Sunday, April 8, 2018

Giving autistic children a new lease of life

 

By Esther Kibakaya

When Martha Samwel, gave birth to her daughter 11 years ago, she never thought the arrival of her bundle of joy would bring so much sadness, stigma and misunderstanding within her family and the community altogether.

All this was because she gave birth to a child whom her family considered a curse, since she happened to be different from other children due to her condition.

“I gave birth to my daughter in 2007, five months after my husband died in a car accident. It was a difficult moment for me emotionally and I think it was during this time when everything started to go wrong with the baby inside of me,” she sadly recalls.

For the 45-year-old mother of four who lives in Kibosho, Kilimanjaro Region, the thought of starting a new life as a single parent made things harder.

“I didn’t know how I was going to manage the responsibility but back in mind I knew as a mother, I had to do anything to raise my children no matter how bad the situation was,” she says.

The arrival of her daughter changed everything. She was found to have a serious development disorder. According to Martha, it took time to realise that her child had a problem. “It wasn’t until I enrolled her in school that I found out she had a serious problem.”

Despite showing a few symptoms including her anti-social behaviour, unlike many children her age, Martha never took it seriously.

“My child never had so much interest in people or other children, she preferred to be alone and usually played alone. Her speech was delayed and she would always repeat words over and over. At first I thought she was going to change as she grew up but when her school performance deteriorated, I knew something was terribly wrong and so I looked for professional help,” she says.

The doctor confirmed her child had autism and like any parent, the thought of how she was going to take care of her child, the discrimination from the community and what the future held for her daughter, all saddened her. If that was not enough, once some of her family members found out about her child’s condition, matters changed for worse.

“They said I was responsible for my child’s condition and that I was also the one who caused my husband’s death because I was carrying a child that the gods were not happy with. They said that the god’s were punishing me. My sisters-in-law and other relatives took away my other three children and left me with my autistic child,” says Martha who earns a living from her mitumba (second hand clothes) business.

Despite the stigma Martha and her child face in their community, she has found hope in a rehabilitation centre called Gabriella Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, where her child is receiving professional help. Located in Moshi town, the centre trains autistic children and those with other forms of disability to become acceptable community members.

“Since I brought my child here a few years ago, I have seen a lot of changes in her following the assistance she is getting from the occupational therapists and teachers. They provide assessment, education and disability awareness to us parents and it has really made a big difference in my life. Now I know what is happening in my child’s life and how to support her,” she happily explains.

In African societies, people with developmental challenges or disabilities face a number of barriers, including being misjudged. The negative attitude towards such people impacts on all aspects of their lives including education, work and movement.

Agnes Edward, a mother of three was made by her husband to choose who to enroll in school between their two children who have no problem and their autistic son.

“My husband believed that taking him to school would be a wastage of money given his condition. I had to let him pay school fees for our daughters while I worked extra hard to learn about autism so I could educate him (her husband),” says Agnes.

According to her, it took years of prayers and perseverance before her husband came around and understood that their son deserved love and support just like any other child.

“He is 13 years old now and even though we took him to school late, we are hopeful he will improve with time,” explains Agnes.

Brenda Shuma, an occupational therapist and founder of Gabriella Children’s Rehabilitation Centre has been breaking such barriers and bringing new hope for women like Martha, Agnes and their children. She has been fighting for the rights of children with autism and other intellectual challenges for nine years.

Brenda says in a community where there are still many misconceptions around disability, she is happy that she and her team have enabled disabled youth to become productive and live their lives with dignity.

Before founding the centre in 2009, she visited various villages in Kilimanjaro and found out that there were a lot of children with disability including dyslexia, down’s syndrome and attention deficit hyper active disorder. Children were hidden at home because there was no professional help.

“We realised that families were not doing so with bad intention but they just wanted to protect their children. They knew their children were exposed to physical violence and assault as a result of stigma and harmful beliefs,” says Brenda.

She says since the community thinks that these children cannot do anything on their own, they don’t give them any help but stigmatise and see them as a curse and a bad omen.

“It’s unfortunate that people are willing to contribute to other social affairs such as weddings but when it comes to educating children with disability, they feel like they are wasting their money. Some think that families with such children have sacrificed their children for wealth,” she explains.

Her rehabilitation centre has been a model for therapy services for children with autism and learning disabilities in Tanzania, providing comprehensive services in early assessment and intervention, inclusive education, vocational training, and community outreach.

“We want to show the community that children with disability can still live a life like any other children and do good things if they are given the opportunity instead of ignoring them,” she says adding; “What we do is go out there and talk to the community and parents through home visits to make them realise their role in supporting people with mental and physical disabilities. We also work with churches, mosques and schools to allocate needed resources to people with such needs.”

Brenda says the approach not only transforms the lives of these children and their families but it also changes the perception towards disability and removes the stigma and fear associated with such children.

The centre which started with three children serves between 800 and 1,000 children a year, today.

Nimwindael Mdee, also an occupational therapist at the centre says society lets women carry the responsibility to look after these children all alone. Some are abused because they are seen as the cursed ones because of giving birth to children with disorders or disability.

“Empowering them as the primary care givers helps restore their hope and courage to raise the children under such tough situations,” she explains.

The prevalence of autism, also called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in many low and middle income countries is so far unknown. World Health Organisation estimates that worldwide 1 in 160 children has autism.

This estimate represents an average figure and reported prevalence varies substantially across studies. Some well-controlled studies have, however, reported figures that are substantially higher.

Email: ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bridging the digital divide

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Tanzanian youth love technology very much. However, most of them love using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as end users rather than being innovators.

Things are different for Wilhelm Caspar Oddo. The 30-year-old tech-savvy young man is among a few Tanzanian youth who have turned their passion for ICT into business.

“Because I was exposed to the world of technology very late, I felt I was obliged to do whatever I can to ensure young people get the exposure from a younger age. I know what it is like having a passion in technology without access to resources, knowledge and the right people to guide you,” says the father of two.

Through his NLab Innovation Academy, Wilhelm offers Tech training to children and youth aged between 10 and 20 years. The Lab incubates and mentors young people who are creative and have projects or ideas with the purpose of solving community problems.

The academy aims at building projects intended to bridge the digital divide, eliminate social exclusion, promote independent living, enhance social, educational and employment opportunities for young people.

“Young people are encouraged to meet academic challenges with openness, enthusiasm and a willingness to solve problems. A good example is Mtaa Kwa Mtaa website (www.mtaakwamtaa.com), which is a real estate website that conveniently connects house owners, buyers and renters,” he explains.

Wilhelm says the idea to do this was born after he met a friend from America, Zoe Flanagan.

Establishing NLab

“When I was a student at Kampala International University in late 2009, Zoe had the opportunity to have an audience with Jon Gosier, the founder of Appfrica and WoundMetrics. After the encounter, he shared with me what he had learnt from the meeting. It is from that point that I started thinking outside the box,” recalls Wilhelm.

After a brief discussion, Zoe offered him a temporary job to work on his new website. His main duty was to translate a few pages on his website from English to Kiswahili.

“John Gosier and his Appfrica made me realise that there is more in African youth than seating in class waiting to do exams, interviews and jobs. That’s when I started thinking of coming up with projects to help young people who are in school and college to learn from their peers and learn from each other,” explains Wilhelm.

Wilhelm established OUFLab, which worked as an open space/hub for university students to work, network and get trained. Later he changed OUFLab to NLab.

Running OUFLab was a challenge since all the services were offered free of charge. In 2013, he decided to refine the objectives of the programme and this was after a very long discussion with his then fiancée, Carolyne Ekyarisiima , now his wife. With her help on running the programme, they managed to change the goals and objectives of OUFLab (now NLab).

“My old friend Zoe brought in the idea of using crowdfunding websites to raise money. Zoe was aware of the project (OUFLab) since day one and knew how passionate I was about it and how I struggled to get funding to realise my dream. Together we were able to raise $3,000 (about Sh6.75million) which we used to buy a few computers and furniture for the Lab. That is when we changed the name from OUFLab to NLab,” explains Wilhelm.

Tackling lack of funds challenge

Apart from the Innovation Academy, Wilhelm is also the co-founder of Ushauri website (www.ushauri.africa), established in 2016 after he attended the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) in Nairobi, Kenya. This is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. “I met four amazing individuals with whom we decided to start a virtual mentorship programme, facilitating the connectivity of students with experts who work as mentors in the same field,” he says.

In the platform, mentors introduce students to professional experiences beyond the classroom.

“We have decided to start in Tanzania and I am the one in charge of the project. We are in the final stage of launching the programme to university students and emerging entrepreneurs in the country,” he adds.

Wilhelm, who is also a training manager and mentor at Apps and Girls, says lack of access to adequate information concerning different opportunities in and outside the country is one of the challenges most Tanzanian youth are currently facing.

“You meet young people who have plenty of ideas worth millions of money. If you ask them why they have not implemented their ideas, the common answer will be lack of funds,” he observes.

This being an obstacle, Wilhelm decided to address the problem by creating a simple website (www.niwezeshe.com) and a mobile app called Opportunity App, which allows people to view and access different opportunities that are available across the world.

On the other hand, he sets aside a few hours to help people, especially university students on how to apply different opportunities which are accessible through the App.

Wilhelm says the World Wide Web and the internet in general, have never failed him.

“I’m gratefull for that. I feel proud that there are people outside there who can benefit from what I have been doing,” he says.

“I try to share or post content online. I write for both parents and children and share relevant information, images and materials so that young people, especially students can learn something,” he adds

Brief background

Wilhelm is the second born in a family of three boys. He was born in 1988 in Mbeya Region. He is husband to Caroline Ekyarisiima and father to two boys; 5-year-old Caspar Ayden and his 2-year-old brother, Carlson Ellis.

Email: etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

WATERCOOLER MOMENTS: It’s like a symphony, just keep listening

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University 

By Terry Ramadhani

This week a giant for the women leaders in Africa and beyond fell. Winnie Mandela will remain an Icon for many reasons; chief amongst them is her fidelity to what she believed in and her stubborn pursuit of standing by her convictions even when the price to pay was dearly steep.

It did not matter that it was solitary confinement in jail, inhumane treatment whilst there, no access to family especially her young children, a failed marriage or even death. She was proudly defiant! She remained Winnie!

There are countless lessons that we the women of Africa and indeed the world can draw from Mama Winnie, the one lesson that draws me the most is; sense of purpose. She lived a life of purpose, she knew who Winnie was, but more importantly what Winnie was.

Commonly, we stumble over ourselves as we try desperately to figure out what that one thing that we were meant to be is. Perhaps focusing on the idea that it is one thing makes it even harder to figure it out, what if we reframed our thinking that it isn’t necessarily one thing, that it can be many things? What if we thought about it in more practical terms like for example reframing our thinking to ‘what we can do with our time that is truly important?’

Whichever approach one may decide to take in finding what their contribution to the world or universe is, it is an uneasy conversation many have within themselves.

Allow me to share this beautiful piece of poetry by Stephanie Mabey, which is a powerful analogy and reflection of the internal conversations that go on about finding our purpose.

There are times when

You might feel aimless

And you can’t see the places

Where you belong

But you will find that

There is a purpose

It’s been there within you,

All along

And when you’re near it,

You can almost hear it

It’s like a symphony,

Just keep listening

And pretty soon you’ll start

To figure out your part

Everyone plays a piece

And there are melodies

In each one of us

Ooohh it’s glorious

And you will know how

To let it ring out

As you discover

Who you are

Others around you

Will start to wake up

To the sounds that are

In their hearts

It’s so amazing

What we’re all creating

Some may argue that whilst one may find or stumble on their purpose, for others, purpose finds them. This may indeed be true, it may very well be that if apartheid hadn’t existed in the Rainbow Nation, we might not have had the good fortune of experiencing Mama Winnie’s magic in the manner that we did, we might have had a different twist or flavour.

There are schools of thought that advocate for a reflection of what our earliest steadfast memories of the contribution we wanted to make to society were, or what it is that we can be engaged in for hours and not notice the time whizz past or makes one forget to eat, yet others go down the spiritual route and encourage us to pray and ask our Maker to reveal to us what our purpose is. The late Steve Jobs famously spoke about being able to join the dots only looking backwards. There is obviously no shortage of interest nor divergent thinking around the subject; ultimately I think that it is a deeply seated desire in all of us to leave a mark. Maybe, it is the threat of finality that death presents, that drives our wish to leave a trail, that even if it only says ‘I was hear’ then we truly live forever.

Mama Winnie listened to the notes that life played, and responded to the music that she heard, she kept listening and no doubt figuring out the next set of actions. With every step, taking up her part, boldly and unapologetically! Irrespective of which formula, angle or school of thought one wishes to apply in their pursuit of what their meaningful and important contribution is, regardless of how we respond to the philosophical questions of Who am I? What am I and What was I meant to be, Mama Winnie has taught us and demonstrated in the way she lived, that in the face of harrowing and deathly choices, one can triumph against the challenges that life presents and remain steadfastly true to their purpose!

She sleeps in power! She lives forever!

Ms Terry Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Local medicine making a blessing to Tanzania

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

Last Wednesday, The Citizen run an editorial under the heading “Is drug sector ready for rebirth?” It was in response to a number of investors, including Aga Khan, who plans a $20 million plant.

Statistics released in the recent past shows that the pharmaceutical industry in Tanzania is not doing well but looking at it from business angle, its potential is huge. Health ministry is on record indicating that “Tanzania imports 94 per cent of its needs in medicines”. Most of the imported drugs can be produced locally, thus making it a huge opportunity worth over Sh800 billion annually.

Industry, Trade and Investments minister Charles Mwijage has been categorical that the government plans to source 50 per cent of medicines locally by 2025. Will local businesses rise up to the occasion and walk the talk, or will it be foreigners going to take the challenge? Almost 100 per cent dependency on such a basic commodity on imports posits many challenges. We need preventive medicine, right from when a mother conceives. Curative medicines are also a necessity that we cannot do without when we talk of raising a nation of a healthy people.

Imports are most of the times more expensive than locally produced goods. Secondly, they can be delayed for one reason or the other. No wonder lack of access to medicine has been a challenge to health service providers especially in public sector.

In both developed and developing countries to start a pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is not an easy task. For instance, getting approvals alone in many countries is a nightmare but also getting scientists with the ability to do that, and the costs of investments needed, that might run for years, such industries are not many.

So, for Tanzania, to get such a golden opportunity for the Aga Khan’s plan to open a pharmaceutical industry should not be underestimated.

Some ingredients are made from raw materials using both chemical and physical means. Most medicine manufacturers in Africa use Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) made in China or India.

Several firms in America, China and India produce and markets thousands of chemical raw materials for API production. But one thing is clear, from The Citizen articles about drugs industry in Tanzania-- major reforms in business environment are needed. The current policies could be favouring importation of medicine rather than production of the same drugs locally.

We need to go beyond importing basic drugs look at why even local manufactures should buy raw materials from China and elsewhere.

Unido had decried in the past on over dependence of Africa on India and China for imports of affordable generics and raw materials for medicine. The body has been calling for local production which has many perceived benefits like saving foreign exchange, job creation, technology transfer, and stimulation of exports among other benefits.

African Union Assembly back in 2005 ordered for perusal of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa. How this has seen the light of the day, after all this years is a story for another day.

