Sunday, September 24, 2017

Horrifying health effects of mining

Small-scale miners face numerous health

Small-scale miners face numerous health challenges resulting from long working hours in the pit. 

By Jonathan Musa

Patrick Moses (49) lies under the shade of a tree looking dejected and sickly. His sunken cheeks, his emaciated frail body and his general disposition bespeak of a man in agony – one who has seen it all and lived to tell the story.  His health is failing after a stint in a mining pit.
Much of the wages he had saved went to his medical care, treating a disease that never seems to go away.
He suffers a disease that has completely maimed him, rendering him ineffective from his prior stint as an artisanal miner.
Many others have silently and perhaps died of pneumoconiosis, a disease caused by inhalation of carbon and other mineral dust in mining shafts.
He has been a local miner for many years. He says that artisan mining pays off only for those with licenses from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals but the situation is directly opposite for the casual labourers who actually go down the mines to extract gold on behalf  of the licensed miners.
Besides the possibility of contracting diseases, artisanal miners are prone to so many dangers in the mining shafts but despair is their driving force. Patrick, once strong, capable, energetic man is a now a pale shadow of himself.
“I cannot exactly recall the year I begun working as an artisanal miner but it is quite a long time.  I had very limited knowledge of mining industry but the need to put bread on the table was my driving force,” he says with difficulties.
A father of six, he says despite the grueling work coupled with the danger that lurks inside pits, some licensed miners often consider artisanal miners they engage not worthy – like some chattel that could  be replaced any time.
Helplessly, the frail old man says that he suffers from pneumoconiosis, an occupational lung disease caused by the dust from the mines. It is called black lung disease.
His conditions worsened in 2011 and he was left with no choice but to quit mining to go home – hoping that somehow, he could secure medical attention.
His health condition is so bad that he spends long part of the day lying under the shade and is now in limbo as he cannot perform any of the simplest chores.
 “I actually did not know what disease I had been suffering from since the symptoms were unclear and many. At time, I would have breathing difficulties. Other times, I would be shivering,” he said.
He vehemently blames his misfortunes as having emanated from his poverty, his meager educational background and his foreman whom he referred to as a “killer.”
He disclosed that, during the mining process especially at night, one can sense that grave danger is often lurking somewhere. Sometimes the cap-fitted torches fail to function forcing one to either sit or sleep in the pitch dark until a colleague volunteers to help evacuate him
Mine pits are often stuffy with little or no ventilation meaning that one has to inhale dust leading to respiratory diseases. A miner’s life is always in grave danger especially if walls collapse he said citing the Nyarugusu mining incident where  some miners were trapped.
“While one sleeps, mine walls can come tumbling abruptly with no alert signs burying the miners alive. These things happen but such incidences are rarely spoken about out there,” he says.
He wishes that artisanal miners like those in developed mining sites would  be equipped workers with the right work gear such as gloves, mining hats, lighting and security.
He acknowledges that artisanal miners working under the so-called licensed miners very well know about their eventuality but they are driven into it by the need for survival for themselves and their families.
The telltale signs that he had been infected with the disease became obvious when he started becoming weaker by day and his son noticing that his skin colour become chalky black,  a far cry from his natural skin colour.

Black lung disease
The black lung disease is a respiratory disease contracted when miners inhale dust particles in the course of mining activities. When miners inhale coal dust and carbon.
Patrick suffers the ailment – he has long coughs and his spittle often has blood spots in it a condition that keeps going and coming back.
 “I was admitted to Bugando Hospital in Mwanza for one and a half years, in the late 2013, where I was diagnosed and later discharged. Doctors told me not to skip any drug as this will lead to under dose, but this has never marked any improvement. They promised him that he would feel better,” Patrick.
In his words, condition worsens at night with difficulties in breathing, wheezing, sweating and chest pains.
“I am not the only one in this. Many other miners suffer these complications and do not even know about it until it is too late,” he added.
Patrick’s face is a familiar one in many hospitals in Mara.
“Besides Bugando Hospital , I have visited nearly every hospital seeking for help. Mara regional hospitals are familiar with my face as I have visited almost all of them,” he added.
Patrick has taken to temporary measures of using painkillers to ease the discomfort.

According to Mwanza regional medical officer, RMO, Lenard Subi, Pneumoconiosis can take several years to develop and the severity can be dependent on different factors.
“In general terms if you have worked in an a place where you have been exposed to different types of organic and non-organic dust over a long period you become susceptible to the disease. It is advisable to see your doctor,” he said.
Dr Murthy Venkateswaran, CEO Sanitas hospitals, avers that the result of mining without the right working gear for the artisanal miners is health – mental, physiological and physical.
He further says that long working hours inside the mines, disturb one’s life balance. Migrant workers who live far from work in mines often suffer form depression and other mental disturbances resulting in indulgence in socially unacceptable behaviors.
“Some miners end up in alcoholism, drug abuse and others to ease pressure on their lives”, says Venkateswaran.
The director and the owner of Renatus Nsangano Gold Mining, a company based in says Geita, there are big challenges to artisanal miners right from the lack of working tools and as well little capital. Even licensed miners lack geological information and hence put lives at risks.
“There are variations in the geological structure between one mining site and the other one.  Also, besides lack of protective and working equipment, artisanal miners earn a paltry Sh 5,000y. Some however pay up to Tsh 30,000, amounts that do not commensurate with the risks involved.
An official from State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), sought anonymity said that artisanal miners do not keep records or even save for the future mostly due to illiteracy.
“Mining is arduous and dangerous occupation.  Death rates in this occupation are believed to be well above the average compared to other occupations,” he said.

Recently, Tanzania’s parliament passed two laws allowing the government to force mining and energy companies to renegotiate their contracts, despite appeals from the mining association for more time.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Helping children with clubfoot in Tanzania

Clubfoot results from the abnormal development

Clubfoot results from the abnormal development of muscles, tendons and bones in the foot during pregnancy which makes the foot twist downwards and inwards, making it difficult to walk. Part of the treatment involves wearing steenbeek brace, comprising two leather shoes connected by a steel rod. PHOTO\ SALOME GREGORY 

By Salome Gregory

As I entered at the Orthopaedic Department of the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) room number 21, Athuman Said, a two-month-old baby was on the hospital bed surrounded by three physiotherapists.

Athuman looked calm as the application procedure of Plaster of Paris (POP) was taking place on both of his legs. The process is part of the treatment of the clubfoot condition.

Clubfoot condition is a deformity where the foot is curved inwards and downwards. The deformity can create mobility challenges that can prevent a child from attending school or earning income later in life.

Available information from CCBRT shows approximately 2,200 children are born per year with clubfoot in Tanzania. Almost 50 per cent of them have both feet affected. The ratio is roughly 5:2 male to female respectively.

According to the interviews conducted by Sound Living with the medical experts and parents raising children with clubfoot, early treatment could help these children feet get back to normal.

Athuman’s mother who wa sreluctant to give her real name says she realised strange deformity on Athuman’s foot soon after he was born two months ago in Mtwara. It was not easy for her to notice the condition as her first born did not have such condition.

“This is my second child. I noticed the difference soon after he was born. And the doctors back in Mtwara referred me for further treatment in CCBRT. Upon my arrival here, I was told that my son would be going through different therapies so that his feet get back to shape.

She says he was on his third POP. He stays with POP for a week before it is changed by the physiotherapist. She is hoping for the best as doctors have assured her that it would turn out well since they started at a very early stage.

Dr Luijisyo Mwakalukwa is the Orthopaedic Surgeon at the CCBRT Hospital. He says, medical reasons on the root causes of the condition are still unknown however it is believed that improper position of the infant during pregnancy can result to clubfoot. It also believed that, some foot muscles get paralysed before the child is born and result to clubfoot.

He says, the orthopaedic and reconstructive department was established back in 2000. The department has daily clubfoot treatment. Early treatment on clubfoot condition and commitment towards medical procedures lead to positive results and give the children the opportunity to get back on their feet.

“If a child is put on early treatment and parents of the child are committed to following the right treatment for the first 4 to 5 years after the birth of a child, it can be completely corrected and his or her foot gets back to normal,” says Dr Mwakalukwa.

Adding that if it is not corrected at a tender age, the person could live in severe pain his entire life since the deformed foot will not afford to support the body weight.

Revina Gregory,36, a mother of four children living in Kigoma region says two of her children have the condition. Currently, Revina is at the CCBRT Hospital where her three-year-old son Frank Fredrick is undergoing treatment.

She says, her six-year-old daughter has same condition that resulted to disability of her right feet. Revina tried so many hospitals back in Kigoma but they all failed to treat her daughter Bestida. Until now she is living with disability.

“I never knew about the condition and doctors back in Kalenge village never told me it could be corrected. After trying different hospitals ,I gave up and decided to continue with life. Soon after giving birth to Frank at Maweni Hospital in Kigoma the doctors told me that he had clubfoot condition but never told me if my son could be treated,” she says.

Adding to that she says, soon after Frank was born doctors recognised the clubfoot condition and were advised to buy special shoes to support his son with clubfoot condition.

She spent more than Sh200,000 on treatment and buying special therapeutic shoes which never helped. After several visits in different hospital with no positive results, she again gave up on treatment.

“For the past two years my family has been depending on me since my husband is currently suffering from mental illness. I am the one responsible for educating my children, providing food and treatment for the entire family, I am also responsible for caring for them,” she says.

This year in June, she visited her relatives in Morogoro and was informed that CCBRT is treating such conditions. Upon her arrival at CCBRT, her son was put on treatment immediately.

“It was never easy to manage my emotions when the physiotherapist started the exercise process on my son’s legs. He was in severe pain as he started his treatment at a late stage,” says Revina adding that she couldn’t help but cry.

She says, Frank cried on the first day of his treatment. It also left her in tears knowing that the son was going through a lot of pain. But on the other hand Revina was happy that finally he will finally lead a normal life after the corrections unlike his sister Bestida.

Commenting on late treatment, Dr Mwakalukwa says, there is more work to be done if a child starts treatment after three years. Children who are between eight to fifteen years must undergo surgery for their feet to be corrected.

He says that, it takes up to Sh1,000,000 to cover the entire treatment which is way beyond the economic capacity of some Tanzanians. Some of this is sponsored by CCBRT but parents have to foot some of the bill to support the treatment.

He says that, after the weeks of the POP treatment, children have to start wearing special shoes with steenbeek brace every moment expect when the child is taking a shower. After three months of the first treatment the child will be wearing the special shoes for 12 hours during night.

This will go on until the child turns 5 years where his or her foot will be completely corrected. Not following the right treatment leads to reconstruction of the foot. Parents are advised to remain committed to the entire time until the child completes the treatment.

“There is a need for raising awareness on the clubfoot condition to make sure community knows that the condition can be corrected. Majority doesn’t know and they stay at home with their children without seeking treatment,” he says.

Agnela Komba,27, came from Ruvuma region for her son’s treatment. Her son Bioniphasia Mbugu, 4, has gone through treatment and two minor surgeries at CCBRT. This is her second visit at CCBRT and there is a very big improvement on the foot according to her assessment.

“It is not easy to come for regular checkups as I don’t have money to enable me travel every now and then. Travelling from Ruvuma is expensive. This makes me stay here for more than a month whenever I visit,” she says.

She says, her son’s condition was identified early and was referred to CCBRT. However, it took her more than five months to raise money to support her son’s treatment.

CCBRT has its future of clubfoot treatment priorities in order to continue increasing access to high quality, affordable and effective clubfoot treatment in Tanzania.

The priorities are to train healthcare workers on the ponseti method in Tanzania. This method is used to treat the club foot without surgery. They also plan to establish a network of clubfoot clinics across Tanzania with the same standard of quality and effective treatment.

