it was. The waitress informed that it’s a steak sizzler and explained various options. I instantly placed my order.

My hot plate: Sizzler, a particular cut of steak, also available in poultry, is usually served on a searing hot metal plate so the steak sizzles when arriving at the table. My plate was definitely the centre of attention. I had ordered a French onion chicken steak.

The plate had a good portion of meat topped with pepper sauce, sauté onions and cheese. Boiled vegetables with herbs complimented the steak. Other side dish options available are mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, chips or rice.

Price: The steak sizzlers cost between Sh15,000 to Sh22000. One portion can be shared by two.

My verdict: The steak was nothing out of the ordinary but definitely worth the price. The sizzling plate surely added that little bit of sophistication in the dish.

Everything was fresh, hot and flavours were perfectly balanced. All in all, one more dish added to my list of favourites.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

PARENTING: What’s your discipline style?

 

By Life&Style Reporter

You are the true expert on what works for you and for your children. Professional advice is undoubtedly helpful, but it needs to align with your own intuition and values. It’s fine to adapt philosophies and use what makes sense to you.

Boundary-based discipline: Children need boundaries to feel safe. If they don’t know where the boundaries are, they’ll “test” until they find them.

A toddler may test boundaries by throwing her spoon (or even her whole plate) to the floor. An older child might test limits by leaving her coloured pencils in a glorious mess on the rug or by taking an extremely long time to get ready in the mornings.

Clearly communicate your boundaries: “Please put my things back in my purse when you’re done looking at them.” If your child doesn’t heed your directions, follow through with a consequence.

Make the consequence a logical fit for the behaviour. For example, if your child leaves your wallet, hairbrush, and sunglasses strewn around the living room floor, she loses the privilege to inspect your purse for a while.

Give your child limited choices. Suppose your 5-year-old is loudly banging on her electronic toy piano with the volume on maximum. You respectfully ask her to turn it down. She ignores you. Offer a choice: “You can either turn the volume down now, or I’ll put the piano away until tomorrow.” This puts the responsibility in her hands.

Use natural consequences, too. If your grade-schooler forgets her lunch, don’t rush to school with it. Instead, let her experience the consequences.

Gentle discipline: A child can’t learn much about behaviour when he’s screaming and crying. He (and you) can benefit greatly from daily preventive techniques – strategies that minimise opportunities for misbehaviour.

Create routines so that your child feels grounded. Offer choices to give him a sense of control. Try something like, “Would you like to wear the red pajamas or the blue?” Give warnings before transitions: “We need to leave the playground in five minutes.”

Frame your requests positively. For example, say, “Please use your big boy voice,” instead of, “Don’t whine.” When possible, use “when, then” statements instead of outright no’s: “When we’re done with dinner, then we can go outside.”

When your child misbehaves, first consider if there’s an underlying problem, such as tiredness, boredom, or hunger. The misbehaviouyr may disappear once you address this need.

If not, turn to what author Elizabeth Pantley calls a “laundry bag” of tricks. This is a collection of go-to strategies, including silly games, distraction, redirection, validation, and self-soothing. You can pull a trick out of your bag whenever it’s time to refocus your child.

For example, if he refuses to take a bath, try making the washcloth “talk” to him in a playful voice. If this doesn’t work, try something else, such as validation and redirection. (“It’s hard when you have to do something you don’t want to do. How about if we see how quickly we can get it done? I’ll get a clock.”)

Positive discipline: This concept is based on misbehaviour as an opportunity for learning and engaging the child to help come up with a solution. Kids behave well when they feel encouraged and have a sense of belonging and self-worth. Misbehaviour often happens when children feel discouraged.

Talk with your child and try to find out the underlying cause of her misbehaviour.

For example, suppose your 3-year-old refuses to bring her plate to the sink. Is she afraid she’ll break the plate? Is she trying to get attention? Perhaps it gives her a sense of power. Or maybe she’s hurt about something else and is trying to “get you back.”

Once you know the reason, give her the right kind of encouragement and work out a solution.

If she’s struggling with powerlessness, you could encourage her by saying, “We need to get the table clean. Can you help me figure out how to do it?”

Another example: Your 8-year-old spills juice on the couch and the two of you decide that the solution is for her to steam clean the stain (using her allowance to pay for the steamer rental). This is a task she might actually enjoy.

It doesn’t mean she’ll continue to spill juice on the couch in order to get to use the steamer. It means she’s learning how to take responsibility for a mistake – and better yet, she’s invested in her own learning.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Healthy children crucial for nation’s development

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

As the world celebrated breastfeeding last week, a Kenyan woman (25 year old Faith Nyokabi) made news, after she was arrested for refusing to breastfeed her baby. Reason, she wanted her husband to pay her in cash Ksh100,000 so as to resume breastfeeding. Strange indeed!

One of the highest love and care for an infant is exclusive breasting (EBF). It’s also a right for the newborn, unless under medical grounds. World bodies like Unicef recommend EBF - only breast milk, without any additional foods in the first six months.

The list of benefits of breastfeeding for babies and their mothers is long, yet some women fail in this noble duty. Different books tells us that breast milk contains antibodies which do a lot in helping the baby fight off viruses and bacteria. EBF lowers the baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies, and it’s noteworthy that EBF babies have less infections and illnesses including diarrhoea.

Despite all those listed benefits among others there are many women like Faith Nyokabi, who for different reasons refuse to give their kids’ their birthright- breast milk.

Here in Tanzania, according to FAO some women fail to breastfeed their children because of mobile phones or just to preserve their beauty. These are very retrogressive reasons but sordid reality and must be discouraged at all costs.

Activist Mwanahamisi Singano notes that “In Tanzania, most working mother stop breastfeeding soon after they return to work, and for those who did, go extra mile.” Because the maternity leave is for 90 days, this often forces mothers to quit EBF and introduce other foods before six months are over. Singano asserts that “the core of maternity leave is breastfeeding” and that there is evidence that the “longer paid maternity leave, the long breastfeeding period for working mothers.”

In the past this column has advocated for employers to have lactation rooms, which would solve the problem of working mothers, who need EBF. But as they say, if wishes were horses beggars would ride. Which company is willing to invest in this?

It’s not all sad news. In most places in Tanzania a woman can breastfeed in public. A big up for Tanzanian men, they don’t harass, they don’t even give a second glance to a mother lactating her child, it’s a normal activity.