Epilogue: Maize is one of the most important food crops in Tanzania, particularly in Mainland. I am yet to hear of our maize starch (obtained from the endosperm of the kernel) being used for industrial purposes.

The corn is used in making corn syrup and other sugars among many other products. It also has medical uses - for example, to supply glucose to people, etc. For us we just use maize for ugali and makande… May God help us so as we use the product beyond what we do now.

Saumu Jumanne is an assistant lecturer, Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE)

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI: The benefits of giving are instantaneous



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal

This may surprise you, but in reality the benefits of giving are instantaneous. Think a good thought for about 30 seconds right now. How do you feel? You should feel lighter and happier! In contrast, if you have a bad thought you will feel worse. As you send out good thoughts, you invite goodness—it is instantaneous! The benefits may be intangible or tangible.

A few years ago I was speaking at the Aga Khan University in Karachi. A driver picked me up from my hotel to take me to the auditorium where I was to speak and took me back to the hotel after the presentation. He was gracious and ensured I arrived at the university on time, waiting for me after the program ended so that I could mingle with participants after my speech. After he dropped me off at my hotel, I asked him to wait, as I had something to give him. I gave him a whole-nut chocolate bar I had brought from London, England. I don’t think he had ever seen this chocolate before because I saw him turning it over a few times as if it were a rare toy. He appreciated the gesture and was going to take it home for his children.

The phone was ringing when I entered my room. It was a call from another client of mine in Karachi who had just confirmed two speaking engagements for a substantial fee while I was in town. This was completely unexpected. I am not saying the phone call would not have come if I had not given the chocolate, but the timing of this phone call was, for me, confirmation that nothing you give goes unnoticed.

Back in British Columbia, I was in the habit of having a cup of coffee every morning at a convenience store before going for a swim, using that time to plan my day before the pool opened at 6

a.m. I was then the chair of the Focus Humanitarian Agency in British Columbia, whose mandate was to help disadvantaged children in the developing world. It cost $15 a month to send a child to school in the developing world.

I realized that if I did not have a cup of coffee every morning at the convenience store, I could send two children to school in the developing world. I decided to do just that—trade the coffee for the “child support” by sending the coffee money to the children. Two days later, while driving my car toward the gas station that housed the convenience store, I noticed a sign: if you bought 25 liters of gas, you got a free cup of coffee. I used to drive my car so often that I got my coffee back while still supporting the needy children’s education!

I find that each time I do some good, things get smoother for me. I cannot logically explain why and how. It could be psychological: when you feel good you are more energetic.

One fine morning I took my mum to her doctor, even though I had a huge amount of work on my plate. Once I had done that, there was a sense of peace and calm inside me. Next thing, I zoomed through some very important work with ease. When you do good, whatever the good may be, you invite some goodness back. Some people cannot understand this concept fully. All I can say is try to give unconditionally and experience it yourself.

You may not always be fortunate enough to see a return on your giving so clearly and quickly, but the paradox is that, when you give, somewhere you set the wheels in motion for good to spread and come back to you.

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

He impregnated his ex behind girlfriend’s back

 

By Eugene Mugisha

She says she has given up on men. Her exact words are ‘men are created special!’, but not said in a positive way.

She says with a lot of disappointment and disbelief, asking ‘What kind of human being does something like that? And gets to sleep at night!’. And she is absolutely right; there is probably something messed up in our genetic makeup.

There is this one man who has been on her case for more than a year now and has convinced her that he wants to settle down with her.

See, all this time he was singing sweet melodies into her ears, he was also still seeing his ex, the same girl he told our girl he left ages ago. And this probably would have gone on for much longer, hadn’t ex-turned up pregnant.

A workmate to ex, who is a friend to our girl here, lets call her workmate, starts noticing that ex’s tummy is becoming rounder. But workmate knows that ex broke up with boyfriend sometime back, since boyfriend is seeing our girl.

So, workmate minds her own business, and keeps her mouth shut, probably believing that ex has some other man who is responsible for the pregnancy.

This silence goes on for a month or so, during which workmate even meets with our girl but does not bring up the ex. Then one day, workmate is looking out the window, waiting for a lift back home when lo and behold, she espies ex walking towards the car park.

She is headed towards a blue car that seems familiar. Too familiar indeed, because the person that comes out of blue car is none other than our Mr Ready, who, if you remember well was supposed to be done and through with ex ‘ages ago’, and is waiting for our girl to only say the word, and wedding bells would sound.

But for a moment, workmate has her doubts; she believes that her eyes are playing tricks on her. So she squints her eyes and looks closer; and as if on cue, Mr Ready looks up towards her, giving her a full view of his face. He then rushes towards the passenger door, and opens the door for ex with his signature flourish. This is something that he does always, for any female that he is giving a lift. Now workmate is convinced that ex’s bulge is for Mr Ready.

What kind of material are men made from?

Without wasting time, she quickly dials our girl’s number and says they need to meet as a matter urgently. The two head out to their favourite hangout and there, workmate breaks the news. Our girl’s laughs long and hard, till tears start rolling down her cheeks. And then she laughs some more.

Finally, looking up with teary eyes, she asks workmate - who is looking at her like she has lost her marbles- what kind of material men are made out of. ‘“Seriously, how do these guys think? And to imagine that I actually believed him. Oh my God! I need a strong drink.“ And so, like that, the two get drunk very quickly. But the next morning, the reality is still fresh and it hurts. That she had banked all her hopes, made plans to spend the rest of her life with this double-faced, two-timing sob.

And meanwhile, Mr Ready has not showed any signs of change; he still pays her the same attentions and still tells her she is his soulmate, with a straight face.

Because she has not told him she knows about his ongoing dalliances with ex. The current debate is whether - when she finally tells him that she knows- he will try to deny her or own up. So far, the ones who believe he will deny it are still winning in numbers.

Email: lifeandstyle@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

OUR KIND OF ENGLISH: Why Stone Town is not THE world heritage site

 

Having taken up scribbling as your way of earning a living, striving to perfect your linguistic competence isn’t an option. It’s a do-or-die thing. As one media critic once said, if your command of language is critically wanting, stay away from the newsroom.

In the face of unavoidable staff cuts in media houses, the unsung heroes of newsrooms we call subeditors (subs in short) can only afford to spend much time on articles penned by scribblers they consider most challenged but whose stories are crucial.

Our advice to senior scribblers privileged to be regular contributors to our local newspapers is: read and re-read your piece before you email it. Lest you forget, just as you earn praise from readers—regardless of how much the sub sweated to make your article beautifully readable— it’s you, not your “irresponsible” subeditor, who will be blasted for your shoddy article that’s published. So, let’s now look at “live” gems collected over the past week and so, here we go…

On Page 6 of the tabloid closely associated with this columnist, there’s a piece entitled ‘Of absentee presidents’. Now in Para 8, the scribbler says something on the Burundian President’s aversion to foreign travel, and we quote: “...he rarely ventures beyond his political borders…after his travel to Tanzania for a regional summit led to a FAILED ATTEMPTED coup”. Our observation is, if an attempt is just that, an attempt, then there’s a failure. And, if something fails, it means it was attempted. Which is to say, our colleague should have used either “failed” or “attempted” and not both of them in the same breath. Remember our past lectures on tautology? And by the way, what we quoted here was a section of an eighty-word sentence, yes; 80 words!

But what’s 80 words? Why, on Page 14 of this authoritative Kiswahili by-weekly (April 2- 3 edition) there’s a story entitled, ‘Magufuli mwingine…’, in which the last-but-one para is made up of a single sentence comprising one hundred and ten (110) words! A bit tricky, isn’t it?

On Page 7 of the same English tabloid cited above, there’s a piece entitled, ‘Mixed feelings about changing face of world heritage site’, and therein the scribbler says: “The change in reality needed to increase the beauty of the town which was declared AS THE world heritage (sic) by Unesco”.

There’re two issues here. One, the expression “declared as”—this is incorrect, for we say “declared this or that” (not declared as this or that). Two, the use of the definite article THE, gives the impression that Stone Town is the only world heritage site on earth! That, of course, isn’t true.

Year 2017 records show there’re 1,031 world heritage sites across the globe and of these, 832 are cultural, 206 (natural) and 35 (mixed properties). Seven are in Tanzania—hurrah!

Our colleague ought to have sad: “...town which was declared A world (not THE world) heritage SITE …”

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

Send your photos and linguistic gems to email abdi244@gmail.com or WhatsApp on Tel No 0688315580.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Shift in car buying behaviour

 

By Alfred Zacharia and Janeth Muhizi

After saving for two years to buy his dream car, a Crown Majesta, Obrien Samwel, a resident of Dar es Salaam ended up buying a Toyota IST last month. He does not like the car that much but was forced by circumstances to purchase it.

When he finally went online to make the purchase, he sadly realised he could not afford buying the car at USD8,600 (Sh19million) before tax. After tax, the initial price usually doubles and this would have meant dishing out close to Sh40 million.

Since he could not afford such an amount, he searched further on the internet and settled for a Toyota IST at USD2,120 (Sh4.7million) before tax.

“I am currently not stable financially and I therefore need a car that is less expensive, cost effective in terms of oil consumption and service cost. I am hopeful I will one day buy my dream car,” he says

Obrien is not alone. Given the country’s current economic condition, car buyers today are making the same considerations as Obrien before clicking on the ‘buy now’ button for those making online purchases. Those who are buying from showrooms are also considering a few things before setting foot at the yard.

Among the things buyers consider, oil consumption tops the list. The price of the car may not matter that much provided the car will not cost them when it comes to fuel. Availability of spare parts follows while engine capacity comes last. Because of this, the favourite car on the market today is the Toyota IST.

The car is mostly preferred due to various factors as outlined by car experts, sellers and buyers. The factors include affordable price, less fuel consumption, availability of spare parts, durability, comfortability and engine capacity.

According to Alex Evodius, a car expert and technician, the Toyota IST costs between $2,100 (Sh4.7million) and $2,400 (Sh5.4million) before tax, when importing. In showrooms, the price ranges from Sh7million to Sh10 million, he says.

The vehicle’s spare parts are also available at a reasonable cost and the car is easy to resale.

“There are so many other cars whose prices are lower but Toyota IST stands out. It is difficult to find cheap spare parts or repairers for cars like Land Cruiser and Ford,” Evodius insists.

However, he says the car is good for private use and for short distance trips as it cannot travel long distances.

Dickson Nelson, a resident of Bukoba also ended up buying a car he had not set out to purchase. His plan had been to buy a Toyota Noah since he is a transport service provider.

“The Noah was my preference since it has sufficient space for carrying passengers but I ended up importing a Toyota Opa instead. This was what I could afford,” he says.

With a Toyota Noah, he would have been able to carry up to nine passengers per trip but the Opa can only carry five passengers a trip.

“I wanted a car with enough space due to the nature of my business. Unfortunately this year has been so hard for me to afford buying a Toyota Noah,” he says adding; “My business is not doing well at the moment, so I decided to purchase this car since it is affordable in terms of fuel consumption and purchasing price.”

Apart from Toyota IST, other cars which are in high demand at the moment are Toyota Raum and Toyota Corolla Spacio. Their price is between Sh8million and Sh11million.

“Sometimes when buying a car, only a few people will go for the trending model. The key is affordability and low-oil consumption,” Geofrey Mibazi, Head of Sales and Marketing, at Be forward Tanzania Trans Freight Logistics Ltd says.

According to him, most of their customers today are salaried employees who purchase the cars on loan. He said such customers prefer cars whose prices are cheaper and those that consume less fuel. These customers consider these since their income is constant.

These days, Mibazi says they get less purchases from business people like Kariakoo traders and those engaged in transport business.

“Most business people are complaining that their businesses are not doing well. They no longer can afford to buy expensive cars like they used to do before,” says Mibazi.

Mibazi, says at least seven customers out of ten that they attend to end up purchasing Toyota IST when they go to buy vehicles.

Revocatus Mgunda, a trader at Kariakoo concurs times are hard. He used to buy cars for his business from time to time but this has now changed.

“I used to change my private cars four times in a year. I never used to stay with the same car for a long time. Things have changed,” he says.

Business was good that time, he recalls and laughs as he tells me that he is still using the car he bought in September last year. To him, this used to be too long driving the same car.

“Today sales have gone down and a large share of my profit goes to government as tax. I remain with just a small amount which is only enough for running my business and other family necessities,” says Revocatus who sells shoes and clothes.

According to car dealer sources, the most expensive cars driven in the country today are Toyota Harrier, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Vanguard, Land Cruiser Prado, BMW X5, X3 and X6 as well as Suzuki Escudo.

Mibazi the Be Forward official says these cost from $9,000 (Sh22million) and above and that middle and higher income earners are the ones buying these.

A showroom attendant at Dar Auto Car, who preferred anonymity says many customers visiting the showroom are asking for Toyota IST, Toyota Raum and Corolla Spacio.

Statistics show that vehicle imports through the Dar es Salaam port dropped by 10.8 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015. Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) figures show that, until July 2016, about 53,275 vehicles were imported through the port, down from 59,694 during the same period in 2015.

“I think, due to government measures of cutting down its expenditures and fighting corruption, most people are now unable to purchase expensive vehicles,” noted the TRA director for taxpayer’s services and education, Richard Kayombo.

Email: azacharia@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Nose picking: What to do about it

 

By Life&Style Reporter

Although some people consider it a “nervous habit” — a category that includes thumb sucking, nail biting, hair twisting, and tooth grinding — nose picking isn’t necessarily a sign that your child is overly anxious.

Kids usually pick their nose because it has something in it that doesn’t feel right.

The most zealous nose pickers tend to be children with allergies, because the heavy flow of mucus and its subsequent crusting give them a “something’s up there” feeling that makes it difficult to leave their nose alone. Certain environmental conditions also make kids more likely to pick; if your heating or air-conditioning system is drying out your child’s nasal passages, for instance, he’s more likely to have a nose-picking problem.

What to do about nose picking

Nose picking would be completely harmless except for one thing: germs. Germs on the fingers can lead to small skin infections inside the nose, and fingers that have been in a nose are a great way to spread colds and flu. Remedying dehydration or congestion is the surest way to stop nose picking; meanwhile, teaching your child to use a handkerchief or tissue instead of his fingers may be the easiest way to deal with it. In addition, try these tactics:

Address his allergies. He’s at the age now when he’s gotten past the constant colds of preschool, so a stuffy nose is probably the result of allergies. The most common allergens affecting children are dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and molds. see tips on reducing the allergy symptoms that can lead to nose picking.

Keep him hydrated. If you live in a dry climate or if heating or air-conditioning seems to be drying out your child’s nasal passages, offer himlots of fluids during the day, or try a humidifier in his bedroom at night. If he’ll stand for it, a saline (not decongestant) nasal spray may also help.

Encourage him to wash his hands. No child is going to want to wash his hands all the time, but explain to him that washing them a few times a day and keeping his nails trimmed so that dirt doesn’t build up behind them will help keep him from getting sick.

Teach him to use a handkerchief. Whether you give him a cloth handkerchief to carry in his pocket or keep him supplied with packets of tissues, encourage him to blow his nose occasionally and then wipe out his nostrils with a hankie in private. This solves the germ problem and will stand him in good stead in social situations.