Ensuring constant supply of foot abduction braces in order to prevent recurrence of clubfoot is also on their agenda. They also want to provide health education to parents and caretakers of children with clubfoot on the importance of treatment compliance plus enable municipal and district hospitals throughout the country to manage the treatment and follow up of clubfoot patients.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tale of courage : My daughter first called me mummy at eight

Nancy Kerubo and her daughter Natasha. PHOTO |

Nancy Kerubo and her daughter Natasha. PHOTO | COURTESY NMG 

By Pauline Kairu

Nancy Kerubo’s daughter, Natasha, called her mummy for the first time at eight years old. Natasha started eating hard foods at five. It was the same age that she stopped using diapers.

“Thankfully, after the many years of trying we were able to potty-train and she can finally go to the toilet by herself,” adds Kerubo, who had Natasha when she was 19.

It’s a journey that no one saw coming. As a toddler, Natasha Wangari had communication difficulties but it wasn’t well understood how things would go until she was much older. With age, she exhibited other odd behaviour such as withdrawal, obsession with sameness or fury at disruptions.

“You can’t tell that there is anything wrong just by looking at her but once you relate with her, you start to realise she is not your typical nine-year old.”

Natasha was one year and three months old when the parents started noticing something was amiss. She hit none of the milestones kids her age had.

Concerned, her parents sought a doctor’s intervention but upon examination, the baby was given a clean bill of health.

The doctor recommended a CT scan to check if the brain was fine. It was, and this threw the first-time parents into even more panic as they were still certain something was terribly wrong. It was not until the head teacher at the first school they enrolled her in Kahawa Wendani,-also concerned on noticing Natasha’s limited social skills and how she just sat alone while other kids played together-suggested that she sees an ENT specialist that they really got to confirm a fear Kerubo had had for some time.

“You know, with autistic children, you might easily assume they are deaf because when you call them they will normally not respond. Plus she was still not talking properly at three and half years. So we thought for sure it was a problem with her hearing,” she recalls.

After assessment, the ENT specialist confirmed Natasha’s hearing was okay.

But nothing could have prepared the mother for the heartbreaking news that came shortly after that.

After having a 30-min play session with Natasha, the doctor sat her down.

“She asked if I knew about autism. I was taken aback, even though by this time, I had started searching the internet for a possible explanation to her developmental delays and one of the results to have come up had been autism. I think I was just in denial.”

Her mother recalled that when she wanted to communicate, Natasha would flap her hands. The behaviour, a repetition of physical movements and soundscommon with autistic people because they can’t speak is called stimming. She would also tip toe.

Autism is a poorly-understood neurological disorder that manifests as an inability of an individual to engage in various social interactions.

Obtaining a diagnosis was a relief because it enabled Kerubo and her husband start studying and making effort to find out as much as she could about the condition, and make adjustments to their lives to accommodate their daughter’s disorder.

“It is not a disease, so it is not something you treat. You just manage it,” she interjects.

She is yet to do speech therapy. Her mother says finding a speech therapist in Kenya has proven to be a tough ordeal and the few in the country are very expensive.

For Natasha, linguistic ability is a skill best learnt from song lyrics.

“Listening to music is her favourite pastime. And having once heard a song she will never forget it, and will even go on the website to search for music trivia on it. Just so she can understand it further,” says Kerubo.

According to her mother, those around her realised that she was intrigued by music and rhythm at a very young age and seemed to have an especially remarkable memory for whatever song she had been listening to.

And so along with therapy her parents have introduced her to the piano. Her parents have also introduced her to the piano in order to nurture her musical skills.

“We are encouraging her to play the piano in line with this love for music. But we are trying other things as well. My internet research has told me that autistic individuals, if supported, do very well,” says Kerubo. Natasha has also taken well to swimming and is excellent at it, according to the mother.

The mother of three says she has always set small goals for her in an attempt to impart new life skills as they go along.

We have learned not to make plans for her, but to accompany her progress instead of mapping her life,” she says. She thinks of her daughter’s situation as, differently abled and doesn’t like the idea of her being called disabled.

She says her siblings, a set of twins now one year and four months, have helped her development milestones.

“I was worried when I gave birth to the twins because I thought she would sit on them or mishandle them. But she has been very good with them. If she finds them doing anything she wouldn’t approve of she will pick them and bring them back to me, The twins have helped her out in terms of developing her social skills, because of the level of interactions,” she says.

“I have taken to speaking openly about Natasha’s condition, anywhere I go with her…at the mall or supermarket even at the salon… to improve understanding of her behaviour, I talk about autism. You can imagine being with her and then she throws herself on the ground. I always make an effort to explain and people are always very understanding. Talking loudly about it has helped me accept it further. I feel this helps create general awareness too, but I didn’t ever try to hide her away from the world.”

But things haven’t always been rosy. There are times when she would just pick her daughter up and retreat to the comfort of their house after sensing rejection from others.

“When she was little, I worried about her little interest in interacting with others, including children of a similar age. I tried to help her by taking her outside to play with her peers, you know to see if the social skills would develop… but then I’d find that every time I took her to a group of kids, the parents came picking their kids one by one as if she wasn’t supposed to be there. It really demoralised me,” she recalls.

Kerubo says her and the husband had to put up with all sorts of negativity including that from close relatives.

“Things were said…ooh this isn’t from our side of the family ooh…I need to go to a certain witchdoctor, but my hubby and I have stood by each other all this time. If I had listened to all the things that were being said I don’t know if I would be where I am.”

“Today as a family we have fully accepted and continue to do what we can to improve Natasha’s life, but because we realise what a struggle it is finding support and institutions that are suitable for kids like her we started Feruzi Charter School in April this year,” she adds.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Intimate experience with the beach and bush in Saadani

Saadani National Park is the only wildlife

Saadani National Park is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania that borders the ocean PHOTO | ELISHA MAYALLAH 

By Elisha Mayallah

It was a weekend my companion and I needed a beach and bush destination getaway. Two others were willing to join us. So with four people, we had a perfect sized group.

Our choice fell on Saadani National Park, as it was highly recommended though a long drive from Arusha, in the north of Tanzania.

Saadani is located in the center of the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani, and Zanzibar.

Saadani National Park is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania and the East African region that borders the sea (the Indian Ocean) so it offers a different safari experience.

The climate is coastal, hot and humid. It offers a unique combination of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a culturally fascinating setting.

And it has about 30 species of larger mammals as well as numerous reptiles and birds. Besides, many species of fish (over 40), green turtles, humpback whales and dolphins patronize the Indian Ocean in the peripherals.

Saadani village once was an important harbor-town and slave trading center in East Africa. Now it has become a popular fishing village with locals whose livelihood depends on fishing.

The humid savannah of Saadani National Park can be divided into three easily distinguishable types: tall grass savanna with herbaceous cover growing up to 2m and scattered palms, short grass grazing land (mostly situated on former sisal plantations and black cotton plains where the clay soil creates particularly harsh conditions.

Tree cover is typically Acacia, which covers a large part of the park. In the tall grass, savannahs are buffalo and herds of hartebeests grazing in the park.

Common water-buck occur all over the park and can be easily recognized by the white ring around their rump. The density of reedbucks is especially high in Saadani National Park, although this medium-sized antelope might be difficult to spot in tall grasses where they tend to lie down for shelter.

Warthogs are omnipresent and even come into Saadani village as most of the villagers are Muslims; hence the warthogs have come to learn that they will not be harmed.

The tallest animal in the world and the national symbol of Tanzania is the giraffe, which are also numerous in Saadani. Their tongues have special callus plates which make them particularly well adapted to browse off spiny acacia trees.

Large herds of white-bearded wildebeest graze in the short grass savannahs.

Lion, the largest of the African carnivores, is also found in Saadani although it is rarely seen. At night you may hear the hyenas and lion call or encounter genet cats, porcupines and civet cats.

Other species which can be sighted within the perimeter of the park are bushbucks, yellow baboons, and vervet monkeys.

From East to West, the open ocean with coral reefs changes to brackish water ecosystem characterized by mangrove forest, salt-pans and bare saline areas.

Further inland, the Wami River is the most important freshwater source beside numerous temporary rivers and dams.

At low tide, the sea retreats up to 100 meters to form a convenient passage for local people and wild animals. These beaches are the only place north of Dar-es-salaam where sea turtles still come to lay their eggs.

The less known coastal forest is characterized by a high biodiversity with many plants occurring only in this area (endemics).

In the evening of our last night we had an extraordinary treat from our lodge: Dinner was set at the nearby beachfront!

The dinner was for all guests stayinf at the lodge which included a family of three and a honeymooning couple from South Africa, a couple from Greece and an ex-pat Canadian couple.

We dined on a wonderful dinner, devoured our desserts and debated the true location of the Saadani in the night sky.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

PARENTING : Make moving easier on children


By Sound Living reporter

Children feel powerless when you tell them you’re moving. “They usually don’t have any input in the decision,” says Lori Collins Burgan, social worker and author of Moving with Kids. “So involve them in as many other decisions as you can.”

Make a family wish list

This will help you reach a consensus on some of the things you all want from your new home: a bigger backyard, a basement playroom, separate rooms for the kids. For Jennifer Thompson’s daughter Raegan, 5, the beach was tops. “My husband’s new job was in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but we chose a house in Emerald Isle -- a 30-minute commute for him -- so we could be near the water,” says Thompson.

House-hunt together

If it’s practical, take your children to see prospective houses with you. If you’re searching online, bookmark your favorites so your kids can take a look.

Let her map out her new room Bring home paint swatches so that your child can choose a color. Then make it an art project: Have her paste snapshots of her bed and furniture onto a sheet of construction paper.

Pack a treasure box

Give your child his own packing box that he can decorate with stickers and use for his favorite things. Take it in the car with you so he can keep it close.

Throw a goodbye party

“It will bring closure to the friendships you’re leaving behind,” Burgan says. Keep it simple: a basic chips-and-dips affair or a potluck.

Tour your old haunts

Visit special neighborhood spots one last time before you move. “My sons Alex, 8, and Andrew, 6, had become really close to their babysitters,” says Jeanhee Hoffman, from Honolulu. “So before we moved we arranged for the sitters to spend time with the boys and take them to say goodbye to their favorite places.”

Make a memory book

Your child can fill it with photos of your home and her friends, along with their e-mail addresses.

Say goodbye to your home

During a family meal ask each kid to recall a favorite memory in the old house.

Helping your child adjust to sleeping in her new room

Your child is bound to be anxious the first few nights. Unpacking her box of special belongings as soon as she arrives will make her feel more at home. Carole Conner, from Knoxville, Tennessee, found this worked well with her boys, Daniel, 7, and Seth, 5. “As soon as they pulled out their favorite toys the new house wasn’t quite as foreign to them,” she said. While you unpack, point out what’s better about her new room: “It’s so much bigger; those shelves are perfect for your books.” It will also make her feel more comfortable if she knows the lay of the land. Walk her to your bedroom and the bathroom and point out the light switches in case she gets up at night (use night-lights along the route to the bathroom). And even on that hectic first day, try to stick to her routine and bedtime. If she cries or comes out to find you, remind her that this is her bedroom now and she needs to sleep here.

Moving-Day survival kit

Pack these items in your car

Drinks and snacks in a cooler

Mealtime must-haves like paper towels, disposable plates, utensils.

Bathroom basics including toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste.

Change of clothes and a plastic bag for laundry. Important documents such as medical records, passports, lease agreement.

Handy extras like a flashlight, tool kit, matches, scissors, pencils, trash bags.

Preparing them for new school

Switching schools can be scary. Be positive about it and she’ll take her cues from you.

Do help her break the ice. Get a class list from the school office and arrange some playdates with your child’s new classmates.

Don’t wait until the school year starts to get informed. Inquire about the curriculum, lunch program, and after-school activities so you can help your child get excited about going to school.