Sometimes back, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu noted that by “reducing stunting and malnutrition among children in Tanzania, it means creating a productive society that will catch up with the country’s industrialisation agenda.”

This starts from when a woman gets pregnant. Proper care must be observed which includes eating healthy, so that the baby can be born in great health. After the baby comes, the first six months of his/her life matters a lot and EBF meals a lot for both the baby and mother. Ms Mwalimu once said, EBF for six months is “important to prevent growth retardation”.

A paper by Evodia Kokushubira and Achilles Kiwanuka published last year- ‘Factors Affecting Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Post-Natal Mothers in Kinondoni Municipality, Dar es Salaam’, noted some very pertinent issues. It reveals that some of the factors that affect EBF include anxiety of breastfeeding in public; household chores and mother’s sickness. In the research about 12 per cent of the respondents soon after birth gave their babies “something else other than breast milk.” This was in addition to colostrum. Only about 35 per cent were on EBF.

Ms Mwalimu is more optimistic and says it’s about 59 per cent of babies in Tanzania who are breastfed as advised by experts. This being the case, we may need to respond to Evodia and Achilles call in their paper for improvement of the institutional policies and cultural practices that impede breastfeeding through legislation.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI: Becoming an authentic, creative leader



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal, azim@corporatesufi.com

Today, in an increasingly volatile and complex world, where there is no one specific roadmap for success, what we need are creative leaders; leaders who can create and foster an environment to draw out the individual potential of each member of the team.

Over my last two decades working with global corporations, I have noticed there are certain key qualities which define creative leaders.

Let’s look at some of their qualities:

1. They are authentic – Creative leaders think and act from a place of truth within themselves. Creativity is borne out of authenticity, the courage to explore fresh ideas to create new meaning and value, and do away with what no longer serves us, despite the risk of disapproval or censure. Creative leaders consider all viewpoints, but are able to remain independent of others’ good or bad opinions, thus relying on their inner wisdom to guide their effort.

2. They draw connections – Steve Jobs defined creativity as simply connecting things. He said “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Nothing in this world is original; rather it is built on the foundation of preceding discoveries or inventions.

3. They value quiet time alone – Big ideas usually make their way forth when the mind is quiet, and creative leader’s value quiet time in their daily lives. Many of them are avid meditators or practice other mindful practices like Tai Chi and Qigong to calm their inner chatter and allow ideas and solutions to emerge.

4. They are problem solvers – While average folk discuss the impact of problems, creative leaders are programmed to look for solutions. For them a problem is just another opportunity for creating more value and self-development.

5. They are inspired by the love of what they do – Creative leaders constantly seek purpose and meaning in their work. They are passionate about their vision, and this energy inspires others to follow suit. They understand the importance of showing everyone the big picture and continuing to foster a positive environment in which others can draw their own sense of purpose and contribute their unique part to the solution.

6. They take time to nurture their creative space - While creative ideas are touted to pop up when least expected, it often takes months and years of relentless work to enable the proverbial flash. Creative leaders actively seek out experiences, interactions and experimentation to spark creative thinking.

7. They challenge the status quo – Robert Kennedy once said, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”. Creative leaders allow themselves to be curious and open. They are ready to upset the status quo even if it means upsetting a few agendas or vested interest groups. They ask questions, challenge assumptions, imagine unseen possibilities and are willing to dig deeper to overcome the obstacles laid down by those who favour the status quo.

8. They live in the Now – Creative leaders are dreamers with robust imagination, but with their feet planted firmly on the ground. So while they have exciting ideas for the future, they possess a sharp awareness of their present environment coupled with adaptability and flexibility. Hence, they are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty and thrive on change.

9. They believe that creativity is a state of mind – Creative leaders believe that anyone and everyone is creative. The only thing needed is self-confidence and the right outlet for expression.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

OUR KIND OF ENGLISH: PM in drive to boost palm oil ‘cultivation’

 

By Abdi Sultani

We’ll avoid our usual introductory “lecture” and move straight to the gems we picked up in the recent past, so, here we go…

In the tabloid sister to Bongo’s huge and colourful broadsheet of Sun, Aug 29, there’s this story, ‘Majaliwa tours Kigoma in palm wine oil production drive’ in which Para 5 reads: “The Premier {was} …in a four-day visit to the region devoted to enhancing palm oil CULTIVATION.” No way! You can’t cultivate palm oil, the PM’s backing notwithstanding.

Purporting to report what the Premier said, the scribbler writes in Para 6: “…the government can no longer continue importing COOKING OIL even AS the country has (sic) the capacity to cultivate THE CROP.”

Our colleague seems fully convinced that (cooking) oil is a crop that farmers can cultivate. Nope!

The truth is: farmers cultivate palms, from whose kernels oil is processed—hence the product, PALM OIL. Just like we’ve palm wine, which is brewed (not cultivated) using palm fruit juice.

Here’s our partial rewrite of Para 6: “…the government can no longer continue importing cooking oil even WHEN (not ‘even as’) the country has the capacity to PRODUCE (not cultivate) palm oil.”

Come Fri, Jul 27, and Page 1 of the tabloid closely associated with this columnist has a story entitled ‘Re-establish POAC, Utoh (sic) tells Bunge’.

The scribbler—referring to a book by former controller and auditor general Ludovick Utouh—writes: “This is roughly “ki-Swahili” for ‘Accountability in Inkless Pen.’

Now, why “ki-Swahili” instead of Kiswahili? Yes, and, if you ask us, the East and Central Africa lingua franca shouldn’t even be referred to as “Swahili language” as the scribbler suggests in the same paragraph. It is, simply and proudly, Kiswahili.

On Page 5 of the same tabloid, in a story entitled, ‘Mkapa hospital goes high-tech’, the scribbler writes on the report that the hospital will be undertaking specialised prostate surgeries:

“The NEWS, which might BENEFIT a lot of men…was announced yesterday.” We have a diction issue here, for it cannot be the news that benefits men; the news could only excite them, give them joy and hope (not benefit)!

On Page 27, there’s a story headlined, ‘TPDF allays fears over army vehicles’, and therein the scribbler writes in Para 1:

“The TPDF clarified yesterday about military vehicles, which were seen along (sic) the Mererani tanzanite MINING.”

In showing he knows what he’s talking about, the scribbler writes further in Para 5:

“He assured that there is no operation … at the tanzanite MINING …people should remain calm.”