Let him get silly. Tell him that if he must use his finger that it’s best done in private. This may lead to some jokes or giggles about grossing people out with flagrant public nose picking. So much the better — if he can guffaw about it with you he’ll have an easier time remembering what to do (and not to do) around other people.

Bite your tongue. While you can remind your grade-schooler that nose picking is unhealthy and impolite, nagging or punishing him when he picks his nose won’t help. If he picks his nose unconsciously and decides he wants to break the habit, putting adhesive bandages on his fingers to make them harder to slip into his nostrils may help, since it allows him to catch himself in the act. But you’ll probably want to do it only when he comes home from school so he doesn’t have to answer embarrassing questions from his friends.

Keep his hands busy. “Sometimes a child who picks his nose just needs to do something with his hands,” says Janis Keyser, a parenting educator and co-author of the book Becoming the Parent You Want to Be. She suggests looking at whether your child has enough down time, or whether he’s spending an inordinate amount of time in passive activities, such as watching television. “We’ve moved children away from fine motor tasks, but as a species we have a need to work with our hands,” says Keyser. Younger grade-schoolers love making big craft projects (glue, beads, feathers, decorative paper scraps, markers, construction paper, glitter), solving jigsaw puzzles, sculpting with clay, learning how to cook, and putting together simple models or building sets.

Check things out. If your child’s exploring his nose so intensely that he’s drawing blood, or if the habit seems to be one of a constellation of nervous behaviors (he’s still sucking his thumb, picking his nose until it bleeds, andhaving trouble sleeping, for example), consult his pediatrician or a children’s therapist. It could be a sign of anxiety or other emotional problem that he needs help with.

Ignore it. If you’ve done all of the above and your child still picks his nose occasionally, your best bet is to keep his fingernails short and snag-free — and to do your best to ignore the picking.

Learn about all the things that could cause a stuffy or runny nose in a grade-schooler.

The good news is that unlike nail biting, nose picking is a habit your child is unlikely to continue into adulthood. Most children eventually give it up on their own, either because they lose interest or because other kids tease them enough to make them want to stop.

What to do about nose picking

Bite your tongue. No matter how embarrassed you are by this habit (and of course you are embarrassed), don’t say anything. Nagging or punishing your child when she picks her nose won’t help, because she probably doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. Techniques such as putting elastic bandages on her fingers will seem like unjust punishment to a 2-year-old for something so innocuous. (Once your child decides she wants to break the habit, though, this technique may help, since it allows her to catch herself in the act.) Plus, as is often the case with 2-year-olds, pressuring her to stop may trigger a power struggle. The more she realizes that this behavior gets to you, the more pleasure she’ll take in it.

Keep her fingers occupied. If you can identify times and places when your child is particularly likely to pick — while watching television, for example, or in the car — try giving her a substitute (a rubber ball to squeeze, a fuzzy fake rabbit’s foot to stroke, or finger puppets to play with). Teaching her to blow her nose may also help.

Check things out. If your child’s exploring her nose so intensely that she’s drawing blood, or if the habit seems to be one of a constellation of nervous behaviors (she’s sucking her thumb, picking her nose until it bleeds, andhaving trouble sleeping, for example), you’ll probably want to consult her pediatrician.

Wait and hope. As your child gets older and uses her hands for more complex tasks like building Lego castles and mixing mud pies, chances are her fingers will stay away from her nose of their own accord. If not, and she keeps up the nose picking until she goes off to preschool or elementary school, at some point some other child will say, “Ewww, she’s picking her nose,” and she’ll suddenly be very motivated to stop. At that point you can work on ending the habit together with a system of secret reminders. Until then, just keep her hands busy — and your fingers crossed.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

I just refused to let bullying break me

 

By Tom Mwiraria

I was five years old when I last saw my mother. I remember she had brought me a pink dress. She died a year later.

I often wonder what life would have been like had she lived but looking back at how far I have come in the last 26 years, I think she would be proud of me.

My name is Makena Kiamba and I was born with a missing left lower limb because of congenital malformation. Congenital limb defects involve missing, incomplete, abnormally developed or supernumerary limbs present a birth.

My parents separated when I was born and my mother remarried. She got a baby girl in the new relationship but my step-sister, too, died a year after my mother under mysterious circumstances.

Questions about the cause of my sister’s death haunt me to date.

Tough early days

My early years were tough. The distance between home to school was 10km. It was a hilly, winding and rocky footpath so challenging does not even begin to describe the experience. I’d stop at intervals to rest and of course, get to school late. It earned me regular punishments such as cleaning a classroom alone or caning. My schoolmates would mockingly imitate my walking style and call me kathuo (the limping one). My walk stood out in the crowd and I always felt eyes boring into my back.

On seeing my tribulations, my aunt transferred me to Weasley Primary School where I sat for my KCPE, scoring 352 marks out of 500.

I proceeded to Maua Girls High School. In the school, pupils would peep to catch a glimpse of my limb as I bathed. I had one prosthetic shoe all through.

Treatment of the defect consists mainly of prosthetic devices like my sole shoe. It is most valuable for lower-limb deficiencies. The prosthetic shoe thus became a part of me. Now it is rusty brown and soles worn out after wearing it continuously.

When I joined Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, I participated in social work in place of sports.

On most weekends, I’d visit children homes in Kakamega and I found it fulfilling. In 2013, I graduated with a degree in Disaster Management and International Diplomacy.

I’m overwhelmingly thankful to my relatives. They didn’t hide me at home. My grandmother would say: I would never let this precious bundle be hurt by anyone and she’d never leave me behind whenever she’d go to social places. She soothed me with songs and stroke my tiny back with her tender elderly hands.

Blow to self esteem

However, bullying from my classmates in primary school dealt a blow to my self esteem. Many times, I’d walk back home sobbing. The bullies’ attitude had impact if I believed them. I worked hard to ignore them. I avoided boys, too. I was afraid of being in the wrong place, in wrong company and making wrong decisions.

Living without a father was hard. I felt rejected and it hurt my esteem especially when people would gossip about my condition insinuating that I was fatherless because I was a source of bad luck.

When I decided that his hollowness and toxicity should not spell a doom in my life, I became stronger. I’m now all grown up, a fighter and a go-getter.

One day in 2015 at KNH Orthopaedic Department as I waited for my prosthetic limb, I had a chat with a lecturer from Kenya Medical Training College, Nairobi. He was surprised to see how comfortable I was with my artificial limb. He later invited me to talk to some disabled ladies. People living with disabilities do not face challenges because they are cursed or have done wrong.

They can maximise on alternative strengths. One either becomes a victim of circumstances or a victor of circumstances.

I encourage people to strive no matter how hard their situation. When you hit a bump, jump higher.

I have unlimited capacity to achieve any feat, so is everybody. I expend my energy, passion, innate abilities, knowledge and experience to give my absolute best at work and every life’s facet.

I hope to start a movement to empower orphaned boys and girls. I admire CS Amina Mohammed. She is bold, bold, down-to-earth and diplomatic. I hope to meet her someday.

I wish my mother were alive today to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day in March as I marry my fiancée and best friend.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

GENDER TALK: Who is a woman?

 

By Tumusiime Deo

It’s Monday morning and a song plays on Sanyu FM. The song goes like, “My woman is my property.” Hmmmm! And you find multitudes miming the song and dancing to the tunes like this, and living according to the message.

But do we really ever take a moment to reflect deeply about some of these things or do we simply take them for granted?

The notion of women as property is clearly ingrained in our cultural practices, which require of men to pay hefty prices for their wives in form of bride wealth.

In some cases nowadays, men actually sign cheques and hand deliver liquid cash to the woman’s family in exchange for their daughter’s hand in marriage. We have accepted this monetisation of women, just as is with items purchased from shops and supermarkets.

The way women are viewed in society may not be our own making, as some of the cultures we grew up into existed hundreds of years before we were born, but need we just follow sheepishly? How can we who have at least been exposed through school, accept the habit of treating women as mere property worth so much in Million Shillings or items bought from shops as we see at introduction ceremonies?

I have a feeling that many men do not actually understand who a woman is. During our school days, the girl children had special sessions with senior women, who coached them on a wide number of things that would help them to appreciate themselves as women.

Among other things, the girls were taught about issues to do with personal hygiene, pregnancy risks as well as the world of boys and men. The boys on the other hand were left on their own to find their own way to becoming real men and understanding women.

In the end, we missed the opportunity to understand our female counterparts, and to date, boys and men continue to make the same age-old mistakes towards women.

The perception of women as property is chief of those mistakes; women as sex objects being the other disturbing aspect.

When men do not clearly understand who a woman is, then they end up setting wrong or overstretched expectations of women, leading to the endless fights we see in many homes. They expect this, their “property” not to exceed a certain time of the evening before getting home; not to speak to any other man; not to make any decisions in the home; to always seek permission before doing anything or going anywhere; to sit down on a mat while the men sit up on chairs; and in some cultures, women were barred from eating certain delicacies like grasshoppers, liver, chicken and so on.

One just wonders how society could be so fooled into accepting all these inhuman tendencies as normal.

Our failure to understand and appreciate the gender differences between men and women, has been responsible for the perpetual perception of women as men’s property, which I find grossly deplorable.

So who is a woman?

Whoever marries a woman, must never assume as though her only identity becomes “My wife” or “My property”. In fact the “My wife” identity is only a very minor component of any average woman.

A woman is someone’s grand daughter

A woman is someone’s daughter

A woman is someone’s mother

A woman is someone’s sister

A woman is someone’s cousin

A woman is someone’s aunt

A woman is someone’s God-mother

A woman is someone’s employer

A woman is someone’s employee

A woman is someone’s customer

A woman is someone’s workmate

A woman is someone’s ex-girlfriend

A woman is someone’s best friend

A woman is someone’s patient

A woman is someone’s friend

With all these identities, men must understand that no woman in the world can or should ever be treated as their property. Women are too big to be owned by a single person considering the myriad of importance they bring to the world.

Everyone on their long list of responsibilities needs a woman’s attention, and any attempt to curtail any of the woman’s responsibilities, causes unhappiness.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

AT A CROSSROAD: How tomato scarcity can be alleviated

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

What ails agriculture in dear motherland? After all since independence we have been fighting to have small-scale farmers who are the majority become financially independent.

There has been a mixed bag of success and failures.

If the farmers, who comprise the majority in Tanzania, are to get “rich” or have some level of selfsufficiency financially, it means they would be able to pay for the school fees and health of their families. Our economic dynamics as a nation thus can never ignore the farmer, so long we are talking about inclusive economic development.

I have posted in this column in the past that, innovation and adoption of technology along the agriculture value chains, could be what we need, for the majority to get “economic salvation.”

The other day, I read in our sister paper, Mwananchi, how the prices of tomatoes have skyrocketed in many parts of the country. I have personally witnessed that, and was shocked, when was asking the price of tomato, and told it was Sh250 for a single, small tomato! Why? This is because the crop could not withstand the recent heavy rain.

Tomato is one of the most important ingredients for cooking. It can be eaten raw but because of the cost most of the time it is taken as an ingredient in all kinds of dishes.

What if in all tomato-producing regions we had coolers that could store the crop for a year? It would have been a game changer. Sometimes back people from Kenya and other neighbouring countries, would travel deep in Tanzania just to buy the crop, which has high nutritional and commercial value.

Past research reports indicate Tanzania has been a net exporter of fresh tomatoes; unfortunately, we have been importing processed tomatoes. Tomato processing plants, for example in Iringa, are said to be underutilised. What could be wrong?

China is the world’s leading tomato producer. Other giant producers include the United States, Turkey, Italy, India and The Netherlands. You can guess why. It is because the crop is processed into products that are consumed daily. These are sauces, paste, ketchup, chutney, puree, jam, juice or squash, base of other sauces (chili, garlic, etc.). At the same time it provides medium for baked and canned beans, maize, carrots, green peas, among others. What does this portend? To me, it means a hugely successful commercial crop, if the right climatic and policy environment exists.

Regions like Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Mbeya, Morogoro, Iringa are some of the great areas for the crop. As a nation, we need to come together and see how its value chain can be enhanced for the betterment of farmers and for national good. It’s said, the demand for tomatoes worldwide is bigger than production. We have the land, the water and labour that can be used to make Tanzania the leading exporter of tomatoes and tomato products.

What remains is a question of will, a question of where do we want to be in the world market of tomatoes. With focus, with determination, with innovation and use of technology, we can be there- at the top, and overtake even China.

We should start with crafting ways of increasing production and quality of tomatoes. Our plant breeders should come up with varieties that will do well in each region. Then we need post-harvest strategy.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI: When we try to enslave others, we too become slaves!



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal

In 2014, Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest Nobel laureate ever.

This award salutes the enormous courage and conviction displayed by a young girl who symbolised the cause of women’s rights all over the world.

In a way this award epitomises the victory of human rights over gender discrimination.

But this news and the recent ‘He For She’ campaign by the UN also brings to light another glaring fact; that even after more than 5000 years of civilisation, the idea of ensuring human rights for both men and women still remains a matter of debate rather than a legitimate expectation.

How can we even question the prospect of denying equal rights and opportunities to 50 per cent of our population under the cloak of morality or tradition?

While we may be different, one is not more equal than the other. We are both essentially the sides of the same coin and complement each other.

By denying rights to women, we deny rights to the whole of humanity. We deny the contribution of half of humanity. It is in fact a denial of our own existence. Because we don’t live in neatly punctuated silos of being a ‘man’ or being a ‘woman’.

Our worlds intersect not only on the outside, but also on the inside.

For the simple fact we are all born of both the mother and the father, we have both the masculine and feminine element in us; only one is more dominant than the other.

And to deny a part of you is to deny your totality.

When a father is with his children, doesn’t his love, his care, bring out the feminine aspects? Similarly when a woman is standing up to defend her rights, or jumps in battle to protect herself or her loved ones, the masculine in her is brought alive.

In fact when I talk of the term Corporate Sufi – it brings together both the male and female aspects of life to present a unified whole.

While the Corporate aspect might express the masculine through its emphasis on drive, determination and focus, the softer feminine aspect shines through the Sufi element, with its focus on compassion, creativity, giving or looking at the big picture.

Also, we have to realise that when we try to enslave others, we too become enslaved. You have to give up your own freedom too.

When men deny the right of women to be themselves, they somewhere have to compromise on their individuality as well.

For example, men are not allowed to cry, express their grief, or express their sensitive side, all in a bid to be more manly or authoritative.

One cannot be free unless the other is free too.

I am blessed with two children, a girl and a boy. Both doing well in their respective journeys. My daughter has been to over 30 countries more than her age! When I think about their future, I want to ensure that both my kids have equal opportunity to express and live their complete selves.

In my own life, I would have never been able to live my dream of becoming an inspirational speaker, author and coach if my wife hadn’t supported me and taken the reins of our accounting practice. My life would be incomplete without her support.

If we all look around, we will find innumerable examples of how the women in our lives have supported us, nurtured us. Their contribution cannot be denied.

Only when both women and men are able to participate fully and freely can we imagine living our totality.

Azim Jamal. Read more on: www.corporatesufi.com

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

OUR KIND OF ENGLISH: ‘Bus we were travelling in’…boring; say ‘our bus’

 

By Abdi Sultani

We’ve in the past cautioned scribblers to be careful with the adjective “other” to avoid mixing the unmixable. This adjective refers to things or people that are additional to those which have been mentioned or are known.