Do take a tour of the building. If you move during summer vacation, your child’s new school may have a “meet the teacher” session before the school year starts.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Keeping children safe from strangers


By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Bizarre stories have become the order of the day lately, and children have not been left out, just as the country celebrated the return of the three Lucky Vincent pupils from the US, tragedy struck in Arusha again.

It was shocking indeed to learn that our children had been abducted in Arusha with their captors demanding ransom before they can set them free. The abduction left many parents and children puzzled as no one could tell what had happened to the children and why they had been targeted.

The days turned into weeks as the hunt for the children intensified. The worst was yet to come, two of the children didnt make it home, their captors had chosen to murder them.

Two of the children Bakari Selemani and Ayoub Fred were rescued but the other two, Maurine David and Ikram Salim were not lucky enough as they were killed and their bodies were recovered from an abandoned pit latrine at Mji Mpya area in Olkerian suburbs in Arusha on September 5. Police at one point it had arrested the suspected abductor, but then later they said he had been shot dead as he attempted to escape.

This was not the only incident of child abduction also happened this week at Morogoro where by the kidnaper abducted ayoung girl and the body found dead in Kibaha on Thursday.

These two incidents teach us that it is a wacky world where people target children for all the bad reasons.

And as educators and parents say all has to be done to make sure children get home safe every day.

These are some of the terrible stories that tell why children should always try as much as possible to stay away from strangers as much as possible. When out and about, you need to always take care and be aware of strangers. With the help of your friends, you can together be stranger safe.

Parents also are advised to communicate with their children and talk to them regularly about the dangers and what they can do to stay safe. You should always check first with you or a trusted adult before they go anywhere, accept anything, or get into a car with anyone. This applies to older children as well.

Also you should not go out alone and should always take a friend with you when you go places or play outside. It’s okay to say no if someone tries to touch you or treats you in a way that makes you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused, and to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.

Apart from that you need to know that you can tell r a trusted adult if you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. You need to know that there will always be someone to help you, and you have the right to be safe.

It is okey to yell, scream, and say no to an adult if you feel uncomfortable or scared. Children are always advised to listen to adults and not to be disruptive, but there are times they should disobey and be loud. For example if something unusual happen screaming, and running away.

Other typical suggestions include the following: You should walk and play in groups and you should know who is stranger for you. You should be told to refuse sweets, ice cream from strangers.

However you should know clearly which strangers are safe for you for example policemen, firemen, etc. Also you should avoid strangers who ask for your help (adults shouldn’t need help from children for much of anything)

Additional information from the Internet


Sunday, September 10, 2017

How to bounce back after retrenchment

Experts say there is still life after

Experts say there is still life after retrenchment if you focus on doing things you are passionate about in that period 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

For most employees, retrenchment is not something they expect to experience frequently. It is like termination of employment in workplaces where job security is not guaranteed, so for most employees, the fear of losing their job becomes very high.

In simple term, retrenchment is done with the view of reducing expenditure. It may be caused by various factors, including economic, technical and structural reasons, which in their combination or as a single factor may affect the operational requirement of the employer.

Elizabeth Munisi, a Human Resource practitioner based in Dar es Salam, said an employer may retrench employee when the business is not doing well and the employers may dismiss workers based on their operational requirements as defined in Section 38 of the 2004 Employment and Labour Relations Act.

“Operational requirements” means needs based on the economic, technological, structural or similar needs of an employer.

Human Resources Manager of Swissport Tanzania Jumbe Onjero says retrenchment becomes inevitable when the business cannot generate profits to the extent that it cannot sustain paying its entire employee as well as running of the business.

When the nature of business changes or a transfer of part of the business or acquisition of entire business occurs, the retrenchment may be effected.

“When the employer has introduced new technology that renders a section of human resource redundancy and when certain staff members cannot perform their work plus when there is an optional requirement,then retrenchment is inevitable,” he noted.

In putting things into perspective, Mercy-Grace Kisinza, an Advocate based in Arusha, says apart from liquidation or failure to sustain its operational cost, it may happen that an employer may want to reduce expenditure and decide to merge financial with human resources department to form one department. “In this case some of the employees have to be retrenched,” she said.

“On the other hand, due to technological advancement, there are some works that have to be done by machines and in so doing, some people lose their jobs,” she explained.

Whatever the reasons are for retrenchment, the exercise should be fairly handled in accordance with the law. Consultation between the employer, the human resources office, legal department and trade unions should be effected in the course of retrenchment.

“The employer must be very fair to the affected employee by disclosing all relevant information on the intended retrenchment,” said Elizabeth.

“The reasons for the intended retrenchment, the method of selection of the employee to be retrenched, all employees benefits including accrued leave, notice payments, and Severance pay in respect of the retrenchment etc, number /percentage of employee to be retrenched, the time when, or the period during which, the dismissals are likely to take effect and possibility of the future re-employment should all be discussed,” she noted.

Mr Onjero says it is very important that the employer openly communicates to employees the intention to retrench the workforce.

“Clear reasons as to why the exercise will be taken, timeframe, the selection process, the affected staff, the compensation package and the likes should be made clear to avoid unfair retrenchment exercise,” he said, adding that employer should consult with trade union if there is a branch at the workplace or consult with labour office for guidance.

On the other hand, he says, the retrenchment process depends also on the agreement between the employer and employees. “The process can take between three months and six months depending on the pace in reaching an agreement between the employer and employees as well as the number of employees to be retrenched,” he explained.

Life after retrenchment

With the combination of economic, technical and structural reasons, tens of thousands of employees have found themselves being affected by retrenchment.

Economic downturn and technological advancement have rendered thousands of employees jobless. It is an exercise which causes feelings of worry and uncertainty to employee. For employers, retrenchment is the last resort for the survival of business.

It is not a secret that for most employees who have been entirely dependent on month salary to run their lives, the sense of being out of job brings a lot of mixed feelings. How they will run their lives without salary is the biggest question.

But for employees who will take it in a positive way, retrenchment opens a new wide range of self-employment opportunities, the beginning of a new life that will make former employees think outside the box on how they would run their lives without monthly salary.

Revina Mugyabuso received the news of her retrenchment with shock. She was among the workers who attended a meeting when her employer announced the decision to retrench some of the staff but she was not aware that she is among the employees lined-up for the same.

“I knew that, they were going to retrench some staff but I didn’t know that I am one of them. After the meeting, a human resources officer called me and broke the news. I was so shocked,” she recalled.

“Within a minute, I was asking myself hundreds of unanswered questions. What do I do now? Where should I go from here? Where do I begin?” Revina recalled.

“It was like I received sad news of passing away of someone I know,” she added. Few months before she got the retrenchment notice, her husband was also retrenched.

“I was the one who was comforting my husband, telling him he shouldn’t worry much as long as I still had a job, things would be fine,” she noted.

“But I couldn’t believe that it was my turn, the bad thing was that I had a company loan, that meant all my savings would be deducted so as to repay the loan. I felt empty, I cried, my children cried too, the whole family was distracted. We all depended on monthly salary, I didn’t have even some capital to start business,” noted the 38-year-old woman.

She said after retrenchment she faced a myriad of challenges. Due to her dependence on monthly salary, she failed to pay her children’s school fees on time. “I am now looking forward to receiving my social security contributions claims so that I can start a small business. To tell you the truth, life has not been the same anymore,” she said.

According to her, she feels that the retrenchment was unfairly conducted as she was only informed barely few days before the exercise was carried out.

“I wish they would have informed us in advance, at least three months before,” she added.

Jerome Garimoshi shares Revina’s sentiments. He said that life has never been the same again as things have changed a lot.

“I was sleepless for a couple of months. I lost weight over three kilogrammes due to stress. Friends, relatives and colleagues urged me to keep praying and seek another job in the city. They urged me to imbibe the Swahili saying: ‘Tutabanana hapa hapa’—loosely translated as we should never relent from staying in the city….because all good opportunities emanate from there” he noted.

After the incident Jerome decided to go to his rural home in Singida where he spent a one-month holiday to calm down.

“I felt so bad being retrenched because I was happy and believed I was doing a good job. It reduced my self-esteem and was very overwhelming. I had a sense of worry about financial insecurity, uncertainty and depression were a common place, and thank goodness I secured another job after hassling in the city for over 6 solid months,” he added.

Jerome said his retrenchment orchestrated by malice and personal vendetta with his boss.

He says he was not paid all his benefits.

“It was not easy to fathom. I thought about my family, children who were using health insurance cards, relatives and my reputation. I did not get any answer,” he noted.

For Celestine Moshi, a father of five, the day he received his retrenchment letter is still vivid. At the age of 39, he said his boss told him he does not want to work with old people like him. At first he thought he was joking but he realised that he was serious when he received the retrenchment letter.

“I can never forget that day, it was painful. Being retrenched at 39 was like a compulsory retirement. I lost passion for my job and panic engulfed me. I was furious and became angry. Thanks be to God, my wife stood by me, praying and comforting me. Now I have accepted and moved on with my life,” noted Celestine.

On the other hand, that redundancy was the opportunity for Celestine. He ventured into farming and he is doing a wonderful work. “I had a five-acre land before being retrenched. I decided to venture into farming, poultry, livestock and aquaculture.

In two years down the line, I really regret the time I had lost during my formal employment. I should have ventured into self-employment,” he said, encouraging others who have been retrenched to think outside the box. Indeed, retrenchment has never been easy for both employers and retrenched employees as it may affect them in different ways.

A lawyer who prefer anonymity said that upon retrenchment, an employee is entitled to some reliefs which are enshrined under the Tanzania’s Employment and Labour Relations Act and it’s subsidiary regulations. These include severance payment, pay in lieue of notice, pay for any unpaid work done up to retrenchment, unutilised leave, and repatriation allowance.

All these benefits do not apply automatically. There are conditions, calculations and other requirements laid down for each benefit to apply. There can also be in addition to that, a retrenchment package payment based on agreement negotiated and reached by employers, employees, and/or workers union. But this agreement package is not mandatory. Another entitlement for a retrenched employee is the certificate of service.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tree house in baobab tree at Diamonds on Manda Island

Diamonds on Manda Island. PHOTO| RUPI MANGAT

Diamonds on Manda Island. PHOTO| RUPI MANGAT 

By Rupi Mangat

The ocean tide flows in from the deep sea in the late afternoon, putting aside any thought of visiting a little-known fort at the tip of the channel between the isles of Lamu and Manda – unless we want to battle the ocean current.

Instead, we decide to chill at the rustic abode called Diamonds on Manda Island, swinging bed under the shade of a rustic makuti and mkeka shack. Altogether, it is not actually a shack, but more a hand-constructed ensuite room of palm leaves and twine.

“This place is a labour of love,” says Rachel Fesler.

It’s a little hard to find when you are sailing in from Shela. It’s name make it sound like a flashy resort. I’m a little lost looking for Diamonds until a boat-man points to a simple entrance at the beach. Walking in, its simplicity is seductive.

“I come from a family of artists,” says Rachel, leading us past the seafront bar and dining area to the large shed full of novels, easy beds and and yoga mats placed on woven mkeka. The plan is to spend the night in their gigantic baobab tree. It’s my first time atop one. The only issue is the thunderous rain the previous night that’s wrecked the thatched roof. It rarely rains on the isle but when it does, it makes up for lost time.

Manda had its time in history, between the 9th and 10th century, as a wealthy trading centre with the Persian Gulf. Dhows sailed away full of elephant ivory, mangrove poles and more. Even the Chinese were trading here.

With the wealth came the fine living. Swahili merchants built lavish houses which, according to historian-archaeologist Neville Chittick, were built of square brick and stone and cemented with lime – unique to Kenya’s coastal lands and islands. The coral rag bricks are thought to have been ballast brought on dhow from Oman because they measure a uniform 18 cm.

But sometime during the 19th century, the island was abandoned because it ran out of fresh water.