It’s our belief the information our colleague had at his disposal was that heavy military equipment was seen rolling around the tanzanite MINES (not tanzanite mining).

And finally, purporting to quote a miners’ trade union official, our colleague writes, “We are really shocked after TRUNKS (armoured personnel carriers) ROVE around the wall.”

Military trunks rove? That cannot be! We aver our colleague had in mind “… (military) TANKS that ROLLED (not rove) around the wall.

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

FROM THE CLASSROOM: The importance of being outdoors



Waheeda Samji

Waheeda Samji 

By Waheeda Shariff Samji

The other day, I read an article about how the average school-going child (aged 5-12 years old) of today spends less than 30 minutes playing outside. I found this quite disturbing, although not altogether unexpected in this day of smartphones and screen time.

Our children seem to spend their days mostly inside – either in a car, driving to and from school; inside a classroom, being taught lessons, indoors at home, doing homework or stuck to a screen.

The only time they spend meaningfully outside is in PE class, or catching a few shades of sun in the increasingly short recess times at school.

One in nine children have not been to a park, forest, or beach in 12 months, over 30 per cent have never played in mud, and over 50 per cent have never built a sandcastle or had a picnic. And to put it into perspective, the average US prisoner spends 4 times more time outside than our children do!

Even more interestingly, as parents, we seem to have programmed ourselves to think that this is perfectly acceptable, and we resist any change to this quite vociferously.

We seem to like the idea that our children spend most of their time in confined environments, as if this will somehow result in them being ‘smarter’, and have convinced ourselves that this is a proxy for good grades.

As working parents, it is also easier and less work for us to deal with children being indoors than to have to trek with them to the beach or the park, or supervise them outside. And so as sad as it is, we don’t insist on our children going to play outside.

An increasing amount of research suggests that more frequent and longer recess times in school result in better focus, attention and results from children.

The less time children spend outside playing increasingly leads to children who are not just physically and mentally ill, but less imaginative, less active and less social.

The more time children spend outside results in lower rates of obesity and chronic illnesses, as well as lower levels of stress and anxiety.

But if any schools were to even suggest that classroom time be reduced to accommodate more recess time outside, we would be inclined as parents to reject this as an overly free-range notion.

We would rally against it aggressively, and gather our friends and colleagues to support motions against the very notion.

Although we like to think of ourselves as liberal and open to change, recommendations such as these would bring out the worst of our conservative roots.

How dare anyone even suggest shorter classes or less teaching time, even if all the research supports the idea – that would be akin to ripping us off our school fees!

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

CANDID TALK: Why I feel like the stingy man’s pet monkey

 

By Peter Muthamia

Forgive me if this third-rate column reads like one written by a real monkey. I sometimes feel like one for I have done so many donkey (…I mean monkey) work with nothing to show for it.

Slightly before I was thrown out of Katerero Primary School for trying to peer under a girl’s skirt, my teacher, Miss Rugarabamu Rubabiriunuss Winchinslauss (her names sounded like a choking man’s gaggles) told us a story of a stingy man’s monkey. I know that you will love it because even intellectuals love to read foolish stories like this one.

Anyway, once upon a time, there was this bloke who earned his living showing off his monkey doing antics in the streets.

Crowds would throng around the monkey and would burst into peals of laughter. The mirth and frolic was akin to what happens in this part of Uswaz whenever Ngongoti man (devilishly masked stilt walkers) or those pregnant men (you have seen street comedians dressed like pregnant women) come around.

Let’s get to the monkey business. Day-in, day-out the poor monkey performed all sorts of monkey acrobatics with no reward – not even the cherished groundnuts - thankless task of keeping the streets people entertained.

The crowd in turn tossed coins into an alms box that the monkey’s master greedily stuffed into his pocket.

One afternoon, a man brandishing a banjo (stringed musical instrument) showed up in that part of the street and broke into song and dance.

Everyone, especially the monkey was mesmerized by the performance as he played some Salsa tunes. The monkey stood up, danced and clapped its hands (paws?) with pleasure.

As the happy crowd started throwing coins towards the new entertainer, the monkey thought it clever to also reward the man. It went straight to the alms box, tossing coins it had “earned” to the banjo man.

The monkey owner was so furious that he tried to spank the poor monkey but the monkey was too fast. The monkey ran into the arms of the banjo player who purchased him for a song. They made a happy team of entertainers and lived happily thereafter.

As said earlier, I feel like a real monkey that knows how to wear its fingers on the keyboard to produce third-rate columns like the one you are now reading.

In reward, my stingy boss tosses some coins in the name of wages into my bank account at Dr Charlie’s outfit on the 45th day of the month.

Like the monkey in the story above, I am waiting for a banjo player to swing me to financial bliss – very soon.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

A graduate who ekes out a living selling fruit juice

Natalia blends juice at her Zanana juice bar in

Natalia blends juice at her Zanana juice bar in Kawe, Dar es Salaam. She receives up to 500 take away orders per week. PHOTOI ESTHER KIBAKAYA. 

By Esther Kibakaya

Landing a job of their dreams is the wish of many graduates soon after they complete studies. But with unemployment on the rise, many are left jobless while some opt for self-employment.

While many are forced into self- employment because of scarcity of jobs, the case was different for Natalia Hassan,26, a Bachelor of Insurance and Risk Management degree holder who graduated from the Institute of Finance Management in 2015.

For her, following the self-employment path was a dream come true. Natalia always had a passion for doing business and so she did not bother to look for a job when she finished college. Today that passion and courage has seen her become one of the few young women who own successful business establishments in town.

Natalia owns Zanana juice bar in Kawe, Dar es Salaam which serves a variety of freshly squeezed fruit juices. She also supplies juice in various areas in the city. She receives up to 500 take away orders per week.

Natalia says while she was still in college, the idea of being employed after completing her education never crossed her mind let alone finding a field attachment during the holidays.

“I have never worked in anyone’s office. Neither have I been on field attachment as a student,” she shares.

As other students were busy looking for field attachments in different companies, Natalia was busy doing business. “I am that kind of a person who loves to think of new ideas to make money. I remember when I was in Standard Two, my friend and I used to sell baobab seeds (Ubuyu) on their house veranda and used the money we earned during study tours.”

So when she was in College, Natalia used to ponder a lot on what to do to earn money but whatever came to her mind required a lot of capital, which she could not afford at the time.

She believes God has his own ways of answering people’s prayers. Whenever they had guests at home, Natalia would make them fruit juices which the guests could not stop praising her for.