And, there must be an aspect of sameness between the two “sides”. It would be ludicrous, eg, to say: Abdi Sultani was there with OTHER farmers since Abdi isn’t a farmer.

Now if you’re obsessed with the use of “other”, then say: “Abdi Sultani was there with other PEOPLE, (who are farmers).

The caption on the front page of Bongo’s senior-most Sunday broadsheet (March 25 edition) says: “Passersby and OTHER bodaboda riders helplessly look at THEIR colleague who had been injured…”

The caption writer has unwittingly (mis)informed readers that that the passersby are all bodaboda riders. Here’s our rewrite: “Passersby and bodaboda riders look helplessly at a motorcyclist who had been injured…” On Page 2 of the same broadsheet, there’s a story entitled, ‘Driver, turn boy perish…” and the intro is thus written: “A fuel tanker driver and his turn boy were on Friday burned to death after a truck THEY WERE TRAVELLING IN veered off the road…”

Why say “the truck they were travelling” while “THEIR TRUCK” could do—short and clear. Brevity, we’re told, is the hallmark of effective journalism, aren’t we?

On Friday, March 23, the tabloid closely associated with this columnist had on Page 15 a story entitled, “Lady Jaydee not giving up as yet’, and therein, the scribbler says: “…when her marriage BROKE, she found the energy to get back to work…” Oops! Marriages don’t break; they BREAK UP, , meaning, “come to an end”.

On Page 16 of the same tabloid, there’s a story headlined, “Bongo Flava cradle rocking”, and this is what the scribbler says of Diamond Platinumz: “…[he] believes there wasn’t enough inclusion in the arts council before it decided to BLACK LIST his songs.”

The verb—from the noun “blacklist” which means a list of names of people, products, organisations, etc, that have been listed as undesirable—is BLACKLIST (one word).

And finally a reader, one HM, brought to our attention something from the tabloid that’s sister to Bongo’s huge and colourful broadsheet. It was from a Page1-2 story headlined, “Lutheran bishops meddle in politics. He didn’t elaborate, but we suspect he was concerned about the word “meddle” which smacks of disapproval, as it means “become involved in something that doesn’t concern you”.

Could the phrase WADE INTO, maybe, do? He didn’t say.

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

WATERCOOLER MOMENTS: It’s about the purpose, stay humble

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University 

By Terry Ramadhani

There are times in my journey I get to meet people who have such contrasts in the same day or same week. Sometimes these contrasts bring certain issues to the fore.

In the recent past I interacted with the most humble person I have come across. So very accomplished yet exceptionally understated.

Then maybe not quite fortunately I also interacted with one of the most egocentric persons I have ever met. The sharp contrast of the two experiences got me thinking about ego and how it impacts those around us and the outcomes we seek to meet.

The chief executive officer (CEO) is sometimes commonly (tongue in cheek) referred to as the Chief Ego Officer, hilarious it may be, but the truth is, as many of us progress into positions of authority and leadership activities, the sizes of our egos grow in exact or perhaps higher proportions in some cases. Ego does have positive contributions but only when checked.

Going back to my experience, the self absorbed gentleman I met could not speak a full sentence without making reference to how important he was as a person, how senior his role was and what a hugely respected reputation he had in that market.

Now, I wouldn’t dream of arguing on any of those accounts and it would be unfair not to take his word unless I had evidence to the contrary plus it would be trivial in my view to engage in that banter. I, however, found it exceptionally intriguing that no matter how uncomfortable his super inflated sense of self importance and worth made me, it did not seem to register in his mind that it was not only totally unpalatable but it was driving me to the edge of exasperation.

I wondered just how much self-unawareness was needed to exist in that space? On reflection, I thought it would be great to have a conversation around what unchecked egos contribute to teams and to organisations. Some of the quick results include:

1. Kills feedback – when leaders at whichever level are driven by excesses of ego, those that work with them soon realise that there is no room for differing views, which means sooner or later those around the leader all turn to yes people who reinforce the views of the leader.

2. Dis-empowerment of the team. The voice of the leader is the only one that gets heard. Creativity, innovation and initiative get sacrificed.

3. Creates unnecessary power struggles as the focus shifts from productivity to alignment battles.

4. Ultimately teams with such challenges have little chance of meeting their set objectives, they will also not be short of excuses as their egocentric leader will blame the system or others for their failure, after all, isn’t it obvious, they cannot possibly fail.

The negative impact may sound simplistic but the true value of this phenomenon has far reaching consequences in all terms, be it opportunity cost, revenues, sustainability, reputational risks etc.

The good news is, there are ways that can be deployed to mitigate the ego and enable the leader in question to adjust their attitude and have better control.

Some of the ways are:

1. Developing emotional intelligence to help maintain a balance and optimise on self-management. This will enable the leader to suppress ego and channel it when needed.

2. Develop the ability to detach from the otherwise attractive influences and self-views of perfection and importance. In other words, don’t believe the press clippings.

3. Invest in diversifying the team members so that they have varied perspectives.

4. Grow a thick skin to take in different views without negative outbursts that discourage any future candid feedback.

5. Re-evaluating the reasons for getting involved in the role that one is in. The realisation that the only meaningful purpose in life is the pursuit of a purpose large than oneself. This perspective if well adopted helps to bring humility to everyday living, ‘it is not about me it is about the mission that I am contributing to’

Ultimately the truth is, the world needs more doers, not more of those who believe their own hype. More of those that feel that there is so much to learn yet and that they are in their current space to contribute to a greater purpose.

The ego is no-doubt a liar and we must keep challenging it, the titles we hold should merely serve the purpose of helping people understand the function of our role.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

FROM THE CLASSROOM: Healthy in, healthy out



Waheeda Samji

Waheeda Samji 

By Waheeda Shariff Samji

We worry about how our children grow. When they are little, we worry about whether they are growing fast enough; as they grow, we worry about why they grow so fast; when they start school, we worry about them having enough or too much energy.

Strangely enough, our daily worries are about what they eat, how much they eat, and whether mealtimes will become the next big argument.

We know that today’s children are exposed to more processed foods, higher in sugar and salt and saturated fats. We know that childhood obesity rates have tripled since 1970, and 1 in 10 children in Tanzania can be defined as obese (frighteningly, the rate of increase is almost 30 per cent in Africa compared to the developed world).

We know that obese children tend to stay obese through adolescence and adulthood, and are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, cancer and resistance to insulin.

We know that overweight children tend to perform less well at school, mostly because their metabolisms become sluggish, affecting performance, and are no doubt also affected emotionally by the cruel jibes of other children.

But in spite of knowing all this, some of us still look away from the heart of the issue, which is that healthy eating is mostly about healthy lifestyles, and it cannot be outsourced. Children spend most of their waking hours at school, and it is important for healthy eating habits to be mirrored there.

There is evidence that schools which offer healthy, balanced school lunches often have better standardised test scores than those which don’t, and there is proven correlation between healthy diets and increased learning at school.

But although more schools are moving towards providing healthy school lunches, evidence also shows that many children discard healthy food provided and substitute it with less healthy, home-brought items sanctioned by parents. Even more sadly, many parents complain about the balanced portion sizes of healthy school lunches, and will then allow uncensored snacking at home.

So if we know all this, we have to take responsibility for what our children eat. It cannot be relegated to certain members of the family, to certain days of the week, or to designated places and seasons. It is often easier (and sadly, in many cases, cheaper) to have a pizza instead of a healthy home-cooked dinner, and to ensure that there are cookies and fried bhajias to snack on, instead of veggie sticks and fruit.

But easier does not mean better, it mostly means that we take more comfort in worrying about what our children eat than in actually doing something about it together.

Waheeda Shariff Samji is a Director at The Latham School

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

CANDID TALK: Story of ‘Bad’ Friday, Easter and the clobbered Nazarene

 

By Peter Muthamia

Last Friday was “Good” Friday (or was it Bad Friday?), and today is Easter Sunday. The Uswaz Christian fraternity is commemorating a historical murder on the cross of the Nazarene some two thousand plus years ago.

We are celebrating his death with lots of feasting and dance (instead of crying).

The holy writ notes that this holy man, Yehashua Ben Yeosheph and Mary was clobbered to his death for allegedly flouting Mosaic Laws and forming a new political-cum-religious party, something that did not augur well with the doyens of the ruling party (Sanhedrin) and the Roman Empire.

My reader, you really do not need a scintilla of religion or politics in you to understand how dire it is to oppose the existing politico and their beliefs – you either vanish in the thin air or are put behind bars under very flimsy excuses (like leading a demo).

History has it that Yehashua was talking of the kingdom of God here on earth and openly opposing the systems of the day. During his rounds together with his twelve disciples, he proved that one did not need to be a brew master at Serengeti Breweries to convert pure water into excellent throat-wetting drinks that sent the entire village of Cana roaring drunk and singing their traditional Hebrew songs. He also laid it bare that if one needed to go, say, to Zanzibar, all one needed was to walk on Indian Ocean! What raised even more storms is that using a few fishes and bread crumbs he was able to send a population of over 5,000 people belching on their way home. The holy writ also notes that when his buddy Lazarus Ben Shlommo had died of malaria, he just walked to the tomb and just called Lazarus’ name. Lazarus who had been a mummy walked out of tomb waving and smiling like Donald Trump despite having been in the tomb for four good days.

The act that sent everyone gaga was the following that he had managed to create. The ruling Sanhedrin, led by Rabbi called Caiapha was getting impatient with his healing, casting out of demons and raising people who would rather be dead. They plotted his death on the cross at a hilly place outside the city, in exchange for a notorious robber known as Barnabas. As it is, the sad story ended when the Nazarene who had been dead rose on the third day!

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Embracing the power of poetry

Nancy loves expressing herself through poetry.

Nancy loves expressing herself through poetry. PHOTOI COURTESY. 

By Esther Kibakaya

Growing up, Nancy Lazaro always wanted to be able to express herself, to express her thoughts and when she finally stumbled on poetry, everything changed.

She vowed from then to embrace the power of poetry. The power to inform, educate, engage, empower and entertain individuals and communities.

She thanks a schoolmate who introduced her to the world of poetry. “I was just 15 and in Form Three, I remember seeing my classmate writing some things that I did not understand,” the 32-year-old mother of two recalls.

“I was curious to know what she used to write and she said they were poems. From that time, I wanted to know more about poetry. I started writing and I have since never stopped. I love the fact that poems allow me to express myself and speak to generations as a mother, sister, daughter, wife, aunt, friend and a global citizen,” she explains.

Nancy, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Management degree from the University of Dar es Salaam, a Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Dar es Salaam and a Master’s in Arts and Culture Management degree from Rome Business School, believes that God is the giver of talents.

“Poetry has done wonders in my life; has comforted me, taught me lessons, allowed me to share my insights with the world. I have changed lives and I have been part of change in communities by being a poet. I believe nothing happens without a reason. I was meant to be a poet and use my talent for the better,” she proudly explains.

Her creative writing journey started in 2001. Nancy started writing stories before she could write poems. She officially wrote her first poem in 2002, which was about family love and loss, after death robbed her of her father and her sister.

Her journey as a poet has been highly influenced by the likes of Maya Angelou, Mwende Katwiwa, Daniel Beaty, Neema Komba, Keziah Ayikoru, Meshack Nyambele, Lusajo Mwaisaka and many others.

“I am inspired by any poem with solid content, a positive one, with an intention of starting conversations, creating positive impact and empowering individuals and communities.”

In 2012, she co-founded La Poetista which is a group of young artists and arts lovers, with a focus on building a vibrant poetic movement in the Tanzanian community by promoting poetry as an art and incorporating it with other art forms in order to nurture talent, freedom of expression and create a positive impact in communities.

Nancy, who is currently working on a campaign, #Poets4GlobalGoals which focuses on using poetry to create awareness on Sustainable Development Sustainable Development Goals, says she writes her poems as she sees fit.

“I prefer not to limit myself to a certain way of writing as I write for different audiences in both English and Swahili. Most of the time, it is during the course of writing that I decide on the form of a poem. I do not have one specific form for all my poems but one thing I know is, my poems need to speak life, inspire/motivate someone and generally improve lives of people. I believe form of a poem is very important but the most important thing is the content of your poem,” says Nancy who is also a certified life coach and 2015 finalist of Tanzania Women of Achievement Award in Arts and Culture Category.

Does she has any particular audience in mind when she writes? “Yes and No. Yes, sometimes I have an ideal reader in mind, especially when I am writing a poem for someone to read or listen.”

“There are times when I perform in different communities hence, whenever I write a poem for them, I need to think of them and write a poem that is centred around their environment and experience so they can easily relate to the poem.”

Sometimes Nancy writes poems as a therapy or to help her get through some things in her life, even though she ends up sharing the poems with the world. She shares them out so that the message can reach out to as many people as possible. Nancy says poems are not meant to stay in closed books, shelves or boxes but are meant to be shared so that the message can reach out to as many people as possible.

While some people think poems are an outdated form of art, Nancy believes poetry as a rhythmic expression of deep emotions, experiences, ideas and feelings has stood up the test of time and technology and has proven to be an art form that will survive for as long as humanity can.

“Poetry has been a tool for change and deliverance whether it is written with a pen, an electronic device or published, whether in spoken word, rap or just music in general. In its different forms, be it a haiku or sonnets, or just unconventional like a free verse, truth and introspection has been the cornerstone to which poetry has embedded its life in making it generously reach into the hearts of the parched and equally self-serving and self-sustaining. Poetry will hardly be an outdated art form,” she notes.

She says Tanzania has many poets but thinks they are not enough. “While other poets are hiding themselves in the shelves allowing their beautiful poems to gather dust, others are out there grabbing every opportunity they get to share their work. There is a need for young people to realise the power of words, especially when spoken or written.” She adds; There is a need to create creative spaces for poets to come together and write, network and share their works with each other and with the world. There is also a need to use digital means to promote poetry. Poetry is a way of life and can influence positive change in communities.”

The ambitious poet says poetry has a vital role in language as it allows people to engage in discussions, network and learn languages. “Poets use language in so many different ways all in the spirit of emphasising ideas, themes and images. These language techniques used do not only improve how we use language but also break the boundaries and limits to convey the meaning.”

In modern-day society, each poet has a role of spreading positive messages in their communities and according to Nancy, the world needs to hear messages that speak life and strength, love and unity and that foster positive change and create positive impact in communities.

Email: ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Here is why you should always live curious

 

By Jackson Biko

The other day, at the tail end of a meeting, a lady said, “You don’t look 40,” and I – seated across from her at the table – said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

And she said, “I said you wrote that you turned 40 somewhere but you actually don’t look 40.” I said, “ I’m sorry, say it a bit louder. Louder for the rest of these gentlemen to hear.” We all laughed.

There was a successful 48-year old guy seated at the head of the table and as the conversation centred on age and ageing, someone asked him what he plans to do at 50. He said he plans to retire to the village.

He said he has a great attachment to his village and that he has been working since he was 23-years-old – a total of 27 years now – and he plans to do nothing but farm and get involved in his community activities. I wanted to walk over and hold him on his shoulder with my two hands and ask him, “But why? Why are you like this?”