“There was no permanent settlement on the island,” says Abu Bakar, a Bajuni fisher who farms here. “We settled on Shella but our farms were here.”

It’s a different story now. Multi-million dollar villas line the beachfront, interspersed with a few groves of acacia and bush. In the eventide, the fishers make to their abode. A lone fisher by the edge of the ocean puts down his woven basket with the day’s catch and quietly kneels, facing Mecca and oblivious to the world, saying his prayers as the sunk sinks over the dunes.

“People who come to stay here want to stay in a hut to experience the beach life,” continues Fesler as we feast on fresh crab and pizza.

“Why Diamonds?” I ask.

“Look out there,” she replies. It’s a night sky full of sparkling stars, like diamonds in the sky.

The night water glows with the phosphorescence of miniscule planktons that absorb sunlight during the day.

The night passes and at the crack of dawn we walk the beach to the abandoned fort on the coral rag. It’s tiny, with a rusty cannon pointing at the channel and another lying inside. There’s nothing to tell about built it and when; no story to reveal the battles fought.

The tide is out and the stroll back hot until we pause at a natural pool by a coral rock that’s perfect to call a spa.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Making child’s first day at school easier


By Sound Living Reporter

Preparing your child for school before his first day can greatly reduce any separation anxiety your child may feel when you leave. Here are some ways to familiarize your child with his new environment:

Introduce your child ahead of time to common school activities, such as drawing pictures or storytelling.

Visit your child’s classroom a few times before school starts to familiarize her with the space.

Have your child meet his teacher.

Don’t minimize the importance of easing your fears as well as your child’s. If you feel guilty or worried about leaving her at school, your child will probably sense that. The more calm and assured you are, the more confident your child will be.

To prepare yourself for the upcoming tear-filled good-bye:

Ask your child’s teacher what her procedure is when children are crying for their parents. Make sure a school staff member is ready to help your child with the transfer from your care to the classroom.

Find out how the school structures its daily schedule. Many preschools begin with a daily ritual, such as “circle time” (when teachers and children talk about what they did the day before, and that day’s activities), to ease the move from home to school.

Tips for Tear-Free Goodbyes

Saying goodbye on that first day can be the hardest moment for parents and children. Here are five tips on how to ease the separation anxiety.

Reintroduce the teacher to your child. Allow them to form an initial relationship. Make it clear that you trust the teacher and are at ease with her watching your child.

Bring a friend from home. Ask the teacher whether your child can bring along a stuffed animal to keep in her cubby in case she needs comforting. It shouldn’t be her favorite one, though, because there’s no guarantee it will come home in one piece. Other favorite choices include a family picture, a special doll, or a favorite blanket.

When it’s time to go, make sure to say good-bye to your child. Never sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying good-bye to your child risks her trust in you.

Once you say good-bye, leave promptly. A long farewell scene might only serve to reinforce a child’s sense that preschool is a bad place.

Express your ease with leaving. Some parents wave from outside the classroom window or make a funny good-bye face.

Don’t linger. The longer you stay, the harder it is. Let your child know that you’ll be there to pick her up, and say “See you later!” once she’s gotten involved in an activity.

Create your own ritual. One of the moms in Shanon Powers’s class, in Kansas City, Missouri, says goodbye to her son the same way every day: She kisses him on the lips and gives him a butterfly kiss (her eyelashes on his cheek), and then they rub noses and hug. When the embrace is over, he knows it’s time for her to go to work.

Consider a reward system. Linda Roos, of Scottsdale, Arizona, gave her kindergartner his own calendar. If he went to class without putting up a fuss, she put a smiley face on the calendar (otherwise, he got a sad face). On Friday, if he had five smiley faces, she made him a treasure hunt as a treat.

Learn the other kids’ names. When you can call your child’s classmates by name (“Look, Matthew, there is a space at the train table with Eli and Katie”), it makes school seem much more familiar and safe.

Security Alert: Bringing Comfort Objects from Home

Being away from home for the first time isn’t easy, so send your child off with a discreet little memento to help him handle it better.

Leave the lovey at home: Get a T-shirt made with a picture of her Woofie or Teddy at

Lunch-box love notes are a great way to let your child know you’re thinking of her while she’s at school.

Little kid toys: He might not be allowed to take his favorite car into the classroom, but he can keep it safely in his backpack.

Blanket statement: Cut a tiny piece off her blankie that she can keep in her pocket and touch when she needs a pick-me-up.

Time will tell: His own digital watch will make him feel like a big boy, and he can look at it every so often to remind himself that you’ll be picking him up soon!



Sunday, September 10, 2017

She quit her nursing career to venture into entreprenuership

Diana Gasper wants her dream of becoming an

Diana Gasper wants her dream of becoming an exemplary women come true. PHOTO | DEVOTHA JOHN 

By Devotha John

Wise men once said human beings are born to struggle. This is because life is filled with many challenges.

Diana Gasper’s story mirrors this quite well as she left her job as a nurse assistant to venture into travel business and set up an organisation to train women on entrepreneurship plus establishing a local cooking club to bring women together.

“To be frank, about 80 per cent of what I thought I would do in a bid to succeed didn’t work out,” she says.

Diana who had worked as an assistant nurse at Kiwanja Mpaka Hospital in Mbeya Region says she had to change her career along the way, adding that her parents wanted her in the medical field.

“My parents never gave me time to choose career of my dream so I respect their decision,” says Diana.

Diana said she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

“After two years I told my mother that I have to go back to school to pursue my dream. My mother could not easily buy the idea due to financial constraints, thanks to my brother and my husband who assisted in paying my fees at Travel and Consultant College in Dar-es Salaam.”

After a two-year-course, I graduated and was employed by Precision Air Company Ltd.

Diana hints that it was due to her love and dedication for the new job and customers appreciated her service. “I had a basic motivation to perform well because that was my dream job,” she says.

Diana says she was always eager to get feedback from the customers she served and that is why she is now the proud director of Kinyago Travel and Stuka Tanzania.

The former deals with bookings and ticketing issues while the latter is used to motivate women and teach them about business.

Her travel firm

Diana says after gaining enough experience with Precision Air she went ahead and established her company, Kinyago Travel and Stuka Tanzania in 2014. She says her company connects customers to easily get air ticket booking within and outside Tanzania.

“We deal with those who plan to spend honeymoon in Zanzibar, breeze and join popular water sport in Zanzibar to enjoy the wildlife,” says Diana adding….

“Kinyago is dedicated to offer its clients the best experience. We provide services of high standards, this common line about Tanzanians’ slackness while performing duties is not true. ”


Diana says she faced cash woes in her bid to make the company stands on its own feet.

“I was forced to use my only old and outdated laptop which I was depending on while pursuing my undergraduate studies due to financial constraints,” she notes adding…

“A part from that was pregnant. Being a mother to be while struggling to make the new company gain reputation was not easy,” she explains.

Diana says it was also hard to get a reliable website through which she could easily market her business, adding that had it not been assistance she got from her friends things could have gotten out of hand.

She hints that the government cost-cutting measures are to blame for her dwindling business.

“Now we face economics challenge. In the past government officials were reliable customers. It is a pity that there are a few airline connections these days,” says Diana.

Women mentorship

Diana says she had a notion that women had opportunities to perform the best notwithstanding some traditional stumbling blocks ahead.

She says mothers spend all their money paying fees for their children who they believe would assist to develop their family enterprises.

She believes that women have all the formula to succeed in life but in case they don’t pull other women, they fail. She says through Stuka, she motivates and provides entrepreneurship education to women.

“I also used to organize seminars lead by motivation speakers like Mr Erick Shigongo , Mr Emmanuale Masanja and Mr chriss Mauki. Through this, every women feels valued and encouraged to work hard,” says Daina adding that they plan to move across the country to ensure a good number of women engage in entrepreneurship programmes.

Her vision

Diana says she want her dream of becoming an exemplary woman come true. She established Wives Cooking Club together with Miriam Mauki, a famous motivational speaker.

“Aim of wives cooking club is to ensure women return to their love for cooking at home, a woman should at least cook two or three times per week at home,” she says.

She says we need to do this for our families when we still have strength.

She calls on all women to work hard focusing on positive things and raising their families well.

Juliana who was among winners of the Malkia wa Nguvu Competition this year on Business Innovation category says she actually did not apply for the award but her services were recognized by members of the society. Something which made a local media company to pay more attention to what she does.

Being one of the Malkia wa Nguvu winners motivated her to find more opportunities to develop her ventures.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Raising a child who is God fearing

Patmo Junior School Standard Seven pupils on

Patmo Junior School Standard Seven pupils on their graduation day before they sat for Primary Leaving Exams this week. Photo | File 

By Young Citizen

It is every parent’s wish to raise a child who is respectful and God fearing.

When children are God-fearing it is not only a source of pride and joy to the families where these children come from but the entire community as well.

Much as it is believed to be a parent’s responsibility; it is also a teacher’s job to make sure children are raised in a proper way.

Last week at Patmo Junior School ninth graduation it became one of the leading issues that dominated the celebrations. On this day several parents turned out to wish the Standard Seven pupils all the best as they prepared for their national exams

The ceremony was graced by Halima Mussa on behalf of Ilala Zone Manager Finca Microfinance Bank who witnessed a parade that was organized in her honor by the scouts.

The 18 grandaunts were dressed black suits that made them look very elegant and they seemed ready for what is ahead of them.

Their head teacher Charles Adam called upon the children to behave the way the school has taught them during the Seven years they had been at Patmo.

This he said would help them become better and responsible citizens in future when they grow up.

“I want to advise these children to make sure that they love and tolerate one another, have mercy, wisdom, and respect to everyone,” he said.

“Whenever you are guilty of something, make sure you forgive yourself and forgive other people too because we all learn through mistakes. Apart from that don’t waste your time doing unnecessary things. Work hard if you want to succeed,” he noted

According to their class teacher Denis Jonathan though their school is not a religious school, they teach them about God because knowing God will make them respect elders and the authorities in this modern culture.

“We give them education and raise them spiritually because we believe teaching children about God leads to a lifelong bond with Him and when they grow up they do the same,”

The school administration awarded school certificate and other presents to the best pupils as Deborah Silas Danda emerged the overall winner.

When asked the secret behind success she said that their teachers always ask them to put God first before doing anything else and to study hard.

Mary Kamene, is a parent advised children to accept responsibilities, choose thcarefully what they say when speaking to other people, to be positive because no one is perfect, be good listener, to discuss but don’t argue, turn their promise into commitment and be grateful in life.

At the party, pupils from different classes performed and danced to different songs but the traditional dance from grade 3, 4 and 5 was in a class of its own.

The pupils dance Rwandese traditional dance as the audience rose to their feet cheering the graceful dance.

Apart from the dances and other forms of entertainment there were also other activities such as the science exhibition, drama, and a fashion show.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Coping after the demolitions along Morogoro road

Zainab Mkuye holds her six-year-old son,

Zainab Mkuye holds her six-year-old son, Emmanuel who is disabled. Her family has been living outside ever since their house was demolished. (Right)a woman sits on a mattress at a place where her house once stood. PHOTOI SALOME GREGORY. 

By Salome Gregory

When I visited Kimara and Kibamba along Morogorogo road recently, I did not dare ask anyone I greeted how they were (how are you?) since their faces said it all. They were not fine.

They were not okay. While some were still collecting whatever remains they could get hold of from their demolished houses, others just sat on the rubble, their faces sad, as they contemplated on what the future held.

More than 300 houses and business premises were recently demolished in Kimara and Kibamba. In Kiluvya about 200 houses built within 120 metres from Morogoro road are also earmarked for demolition.

In Kimara and Kibamba, more than 700 houses and business premises are also awaiting demolition by the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) to pave the way for the construction of a six-lane highway. The exercise will not spare health facilities or petrol stations built along the road.