“Whenever I offered them a glass of juice they would always comment on how tasty it was. I used to live in Sinza A and there was a building under construction in the neighbourhood. I thought it would be a good idea if I sold juice at the construction site.

A Sh5,000 capital

I shared the idea with my relatives, who did not take it seriously. This kind of discouraged me and so I did not work on it for some months. One day, I just decided to give it a try regardless of what others said or thought.

Armed with only Sh 5,000, Natalia set off to Tandale market to buy fruits. “From the fruits I bought I was able to make six and a half litres of juice. I kept the juice in the fridge and the following day, my cousin and I left home at lunch time for the construction site to sell our juice,” explains Natalia.

Natalia was shocked by the construction workers’ reaction. They did not believe Natalia and her cousin were selling juice.

“They were surprised to see us carrying gallons of juice for sale. We did not appear like people who were selling juice because of how we were dressed,” recalls Natalia, bursting into laughter.

Natalia and her cousin would dress for business, unlike your ordinary juice vendors. This raised a lot of questions as people tried to understand why the beautiful young girls had chosen to sell fruit juice. People also wanted to know if they were going to school and all that. However, they bought the juice and enjoyed it. They even ordered for more the next day, says Natalia.

And that was the beginning of Natalia’s dream coming true. She sold a whole gallon of juice on her first day and this motivated her to increase production.

“My target was just one construction site but on our way back home, we got more customers.”

This encouraged Natalia and her cousin to target more customers apart from construction workers. They sought customers from shops, garages and elsewhere. And as the number of clients increased, Natalia reduced the price of her juice from Sh1,000 a glass to Sh600. They would walk from Sinza ‘A’ and around Mlimani city up to Sinza Mori.

Serving two masters

Since she was doing the business while she was still in college, Natalia found it a bit difficult balancing business and studies. She concentrated more on her business and attended classes rarely, raising suspicion among her colleagues.

“Most students thought I was partying a lot and that is why my attendance in class was poor. But I knew what I was up to,” she says.

Natalia used to pay the price during exams because she never did proper preparations.

“I used to panic a lot during exams but in the end I would tell God that he knew I was not doing something bad. I would pray hard asking God to help me out and he surprisingly did. And here I am, a degree holder,” she says, her face beaming with pride.

Her business grew with time reaching a point where she would sell over 60 litres of juice per day.

As is with any other business, Natalia faced challenges in her flourishing business. People’s mentality that smart girls cannot walk around selling juice was challenge number one.

“Some men thought we were very poor and so they would ask us to stop walking in the sun promising to take care of us. Or someone would ask how many gallons of juice we had so he would buy all of it for us to have time to sit down with him for a chat. But because we meant business, we ignored all these insults.”

Over time, Natalia thought of expanding her business by getting a place from where she could be selling her juice. “I wanted to do it more professionally but I was scared I might not be able to do it. However, my brothers encouraged me a lot. As I pondered on this, I luckily received an order to deliver 15 litres of juice at Triple Seven bar and restaurant in Kawe daily, which was a big boost to my business,” says Natalia.

This, she says was a good start and with time the owner of the place agreed to rent her a place where she could be selling her juice from. That time, Natalia says she didn’t have money for rent but she just accepted the offer because she knew that was what she wanted to do. And this is how her Zanana juice bar was born.

Natalia believes that everything is possible if one has a passion for it. All one needs is just putting all their heart into it.

“You should never feel ashamed of what you are doing. I also believe that everyone has ideas, what you need is to work hard on your ideas,” she says.

Her ambition is to see her business grow into one of the best brands in the country and across Africa. “When I look at Zanana I see it as a child who is growing up. I want my brand to be like technology which is growing every day. I want to see my business moving fast,” she concludes.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

The inspiring tale of two blind teachers

 

By Salome Gregory

It is a cold and quiet morning at Irente School for the Blind in Lushoto District. The clean compound and the well-tended lawn are so welcoming.

I am at the school to meet two visually impaired teachers who studied at the school, went to teaching colleges and returned to teach at the same school.

When the school was established in 1963, it only catered for pupils with visual impairment. Over the years, the school started enrolling pupils with low vision and those with albinism. And this year, the school introduced inclusive education which allows enrolment of pupils without special needs.

Mr Godfrey Mshahara, 59, and Ms Enighenja Hemed,59, have known Irente school for over 30 years. They got their primary education at this school and came back to teach at the school years later.

Since Irente is a boarding school, the two teachers have lived here for a better part of their lives, both as pupils and teachers. Godfrey comes from Manola village in Shume Ward and Enighenja is from Mbwei village in Mlola Ward.

The two shared their inspiring story with Life & Style, explaining their struggles after losing their sight as children, how they coped and finally chose teaching as their careers.

Godfrey Mshahara

Godfrey teaches English, History and Civics in standards three up to seven. He was not born blind but lost his sight at the age of 12 in 1971 when he was in Standard Four.

His vision deteriorated slowly and neither his parents nor his teachers believed him when he complained about the condition. They thought he was just lazy and did not like school.

“Since I was losing my sight slowly my parents and teachers thought I was lying to them. Slowly, I lost the ability to read notes on the blackboard. By the time teachers and parents believed me, I was almost completely blind as I couldn’t see clearly at all,” he says.

That is when his parents took him to the hospital for checkup but the doctor confirmed their son was losing sight and he would never be able to see again. His eyes had been badly affected by glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. If the damage continues, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss.

Dr Joseph Kalenzi from the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) says, the risk factors include high blood pressure, use of creams, eye drops, inhalers and eye injuries/surgeries. He says the disease can affect children too.

“It is important for people to visit clinics for regular checkups. This will help reduce chances of diagnosing any kind of health complications at late stages,” says Dr. Kalenzi.

Godfrey’s parents enrolled him at Irente school after learning about the school through villagers. He joined the school in 1974 where he was enrolled in Standard Three. He was 15 years old.

“I was happy to be enrolled because I had only been looking after the cattle at home as I could not go to school anymore due to my low vision. Coping was not easy especially without counselling to help me adapt to the new life,” says Godfrey.

His vision deteriorated by the day and reached a point where he could no longer look after the cattle. He just stayed at home.

Life at Irente brought hope to his life again. He felt at home at Irente where everyone was friendly. He learnt to read braille and in a year he already could read and write in braille.