When he spoke those words I pictured myself in my own village, retired. Retired! First off, I don’t even want to imagine that ‘retirement’ is an option. Retirement is what our parents did.

They sang for you and then someone gave a speech. They clapped for you then the old and religious cleaning lady prayed and then you were handed a bicycle as a gift.

You? Oh you packed and left the city for the village where between sitting in committees for fencing land and in dispute resolutions, you waited for two things to happen; for your children to bring home your grandchildren, or death.

I ain’t doing it. I’m not cut from that retirement cloth. I just don’t see myself going back to my village to retire. I love where I come from, I’m proud of it, but I will be miserable. And I hate self-imposed misery. What would I be doing? Sit on the verandah, my radio on and read my Bible, like I see my own father do? (Although I think he enjoys it. He’s an introvert. He hates small talk.) Would I wear my white shirt and blue trousers and attend church on Sabbath?

Would I call my son and him not pick because he’s busy with his life like I am now? And him call me back later in the evening as I’m about to sleep and me not be in the mood to talk to him then because I can’t find my goddamn joint pain meds?

Oh no. That’s not going to be me. I’m not retiring. If I’m strong and I’m healthy and of sane mental health and I’m not in jail, I won’t stay still.

I will keep producing (not children, surely, those I don’t want anymore) because I wouldn’t want to ever ask my children for a penny or stare at the phone ringing and think, oh no, Papa wants money.

I’d also not want them to know exactly where I am at any time. Not that I will be avoiding them, which would be fun ha-ha, but just that I would not want them to ever predict what I’m doing or where I am doing it at any given time.

If say Tamms, my daughter, then perhaps working as an architect or a sports apparel designer, is asked by her nosy colleague where her father is, I don’t want her to assume that I’m in the village.

I want her to tell her, “You know, I honestly never know where he is. Let me call him” and when she calls me my phone will ring weird and when I pick up and I say, “My only tomato!” and she says, “Kwani where are you, Papa?” I want to be able to tell her, “I’m in Kinshasa.”

That’s what I want. I don’t want them to call me and assume that I’m in a committee meeting in the village to build another classroom for Nyaburi Primary School (that’s a school in my shags).

In fact I would not want that word to be associated with me. It’s an ugly word. It means to exit, to decamp, to adjourn. We don’t adjourn. We slow down.

We align into the wind at most but at best we lower our heads and face the wind. We don’t retire, for crying out loud, because we stay hungry and we find life and ourselves and happiness – whatever the hell that is. Race horses retire. Us? We live curious.

Email: life&Style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

When you are not cut out for marriage

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Last weekend during a family outing at some beach resort on the outskirts of the city, I overheard a group of men cracking some jokes about marriage. Their ages varied. Some were in their 30s, others in their 40s while others seemed to be close to 50.

“When you are in love, you feel like you are on cloud nine but once you get married, you wonder what happened to the romance,” one of them joked as others roared with laughter.

Another one chipped in; “In the beginning, every wife treats her husband in a very special way, but later, somehow and I don’t know why, the alphabets get reversed.”

Another man seemingly in his late 50s threw another joke. “Guys, you should know the secret formula that married couples apply. The rule is to ‘love one another’ but if this doesn’t work, then move the last word to the middle- (to read ‘love another one’),” he said, as his friends burst into a huge laughter.

You could tell from their conversation that these men were not in favour of marriage. I took the courage to ask them why most of their jokes were negative about marriage and as they happily explained to me, I later realised that they were all bachelors.

One of the men, James Nicodemus* said being single does not mean that he is lonely. The 45-year-old electrical technician is in a relationship although marriage is not on the cards. “I have a girlfriend but we don’t have any plans for the future,” he said.

James, who lives in Tabata likes being alone and therefore enjoys bachelor life. Being committed in wedlock is not his thing. “If I need a woman for love making, there are plenty of them out there. What do I lose by not getting married?” queried James as he sipped his beer.

His friend, Fredrick Mtweve* who is approaching 50 says bachelor life gives him happiness. “I used to live with my uncle when I was growing up and their married life left a bad impression on my part,” Fredrick shared.

His uncle’s wife exercised great control on her husband, taking advantage of his reserved nature. “My uncle loves her so much that he would do anything just to please her. Sometimes he does things which no other man would do, like asking her for permission to go out,” he explains.

The experience seems to have had a negative influence on Fredrick, who does not want to get married at all. “Women are really beautiful creatures. They can make us forget all our miseries. However, they use our weakness on them to control us. I do not want that,” he said.

During the course of our informal discussion, I brought up the question on the right age for men to get married. Despite not reaching a consensus, most of the men thought there was no age limit for men.

“I think there is no age limit for getting married. Some people get married in their 20s and others in their 50s,” said 40-year-old Idd Athuman, adding that it is easier for an older man to get married than a woman in the same age range. “Unlike men, women’s chances of getting married fade away as they grow older,” said Idd.

Idd is single but has two children, a boy aged six and a two-year-old girl, each by a different mother. “My children live with my mother in Kibaha, Coast Region. Their grandmother takes good care of them,” Idd, a banker living in Tegeta, Dar es Salaam said.

Living single is not something that seems to bother Idd and his friends. After all they get everything married men get, be it eating good food, dressing smartly, you name it. While some of them live alone in rented houses, others live in their own houses with relatives who help them with house chores.

Idd, who lives in his four-bedroom house, says domestic undertakings do not bother him at all since there are plenty of young boys and girls looking for housekeeping jobs. “I do not need to marry a wife to cook for me or wash my clothes. There a many dry cleaners and restaurants out there,” he said.

Relationship experts give several reasons as to why some men opt to stay single. Among the reasons is that most of them feel they cannot find a woman of their match. Others are so passionate about their careers and jobs that they cannot spare time for family affairs.

Financial incapacity is another reason. Experts argue that some men fear they might be unable to bear new responsibilities that arise after marriage due to inadequate finances.

Fredrick agrees. For men who are considered to be the bread winners in most families, being financially unstable can make one feel insecure, he says.

Daniel Marandu, a sociologist says one can opt to stay single for the rest of his life for a reason. “Maybe he has seen a close married friend or relative whose married life left painful memories of betrayal,” he says.

“Normally such a person would vow not to engage himself in marriage for the rest of his life. It could also be either a genetical issue or a behavioural one. It could be a cycle from one generation to the other,” he explains.

The sociologist says despite marriage being a personal decision, the society might regard that person as lacking. “In this case, he could find himself isolated by his close community members in for example decision making issues that involve his family just because he is not married. Sometimes, the family will not ask your opinion as they view you as an irresponsible man,” Daniel says, adding that it is very likely for a bachelor to lose respect from his parents, family members and friends.

Catherine Peter Sesse, Chief Executive Officer of Power in Prayers Network in Mwanza, quotes St Paul; “The bible says in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9: I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

Referring to the verse above, Catherine says if you cannot control your sexual desire, then it is better to get married rather than commit sin by engaging in sex before marriage. If someone opts to be a bachelor, then they should not commit adultery,” says Catherine.

Ally Harith, a Muslim scholar and a teacher at Baobab Secondary School, says in Islamic point of view, marriage is worship and that the worship of a person who opts to stay single cannot be true worship.

Al-Quran Surah 30 Ar-Rum, Ayah 21 says; “Another of his signs is that he created spouses from among yourselves for you to live within tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect (30:21).”

Ally says a bachelor lacks stability in his life and that he obviously ends up doing immoral acts.

“He will lack mercy and blessings from Allah! The society also will not respect him, most of the time they keep mocking them,” he adds.

While some senior bachelors remain single either because of financial instability or the fear of being enslaved by a woman, Masoud Mussa* ,56, is single for a different reason. He chose to live single all his life because of the fear of being unable to satisfy a woman in bed.

“I cant satisfy a woman in bed. So I opted to stay single. This does not mean I’m impotent. It is better to remain single and just date women than getting married and be unable to satisfy your wife sexually,” said Masoud.

Masoud who has no children does not believe marriage would guarantee him happiness. Being single does not condemn him to wretchedness either.

Despite having their individual reasons for opting to stay single for the rest of their lives, interviewed bachelors don’t blame those who decide to commit. To them, getting married or living single is just a matter of choice.

* Names changed to protect privacy.

Email: etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

My children quarrel constantly. Help!

 

By Life&Style Reporter

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that two children aren’t that much more trouble than one.

I wonder who came up with that idea? No single child can run you constantly ragged (after all, he has to sleep sometime!) but two children can — and often do. A lot of parents say that the worst part of having two children is the sheer amount of noise they make.

Not the loud voices, wild games, or blaring toys, but the particular, maddening sound of children squabbling. If they’re playing together, something is soon loudly unfair.

If they’re playing apart, one wants to join in and the other doesn’t — and they’re both more than willing to communicate this at top volume.

Even when they’re both with you at home, in the car, at the store, there’s an undertone of point scoring and complaint that keeps you on edge, just waiting for an outburst. Guilt adds to the stress: After all, aren’t children in “good” families friends and companions? And shouldn’t you do something more, or differently, to keep the peace?

Actually, you may have more peace if you do less. Playing judge and jury in children’s squabbles is a no-win situation: Even if you witness an act of aggression or hear an insult, you can never know what subtle sibling injustice provoked it. Being “fair” doesn’t always help, either. The more you ration out the berries in each child’s bowl, carefully divvy up the number of gifts they get, and tabulate the frequency and fulsomeness of the praise you pepper them with, the more you’ll encourage your children to measure your performance on a balance sheet — and to find errors.

The fact is that you’ll have times when you must weigh each child’s needs differently. When one child is ill or has a birthday, giving him the extra attention that’s due him shouldn’t leave his sibling feeling deprived. You can’t control the green-eyed monster (who lives in every family) by carefully rationing your attention. All you can do is try to give your children the sense that no rationing is needed because there’s more than enough unconditional love for everyone.

As much as you want your children to love each other, you can’t mandate it. Their feelings are their business — the only thing you can try to exert some control over is their behaviour. Start by making it clear to them that no matter how they feel about each other, they must tolerate and treat each other decently. Bullying, cruel teasing, and tattling are not allowed — no matter who started it or what the other child was doing.

Don’t just forbid the negative behaviours, though. Offer them some positive alternatives: ways to solve problems. If they both want the same toy, don’t tell them what to do — ask them. Eventually they’ll hopefully come up with the idea of taking turns.

Though they’re very close in age, try not to force your children into each other’s company. If you let them pursue their own interests, and allow them to have separate friends at home and school, they may well grow into a mutual solidarity that will amaze you.

Above all, respect each child’s dignity. Loving each as an individual means that you should never make either one look or feel small — to himself, to his sibling, or to outsiders. And, of course, never, ever compare them, much less hold one up as an example to the other. You may wish that this orange were sweeter, but you’d never wish it were more like an apple, would you?

Friends hitting each other

It’s normal for children to play rough. “We’ve allowed our children to become so sedentary that I rejoice when I see children engaged in rough and tumble play,” says Will Wilkoff, a Maine pediatrician.

Play serves all kinds of purposes for children, including working out social interactions, developing motor skills, exercising imagination, and, not least, burning off energy. And given our history as hunters, we may even be wired to roughhouse. Boys especially seem to like physically interactive play. But it’s beneficial – and fun – for girls to play this way too.

Of course, children should be supervised in a safe environment for such play, Wilkoff says. And if rough play becomes dangerous or degenerates into meanness, it’s time to intervene.

Rough play is different from fighting. Fighting involves inflicting pain – or threatening to inflict pain – on another child.

Although rough play rarely leads to fighting, it’s a good idea to set some ground rules, like no hitting or pinching, stopping when the other child says to stop, and no grabbing around the neck or head.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mambrui: The disappearing town

The ‘ghostly’ Mambrui town, (below) the sand

The ‘ghostly’ Mambrui town, (below) the sand dunes of Mambrui. PHOTOs| TOM MWRIRARIA 

By Tom Mwiraria

Mambrui town, or at least what’s left of it, was once heavily affected by slave trade. A settlement of 4000 people, Mambrui lies in Marikebuni, about 10km from Sabaki along Malindi –Lamu road North of Malindi.

Despite the creeping sand dunes, the slumbering fishing village is a destination for Islamic Pilgrims and it hosts Quran schools. Mambrui’s golden age was the 15th Century. It was built by Arab slave traders.

Today the once thriving Malindi Kingdom sits in outskirts of civilisation, covered by a blanket of silence. In only few decades, this haunting town will no longer exist in the face of the earth because giant sand dunes are approaching to gobble it up according to UNESCO–Kenya National Seminar paper (1997) on Sustainable Coastal Development.

The dunes are caused by raging sand storms. They are creeping closer and closer to the 200-year-old Qubaa mosque and the Mambrui primary and secondary schools.

One of the residents, Mzee Salim, stands by the side of his crumbling house. His aged and weakly eyes shift to the worn out side and become glazed with glassy layer of tears. He blinks, bites his lips and swallows unknown words that he wanted to gaggle out of his mouth after a long silence he speaks.

‘This is the last of the houses built here. It stood the test of time but now the winds have proved to be stronger. I have no money to build another house and I have no land elsewhere” he says in a quivering voice.

Mambrui gained archaeological interest after a discovery of iron slags, iron smelter, jade green shard of porcelain and Chinese coin of an early 15th Century, the era of the Yongle Emperor during the Ming Dynasty.

The Kenyan and Chinese team working on the archaeological project in Mambrui, if successful, will unravel the date of East African Coast trade with the East. The archaeological work has caused jitters among the residents who suspect that the archaeologists are excavating to take away skeletons and artefacts of their ancestors.

Mzee Salim echoes another concern: “The cries of disturbed spirits are terrible; we do not want to hear them, let them for the peace of our hearts never take anything that belongs to the dead –bones or what else that might be buried with them.”

The low tide beach stretches for about five kilometres to the north of the Galana River estuary. Mambrui is one of the few beaches where holiday makers are allowed to drive along Mambrui’s best attraction, Che Chale beach which is a lonely golden glittery and seemly endless stretch of sandy gold, vivid in the brilliant light.

FACTS

Mambrui settlement is is situated at the East of Marikebuni , South of Gongoni and , a 30-hour drive North of Malindi town, along Malindi-Lamu road. Visitors looking for tranquility can stay at Nyumba ya Ebenezer, Robert’s house, Mazuri home, Nyumba Tisa, Mikida House, Che Shale and Angel’s Bay Beach Resort. The accommodation rates range from Sh6,000 to Sh25,000 per night.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bagamoyo is East Africa’s treasure that is crumbling

 

By Peter Muthamia

Many tourists have loudly wondered why the authorities have let Bagamoyo be run-down to what it is today – a decrepit hole where nothing seems to happen.

Old forts, old customs house, Mwanamakuka tombs that speak volumes about the occupation of powerful African chiefs and Kaole ruins that existed earlier than 13th century are evidences that Bagamoyo should be accorded more attention.

A two-hour drive from Dar es Salaam you find a rather an ordinary town that if you take away its long history as a slave stop-over and market, a German fort, a British administrative post and a lot of other uses, you certainly cannot ignore.

Fishing hand-made dhows lie haphazardly on the white beaches. The town’s potential notwithstanding, there seems to be an air of neglect. Many different cultures have met, collided, mixed and left their ‘footprints’ in Bagamoyo.