Since the demolitions started over a fortnight ago, a lot has changed in the lives of the former residents who have been rendered homeless. They have been left out in the cold without a place to call home. Some have found temporary shelter in their neighbours’ houses, some have temporarily moved in with their relatives elsewhere while others have remained where their houses used to stand, having no place to go to.

News too hard to bear

Desperation, despair, fatigue were written all over their faces as they d their ordeal to Sound Living. Those who had businesses in the area no longer have means to earn income but just laze around counting their losses.

Juma Kassimu’s four-room house is among the 200 houses in Kiluvya that await demolition any time. The 77-year-old father of six suffered a stroke the moment he received notice from Tanroads a month ago informing him of the upcoming demolition.

The resident of Kiluvya Gogoni in Kisarawe District has since been bed ridden. He spends his time in bed and has to be assisted in everything.

His wife, Farida Mikashikashi says her husband could not bear the sad news that required the family to vacate the house in which they had lived for over 20 years.

“Soon after he was handed the demolition notice, he kept complaining on how we would survive. He fell the following day and suffered a stroke. He has since never left his bed and his condition has been deteriorating by the day,” says Farida.

I met this family on Monday and was informed by Kassimu’s wife on Thursday that her husband had been admitted at Muhimbili hospital on Tuesday.

Kassimu is worried about where his family will live when their house is finally demolished. What can he do at his age? What hurts him most is the fact that he used his retirement benefits to build the house. He was an employee of the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited.

“Seeing how things changed in a second hurts Kassimu a lot. His situation brings so much sadness in the family as we too are no longer happy as we used to be. We spend a lot of time in silence to let him rest,” says Farida.

She says her family depends on house rent from their tenants and that although their children have jobs, they are not in a position to support their parents financially.

Aboubakary Yusuph, also a resident of Gogoni in Kiluvya is among those whose homes will be demolished. He says soon after they received the demolition notice from Tanroads, the residents formed a group to protest the exercise of which he is the secretary.

“I am surprised how things are being done by the government. We took our complaints to court and the high court’s land division ordered Tanroads to stop the demolition of the more than 700 houses along Morogoro Road,” says Yusuph.

The roads agency ignored the order and demolished the houses. Aboubakary says in the 1970’s his parents were ordered to move from rural Kiluvya to live closer to town centres where it would be easier to get social services.

“It was during socialism where it was not easy to get social services in the villages due to geographical isettings. The exercise created a lot of tension as our parents were not ready to start a new life elsewhere. I wonder how the same government has now decided to demolish people’s houses after they were made to move closer to town centres,” Yuspuh laments. This he says undermines the voiceless.

Zainab Mkuye, 35, a resident of Kimara Bakery and her family members have been living outside since their house was demolished. Zainab is a mother of one child who is both physically and mentally disabled and needs constant care.

She recalls the demolition day as one of the

worst days of her life. Though they had been given a month’s notice by Tanroads, they just relaxed thinking the demolition would take long to be effected.

Her family had lived in the five-rooms house for the past 35 years and used to earn some cash through rent from their tenants. Today all their properties are outside where the family of five lives, with a piece of canvas serving as their roof. All her family members squeeze themselves on the couches at night and depend on a fire for warmth.

“My son Emmanuel, 6, is disabled as you can see. There is nothing he can do on his own. I do everything for him and yet there is no place for us to lay our heads,” says Zainab.

Living out in the cold

Since she cannot go out to work due to the health complications of her son, Zainab who used to sell charcoal at home has nothing to do to earn money at the moment.

She thanks God that their toilet was not demolished and it has really been of great help as it is where they change their clothes.

Zainab calls upon the government to consider the fact that some of those affected by the demolitions have lived in the area for decades and therefore should support them in any way.

“I am not against development but I think it would be fair if the government could at least give us plots to build new houses after all this. Making people who voted those in power live a desperate life like this is not fair,” says Zaynab.

Yusuph Mwinyimvua, 42, a Kimara Suka resident is sad because the demolition left him jobless. He was employed at a milling machine where he had worked for the past ten years.

Because of the demolition, he is currently making between Sh8,000 and Sh12,000 a day for arranging the remains of the bricks and windows as his boss prepares to build another office.

“It is not easy for me to feed my family of five with the little money I am making. I have no choice but to accept the little I am getting as I wait for the new office to be built,” says Mwinyimvua.

Tabu Seleman, 67, is a widow and a resident of Kimara Suka whose family too spends the night in the cold. She lives with her three grandchildren and two of her children. Her two houses were demolished.

Since she cannot manage to pay people to arrange bricks for her some of her belongings are still buried under the rubble. In her area, thieves come at night to steal the remaining properties of the demolition victims.

“Since my house was demolished, it has been easy for thieves to do their job as all we have left is out in the open. There has not been a single day that we slept without chasing thieves who have been trying to steal from us. I just wonder for how long we are going to live like this,” Tabu wonders.

Tabu says she had a hard time after receiving Tanroads notice and after her house was marked with an X. Two out of her five tenants wanted her to refund them their rent money so they could find another pace to live after learning the house would be demolished.

She had already spent the money and did not know what to do. They kept asking for their money until when Tanroads came to demolish her houses. The tenants just left without a word.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

PARENTING : Signs of a strong-willed child


By Sound Living Reporter

If you’ve ever caught yourself exasperatedly wondering, “Why won’t they just do as they’re told?!” multiple times in the same day — or even hour — chances are good that you have a strong-willed child on your hands.

Plenty of parents can relate to dealing with a marathon argument or two, but there’s a difference between enduring a sporadic, passionate outburst and the day-in, day-out struggles with a spirited child.

And while you may catch yourself feeling envious of the quiet kid at the restaurant or the one who isn’t a picky eater, your child’s hard-headed tendencies can actually be a blessing in disguise.

Here’s a checklist of 10 signs that you have a strong-willed kid and why it can actually be a good thing.

They want to learn things for themselves.

If you tell your kid to do something, good luck. But if they’re allowed to be the one to choose, they love to cooperate and things go much smoother than if they weren’t given any autonomy. As exhausting is this can be, it actually builds trust between you and your child. They begin to trust what you say without blindly obliging and they also trust that you’ll be there to help them figure it out along the way.

They have an opinion about even the smallest things.

From the material of their shirt to the texture of their vegetables, these kids have an opinion about it all. And while sometimes you wish that you could experience an argument-free haircut with your kid, picky children lead to decisive grown-ups. Research shows that these children earn more as adults and are more likely to be entrepreneurs.

They go against the grain.

They know what they what, when they want it, and how they want it, and it has nothing to do with what anyone else is doing. Following to the beat of their own drummer doesn’t make these children difficult; it makes them brave. They are spirited and not afraid to follow their passionate pursuits.

They have a hard time switching gears.

While it might come across as they just don’t like doing what they’re told, that’s not entirely the case. When strong-willed kids are doing something, they are giving it their all. They’re focused, driven, and passionate about whatever they’re working on, which makes it harder to just stop a project halfway through.

They exhaust you in arguments.

Sometimes you wish that you had their energy (how is it possible to keep arguing for that long?!), but other times you wish they would just drop it and move on. The answer “because I said so” just isn’t going to fly with these kids and their continued questioning is for a reason.

They’re not just giving you attitude, they’re giving you the facts — or at least what they believe them to be. Meet their determination with admiration and watch how much they bloom.

They don’t necessarily care what you think.

You think they should wear clothes that match? That’s cool. You think they should join the same activities as the kids in the neighborhood? That’s a nice thought.

Strong-willed children are going to do it their way (no matter what your opinion is), and you should let them. These children are less likely to be swayed by peer pressure because they are self-motivated and only do things because they believe in them, not just for the sake of doing them.

They have a firm sense of right and wrong.

Because these children only want to do things that they agree with, they’re not afraid to put up a fight for the things they believe in. Nothing can be accomplished without spunk and it’s this conviction that leads to successful adults.

They have a firm sense of right and wrong.

Because these children only want to do things that they agree with, they’re not afraid to put up a fight for the things they believe in. Nothing can be accomplished without spunk and it’s this conviction that leads to successful adults.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Life after prison: one man’s story

Mr Halfan Kassa at his work station at Igombe

Mr Halfan Kassa at his work station at Igombe in Ilemela District.PHOTOI JONATHAN MUSA 

By Jonathan Musa

After spending three years behind bars, Halfan Kassa learnt one big lesson. That life has to go on after prison.

“I have learnt that going to jail does not necessarily have to limit one from achieving their goals in life,” the Mwanza resident says.

The 51-year-old father of four was sent to prison after he and his business partners were found guilty of engaging in illegal business. They used to buy stolen cows in Tabora Region for sale.

Born in Kasulu District in Kigoma Region, Halfan who was sentenced to a three-year jail term in 1996 now lives a responsible and happy life having put the dark past behind him.

Now a famous mechanic at the Igombe fish market along the shore of Lake Victoria in Mwanza, Halfan left Kigoma for Mwanza in search of greener pastures in 1992 after he completed primary education in 1991.

“I had quickly made friends in order to get a place to live. My new friends used to buy cows at livestock auction markets for sale,” he explains.

As they say, birds of a feather flock together. It took no time before Halfan joined his friends in the business. Within five years, the young man from Kigoma had become a guru in livestock business. From one cow that he started with, it reached a point where he could purchase up to 15 heads of cattle at a go.

“The business was well paying,” he recalls.

The father of four will never forget December 23, 1996, the day he was arrested at his home in Buzuruga. He remembers the incident as if it just happened yesterday. It was around eight o’clock on that fateful Friday evening when a group of policemen invaded his house.

“I was ordered to march forward and get into the vehicle. The rest I was told would be explained at the police station. I did not bother much as I believed I had done nothing wrong. At the station, I was directed to the lockup corridor, where I was surprised to find my business partners.”

Halfan and colleagues were charged with involvement in illegal business of buying and selling stolen cows. This was a big blow to Halfan since he had no one to inform his family in Kigoma of his arrest. He had no relatives in Mwanza and none of his neighbours knew he had been arrested.

In the hands of the police

Halfan had been married eight months earlier and per his tradition, his wife Martha, had returned to Kigoma to stay with her in-laws for sometime after which she was to rejoin her husband.

With evidence of the stolen cows that his business associates had been caught with, there was no way Halfan could defend himself. Butimba maximum prison in Mwanza became his home for three years.

All the cows he had bought to sell during the festive season as well as those of his colleagues were auctioned.

“To me it looked like the end of the world. The fact that my family was not aware made matters even worse. This meant there would be no one to help me out of the mess.”

Since there was nothing he could do to change the situation, Halfan had no choice but to begin a new life in jail. After spending sometime in prison, the home affairs minister that time gave a directive for prisoners to be given vocational training to help them in future.

“I chose mechanics,” says Halfan grateful he did because the skills he acquired have not only given him respect in society but are also his source of income.

When he was released fromjail in 1999, he immediately sent for his wife in Kigoma. She came with a two-year-old baby girl that she had had with another man. Halfan accepted the child, Maria who is now 19. His other children are Josephina 15, Doreen 13 and Patrick 11. He loves all the children equally.

He did not leave his wife for having a child with another man because he believes she had no choice given that she did not his whereabouts all this while. After all she was still very young. He says Martha was a good woman and that she meant a lot to him. Neither did Halfan ask for the details about the child. It was no big deal.

Initially, the first born in a family of 11 worked at different garages as a part timer and since he was a good mechanic, word spread quickly about him. He would be consulted by different garage owners and eventually became famous in the area.

In 2003, he landed a job at a firm that was owned by Indians called Yamaha Company Limited. The salary was not good enough to cater for his needs but it was better than what he used to earn before.

He worked for the company for eight years until one day in 2011 when he got a call from a stranger who wanted to have a talk with him.

Since he had never met this person and had no idea what he wanted to see him about, Halfan’s mind quickly went back to prison life. Was it a trap to send him back to prison? He wondered but quickly brushed off the idea.