In 1980, Godfrey joined Mpwapwa Secondary School. This was an inclusive school, meaning it had students with disability and those without disability. Coping was not easy for Godfrey. Some students were a problem. Sometimes he missed meals because he could not go get the food himself from the dining hall. He depended on others to get him food. He says although the school had a separate class for students with disability, life was not that easy for those with visual impairment.

After secondary education, Godfrey joined Mpwapwa Teachers College in 1985 for a two-year-teaching diploma. He returned to Irente as a teacher in July 1986.

The reason he went to Irente was to give back to the community and to the school that nurtured him when he lost his sight.

The father of five calls upon the government and the community to give people with disability the opportunity to work and contribute to the development of the nation.

Enighenja Hemed

Enighenja became blind at the tender age of four. Small pox was the cause of her blindness, which like Godfrey’s set in progressively.

It took a lot of effort to convince her parents to enrol her at Irente school in 1967. A teacher introduced the idea to them but they were reluctant to let their child go. They were not sure she would ever return home.

In 1973, the mother of two joined Tabora Girls Secondary School for her A-level studies. The environment here was not as friendly as that at Irente. Learning with students without disability was difficult for Enighenja. They did not know how to deal with persons with disability.

She joined Mpwapwa Teachers College after high school where she studied between 1977 and 1978. Her first teaching appointment was in Mbeya where she worked for three years.

One of the schools she taught at in Mbeya was Katumbambili Primary School, which had a special class for visually impaired pupils. She requested to go work close to her family in Lushoto after three years in Mbeya.

Like Godfrey, she too wanted to teach at Irente, the school that highly contributed in making her who she is today. She teaches Kiswahili and History in classes III, VI and VII. Working there would also make her life easier as she would be closer to family. She also wanted to start her own family.

“It is easier to get help from peoplewho love you, especially relatives who know and accept your condition. In society some people look down on people with disability and cannot help them,” says Enighenja.

Her family assists her with things like house cleaning, cooking, washing and the likes, which cannot be done by just anyone.

Enighenja says it is not easy being blind and a mother. This is why she decided to work closer to home so she could get assitance from relatives to help her look after the children.

“As a mother I am responsible for taking care of my children. However, due to my disability I used to employ house girls, something that required a lot of patience inorder to keep them for as long as possible,” she says.

Her sons are now 21 and 20 years old. Enighenja will retire next year and as part of her retirement preparations, she has started a vegetable garden at her home. Her sons are the ones taking care of the garden.

Mchalo Alphons is the head of Irente institution which was established by the Evangelical Lutheran church of Tanzania’s Northern Eastern Diocese. He says in March 1968, the Tanzanian government in collaboration with the church entered an agreement to work together with the aim of supporting the school financially.

The school has 25 teachers who are paid by the government while the church pays the non-teaching staff.

The school is also supported by Christoffel Blinden Mission from Germany in form of funds and supportive materials for pupils with visual impairment. The aim is to enable them to obtain primary school education and life skills before they go to secondary school.

Mchalo says one of the institution’s activities is sensitising society on the importance of educating children with disability.

“Since the school started, there has been a lot of achievements including the introduction of inclusive education at the school,” says Mchalo.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Growing money in a greenhouse

 

By Devotha John

Sia Tarimo is very careful about the food she eats. She does so to keep healthy and avoid diseases such as hypertension and diabetes that can be brought about by unhealthy eating.

Her quest to control weight gain and staying healthy made her an avid follower of one Dr Boaz Mkumbo, who uses social media to advocate for healthy living.

Sia was therefore a key participant in Dr Mkumbo’s healthy eating group whose aim was to call on members to take healthy food and clean vegetables that are devoid of chemicals.

It is through this group that the enterprising lady was inspired to grow her own vegetables. She was not comfortable eating vegetables from vendors because she was not sure they were grown in a clean environment.

The fact that most vegetables sold in Dar es Salaam are watered using contaminated water made her even more eager to start her own vegetable garden. Apart from being sure of eating vegetables free from harmful chemicals, this would also enable her earn an income for she was sure of a reliable market.

Today the 38-year-old woman owns a three hectares farm in Msata, nine kilometres from Bagamoyo. Trinisia Farm is not your ordinary farm. Sia grows her vegetables in green houses and does not use synthetic fertilisers. She uses cow dung and chicken droppings instead. She keeps local chicken at her farm for the purpose.

The farm is well fenced and as you enter the black gate, you are greeted by the sight of different vegetable seedlings.

The Kinondoni B resident chose to go organic because many people believe this kind of farming is safe for both mankind and the environment.

Becoming her own boss

“When some people go to the market to purchase food stuff, they tend to ask the mechanism used to grow the food. Many shun foods grown with inorganic fertilisers,” she says.

This gave the mother of one the confidence to venture into organic farming so she could give people what they want. Uncontaminated vegetables grown organically which are not dangerous to their health. On her farm, Sia grows a number of vegetables and fruits including cucumbers, pepper, straw berries, Chinese and local spinach.

Sia who was born in Kilimanjaro Region completed her ordinary level education at Iteba Secondary School in Sinza, Dar-es Salaam in 1996. She trained in nursing and worked at Huruma Hospital in Rombo Kilimanjaro region for two years.

“Since I was young my dream was to be my own boss. In 2015, I opted for farming and opened a hardware that would push my income,” she says. It is from this shop that she raised money to invest in farming. Her husband helped her with some money too.

Although she still operates the hardware shop, Sia spends most of her time on the farm to ensure all goes well.

She says after doing thorough research, she found it feasible to put more energy in agriculture. That time she already owned a three hectare farm in Bagamoyo District where she used to grow maize.

“Maize farming was not that profitable so I decided to concentrate on growing vegetables. I thought I would still get high yields without using artificial fertilisers. Besides, growing vegetables would be easier than managing a maize farm,” she says.

The farmer says greenhouse farming is really profitable and less capital intensive. It cost her Sh52 million for two greenhouses which stand on one hectare. She says with green house farming one hardly faces the pests and disease challenges. In case of diseases, she uses salt and vinegar which are not only cheap but safe and healthy.

Sia employs people to assist her on her farm. She works hand in hand with her employees to avoid disappointment.

“I always work closely with my workers as it is easier than just giving them instructions which they may not follow accordingly,” she says.

Because of this, she is forced to spend a lot of time on the farm because farming needs much attention, something that denies her time to deal with other commitments.