Bagamoyo also happens to be a gateway of Christianity and Islam into the hinterland. The town has little to offer but an evidence of dilapidated buildings speak more of neglect than the place being the epicentre of various historical sites that must be kept alive.

Narrow alleyways, crumbling ruins and decrepit human habitations, are more likely to get you bored unless your mission is to learn history.

The town is lax and the people seem to be in no hurry.

Despite Bagamoyo’s stone town having been classified as a world heritage but so far, nothing has been done – only feeble attempts have been done to bring them to the original position. Ideally, the structures are supposed to be kept in their original coral stones and mangroves.

The old fort, the various ruins, the oldest catholic mission, the tiny church where the body of Dr David Livingstone was temporarily rested from Zambia before being ferried to Zanzibar and finally to UK for burial are interesting to history scholars.

Lack of funds is attributed to the sorry state of the heritage. According to a tour guide Cuthbert Mapile, it requires a lot of funding to restore the architecture to its original state.

One is able to learn the entire slave trade, influence of the Sultanate of Oman on the East African coast and powerful German, British, Arab and African hegemonies of that spread tentacles on the hinterland.

From Caravan Serai we set off on a 20 minute bajaji ride from Bagamoyo town to the beautiful Kaole ruins. Kaole Ruins are remains of a small 13th Century Shirazi (Persian) settlement.

Most of these structures are very imposing and with some restoration they could be great. I would be unfair to rate the old customs building low but with many tourists interested in the history and structure, it would be beneficial for the government to spend some money on it and invest.

Email:kaumbuthupeter@gmail.com

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

My spouse, my business partner

 

By Devotha John

In this part of the world, it’s not very common for couples to partner in business. Those in support of the idea say it’s among reasons most companies collapse the moment their owners die.

When couples team up in establishing business ventures, they believe, it helps in avoiding family conflicts and it is said to be one way of ensuring sustainability and stability of companies or projects.

Glenn Muske, a small-business specialist at North Dakota State University, has studied copreneurs for nearly 15 years. In the worst cases he’s seen, the stress took down the business and it took down the marital relationship. He does not think everyone is cut out to do it.

Muske says the secret to making it work is having a good marriage in the first place. Many couples say the complementary personalities that brought them together make them logical business partners. In the best cases, couples are “truly so in sync with one another that the business becomes an extension of the relationship they have with one another,” says Muske.

Although this is not a path that many couples consider taking, we interviewed couples who say the benefits outweigh the risks. Apart from strengthening the bond between partners, working together on a business, they say, helps in financial transparency hence reducing chances of clashing over money matters.

Evodius and Claudia

Evodius Ruma and his wife Claudia Massawe are proud owners of a leather goods company, Kibosho Umbwe Leather Goods Limited. They produce shoes, bags, sandals and other leather products.

Evodius attended training by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) on how to run entrepreneurial projects.

“After completing the training I established my own company and started with a few pairs of shoes. With time, I made more shoes, thanks to innovative ideas I received from the Unido training,” he notes.

His wife had to quit her teaching job to join forces with her husband in running the company. Their business has since grown and today Evodius’ company serves markets in Dodoma, Mpanda, Arusha and Comoro.

His wife, Claudia, says she is glad she joined her husband for the family’s prosperity. She says everyone has their own responsibilities and that when it comes to work, relationship matters are put aside. They usually separate marital relationship from the business.

“We actually wear business specs and our language reflects seriousness while attending to our business,” says Claudia.

Evodius says working with his wife gives her control of everything, which he thinks is good especially in the event of death. If such happens, she would be able to continue running the business.

Claudia advises couples to emulate Tanzanians of Asian origin who she says are more serious and efficient in running family businesses. The couple wants their three children to take over from them when they retire.

Sabinus and Mariana

Mariana Mushi and her husband Sabinus Ngowi, jointly run a clothes shop in Kariakoo. For them, doing business together is more beneficial than having outsiders do it for them. When either couple travels outside the country to buy merchandise, the other one remains behind to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Mariana says when couples work together, their business is likely to prosper. She says working together helps them maintain trust for each other because one tends to know what their partner is engaged in most of the time.

“We control everything together starting with the bank account, flow of products from importation to supply. Our partnership helps us solve problems together,” says Mariana.

Her husband says working together helps avoid unnecessary misunderstandings when it comes to family development.

“If you work together, it becomes easy for your partner to understand when business is not doing well because they already know what is going on,” says Sabinus.

The couple calls on others to join hands and run projects together.

Jeffrey and Cecilia

Jeffrey Jessey and his wife Cecilia Mosha, are proud owners of a clothing line, Speshoz Fashion in Mwenge. When Cecilia graduated from university, her plan was to find a white collar job. Today she is happy she joined her husband in the family business.

The couple makes different outfits including wedding dresses, suits for both men and women, shirts and trousers. Although they studied different fields in university, they believe getting educated to that level has been a plus in their business. Their education background exposed them to the modern world though not so much to the specifics of the fashion industry.

Jeffrey is a holder of a Master’s degree in International Business while his wife holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry.

Jeffrey learnt the trade from his mother who was a tailor. He set up Speshoz Fashion in March, 2013 with friends who later left the enterprise to pursue other businesses.

He thought the business would do well if he involved his wife and he has since never regretted his decision. He believes running your own business is different from running another person’s business. The sense of ownership does wonders as far as success is concerned.

Jeffrey says most youth prefer buying readymade clothes due to unreliable tailors. He thought by teaming with his wife, they could conquer this market by making clothes that would make youthfeel and look good, elegant and confident at the same time. The couple employs qualified tailors.

The couple shares the profit earned from the business equally, each getting what they rightfully deserve. To them, family comes first and so they use the money for the development of their family and their company.

Jeffrey and Claudia plan to expand their business into a bigger venture which will render services within and outside the country.

Email: djohn@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Recycling fabrics to save environment

Cecil and his tailor work on a bag ready for

Cecil and his tailor work on a bag ready for sale. 

By Esther Kibakaya

Satisfaction written all over his face, Cecil Sagawala moves his hand around a bag he is holding as he explains to me how the bag is made from old pieces of fabric that had been thrown away as waste.

“This bag went through a number of processes before it became what you see now. This is what textile recycling is all about, making things that would have been thrown away useful,” the 24-year-old second year Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management student at Ardhi University explains proudly.

Studies show that every year, more than 80 billion new garments are produced but inspite of the good things that come out of the business, the world is unfortunately left with an environmental destruction caused by textile waste.

It is this unfortunate fact that prompted Cecil to take the initiative to be part of those coming up with solutions to the problem. He chose to solve the problem by re-using and recycling textile waste.

“It all started when I and other university students attended the DARE enterprises course organised by Cambridge Development Initiative in Dar es Saalam in September 2017,” Cecil explains.

The training aimed at equipping students with relevant business, social and personal skills to succeed as entrepreneurs so they could use the knowledge to tackle some of the problems facing Tanzania in areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. One way to tackle this economic challenge was through the creation of localised small business designs to address issues related to healthcare, energy and more.

“We visited Tandale area in Dar es Salaam to conduct a survey on the living environment, which is highly polluted. We wanted to know the causes of the pollution and the effects on the community living in the area,” he says.

After identifying the problems people living in the area face, the team was supposed to come up with ways to solve the problems.

“We found a lot of waste disposed near residential areas. There also were many alclothes entrepreneurs who carelessly disposed of unused clothes. The residents too did not have better ways of disposing waste. This inspired me to recycle the textile products.”

Cecil set out to implement his plan armed with only Sh2million. He bought all the necessary tools he needed to start the project. He used the little money he had saved plus money he borrowed from friends, .

The project kicked off last year when he introduced the first products in the market, bags made from fabrics that would have been thrown away to litter the environment.

“The machine we have has the capacity to produce more than 40 bags per month. We sell the bags at Sh15,000 each. For me and my team; a tailor and my business partner, Brenda, this is a big start and we hope to continue making a difference in saving our environment,” he explains.

To get buyers, Cecil and his partners use social media to advertise and sell the bags. Their customers include fellow students, neighbours and friends. They also supply to shops around Mbezi Temboni area.

While Cecil continues to add value to worn out fabrics, he says getting people to believe in what he does requires extra effort. He has been educating people on how worn out clothes can be given a second life. He also convinces society to donate clothes that are no longer in use.

One thing that makes him enjoy what he does is seeing how clothes that were no longer in use are given a second lease of life by re-designing them into new items.

Explaining how he balances college and business, Cecil says doing so has never been easy. “Doing two things which are of importance to you can be a bit of a challenge. School being my primary goal, all I do is divide my time to fit in the activities that I have to accomplish in a day and this is only possible with commitment and consistency,” he notes.

Cecil not only sees himself doing the business in more days to come to make profit but he also wants it to have an impact on society. He wants to transform lives using the products he manufactures.

If he could send a message to fellow youth in the country, his message would be, “The world needs creative individuals who can develop innovative ideas. With increased unemployment there is a need to develop an entrepreneurial culture among students in order to reduce unemployment challenges,” he says.

Email: ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Houseboy and feelings for his master’s girlfriend

 

By Eugene Mugisha

See, the man works for the girl, he is in fact her houseboy; a casual labourer who cleans the house, mows the lawn, and doubles as an errand boy. And he is crazily in love with the girl, but he cannot tell her. And the girl knows this, even her friend notices this, and tells her about it.

So, Frank - that is the casual labourer’s good name - is contented with admiring his boss - Samantha - from afar. He takes peeks at her as he cleans and moves about, does his work perfectly, is attentive, and goes to great lengths to make sure whenever she needs him he is available.

All this he does with an attentiveness that makes her friends tease her about him. And it was all funny until her boyfriend came over one day and told her to fire the guy.

Her reaction surprised her. She straightforward told him she was doing no such thing! Why fire the poor guy, he was the best she had ever had, and he had done absolutely nothing and she was not firing him. When she finished telling him off and went silent, she was shocked at how strongly she had reacted. And that was not lost on him either.

He gave her a long look and without saying anything else about the matter, he stood up, told her he would pick her up at six and left. Then she realised she had not asked him why he wanted her houseboy fired.

But the answer came presently in form of a phone call from her best friend. Josephine asked Samantha what she had just done to her boyfriend because the guy had called in a highly agitated state of mind.

“About what?”

“About that houseboy of yours”.

“And what about him? What has the guy done?” “Your boyfriend got the idea in his head that the man had romantic ideas for you. And now he has confirmed it. And he thinks you have feelings for the guy as well.”

“What?”

“Yeah. He says you just told him off when he asked about your houseboy. That you were rude to him, with a lot of passion, it was very disturbing.”

“But he wanted me to fire him! And I simply said no. The man has not done anything wrong, why should I fire him?”

“Well, he is hitting on you. That is something. Your boyfriend is very bothered.”

“Oh my goodness!”

“Yeah. So, has he hit on you yet? Let me come over and we talk properly.”

And so Josephine headed over to Samantha’s, but before she got there, Samantha had done her own soul searching. The truth was; she was aware of the casual worker’s inclinations, just like a woman is able to know when a man has interest in her even if he does not say anything and tries to act normal. This was all right, as long as it did not become a problem between the two of them.

It was nothing surprising - or new - for a man to develop feelings for a woman. But what was surprising was when Samantha realised she ‘might be harbouring feelings’ for him too. Might, because she was not certain about how she felt about him. The houseboy was in fact very handsome, much more handsome than her boyfriend. The only thing her boyfriend had over him was education, and obviously money. Everything else, casual labourer scored higher.

By the time Josephine arrived, the issue was no longer “what is my boyfriend talking about?” But rather, “do you think its ok for me to date him? The casual labourer I mean.”

See, the man works for the girl, he is in fact her houseboy; a casual labourer who cleans the house, mows the lawn, and doubles as an errand boy. And he is crazily in love with the girl, but he cannot tell her. And the girl knows this, even her friend notices this, and tells her about it.

So, Frank - that is the casual labourer’s good name - is contented with admiring his boss - Samantha - from afar. He takes peeks at her as he cleans and moves about, does his work perfectly, is attentive, and goes to great lengths to make sure whenever she needs him he is available.

All this he does with an attentiveness that makes her friends tease her about him. And it was all funny until her boyfriend came over one day and told her to fire the guy.

Her reaction surprised her. She straightforward told him she was doing no such thing! Why fire the poor guy, he was the best she had ever had, and he had done absolutely nothing and she was not firing him. When she finished telling him off and went silent, she was shocked at how strongly she had reacted. And that was not lost on him either.

He gave her a long look and without saying anything else about the matter, he stood up, told her he would pick her up at six and left. Then she realised she had not asked him why he wanted her houseboy fired.

But the answer came presently in form of a phone call from her best friend. Josephine asked Samantha what she had just done to her boyfriend because the guy had called in a highly agitated state of mind.

“About what?”

“About that houseboy of yours”.

“And what about him? What has the guy done?” “Your boyfriend got the idea in his head that the man had romantic ideas for you. And now he has confirmed it. And he thinks you have feelings for the guy as well.”

“What?”

“Yeah. He says you just told him off when he asked about your houseboy. That you were rude to him, with a lot of passion, it was very disturbing.”

“But he wanted me to fire him! And I simply said no. The man has not done anything wrong, why should I fire him?”

“Well, he is hitting on you. That is something. Your boyfriend is very bothered.”

“Oh my goodness!”

“Yeah. So, has he hit on you yet? Let me come over and we talk properly.”

And so Josephine headed over to Samantha’s, but before she got there, Samantha had done her own soul searching. The truth was; she was aware of the casual worker’s inclinations, just like a woman is able to know when a man has interest in her even if he does not say anything and tries to act normal. This was all right, as long as it did not become a problem between the two of them.

It was nothing surprising - or new - for a man to develop feelings for a woman. But what was surprising was when Samantha realised she ‘might be harbouring feelings’ for him too. Might, because she was not certain about how she felt about him. The houseboy was in fact very handsome, much more handsome than her boyfriend. The only thing her boyfriend had over him was education, and obviously money. Everything else, casual labourer scored higher.

By the time Josephine arrived, the issue was no longer “what is my boyfriend talking about?” But rather, “do you think its ok for me to date him? The casual labourer I mean.”

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Teaching table manners to your child

 

By Life & Style Reporter

Begin with the idea that mealtimes are pleasant and that good behaviour makes them more fun for everyone.

Talk with your preschooler about the importance of good manners, and encourage him to think of himself as a polite person. Set realistic expectations, then gently reinforce them until they become habit.

What can I teach him at this age?

Your child isn’t ready for the finer points of well-mannered dining, but he’s old enough to start learning and even perform the basics — depending, of course, on whether he’s just turned 2 or is approaching kindergarten age.

Some older preschoolers (those who enjoy learning to act “grown up”) can handle a few more details. Your child might like to know how to put his napkin in his lap and use it to wipe his mouth, to take small bites, and to chew with his mouth closed.

He can learn not to slurp his beverage (by leaving some in the bottom of the glass), to wait until everyone is served before starting to eat, and to comment nicely on the foods he likes (but not on those that are “yucky”).

Mealtime is a great opportunity for him to polish his communication skills, too, so be sure to include him in discussions.