Famous Mr T

He decided to meet the man, Mr Musoli, who wanted Halfan to work for him. HThe man owned a speed boat company, Musoli Company and offered Halfan three times the salary he earned at Yamaha. Halfan signed the contract and the rest was history. Here he was in charge of speedboat engine repairs. The firm has more than 200 speedboats plying different destinations in Mwanza.

The resident of Igombe in Ilemela District, Halfan is happy he earns a better salary with which he is able to take care of his family’s needs. His children are in school and his wife runs a small business to supplement her husband’s income.

At Igombe shore wher Halfan works, he is famously known as Mr Touch. Young men who are the majority speedboat operators simply call him Mr T. To them, he repairs any fault in speedboats at just a touch.

Halfan enjoys his work and the fact that his employer trusts him a lot.

“I have been working here for five years and have since bought land in Buswelu in Ilemela District. My plan is to build a house for rent, I have laid a foundation already,” he shares.

Mr T also has it on the cards to go to college in future to further his knowledge. His dream is to establish his own company thereafter so as to become his own boss and provide jobs to jobless young people.

Although he regrets the three years he lost prison, he quickly says maybe it was God’s plan.

“You never know. Perhaps I could be living a better life today had it not been the years spent in jail. However, there is no need to cry over spilt milk. since it happened I had to let it go and focus ahead,” he acknowledges.

Does he face challenges in his work? Ofcourse he does. He cites challenges like having to spend too much time looking for spares as Mwanza city lacks some basic spare parts for the engines he deals with.

“A boat sometimes has to wait for more than two weeks because of lack of a certain spare part. This makes some people to stay idle because most of them depend on fishing activities,” he explains.

The mechanic has a word for young mechanics. They should always work hard and strive to be at the top of the game.

As a parent, he wishes government would increase the number of vocational training institutes in the country, which he believes will help reduce the number of unemployed youth loitering in the streets.

He calls upon donors to support the sector so it can absorb the number of school leavers who join the labour market every year. He says the sector contributes greatly to the country’s social economic development and should be therefore developed.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Four things you must do while in Amsterdam

Canal cruises are a great experience in

Canal cruises are a great experience in Amsterdam and popular among tourists. PHOTO | FILE 

By Abigail Arunga

If, like me, you were in Amsterdam for just a day and you are trying to cover as much as is possible in this iconic city, you might have to make a few choices quickly and surrender others as well.

Amsterdam is well known for a number of things – beautiful, historic buildings, the coffee shops, the Red Light District, of course, and its urban, intercontinental feel, not to mention the canals that criss-cross this city. So what did I choose? Well...I’m about to tell you.

Canal cruise

This was pretty much at the top of the list. I don’t think you can go to Amsterdam and not see a canal, so you may as well go on a cruise. These guided tours take you over the canals and under the famous walkways, bridges and leaning houses (yes, they actually do lean) that sit by the side of the waterways. It’s the quickest way to get a historical injection that only takes about an hour and a half of your day. A ticket, combined with a visit to the A’DAM lookout, will set you back about 25 euros (about 3000 KES) from a regular tours agent.

The A’dam lookout

This is one of the highest points in Amsterdam, and they have a swing at the top that looks out over a gorgeous skyline, especially in clear weather. You’ve already seen Amsterdam from below, you might as well see it from above, no? The restaurants on the floor below the swing are usually booked well in advance, so you might want to stop at the restaurant in the hotel next door, The Butcher, for a burger. Before, not after, the swing!

The coffee shop

The coffee shop culture is a fascinating one, if you care to indulge in the drugs that are a bit more legal to partake of in this country. I’m talking about marijuana, of course, which Amsterdam is noted for the world over – the reputation of its pot shops precede it.

It’s a simple procedure, precisely like going into a kiosk and choosing a blunt of your choice. Because Kenya is so dramatic about this little herb, I don’t think the novelty will wear off for you.

It sure didn’t for me!


Still feeling risqué? Take a stroll through the Red Light District. It’s not too long a walk, but it is almost always crowded – again, this is one of the areas in Amsterdam whose reputation precedes it and is thus always packed – regardless of the fact that there are other districts all over the Netherlands with districts like these.

If you go into a strip club, be sure to carry a bit of change – entry starts at about 10 euros (about 1200 KES), and drinks are compulsory. Did I mention that a beer can be 12 (about 1500 KES) euros? It isn’t a cheap venture!

There is some beautiful architecture in Amsterdam. You can’t take pictures of the RLD (called so because the windows where the commercial sex workers are in are lined with red neon lights) but the buildings kind of make up for it.

Madame Tussaud’s Museum and a castle in the city centre where street artists perform (including nude ones) are just a few examples of the historic buildings all over the city. And’re going to see a lot of bicycles as well.

What fascinated me most about Amsterdam is that it’s a city that doesn’t take itself or its vices too seriously. It lets you be the person you’ve always wanted to be, or try something you’ve always wanted to try without making too big a deal of it – after all, everyone is there for the same thing.

You can avoid the main street a little bit and venture through the less crowded parts of the city if you don’t want to be too annoyed by your fellow tourists – the architecture is worth it.

Amsterdam, is worth it.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

The girls who enjoy their village life

Eight-year old Rehema Ndalama fetching water at

Eight-year old Rehema Ndalama fetching water at one of the wells in her village. This is part of her daily routine. Photo | Esther Kibakaya 

By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz

It’s Sunday afternoon, Rehema Ndalama, a Standard Two pupil living in Urughu Village in Singida is busy fetching water from a nearby well.

She is not alone, her friends from the neighbourhood are there as well as they laugh and play in the process.

This has been Rehema’s routine ever since she started standard school in a village primary school close to her home.

Despite her young age she has been actively helping out with house chores every time she gets back home from school.

Her friends too whom are between 7 and 8 years old, also help out with many activities at their home which include babysitting their brothers and sisters, fetching water and keeping the house cleaning.

Because they always go barefoot, the soles of their feet are very rough, hardened with the long journeys that they have to walk.

Like many children of her age in this village, poverty hasn’t been an obstacle for them to enjoy the little things that life has to offer.

“We don’t have electricity or running water in our village but we are always happy, I love going to the well with my friends because we get a time to play and it is always fun while there,” says the eight-year-old Rehema.

Rehema wants to become a teacher when she grows up because she sees it as the only way through which she can bring change to her community.

“I admire my teachers for their strength and bravery and I wish to be just like them in the future all I have to do is to work hard in school,” she says.

Just like Rehema, Margret Musa 9, understands the importance of friends, family and education despite the difficulties that they face in the village. “Life in the village is fun, we always have activities to do from home to school,”

Margaret adds: From early in the morning until night when we go to sleep I am always looking forward to come to school every day despite the fact that I am sometimes forced to sit on the dusty floor in a crowded class.

Mary lives near the school and therefore it takes her almost 10 minutes to get to school every morning.

“I‘ll be happy if they will make our school a happy place where we come to learn. Because of shortage of water we are always forced to come to school with water to use in the toilet and watering the school garden,” says Magreth.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

When street children go untreated during illness

The complex nature of the life of street

The complex nature of the life of street children makes it a bit complicated to support them as they cannot be easily accessed. PHOTOI FILE. 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax

I am in Magomeni Mapipa close to the intersection of Kawawa and Morogoro roads watching beggars as they go about their business. Yes, begging.

I watch as they hit the road every time vehicles stop at this junction. Like newspaper vendors, beggars know the best spots and time to get moving. At road junctions where vehicles from all sides stop in turns depending on traffic lights. As usual, they move from one car to another, their hands stretched out as they ask for alms from motorists.

When the cars start moving, they go back to their stations by the side of the road. I spot a group of six children aged between ten and 12. They too are begging. Again, when the traffic comes to a stand still, the chidren rush to the cars, stretch out their little hands and move on to the next car, do the same, and off to the next. The bare-footed young ones whose clothes are untidy look tired. But they continue begging, expecting something from the merciful motorists.

At one point, a thin boy looses his balance and falls down injuring his toe. I can see he is bleeding, surprisingly, he shows no sign of pain. He gathers himself up, stands on one leg and limps to the other side of the road. He wonders around and finds a dirty piece of cloth with which he covers the wound.

Ben, whose lips are dry probably as a sign of dehydration lives with his grandmother in Magomeni Mapipa. The 12-year-old has never been to school. Neither does he know his parents. He has never seen them.

“My grandmother sends me here to beg,” a seemingly tired and terrified Ben tells me. He provides brief answers to my questions and doesn’t seem to be comfortable with me. He quickly leaves without a word to a more comfortable place.

As I watch him limping away, I wonder whether Ben will get the medical attention he needs for his wound. Sound Living’s month-long survey can establish that it’s unlikely for child beggars to seek medical advice when they fall sick.

Healthcare access

“Street children face unimaginable problems,” says Dr Marko Hingi, Executive Director of the Tanzania Rural Health Movement (THRM), a community organisation based in the country’s second largest city, Mwanza.

Dr Hingi says that street children engage in fights, get accidents and experience serious physical injuries and other health problems. “However, most of them don’t have access to healthcare.”

The doctor is co-author of a recent study titled ‘Multidrug-resistant Achromobacter animicus causing wound infection in street children in Mwanza city,’ which reports that more than 90 per cent of male street children in the city risk suffering injuries, tripping being the most common.

However, the study, which was published in the journal of Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease this year, reports that only 10 per cent of the children with wounds reported to receive Tetanus Toxoid (TT) vaccination.

“Introducing mobile street clinics to help these children will be very potential,” suggests Dr Hingi. “These clinics will help improve healthcare accessibility among street children in their surroundings.”

Barriers to health care access

Dr Hingi’s suggestion on mobile street clinics seems convincing bearing the factors that prevent many street children from seeking medical advice. A study titled ‘The Health Profile of Street Children in Africa: A Literature Review,’ cites high hospitalisation and consultation costs in healthcare facilities as major barriers for street children who earn little or nothing on the streets.

Published in the Journal of Public Health in Africa in 2015, the study has it that stigmatisation by health care providers, minority status and not being sure of the quality of care they will receive in healthcare centres due to their disadvantaged status keep street children away from healthcare.

“Thus enforcing state policies and laws about street children in all African countries is very important,” recommends the study. However, bearing the complexity surrounding the issue of street children, the recommendation is hard to implement, according to stakeholders.

Mr Steven Gumbo, senior social welfare officer at the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children says there are currently are no policies that would enable street children to access healthcare.

“It is a good thing to have such frameworks in place but how can we prevent irresponsible parents from taking advantage of the policies?” queries Mr Gumbo. “This is a problem affecting not only the street children but also those in detention.”

According to him, a child that is liable to support, particularly in this context, is the one who does not have family support and thus is vulnerable. “Identifying such a child is hard as there are some irresponsible parents who intentionally send their children to the streets to beg.”

Our recent survey found a number of children on the streets who are used by their parents to beg. Unfortunately the same parents deny them of the right to access healthcare. Strolling along Bibi Titi road towards the national library, I bump into two children, a boy and a girl. It’s just a few metres from Maktaba Square, where Bibi Titi and Ali Hassan Mwinyi roads intersect.

One of the children, Maryam, has a big scar on the left side of her forehead. “I got injured a few months ago when I fell.”

She did not go to hospital for treatment. She does not remember the last time she went to hospital. Maryam tells me that every time she falls sick, her mother buys her drugs and sometimes gives her traditional herbs.

Juma, the other child has a big scar on his left arm. An iron sheet cut him. Like Maryam, the 12-year-old neither went to hospital nor accessed proper medication. He did not have money to pay the hospital expenses.

While I spoke to Maryam and Juma, two girls joined us. Roza and Semeni are both ten. They too have never been to hospital. Semeni is Maryam’s twin sister. “Yes, we fall sick,” replies Roza. “Our mother buys us medicine.”