Sia’s vegetables enjoy huge markets in Bagamoyo, Tegeta and in many supermarkets. To keep her vegetables fresh, Sia sells by order, supplying her customers twice a week. She is looking into the possibility of a van specifically made to transport produce to the market.

Reliable market

Cucumbers are more marketable and when she takes them to the market, she sells about 700 in not more than an hour.

“My customers really like my produce, especially the cucumbers. They like their quality and the fact that I do organic farming gives me a competitive edge,” says Sia.

According to her, securing a bank loan has been a major stumbling block in her business. Many financial institutions require viable collateral such as title deeds and cars which are a challenge to many.

She says climate change is another challenge, especially rainy and hot seasons, to which some crops are not resistant. Such need bigger greenhouses which are really costly.

She swears greenhouse farming is 90 per cent profitable, and that the challenges only account for 10 per cent.

She advises those who would like to invest in agriculture to choose modern farming, since subsistence agriculture is costly and less profitable. They can join groups to help them secure loans for capital from the agricultural bank.

She also calls on fellow women to refrain from solely depending on their husbands but instead engage in income generating activities like farming.

Her future plans include establishing a processing industry that will deal in packaging vegetables for easy shipment all over the world. She says inorder to realise profitable farming, those in the business should avoid using inorganic fertilisers. This she says will help protect the soil for better yields.

“I thank the government for its concerted efforts that aim at improving the agriculture sector. I think as time goes by the governmen’ts industrialisation drive will direct the country to the middle income economy,” she says.

Email: djohn@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Don’t move into a woman’s house!

 

By Jackson Biko

If you are a man and you are reading this and you are in love with a woman and you want to completely sexy up that relationship – I have an idea. Move in with her.

Rather, move into her house. This is because maybe her house is bigger and she has better furniture than your terrible hand-me-down sofas from the 80s, and I’m certain she has better taste in curtains than you. Besides, her home address is nearer to where you both work than your house.

No good can ever come out of moving into a woman’s house. I’m not a pessimist, but on this, I am. I can’t just see how that relationship can be fulfilling if you move in with her, using her towels and her giving you a little space in her closet for your trousers with the turn ups.

I don’t care how modern or how ‘open minded’ you are, or how close the two of you are. Men should never move into women’s houses. That’s how you start losing self-respect.

And the women will say, “Oh no, I don’t mind, it’s fine, darling, this Biko guy is a bitter guy, I know him, we used to go to the same church a long time ago, he is bitter. I love you, and I don’t mind you moving in with me besides, what’s mine is yours and vice versa.”

It’s bollocks, gentlemen. Just get a house, then you all move in together. Or she moves into your house. She can change your bad curtains if she wants. She would have done you a favour anyway, upgrading your bland taste.

Let me tell you a story because I can’t resist telling a story. The other day a friend said, “I’m with some girls here and they are discussing your book, have you thought of coming over here and doing a book tour?” She lives abroad.

I said, “Nah, book tours are cliché. But wait, shouldn’t you have been back home? I thought you went there for a holiday and when is the wedding anyway?” [she is engaged]. She said that she isn’t engaged anymore. I said, “Whoa!” I say, ‘whoa’ a lot when I want to hear more.

In short, they broke up because in her words, “He moved in with me and I was paying the rent and taking care of the big things because it was my house and he didn’t exactly offer and then whenever we fought that would eat me up. I was angry at him for not being the man and it started coming out in the form of words and it destroyed him and because he was hurt, he would hurt me back in other ways and so it was just really bad. Biko, actions one can get over, but words? Those you can’t and I don’t think he could and so we broke up.”

It doesn’t matter how crazy a woman is about you. If you move into her house, it will be rosy at the beginning but as sure as death and taxes, she will start resenting you when you let her pay the rent and feed you. It doesn’t matter if you are paying for electricity.

At some point she will walk into the sitting room to find you seated there with half your belly out, the TV remote, I’m sorry, HER remote in your hand and she will think, “What kind of a man is this who just sits and doesn’t pay his way?”

And that resentment will build slowly as the relationship goes on and one day she will blurt it. She will say, “Be a man.” Or “Pull your weight.” (In reference to responsibilities, yes, but also in regard to your 98kgs and 29 BMI). And as time goes on she will not look at you like “the man” anymore, but as a boarder she likes.

You will lose her respect and once a woman loses respect for you it’s only a matter of time before she starts talking crap to you, first to you, then in front of people. Don’t get to that point.

The only way to not get to that point is not to move into her house. You can move into your friend’s house if you are jobless, but not your woman’s house. Moving into your friend’s house puts pressure on you to move. Not so if you are in your woman’s house. And while at it, lose the trousers with the turn-ups.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Handling money from an early age

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Learning how to manage money at a young age can be an important lesson for children of all ages. However, of all the things taught in school, personal finance has never been a topic. Parents, apart from having the responsibility to teach good values and morals, helping their children making good financial decisions at a young age can be helpful for their future.

Judith Halla,12, believes there are so many ways that parents can use to teach their children how to handle money from an early age. She says one way is to use some chores around the house as a means of teaching children the value of working for money.

“I am not saying parents should pay us when we help around the house, say to wash the dishes or sweeping but there are those chores which can be done once in a while. For instance washing a car after which you get paid, that can be one way of teaching us the importance of earning money through decent work,” says Judith.

On her part, Christabela Mahimbo, 14, sees the need for parents to teach their children how to handle money at a young age and says the best way for parents to do so is by making their children realise that each decision they make including the ones involving money can have a good or bad effect on their future.

“For instance some parents can give their children some allowance. Instead of spending it parents can help them learn how to save the money and also how to set a simple financial goal like saving a certain amount to buy a book, game or something of interest that they wish to buy,” she explains.

James Shuma, a financial advisor based in Dar es Salaam says teaching children how to handle money at a young age is very important and that good money habits can start at home. He says from an early age, it is important for parents to show their children how they can earn and spend money wisely and as parents they will need to lead by example.

“Children learn from what they see especially from their parents. That’s why it is easy for them to pick certain habits about money and this can highly be influenced by parents’ spending, saving or budgeting behaviour,” says the financial expert.

He added; “It is very important to show your children the way, but this should be done with caution by ensuring that the method used to teach the children how to handle money at such a young age does not interfere with the ultimate goal. Teaching a child about personal finance is one of the greatest investments that a parent can make in their child’s life.”