Best way to tackle these lessons

Your preschooler wants to please you, and he wants to be like you, so the best way is to show him how it’s done. Talk pleasantly at the table — no lectures, arguments, or raised voices. Say “please” and “thank you” when you ask for something to be passed. And don’t read the paper, watch television, talk on the phone, or jump up to tend to other things. Show him that good table manners involve showing respect for the other people at the table.

Consistency will help make good manners a habit for your child in the coming years, so when you introduce a behavior, set expectations and use gentle reminders to reinforce them. Simply hand your child his spoon when he picks up his cottage cheese with his fingers, and prompt a “thank you” when you refill his water.

Give your child strokes for behaving well at the table — when he sits nicely and asks politely, for example. Don’t overdo the praise, though, because you don’t want him to feel that he’s the center of attention whenever you sit down to share a meal.

Misbehaving at the table

Some parents find it’s best to ignore the misbehavior — the demanding, the banging, the mess-making. When this tactic works, it’s because the child stops doing whatever gets no response. Other parents find that it’s better to find ways to discourage their child’s problematic behavior.

If your child doesn’t say “please,” then don’t serve that second helping until he does. And some parents simply remove their children from the table when they do things that are unacceptable, explaining that their behavior is not good manners.

If you make it enjoyable for your child to share meals with you — by talking with him and being upbeat — then he’s more likely to want to stay and share the good vibes. Next time (or eventually, in any case), he won’t do things that get him banished.

What are some good rules at this point?

Different families are comfortable with different rules, so you get to decide. One family might be fine with everyone coming to dinner in their bathing suits or jammies, for example, while another may require that everyone gets dressed for dinner. Your family may enforce the “no elbows on the table” rule, while another has no such rule.

So you’ll want to make sure that your child learns to be polite, but there’s some leeway on what that means. As he grows, you can teach your child the basics (to say “please” and “thank you,” to chew with his mouth closed, to be pleasant) and even some nitty gritty (like which utensil to use and where to put his napkin), but don’t get too hung up on formalities. Good manners are really about being considerate of others. If your child keeps that in mind, he’ll do fine.

There are a couple of rules you might not want to enforce at mealtimes, though. One is the old “clean your plate” rule. You want your child to learn to stop eating when his body says it’s full, not when everything in front of him is gone. So offer small portions, refilling as necessary, and respect his decision to stop eating.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

FROM THE CLASSROOM: Life skills 101



Waheeda Samji

Waheeda Samji 

By Waheeda Samji

Its that time of the year again, when most high school seniors (and their over-eager parents!) are anxiously awaiting acceptance letters from their first choice colleges.

Back in my day, before it was all done online, the size of the letter in the mail from the colleges was what sealed the deal.

Happy days and celebrations if it was an A4 size acceptance envelope, but doomed if it was just a letter size rejection…

Engrained in all of us, whether it was our parents brainwashing us, or societal propaganda seeping through at every level, the prospect of making it to one of the ‘US greats’ (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, McGill across the border, or Oxbridge across the pond) is what pushed us to work hard in high school.

We had no idea what we wanted to do once we got there, or what we would do with our degrees, as if getting there was the final destination rather than a means to an end.

In retrospect, I often wonder what it is that we expect our children to learn and do in college. Aside from the engineers, doctors and lawyers who emerge from academia bleary eyed but branded with a profession, the majority of us come out of college with little more than vague memories what we learnt in Econ 101, but with amazingly detailed recollections of good times and life lessons learnt, usually the hard way.

There are really very few of us (if any) who will tell a college story that starts “Remember that day in Calculus, when we learnt…”

So, the big question is, if we can hardly remember any of the content of our college courses, do we expect our children to be any different?

Aren’t we sending them to college mainly to learn the same life lessons we did, namely to learn to live away from home, to manage a bank account, to pay rent, to buy groceries, to learn to live within a budget, and to socialize with some grace? There is the added bonus that they may perhaps retain more information than we did, simply because more information is easily accessible.

Why do we as parents continue to get so hung up about college acceptances, and put so much emphasis on the brand? If the basic retained skills at the end of the day are the same, does it really make a difference which college they go to?

And if there was a university that offered a degree in life lessons, would you want to send your children there? I think I would, although illogically, even now, that decision would be easier if it was called Harvard!

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

WATERCOOLER MOMENTS: Ways to help develop more grit

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University 

We have talked about resilience, staying power, other tactics and strategic competencies that are critical in leadership and we know success is heavily hinged on our abilities to make meaning of our challenges and apply the skills we have mastered to solve them.

Today, I want us to focus on grit. What is grit, one may ask? Grit in really simple terms is that which makes us stay on a difficult task until we have got the outcomes we expect to get.

It is the raw energy that keeps us stuck on the path we have chosen and the outcomes we seek despite the obstacles, the challenges and how skewed the odds are against us!

We mustn’t mistake resilience for grit, resilience is our ability to bounce back when we have faced a challenge, or when we have failed.

Angela Duckworth a professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania spoke passionately bout grit and defined it as the perseverance and passion for long-term goals. In her TED talk on this subject she offers quite some insights. Some of what she shares refers to advantages of cultivating a growth mindset and how it contributes or can contribute to developing more grit.

The video is worth watching for sure. I hereby humbly share nuggets of how to develop more grit as shared by Angela Duckworth:

1. Focus on your language choice

Praising efforts fosters resilience and reminds people of their role in a successful outcome. Too often young children are praised for “being smart” rather than having a good plan. When a child is praised for an ability (e.g., “You are really smart. You are so flexible.”) it teaches a fixed mindset, there are different approaches to teaching resilience in schools. All their lives they have heard how smart they are, so failure feels like they aren’t smart anymore. Use language that encourages perseverance and praises effort.

2. Surround yourself with people who persevere

Whether grit is nature or nurture is a common debate- but like all things, it’s a combination. Duckworth cites the example of height.

Yes, the height of our parents affects our genes (nature) but over generations, we have evolved to be taller as a population (nurture).

Surrounding yourself with people who have both passion and perseverance towards their goals, will help to strengthen or grow the mindset required to increase grit.

3. Adopt flexible thinking patterns

Being less rigid in your thoughts and actions allows resilience and grit to blossom. Simply because flexible people don’t see problems they see opportunities for growth and learning. When every challenge is met with enthusiasm and creative thinking you will see yourself as capable and this confidence breeds resilience.

4. Set tiny goals that align with your purpose

People with a sense of purpose are happier. However, your purpose is very abstract and often difficult to define.

By creating smaller short term goals which align with your bigger purpose, you increase your success rate and your speed of accomplishing goals. This will keep you motivated to keep persevering.

5. Build time into your day for reflection

When you take a time to reflect you bring awareness in a focused way to the things you have accomplished and the path you want to take to continue. Whether your reflection takes the form of a meditation, a journaling session, a gratitude exercise or a walk outside while you think back on your day. When you give yourself time to think back on your day in a non-judgmental way, we can see what you have accomplished and what actions you need to take tomorrow to keep moving forward.

These tips are well thought out and easily applicable. With practise they are traits that we can learn to adopt and can be assimilated into our ways to become part of our mindset. The consistent message in learning to date is the same message of the aeons, our attitude to whatever situation and circumstances has a huge role in determining our outcomes.

It will determine what we invest in the venture, how we do it, how much attention we pay to it, how much grit we put into it, whom we co-opt to help us succeed etc.

And the attitude we adopt to our situations will be heavily influenced by how important to us the outcome we wish to achieve is!

Ms Terry Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

CANDID TALK: Uncle Ruta here to stay; Bisho Ntongo turns ‘ugali queen’



Peter Muthamia

Peter Muthamia 

By Peter Muthamia

If you hail from the shores of Lake Victoria like Bisho Ntongo and I, your diet will almost always comprise fish and bitoke (banana). By the time you are my age, you will be afraid that you might end up with fins and scales a Nile Perch or turn into a banana tree altogether.

However, since Bisho and I became soulmates and settled in this rat and roach-infested Uswazi, other forms of diets such as rice, ugali (maize meal), cow ‘socks’ (hooves or makongoro if you like), chicken intestines, claws and heads and stuff have found their way into our kitchen. This of course is caused by our sickly wallets that hover in the corridors of financial ICU!

Things become elephant when a visitor from the village encamps in your shack like Uncle Ruta. Since he arrived here a couple of weeks ago, things don’t add up well.

He dropped in after his daughter’s wedding and seems not to be in a hurry to leave. He came in with demands that Bisho Ntongo cooks only rice – he hogs away like there is no tomorrow.

I understand that rice happens to be the favourite meal when villagers come to live here and that they can have it for breakfast, lunch and supper. Uncle Ruta is no exception.

To make him leave, Bisho Ntongo has decided to become ugali queen.

We now eat and breath ugali until it is threatening to germinate in our stomachs! She serves it with the small fish that stare at you as you eat them, known as dagaa in Uswazi.

Bisho Ntongo feeds us on porridge for breakfast, ugali for lunch and more ugali in the evening. Only difference is that the lunch time ugali is softer than one in the evening.

I do not hate relatives but it has increasingly become difficult living with them now the cost of living is shooting to the moon and shack house can hardly accommodate the whole tribe.

They sleep on the couch, floor, rooms preserved for the children and literally make me feel like vanishing to Comoro Islands forever. When I wake up in the morning,

I literally walk on human bodies strewn all over the sitting room. I think the ugali trick is working – uncle Ruta has indicated that he will be leaving soon!

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dubai’s Lego Land, a destination for children

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza, Dubai

If you happen to be in the United Arab Emirates with your family for a vacation, a visit to Dubai Park and Resorts located on Sheikh Zayed Road is irresistible. The recreation resort is Middle East’s largest integrated leisure and theme park.

The architectural design of the park is itself amazing. It has over 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions as well as some 15,000 LEGO model structures, which were made from over 60 million LEGO bricks.

The Lego Group is a company in Denmark that is best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys, consisting mostly of interlocking plastic bricks.

According to Abdul Razaq, the Senior Manager Sales-Key Accounts, the Legoland Dubai has six themed lands, which are the Lego City, Adventure, Kingdoms, Imagination, Factory and Miniland, with each being unique in their design, entertainment and playful learning experience too.

At the Lego City, children can see all the city’s landmark buildings like the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates .

At Motion gates, a visitor gets entertainment from three of the largest and most successful motion picture studios in Hollywood, DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures and Lions gate.

At DreamWorks, visitors, especially children, get the opportunity to explore four unique land- based blockbuster classics, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar and Shrek.

If you are a fan of cartoon characters like Dora, this is the right place for you. You can also enjoy puppet shows.

On the other side of the park, children enjoy watching different tastes of Indian movies from Bollywood which they did for almost two hours.

They also enjoy live comedy, music, dance and acrobatics together with Indian food at Indian restaurants.

Children who love watching movies on a big screen, the place is a perfect destination for 4D Cinema –Imagination experience.

According to Abdul Razaq the park has been designed to accommodate school children.

“We give them assignments; it can be something to do with architecture. Then we give them the models for them to build any building structure. There are lots of different competitions for school children happening in the area,” says Abdul Razaq.

Children can also learn how to drive because there is a driving school for children from three years old.

They learn how to drive cars with all instructions.

The most interesting part is that after completing the lessons, they are qualified to get a licence and go to stage two where they drive a car under their parents watch.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

WATERCOOLER MOMENTS: The art of risk taking to spur career growth

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University 

By Terry Ramadhani

My college professor, Smith, ignited an ember in me that opened up the world of risk management and made it entirely a fascinating topic.

Before sitting in his class where he would animatedly guide our learning and teach how institutions incubated their own risks with examples of the ways in which major organisations such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) ended up with huge crisis due to risks they had not properly addressed, the subject of risk was all too boring and a distant topic in my mind.

Having opened that door, I found myself more and more fascinated about risk as a subject matter. We all now know of risk in an institutional perspective given the risk assessments we need to do for our processes, business structures or products, but rarely do we talk about risk in the career development perspective.

The reality is that the career journey is full of many crossroads that require us to make decisions all the time. Bearing in mind that all institutions are political which means that, there are consequences for both omissions and commissions, it becomes well our worth to think a little bit more about how we can move away from risk averseness to developing some risk appetite.

This topic is actually more pertinent for women in leadership roles because as women, we are socialised to be conservative and that is the one trait that is somewhat limiting in developing a risk appetite.

Now, no doubt unchecked risk taking is hugely career limiting as well, but somewhere in the middle we can find ways to engage the risks we come across in our journeys in a healthy manner. How do we do this you ask?

I would humbly like to share some tips that could aid us in this endeavour;

1. Begin by taking small risks. There will be activities that though you feel totally out of ease doing, you probably wish you had the courage to do. For example, volunteering to make a presentation to peers. This will get you on to the path of getting used to stilling your nerves and you can build on that success.

2. Move on to offering yourself to take on a new challenge in the work environment or outside of your work environment. It has to be some activity that makes you uncomfortable; maybe because you feel afraid that you have never done a similar activity before, or that you are not fully prepared.

3. Do you homework; ensure to give yourself the best chances of success by building up core competencies or skills that will be required for that activity.

4. Figure out fallback plans. This has to be considered in the perspective of how much you can afford to lose, much in the same way that at an institutional perspective there would be set loss ratios for example.

These ratios indicate how much money the business can afford losing without running into operational difficulties. You need to think of what you stand to lose and limit your personal loss ratio in the particular decision that you have made so that the risk you take is calculated and should you fail, it is tolerable and you are able to recover with minimal impact.

5. Find ways to spread the risk – in other words hedge the bets you take in your career moves. This can be done by building deliberate coalitions that will support you in the risky decision or activity you choose to embark on to enhance your career development.

A good example would be, to build strong positive and enabling relations with your boss, this way, you have a partner who would sponsor your moves and ensures that you have better success out of the experience even if, you do fail at some of the attempts.

6. Finally, develop a thick skin that allows for a mentality of failure being part of the game as well as allows one to believe in the legendary phoenix rising from the ashes, to become better and stronger.

Ultimately, this is a key differentiator between going into greatness and not. It calls for a keen understanding of the saying, if you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done before.

Just like how a seed must die to spring forth-new life, it is indeed that which scares you the most, which offers the most growth opportunity.

Ms Terry Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University


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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

FROM THE CLASSROOM: Whatever will be, will be



Waheeda Samji

Waheeda Samji 

By Waheeda Samji

When our children are born, we welcome them into our worlds with visions and ideals in our minds of what they should become, and do whatever it takes to try to mold and squeeze them to fit into these images.

Instead of being parents, we assume the roles of being managers, micromanaging children to ensure the job gets done at whatever cost.

Is this because more parents today are professionals and working than when we were growing up? Perhaps, or maybe we are just more inclined to obsess about what we can relate to.

When they are infants, we meticulously schedule their sleeping, waking and feeding hours so as to get them onto a routine that will result in optimal height, weight and developmental outcomes. As they get older, we adjust their schedules to allow for just the right amount of socialising, whether in pre-school or playdates.

Then, in grade school, our timetabling skills really kick in, as we plan weekly ballet, football and skating, bi-weekly piano and violin lessons and daily swim practices and math tuitions, in and amongst the countless social engagements which cant be missed as we struggle to keep up with the Jones’.

In high school, we try to get involved in every aspect of our children’s lives, from which sports they are made to compete in, to who their friends are allowed to be, to what their science fair project is, to how and when they do their homework, to what subjects they choose, the list can go on and on. Its almost as if we don’t make the right micro-choices for them now, they might miss the proverbial boat taking them to the next best thing.