After chatting with the children for almost nine minutes, a woman, in her 30s, wearing a pair of kanga, a mobile phone hanging from her neck, interrupted our conversation. She spoke to the children in vernacular and from the look of things, she was angry at them. She later turned to me and asked me what I was doing with the children.

“Why have you gathered them here and stopped them from getting money?” she asks angrily. I told her that I was just asking them how they get treatment during illness. She told me she usually takes them to hospital, after which one of the twins, Semeni, quickly asked her mother, “when mother?”

Semeni and Maryam’s mother, Maua, is also Juma and Roza’s aunt. I later learnt that neither of the children has been to school. They come from Dodoma, the country’s capital and live in Kigamboni, almost six kilometres South-East of Dar es Salaam city centre.

Gumbo, the ministry of health official says it’s because of parents like Maua that the issue of street children is complicated. Gumbo says as far as healthcare is concerned, the ministry has placed social welfare officers in every district hospital to enable children who do not have anyone to look after them access service.

“Once a street child gets to these hospitals, they aree questioned to establish if they really don’t have parents or guardians,” says Mr Gumbo adding, “Once that is established, the social welfare officer writes to the hospital administration to recommend that the child be given free service.”

Unfortunately, street children do not go to these hospitals. In 2010, the Research on Poverty alleviation (REPOA) carried out a study titled ‘Coping Strategies Used by Street Children in the Event of Illness’ which found out that more than 60 per cent of street boys and 53 per cent of girls did not go to hospital.

The study cites reasons such as costly services and unfriendly hospital staff. The children therefore prefer buying medicine from local shops and pharmacies because it’s cheap and saves time, thereby allowing them to focus on income-earning activities.

Sophia Juma, a street girl at Morocco, Kinondoni attests to this by saying: “Watchmen in the hospitals prevent us from entering the compound thinking we go there to beg,” says the 14-year old girl.

However, more than seven years since the release of the REPOA study, most of the recommendations made including reducing the cost of medication and making hospitals friendly to street children remain unimplemented.

“I think the complex nature of the life of street children makes it a bit complicated to support them as they cannot be easily accessed,” says Ms Zena Amury, one of the study authors.

Ms Amury, who is also an education advisor with the Aga Khan Foundation, is of the opinion that there is a need to find out the reasons that lead children to the streets and start working on them.

“The government and other stakeholders should focus on solving problems that lead to the increase of street children. The government should also provide health care that is friendly and non-discriminatory to these children.”



Sunday, August 27, 2017

The amazing wildlife of Katavi National Park

Hippos grunting and snorting in the pool. One

Hippos grunting and snorting in the pool. One of the attractions in Katavi national park is a hippo population of over 500. PHOTOI ELISHA MAYALLAH. 

By Elisha Mayallah

My companion and I recently flew to Katavi National Park from Arusha. Located deep in the southwest of Tanzania, Katavi is an untamed and extremely wild area.

The park is defined by two major landscapes: the valley floor and the two escarpments that border it. The valley floor is mostly flat woodland savannah, dissected by rivers, floodplains, and shallow seasonal lakes. The escarpments vary from sheer cliffs to inselbergs and mountainous areas.

Arriving by a light aircraft part of the flight was defined by long stretches of sparsely inhabited forests and without any sighting of human habitation below.

After the steep Mlele escarpment on the park’s eastern boundary came into view.

We descended in a gentle arc, down to the tiny airstrip, my eyes drawn compulsively to the great floodplains spreading north and south.

We passed over the Katasunga plains before landing, and almost immediately entered the park. By the end of the journey, we were exhausted. But waking up the next day in the most incredible setting made the entire journey seem well worth the effort.

Our safari camp was on the edge of one of the park’s three main marshy plains of the Katisunga.

The scenery here is spectacular, both in scope and drama. The Katuma River flows into palm fringed Chada Lake, an amphitheater framed by the Mlele escarpment.

Wedge-shaped Kipapa hill stands sentinel over herds of animals that roam the park in a never-ending search for grazing.

And far away horizons, bruised purple at dusk, reminded us that we’re tucked under the western arm of the Great Rift Valley.

Katavi, the third largest park in Tanzania has some of Africa’s largest wildlife concentrations in its remote wilderness.

Spread out before us on our first game drive were burnished grasslands covered with thousands of zebra, topi, buffalo, and giraffe. Lions were on the fringes, watching and waiting, shaded by mahogany trees.

Elephants drunk from the river banks, roan, and sable antelope hid in the dense thickets, while vultures cleaned and dried their wings in small streams.

This was our long day in Katavi and we had an immense wilderness all to ourselves.

Katavi is an amazing destination because of its isolation and wilderness, and the unbelievable numbers of wildlife, especially buffaloes and hippos.

Our guide told us that from June to October buffalo herds of up to 3,000 graze on the plains. And our visit coincided with their timing.

“To see the most wildlife, visitors are advised to come in August, at the height of the dry season”, our guide said.

This is the time when we were rewarded with enormous sightings of buffalo herds that roamed the dusty floodplains.

The end of the rains, our guide said, is another magical time, although completely different, with the floodplains tinged soft green, everything fresh and new and animals roaming on the horizon.

On our second game drive, the next day game viewing was of a very high standard. Being a dry season, the animals congregated around the drying waterhole.

In the dry season, particularly between August and November, the Katuma River provides the only source of water in the area, and this draws animals in great numbers.

“As the river shrinks in the heat, the wildlife are forced into an uncomfortable proximity, offering a good chance of seeing many different species at the same time”, our guide said.

As the afternoon fell low we set off for the hippo pool. Over 600 hippo were in dense formation and some were engaged in territorial battles, providing a perfect place for a sundowner.

They spent the whole day in the pool. At night, according to our guide, they ease themselves out of the pool and set off on land, traveling great distances to eat vast amounts of grass to keep them going the following day.

Later, we watched exciting large crocodiles in the mud, marabou storks picked over hippo carcasses and spotted hyena loped off into the distance.

On our last night as we sat in the open fire after-dinner, the savannah spread out in the far horizon before us and the magic of Katavi was so real.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Lucky Vincent survivors now back to school

Doreen Mshana (middle) on her first day in

Doreen Mshana (middle) on her first day in school Photo | File 

By Young Citizen

One week after they returned from the US where they had gone for treatment, three survivors of the horror accident that claimed over 30 lives have reported back to school.

It was an equally emotional return for Doreen, Sadia and Wilson as they got to meet their fellow pupils whom they last saw over three months ago.

Life finally seems to be getting to normal as they joined their friends in class for the daily routine; something that many didn’t believe would have been possible in May.

Doreen Mshana who still needed crutches when she arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport last weekend was seen being aided by classmates to get into the classroom which she once shared with her departed friends.

The other two Sadia and Wilson were all on their feets and did not require much help to get on with what was going on.

Speaking to this paper the head of Lucky Vincent School, Ephraim Jackson said the three students had show great desire to get back to school and that they have put in place a programme to make sure they catch up.

“As I speak to you they are in class with fellow pupils doing a test but we want to make sure that we assign teachers who will help them catch up,” said the school head.

Whereas in May it was tears of pain and grief, this week they were tears of joy and hope to see the children back on their feet again joining fellow pupils.

Fellow pupils who didn’t get the opportunity to meet them at the airport when they returned were eager to meet them at school, encouraging them on. The three had left Tanzania on stretchers aboard The Samaritan Purse with hope of them making it almost gone and had to undergo major surgeries while in Charlote USA.

The three children, Sadia Ismail, Doreen Elibariki and Wilson Tarimo were the only survivors of an accident that killed 29 other pupils from the same school in Karatu on May 6. Speaking briefly on their arrival all the three children were thankful to both the government of Tanzania and the US and to all those contributed to their treatment and eventual recovery including well wishers for their prayers.

The children killed in the accident, which occurred early morning in Karatu district, were Standard Seven pupils aged 12 to 13, on their way to visit another school for exam trials.

It is still not clear whether the pupils will go on to sit for the final exams given that they were out of school for such a long time.

Whether they make it academically or not, Lucky Vincent School is once again a place full of smiles though it is one that is likely to come with some sad memories too.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Making the world a better place through power of classical music

Although there were very few music teachers

Although there were very few music teachers when Raymond was growing, he went ahead and turned his passion into a profession. PHOTOI COURTESY 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

He would like the world to remember him as a person, who in his life, always wished for peace around the world. Someone who could not, in his mind, be able to differentiate men and women by colour but who strived to bring them together through art.

This is a dream of a person who premiered, for the first time in the country’s history, Beethoven Symphony no.9 “Choral in Swahili” in May 2016, Hekima Albin Raymond. It was the first time such work was performed in the world in Swahili.

The award-winning artist describes the moment as the “highest moment in my life.”

Raymond who won the award of Social Change through the Arts by the US Department of State was born in 1980 in Moshi, Tanzania. Who could imagine the parents with no musical background could bring up a child whose love to music would mean all there is in his life?

Raymond has turned out to be an inspiration to all who love what he calls ‘classical music’ on the land known as ‘the desert of classical music.’

The first born in a family of five attended a chain of schools as his parents moved from region to region across the country. His late father used to work for the then Income Tax Department now Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

Raymond’s father, like many talented people’s parents, was not so convinced with the career that his son was up to. He wanted his son to establish a career that would offer him security and advised him to take up a degree course.

The 37-year-old young man heeded his father’s advice and enrolled for a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management degree programme at Sokoine University of Agriculture where he graduated in 2006.

Upon completion of his higher studies, Raymond worked with the country’s National Environment Management Council (NEMC) for about eight years before he retired. “I felt too old already,” says Raymond with a chuckle.

Raymond recalls very clearly his first exposure to his musical journey. “It was when I paid a visit to a friend’s home and found his friend’s keyboard there. That first touch of the keyboard led to a constant cry to my father to purchase one for me – The Kawai.”

Inspired by great maestros

He started playing the keyboard with his father, playing songs he heard on cassette without a teacher. He experimented folk songs like “The Mushrooms” and other bands around East Africa on the keyboard.

“My father would later come to say ‘I was his first teacher even though he knew better than me,” says Raymond. On Sundays, his father would make him play music for him until he-the father- fell asleep on the couch.

Raymond is doing classical music, mostly symphonic orchestra music. He draws his inspiration from the great maestros. These have inspired him with their best presentation of music.

“People like Hebert Von Karajan who conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, and many others,” says Raymond of the people he admires.

His music career grew to a professional discipline though he lacked instructive music teaching background. This, he says, was due to the fact that there were very few teachers when he was growing up.

“So I was mostly working on a few instructions from one or two teachers who had an idea about music and this made me spend a great deal of time self-teaching.”

Raymond says it was very difficult to find a highly trained and professional musician by the time he was ‘coming up’ and that even now that ‘he has grown’ there’s little or no difference at all.

“Most talented children are unable to express their passion through music. I have made lots of discoveries from voice teaching, to piano playing to conducting. I am currently on a mission to exchange knowledge and expertise with top musicians around the world,” he says.

From the time he started doing his ‘classical music,’ Raymond has been able to form the first symphony orchestra in Tanzania by uniting the country’s musicians and others from countries like Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. They are currently about 70 to 80 musicians.

Raymond was last year nominated by BBC among 50 most inspiring people in the world. “I was happy to know that my work inspires so many people. It meant a lot to me,” Raymond says.

Raymond’s passion for music is not about making money but making the world a better place to live. He has now started mentoring youngsters and young musicians who turn up to him for guidance. Raymond and his colleagues in the industry are the only ones who represent the country in the map of classical music arena via the Dar choral society.

All big cities, Raymond says, have a performing orchestra. This is all over the world . Dar es Salaam had none until Raymond revived the Dar choral society.