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

The simplest security of two batteries

 

There are probably several thousand vehicles that are fitted with two batteries. Most of them will be big 4WDs which are used for expedition-style safaris or as mobile workshops; vehicles which travel to very remote places and/or run lots of extra electrical equipment while they are standing still.

There are several different ways to “wire up” the extra battery resource.

One is to connect the two batteries together in a way that makes them work like a single battery, but with twice the storage capacity. This means the battery “pack” can provide power for much longer without recharging to prevent it going flat.

A second is to wire up one battery to run the starter motor only and the other battery to run all other electrical systems.

This means that even if the auxiliary system battery is used so heavily that it goes flat, the other battery will still start the engine and hence kick the recharging system into action.A third option is for each of the batteries to be wired in as if it were the only one, connected to all the vehicle’s electrical systems in the normal way.

The second battery is effectively a duplicate or spare and by use of a heavy-duty switch the driver simply decides which one he wishes to use at any particular time.

All of these systems give the vehicle increased battery resource and provide back-up power in the event of one battery failing (which is one of the reasons why two standard batteries are a better solution than one giant battery).

Flexible arrangement

It is a very flexible arrangement, and is probably the best way to give a vehicle belt-and-braces security of electrical supply.

Technically, all the wiring options are simple and sure. Apart from the cost of an extra battery and a little more cabling, the only problem is to find a space to put the extra battery and build it a strong mounting (tray and clamp).

In a big 4WD vehicle there is usually plenty of convenient space under the bonnet; in smaller vehicles there might not be room in the engine compartment, and wiring a battery into the boot is quite possible but cumbersome. Although two-battery systems give extra power storage and emergency spare flexibility, their over-riding purpose is to ensure the vehicle always has enough electrical power to start its engine.

As most ordinary motorists well-know, once the engine is running, the alternator usually generates more than enough electricity to recharge a flat battery and run all the vehicle’s electrical systems. Even if your battery goes flat, if you can push start or jump start the vehicle, you are back in business.

But push-starting a town run-about down a road, and push-starting a big 4WD parked in a river or a sand drift, are very different propositions. Hence the special provisions made by heavy duty safari enthusiasts.

You don’t need to be an extreme expeditionary to consider the modification. Even in more moderate circumstances, the double battery set-up offers peace of mind, stronger starting, and reduces stress on both batteries so they are less likely to fail and tend to last longer.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

He wants to be a teacher

 

By Devotha John

Erick Norbert, 11, who is in Grade Six at St Peter’s Pre and Primary School in Mbezi Beach knows what he wants to be when he grows up. The leading pupil in his class wants to be a teacher. Young Citizen had a word with him.

Why do you prefer to be a teacher?

My Teachers are very creative and flexible. They are also nice and kind to everyone in class and teach us well. So I want to be like them.

What makes you lead in your class?

Listening carefully to my teachers and doing my homework on time.

What is your advice to others?

I advise them to study hard and to do their best to achieve their dreams.

What subjects do you like most?

I like all subjects.

What else do you enjoy doing out of class?

I like singing, especially Bongo Flavour.

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

How this Maasai village in Tanzania fights child marriage using a village model

Engalaoni village community in Arumeru District

Engalaoni village community in Arumeru District have established a gender desk to deal with all the complaints, track down the perpetrators and work closely with the law enforcers. Photo | Devotha John  

By By Devotha John

In an effort to tackle the rampant child marriage in their community, the people of Engalaoni village in Arumeru District have established school clubs where their children including 70 who had been rescued from such marriages share ideas about the harmful effects of the practice, and a gender desk at the village to deal with all the complaints, track down the perpetrators and work closely with the law enforcers to arrest and arraign the perpetrators.

“When I got back home from school, I found a 45-year-man. My father introduced him to me as my husband to be,” recounts Veronica Napoleon 14*, who was rescued from getting married by the police, the village gender desk in collaboration with a Non Governmental Organization.

Veronica says she entered the house crying, noting that her education dreams were almost dimmed following her father’s stance on marrying her off to an older man.

“My father told me that going to school was not important for he had received the dowry, noting that since our family had been in abject poverty, marrying me off was the solution to ending the problem,” says Veronica, adding that the man who wanted to marry her already had three wives.

She says after a couple of days, she was informed that police officers and an organisation had come to their village to talk to her father over the issue, noting that when the man who wanted to marry her learnt about it, he also opted to go into hiding.

Veronica is the one of the 70 schoolchildren at Engalaoni Primary School in Mwandeti Ward who escaped early marriage thanks to the villagers’ efforts and the gender desks.

A part from that, 12 boys, who had embraced grazing livestock at the expense of studies, returned to school from October to December last year.

The executive director for the Center for Women and Child Development (CWCD) organisation Hindu Mbwago said members of the Maasai tribe use sugar as dowry for a girl below 18 at Engalaoni village in Arumeru District.

“Most of these girls were in primary schools, we succeeded on rescuing them due to the effort being done by the gender desk together with the villagers who fought for the rights of children,” says Ms Mbwago.

Mbwago says before marriage the men used different procedures which include 2-3 kilogrammes of sugar. He leaves and after one week he will return again with two crates of soda or illicit brew and five kilos of sugar again.

“Then he will return in another week again if that dowry is not rejected, he will send another four gallons of illicit brew and sugar. On this day, the girl in question will be wearing a special traditional watch as a sign of engagement,” says Ms Mbwago.

When everything goes well, these men will finish the procedure by paying a cow and two bulls alongside one ewe.

“These girls were already in the process of being married off. After all, traditional procedures had been followed and completed,” she says.

She says poverty and outdated customs are the reasons behind marrying off schoolgirls.

“Most Maasai families are not poor but would always want to own more herds of livestock. Due to that, they think marrying off schoolgirls is a means to fulfill their goals,” she says.

Efforts

When the Centre for Women and Children Development Organisation realised the problem they availed the report to the authorities, including Arusha District Council leaders who rescued children from the abuse. The exercise went smoothly due to cooperation accorded by the law enforcers in the district by the local villagers who are shunning the practice after an awareness campaign about the impact of outdated cultures to children’s future.

She says through education, they established children school clubs, and the gender desk, whose role was to mobilise a good number of students against early marriage in which 70 children who had escaped marriages were involved in educating their fellows, thanks to law enforcers who had arrested and arraigned the perpetrators.

“Children clubs helped in building self-awareness, which really helped to rescue other eight girls who were about to get married in the same week of the commemoration of the Day of the African Child. Adding that payments had already been done for girls who had worn special wedding watches,” she noted.