What parenting is really all about

Is this really what parenting is supposed to be about? Should we be this obsessed with our children’s minutiae, wanting to be the ultimate playmakers? Are we putting too much pressure on our children with our constant hovering? Are we maybe doing them a disservice, which takes away their freedom and independence in the long run, and leaves them anxious about whether they can live up to our expectations?

It is easy to forget that our children are not objects through whom we might relive our childhoods with the help of hindsight, however much we might wish it so.

They are like we once were, and it is up to us to be there to advise rather than manage them, to nurture rather than to mold them, and to celebrate their individuality rather than to make them into what they are not.

At the end of it, we cannot control their destiny, in spite of our best intentions. In the timeless words of Doris Day, ‘Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see…’


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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Saving our mother tongue

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Like many other countries on the African continent, Tanzania is a multilingual country with many languages spoken by various ethnic groups. These languages are not only used as a mode of communication but also represent the culture of the given tribes.

Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Three-Volume 17th Edition, which is an annual reference publication that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world, shows that the number of individual languages listed for Tanzania is 127. Of these, 125 are living and 2 are extinct. Of the living languages, 117 are indigenous and 8 are non-indigenous. Furthermore, 2 are institutional, 18 are developing, 58 are vigorous, 39 are in trouble, and 8 are dying.

Through languages the understanding of the history of a country has been made possible. Unfortunately many of these languages are now under threat of dying out day by day and this is because of various factors that affect culture of the language in many ways.

Lifestyle on one hand is said to have brought a number of challenges when it comes to preserving and developing our native languages. Intermarriages between ethnic groups and migration makes it difficult for children to learn the language of either parent.

Cecil Sagawala, a second year Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management student at the University of Dar es Salaam does not speak any of his parents’ languages. His father is a Ngoni from Ruvuma Region and his mother a Nyiramba from Singida.

“I was brought up in Tabora and Kiswahili was the language of communication in my family, given that my parents don’t belong to the same ethnic group. ” says Cecil.

Cecil rarely visited his grandparents and could therefore not learn the language in the village. He wishes he knew how to speak one or both his parents’ languages.

Rose Shuma too. A Form Six student at Tegeta High School, Rose has been struggling to learn her parents’ ethnic languages. At least she can speak a few Chaga and Nyakyusa words.

“My parents didn’t teach my brother and I how to speak their mother tongues. I think if the two of them were from the same tribe maybe that would have been easy,” explains Rose.

Rose’s mother Grace, who was born and raised in Mbeya and married a Chaga from Moshi wishes her children could speak one of the languages. But it was hard.

“Having my children speak Nyakyusa would have been a great thing but I never wanted to be judged as favouring our language over their father’s. I think things would have been different if my husband and I belonged to the same tribe,” explains Grace.

While many youngsters are struggling to speak ethnic languages, some like Medianna Ngosso do so with ease. But they are few compared with those who don’t speak any ethnic language at all, apart from Kiswahili.

Born and raised in Mwanza for seven years, the 23-year-old environmentalist had the opportunity to learn her mother language, Sukuma.

“I can speak Sukuma comfortably thanks to the seven years I spent in Mwanza as a child,” says Medianna.

She believes the fact that both her parents are Sukuma made it possible. Itwas even easier because her parents spoke the language at home, unlike most parents do.

Donatha Mtei’s parents for example are both from Rombo District in Kilimanjaro Region but none of their children speaks Kirombo.

Donatha, 23, and her siblings were raised in Dar es Salaam and their parents taught them Swahili.

“My parents never spoke Kirombo much and that’s why we never got a chance to learn it. I understand a few words though. It’s good to know our native languages,” Donatha thinks it’s now too late for her to learn the language.

Medianna thinks the young generation has no interest in learning to speak their native languages. She says they perceive the languages as being outdated.

“I think parents still have a chance to teach their young children their mother tongues before the most important part of our culture dies,” advises Medianna.

Different researches have highlighted various reasons as to why it is difficult for parents to teach their children their mother tongue. Negative perception that exists within our communities that languages create tribalism is one of the reasons.

Also research shows that education has even forced children in the village to speak Swahili all the time even when they are at home.

Prof Henry Muzale, a researcher of the languages of Tanzania and a former University of Dar es Salaam’s Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics lecturer, says the growth of our native languages have been affected by history. He gives an example of colonialism where many cultures were colonised as the colonialists introduced their languages as a means of communication. He also points an accusing finger at our education system, which does not give a chance to our native languages to be used as a language of instruction in schools.

“It’s unfortunate how we value foreign languages, particularly the English language than Swahili and our own native languages. People believe that English will open many opportunities for them than their own languages,” explains the linguist.

“One thing we are missing out is setting priority within our communities or at the family level on what language we want to use while at home, school or in the street.”

The professor says its high time initiatives are put in place to change people’s mindsets on how they perceive their native languages so they can see the value of the languages. People also need to be educated on the difference between language, tribe and tribalism.

He says the country’s culture policy requires research and documentations to be done in our languages but government hasn’t shown enough commitment in doing research on our native languages because many languages are not published

“There is a lot of knowledge in native languages and the responsible ministry can assist to ensure these languages are well preserved by having a special department that focuses on the matter. We should not leave all the initiatives to be done by individuals only. Parents need to teach their children their native languages and tell them positive stories about their culture,” advises the Professor.

Email: ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ladies, you really must learn these life skills

 

By Peter Muthamia

You are driving (or walking) home in an evening and a beautiful woman besides her Toyota Prado flags you to a halt – or seems like she is whisking away a fly from her face, flailing her hands in a rather lazy manner.

Of course, no self-respecting man would be caught leaving a “stranded” woman on the roadside. After all, are men not wired to help women, or so they think?

The car just stalled

You briskly walk to her, enquire what the problem could be. “The car just stalled” or perhaps “I just got a puncture”. You assess the situation. In a few minutes, you will be working hammer and tongs, replacing the tire, or following up the electrical systems from the battery, to see if the terminals are loosely connected or whether the dashboard lights are on and whether the terminals have deposits on them.

In your car, you have a piece of sandpaper. You use it to clean the terminals and yippee, the car starts. She pays you with a generous smile and zooms off. A local mechanic would have made kill out of her for “repairing” the car. Or rather, she has this notion that she cannot do simple tasks on her own.

Call from your better half

Your woman calls you. She sounds agitated and although you have deadlines to meet, you listen attentively to what she has to say. The way she sounds is as if skies are caving in. You reckon or the World War III has just been announced over the radio. “Honey, we are in the dark.” You ransack your brains for the last time you purchased electricity (LUKU) on your mobile phone. It turns out that it is only a couple of days since you bought it.

You tell her to calm down and check on the metre. She gets back to you confirming that the reading on the metre has power units to take you through the month.

You mull over it for some time and text her. Please check on the main switch. She does not know what it is and gets back to you. The power just tripped but she does not even know where to find the fuse box. You calmly direct her.

No pun intended but you certainly have heard that what a man can do, a woman can do better. Whether true or not, experience tells me that there are things women cannot do unless prodded by circumstances but the first instinct is to pick up the phone for help. It does not have to be that bad. There are a number of life skills that every woman should learn.

Changing the fuse

Your power could trip (automatically switch off) as a result of an overload or short circuiting. You might also be able to perhaps change a bulb (most women call neighbours to do this). Thumb rule is that you should know where the fuse box is located and how to shut off the right switch for each room of your home.

Driving a manual car

This is not only exciting to the woman driving the car but it is also impressive to watch a woman shifting gears. Lately, since the advent of automatic cars, even men don’t fancy manual cars. Someday, you might have to drive it. Better get accustomed to it.

Changing wheels

Most women unscrew bolts clockwise.

Give your daughter a screwdriver or a spanner. Unscrewing or screwing a screw or a bolt will take a century. A three-year boy will look at it, reason it out and accomplish it in seconds. It takes exactly ten minutes for an average man to change a car tire. Comprehension of how mechanical things work takes lesser time in boys than in girls. Try to learn the art of changing wheels.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

WATERCOOLER MOMENTS: Mastering the art of office politics

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University 

It is clear that at all levels of one’s career, there will be office politics to deal with. In fact it is true that as one grows the politics increases and the stakes become higher.

Many people in successful careers view office politics as pervasive and a complete waste of time, this likely comes from the view that getting ahead in the institution they work in is all about delivery of the results desired. The truth is starkly different because decisions are made based on many other factors not just performance. The question to consider then becomes how does one win at office politics?

The majority of advice on this subject mainly boils down to stay out of office politics. Choosing to not play is not going to protect you or help you. So how do we progress to finding ways to play and win?

Too much of how our careers grow and indeed the success we experience is highly dependent on office politics therefore, we must learn to reframe the perspective of office politics in the positive. It does not have to be cast in the negative.

Let’s begin by a good understanding of what office politics is. Office politics according to the Collins Dictionary is the ways that power is shared in an organisation or workplace, and the ways that it is affected by the personal relationships between people who work there.

Simply put, it has to do with the actions and behaviours that come from the competition for power and status in an institution. People like to work with people that they like. We as humans are all generally averse to negative relationships as they drain our energy and suck out our drive much like how a vampire would suck blood.

Having established that we do need to get the hang of office politics let us now focus on steps that one might take to help navigate the dicey world of office politics;

May I humbly suggest the following tactics that in my view may make a difference;

1. Establish what your goals are. What is your mission or purpose? Is it to grow your career? If so, how so? Is it to maintain your status quo? What do you stand for? How do you navigate the plays and yet remain true to yourself?

2. Watch and observe keenly. This will help you understand the lay of the land, in the sense of who is aligned to who, what interests they have etc.

3. Listen actively and carefully. There is a pretty good reason why we have two ears and one mouth, it is the strongest hint from nature that we truly were made to listen more than we spoke. The other beauty of listening more than you speak is that it helps to learn from others and avoid saying the wrong things.

4. Figure out your circle of influence. Who has the power? Who uses their power? How do they use it? How well aligned are you? For what reasons? These questions will help you understand whom you need to influence and how best you can achieve that goal.

5. Build relationships across broad alliances. Avoid aligning yourself with one camp and endeavour to have meaningful relationships with all based on respect and not hypocritical shows based on flattery.

6. Focus on the facts and what needs to be done in every situation. This will help you neutralise negatively and remain as objective as you can whilst not antagonising others.

7. Be aware of your own behaviour and be in control of it. Assume that everything you say will not be held in confidence, therefore be measured about how and what you communicate. Find ways to model your own behaviour based on successful behaviour that you have seen in others.

8. Always seek first to understand. In any situation that you find yourself in or in the middle of, seek to understand what it is about before you seek to be understood. This helps one to get to the bottom of the issue plus it also buys tonnes of good will.

There are no hard and fast rules for sure but the need to take part is as clear as day unless of course we are happy with the consequences as stated by Plato (see image of statue) in days gone, “one of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.

Ms Terry Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University


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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Spice things up in your relationship

 

By Devotha John

When we find our prince charming and eventually get married, we all dream of living happily ever after.

Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.They say marriage is not a bed of roses. All marriages have their ups and downs and only those who are reallycommited to the union survive the difficult times. Those who have been together through thick and thin and managed to survive the storms say it takes effort to make the relationship blissful and long lasting.

Some people shared their stories.

Marriage has not been that rosy for Julius* who resides in Mbezi beach. He says things were good in the early years of their marriage but changed after his wife got a promotion. She is a manager with some financial institution.

“She has since changed. Monica* now seems to be busier than ever, attending endless meetings on weekends and seems to have forgotten her wifely duties. She spends less time with the family generally,” laments Julius.

The 42-year-old father of two who runs an engineering firm in the city has been married for 10 years. He says his marriage which once made people green with envy is now in turmoil.

Julius met Monica when they were both studying in Tabora Region. Then, his wife was an ordinary level secondary school student while he was pursuing advanced secondary school studies in the same region.

“We loved each other so dearly and had good plans for our future. After secondary education, my better half went to pursue an advanced diploma in finance at the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Dar es Salaam. I pursued a degreen in engineering and opened an engineering business after graduation. We later got married and have two children,” he says.

Julius says he fulfills his responsibility both as a father and husband and expects his wife to fulfill hers. Unfortunately, she has delegated hers to their house help.

Trouble in paradise

All the things he would wish done by his wife are done by their house help. Things like washing and ironing his clothes, cooking for him and taking care of his other needs. He says before the promotion, his wife used to do all these despite how busy she would be with office work.

“We don’t plan things together anymore. We no longer do all the things that we used to do together,” says Julius, adding that his wife has changed a great deal. She is no longer the good wife that he married. She informs him about official trips just a day before she travels and even bought her first car without his knowledge.

Matters have been getting worse by the day according to the heart broken husband. From lack of communication to loss of affection, Julius says his wife even denies him his conjugal rights. The two sleep in separate rooms.

Julius has spoken to his wife about his concerns but she does not seem to care. He has gone a step further and involved his wife’s sister but she could not offer any assistance saying he should solve his problems with his wife.

To bring back the intimacy Julius has done all he could think of like taking her out for dinner to know what the problem is but all in vain.

Wilson Prosper, a psychologist from Family Hope Foundation Tanzania, an organisation dealing with marriage counselling, says a number of factors leads to loss of intimacy in marriages.

He says intimacy gets cemented when couples do things together and support each other. He notes that communication is the best thing for couples to do. Prosper says good communication between couples really makes life in marriage enjoyable. Getting in touch at least twice during the day keeps couples closer. He says fulfilling one’s responsibilities in marriage also spices things up.

“Failure to communicate or keep in touch as you used to do before marriage leads to problems and break ups are more likely that way.”

The psychologist says travelling without informing your partner raises eye brows and that it can simply mean one is seeing someone else.

According to the psychologist, if couples don’t communicate, then sex becomes a problem too. He says apart from reproduction, sex brings couples closer and cements the relationship. It also helps reduce stress.

Aisha Saleh’s marriage has too gone south. Her husband of 13 years has changed to a totally different person. A transit truck driver, Aisha’s husband spends months away from home.

“Before we got married he never used stay far from me for too long except when he was on safari. When he was in Dar he never came home late and he always loved my cooking,” she notes.

They used to go out during weekends or enjoy lunch together out of home, go to disco, but all these have stopped. He now comes home in the dead of night without giving explanation.

The two no longer make love and when she raises her concerns, they end up fighting and that creates more ditance between them.

“I’m sure I still look beautiful and I play my part as a wife but this has not stopped him from changing. He spends more time at the bar ignoring the fact that I also need him by my side,” says the mother of one.

She says their marriage got colder after she found out her husband had sired a child out of wedlock.

“When I confronted him, he wanted to know what was wrong with me if he was providing for everything in the family,” she says.

Aisha says she is tired of the unhappy marriage and is now in the process of filing for divorce.

Faustina Mathias, who has been married for 25 has a word of advice to couples going through hard times. Patience and forgivenes. She says without these, no marriage can survive the trials.

Like the psychologist, she says couples should ensure they do what is expected of them and always be there for each other for better for worse. She says couples should understand that communication is key to a better life and that they should always discuss their concerns and expectations and reach an agreement when things seem to be getting out of hand.

*Not their real names.

djohn@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lady who grows money in pipes