Ms Mbwago says they had embarked on educating village leaders, ward and families, adding that at the school club, children educate each other about the negative impacts of early marriages and sexual violence.

She extends accolades to village gender desks for being able to work on reports on violence urgently.

“We thank the gender desks for the job well done because it is through them that we had managed to send over 32 children who were older to start school to continue with their education,” she says.

Children can easily report cases of abuse to the village chairman or the village gender desk and get listened to unlike in the past when a child could be mistreated and had nowhere to lodge complaints,” said Ms Mbwago, noting that through the gender desks, children are now aware of their rights.

Challenges

Speaking about the efforts of Engalaoni village, Ms Mbwago says despite the fact that public awareness campaigns, child abuse; expecially cases of sexual abuse are still rife in Arusha.

“The escalating rate of child marriages is caused by lack of education, noting that the some communities embrace bad cultural practice under the umbrella of perpetuating their uniqueness against other ethnic groups, “she says.

Ms Mbwago decried the pace under which courts quash cases related to child abuse, noting that perpetrators ignore court summons and enjoy freedom which should not be the case.

She says in the court children are mixed with their abusers, who are usually adults and under such circumstances minors are deprived of freedom of expression due to fear.

“Traditionally, minors are not allowed to speak in front of their elders. Based on that regard, they automatically lose their freedom of speech,” she noted.

She said that there are cases where children get bombarded with cumbersome questions before the court of law, a situation that leads them to lose their rights altogether.

“Law enforcers’ do not also put into consideration that minors should be accompanied by social welfare officers whenever they attend court sessions,” said Ms Mbwago, adding that sometimes the case file “disappear’ hence there is a need for children court,” she says.

She stated that there is still poor cooperation between the gender desks and parents of the victims, who mostly solve the issues outside the court of law despite awareness campaigns that have been done.

According to latest evidence on child marriages in Tanzania published by 2017 study entitled “Child Marriage in Tanzania at a Glance” Tanzania is one of the countries whose records of child marriage is high in the world over in which almost two out of five girls are married off before 18.

Due to inaccurate birth and marriage records, it is difficult to record the exact figures of child marriages in Tanzania, yet child marriage is particularly prevalent in rural areas where children become wives as early as 11-year olds.

The Findings from 2017 show that 36 per cent of girls between 20 and 24 years old were married before the age of 18 in 2016. It also indicates that the drive of child marriage practices was constant for six years; from 37 per cent in 2010 to 36 per cent in 2016.

Child marriage is most common in Tanzanian rural areas and is mainly driven by poverty, outdated traditions, customs, and religion.

Shinyanga, Tabora, Mara and Dodoma are regions cited to be notorious for the vice. Some regions have higher rates than others, Katavi 45, Tabora 43, 39 Morogoro 37 Mara and 34 Shinyanga.

However Arusha District Council education officer Grace Massawe said in Arumeru District, the reported cases of child marriages are 17 for girls in primary schools and 47 for those in secondary schools.

She said they already managed the problem in her district and they continue to educate the community through different organisations to make sure all the kinds of children abuse are eradicated.

“Child is defined as a person who is under 18 years old. Child marriage refers to a civil, traditional, religious or informal union in which case, either the bride or the groom, or both are under the age of 18.”

She says child marriage is a violation of children’s rights whether it happens to a girl or a boy. Girls who live in rural areas and come from poor families are also more likely to be married early,” she says.

She says early marriage not only deprives girls of education and opportunities but increases the risk of death or serious childbirth injuries if they have babies before their bodies are ready.

Neema Mussa 15*, a Grade Seven pupil was among the girls who went to the ward gender desk and asked to be rescued from early marriage.

“I got married at 12 because of the hardship at home and my father had already received sugar and alcohol as dowry” she says adding:

“My father prohibited me from going to school when I was in Grade Six so after FGM, he took dowry which forced me to get married at tender age.”

Neema extend thanks to the ward gender desk for she has now gone back to school.

Speaking during the International Day of the African Child event last month which was organised by the government in collaboration with Plan International and the other stakeholders in Kilimanjaro region, the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Faustine Ndugulile said schools were the safest places for children who were prone to abuse, pointing out that a recent survey had shown that 49 children out of 100 had experienced sexual abuse in their homes and had nowhere to report the cases.

Commenting on child marriage, he urged the public to keep on informing the media about child abuse incidents to support the fight for children’ rights protection and their humanity.

He added that the Child Act of 2009, section 21 encourages rights of the children; hence, all people must obey the law.

He added that, the ministry had introduced a-free 116 hotline through which children can easily report about any kind of abuse and get immediate assistance. *Names have been changed to protect the child

“We have devised the hotline usage strategy after noting that the current generation is too active to deal with phones and in so doing a good number of child abuse cases have been reported and addressed,” he says.

“Use this number whenever you or your friend is in trouble. You have the right to live, to be protected, to be educated, to be heard and to be included in decision making in all matters concerning you children.



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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tell-tale signs that you’re stressed

 

We all experience stress at times and there are many triggers. Stress can be rooted in work, social, financial, health or lifestyle issues, or a combination of all of these. If left unchecked, stress can affect your life and your wellbeing significantly. Here are the signs.

Feeling tired

Stress has a physiological effect on your body by releasing hormones into your bloodstream which accelerate your heart rate and your breathing. This constant strain on your system can have an exhausting effect, leaving you feeling tired all the time.

Sleep loss

Stress can also prevent you from sleeping. Stress has been found to activate the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in the brain, which plays a part in sleep-wake regulation. You may experience sleep loss.

Headaches

Tension headaches are known to be brought on by stress. Lasting anything from half an hour to a few hours these headaches feel like pressure on either side of the head and can also be accompanied by tense neck and shoulders.

Irritable

Stress can affect our mood in ways that we find difficult to control. When we are stressed our nervous system is hyper-responsive and our sensory receptors are more sensitive to stimuli.

This can add to the feeling of perceived pressure, and make us more reactive. Often if you’re stressed some of the physiological side effects, such as a lack of sleep or a sore head, can also contribute to the effect on your mood.

Tearful

For some, these emotional responses can lead to tears. But tears are not just an effect of stress, they have a function in supporting you through stress too. When you cry you release excess stress hormones such as cortisol in your tears, like a safety valve.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Stuck in restaurant with three girls