“Most of the musicians in the country do not perform live music. They use CD background instead. For us, classical musicians, every note is played as it’s written and the audience loves the high discipline that goes with the music making,” he adds.

Raymond, who is currently the director of both the Dar chamber orchestra and the choral society, finds it hard to define his own legacy now as he is still alive.

“My good friend Walter Bgoya of Mkuki na Nyota once told me that my legacy is done and printed and that it will be upon the world to decide what my actual legacy would be once I am gone.”

Raymond’s biggest challenge is how the country will attain the world’s classic musical standards like the rest of the developed world.

“I am lucky, though, that I have started a personal programme that will contribute to making this happen in the near future,” he says.

Recently he was trained by Benjamin Zander in Manchester in the UK who is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (not to be confused with the Boston Symphony Orchestra) is a semi-professional orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1979.

Their concerts take place at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall and at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. Currently, the orchestra is conducted by Benjamin Zander. Each concert is preceded by a talk, which explains the musical ideas and structure of the pieces about to be performed.

“These skills, will be transcended to the young musicians and thus achieving the target of dotting the universal classical music map with our country’s marks,” Raymond notes.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

PARENTING : The pros and cons of competition


By Sounding Living Reporter

“Let’s play again so this time I can beat you,” your child says when you capture his last checker. You agree to play again, secretly wondering if your efforts to help him be a success have gone too far.

His skill improves with each game, but he’s too obsessed with beating you to notice. How do you teach your child the difference between being successful and being driven to win at all costs? Here’s how to recognize the benefits and drawbacks of competition, and to keep your child’s appetite for winning from getting out of hand.

What your child learns from competition

It’s impossible to protect your children from competitive situations, and you probably don’t want to, anyway. Your child can learn some valuable lessons from healthy competition that will serve him well as he gets older.

• The importance of playing by the rules. Five-year-olds are just starting to understand that rules are the basis of any game, says Sara Wilford, the director of the Early Childhood Center and Art of Teaching graduate program at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. When everyone makes up his own rules, no one can play together, and the game isn’t enjoyable. The earlier your child learns this lesson, the more fun he’ll have playing with other children as he grows older.

• How to be a good winner and a good loser. “A good winner knows not to say ‘Na Na, I beat the *@%# out of you,’” says Dee Shepherd-Look, a clinical psychologist and professor of child and adolescent psychology at California State University, Northridge. On the flip side, a good loser knows not to pout. Not only is this a crucial lesson for your child to learn, but it’s also important that he learn it early in life. Six-year-olds may be able to get away with throwing temper tantrums when they lose, but 16-year-olds who throw fits are rarely tolerated. The older your child gets, the harder it is to back track and teach him to be a good loser.

• The value of giving your best effort. “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” You’ve heard this a million times because it’s true. A loser can feel good about his efforts because he tried his hardest, Shepherd-Look says. Furthermore, a winner may look back on the game and realise her victory would have been impossible without that extra push at the end. The more your child is exposed to challenging situations, the clearer this concept will become.

How do I know when competition gets out of hand

Although they can be valuable learning opportunities, competitive situations can easily get out of control. Look for signs that your child thinks winning is more important than playing the game, says Shepherd-Look. For example, suppose your child is playing Old Maid with his friends. If the rules keep changing, and some kids cheat while others quit and refuse to play, it’s time to take a break. You may want to suggest that the kids work on a puzzle together or play a game in which everybody wins.

Dangers of being overly competitive

When children are too focused on winning, they may start to evaluate themselves based on how many victories they achieve, Shepherd-Look says. Even if they win 90 percent of the time, they’ll never be satisfied. “This is devastating to a person,” she says. “They’re always on a treadmill looking for the next win.” All the more reason to nip an overly competitive nature in the bud.

How to tell if your child is overly competitive, and what to do about it

If your child is too focused on competition, he’ll do anything to avoid losing. He may cheat, lie, or change the rules of a game to win. Furthermore, he won’t try a new game or activity unless he thinks he’ll be good at it.

If your child has to win everything, try to find out why, Wilford says. Talk to your child. Is he scared that if he loses, no one will like him? Is he trying to imitate a successful older sibling?

Help him put things in perspective. A few losses don’t mean he’s a failure in life. Try to point out some of his accomplishments, and remind him that no one can be great at everything. If your child is deeply upset by every loss, don’t be afraid to seek professional help, Wilford says.

What to do if your children always compete with each other

Siblings naturally turn to each other when in search of a playmate, and competitive situations will almost certainly spring up. “There’s a natural rivalry between siblings,” Wilford says. However, you don’t want this rivalry to get unhealthy. If your children are going to play competitive games, remind them that having fun is more important than winning or losing. You may also want to mention that each child has individual talents, and winning is not synonymous with being a better person. Read suggestions on how to quell sibling rivalry.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Connection between age and sleep


By Sound Living Reporter

Getting enough sleep is important for a young child for many reasons, from restoring energy to building brain connections – not to mention giving Mom and Dad a needed break. But science is showing that sleep also fuels physical growth.

The science of growing

Growth is a complex process that requires several hormones to stimulate various biological events in the blood, organs, muscles, and bones.

A protein hormone secreted by the pituitary gland called growth hormone is a key player in these events. Several factors affect its production, including nutrition, stress, and exercise. In young children, though, the most important factor is sleep.

Growth hormone is released throughout the day. But for children, the most intense period of release is shortly after the beginning of deep sleep.

How much sleep do they need?

Kindergartners need about 10 to 12 1/2 hours of sleep per night (with naps declining and eventually disappearing around age 5), and older children need 9 1/2 to 11 1/2 hours a night. Sleep needs are somewhat individual, with some kids requiring slightly less or more than their peers.

Without adequate sleep, growth problems – mainly slowed or stunted growth – can result. Growth hormone production can also be disrupted in kids with certain physical sleep problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

More than your child’s height can be affected by a shortage of sleep. Some kids fail to produce enough growth hormone naturally, and a lack of sleep makes the problem worse. It can lead to a condition known as growth hormone deficiency that can affect heart or lung strength or immune system function.

Children who don’t get enough sleep show other changes in the levels of hormones circulating in their body, too. Hormones that regulate hunger and appetite can be affected, causing a child to overeat and have a preference for high-calorie carbs. What’s more, a shortage of sleep can affect the way the body metabolizes these foods, triggering insulin resistance, which is linked to type 2 diabetes.

A lack of sleep at night can also affect motor skills and concentration during the day, leading to more accidents and behavioral problems, and poor performance at school.

Ensuring a good night’s sleep

Most children need more sleep than their parents think.

Signs that your child may not be getting enough rest include crankiness or lethargy by day, difficulty concentrating in school or failing grades, and being hard to wake up in the morning.

To help your child get plenty of zzz’s

Establish a consistent bedtime. School-age children should be in bed by 8 to 9 p.m. (earlier for the youngest grades and children who need a lot of sleep).



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cultural blend in Manyara bushes

Visitors enjoy themselves at Burudika Manyara

Visitors enjoy themselves at Burudika Manyara Lodge which is a real treat for nature lovers. PHOTO | ELISHA MAYALLAH 

By Elisha Mayallah

For most travellers, a combination of warm days with glorious landscapes, comfortable stay with finger licking food menus are the great passions and inspirations.

At a dinner party, I found nearly everybody sharing their day’s experiences in the wilderness, wild animals they saw and liked, landscapes and sceneries.

Others had conversations about how they fell in love with the bush, day trips around the lodge and their recent experience in Lake Manyara, Tarangire national parks including Ngorongoro crater.

I shared a table with a Chinese group of five who had just visited the Ngorongoro crater and spoke highly about the infinity tapestry of nature.

Each time one of their own mentioned a certain wildlife, the whole group celebrated in style. That happened when we were being served our first drinks.

Such was my recent introduction of Burudika Manyara Lodge in the Baobab restaurant.

Over seven months since my first visit I could see the lodge has become more popular prompting the owners to build more bungalows.

According to Ms Alice Kessi, the Operations and General Manager, they are happy with the support from the tourism stakeholders particularly the tour operators including and TripAdvisor.

I met Joseph Sumari, a tour guide from the Kilimanjaro Bliss Company based in Arusha who said their clients are happy with the services at the lodge.

His group of Canadian tourists was heading to Serengeti national park. Boehm Reil, one of the tourists commended the lodge. She said they consider the lodge, which is solar-powered, a spectacular one, fascinating, and enthusiasm for fauna and flora.

Burudika Manyara Lodge is a really treat for nature lovers. It is a timeless eco-lodge, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces.

Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers.

The lodge is located in a warm climate with a cool weather which is truly unique. And it has an architectural style that envelops with nature and local textures. It is within the Mto wa Mbu wildlife corridor. The corridor is used by migrating animals between Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks.

The seven bungalows, luxuriously and uniquely appointed, all face out towards the wildlife corridor and are completely private.

Ms Alice Kessi commonly known here as Mama Burudika says wildlife moves up and down the corridor just beyond the lodge.

“Visitors get the feeling that they are on game viewing safari as they watch and sip their sundowners, overlooking the expanse of the wildlife corridor,” Alice said.

The Maasai people that inhabit the area still maintain their semi-nomadic lifestyle. They are hospitable and offer a friendly welcome to visitors, often inviting them to see their homestead and lifestyle.

Their rich culture and heritage are intrinsically woven into the history of this amazing area. Hikers can enjoy the tranquillity of the boundless empty spaces and explore the cultural insight of the Maasai to discover their traditional lifestyles and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in-store. A holiday in this area, Alice said, takes visitors to Mto wa Mbu popularly known as a melting pot of cultures.

Visitors have a chance to gain an insight into this unique countryside, by exploring villages, sourcing local handicrafts, tasting local cuisine, and watching cultural performances. Because of its location bordering the Great Rift Valley, Mto wa Mbu boasts of many food and cash crops.

The land is fertile and lush vegetation sparsely occupies most of the agricultural fields where rice, maize and bananas, among many others grow in abundance.

Every village supports vegetation of some kind with banana plantation’s, maize and rice thriving in small, sparse land areas, fostering the growth of agriculture and making it one of the food baskets in the surrounding areas.

For the energetic and adventurous, a visit to see the stretching farm is just a rewarding experience. The lodge is part of the flavours of the northern Tanzania which offers diverse tourist experiences, including adventurers. It is close to the authentic and popular Tanzanian wonderlands packed with wildlife and bush experiences.

From the lodge, visitors take day trips to visit Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks as well as the Ngorongoro Crater. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Northern Tanzania offers an escape route to the real Africa.

It has extraordinary biodiversity which is inextricably linked to remarkable, diverse and complex landscapes.

Nature has blessed this area with breathtaking scenic beauty, rolling fields of open landscapes, and vast plains of the African bush. Visitors enjoy the wildlife theatre when they discover in all the amazing national parks this zone has to offer.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

When you realise you married the wrong partner

It is advisable to know your partner well

It is advisable to know your partner well before committing. PHOTOI FILE. 

By Devotha John

Every time Martha Mgaya, 42, recalls her nuptials with her estranged husband James ten years ago, she cannot help but feel sad and betrayed.

When she said “I do” to the man she had patiently waited for two years to return from study abroad, Martha had no idea their marriage would end the way it did, leaving her heartbroken.

The two had met at a Tanzania Assemblies of God church in Temeke where James used to sing in the church choir. His aunt who also used to go to the same church introduced him to Martha.

“I was 30 years old when we met after his aunt introduced him to me. We got close and eventually established our relationship,” says Martha, an accountant living in Kawe, Dar es Salaam. Shortly after they became intimate, James got a two-year scholarship to study in the UK.

“We continued to communicate through phone and social media and as he was about to complete his master’s degree, he proposed and we tied the knot just a few months after his return,” Martha recalls.

Just like is the case with any other newlyweds, life was great in the beginning. However, this did not last long for their marital bliss gradually went out the window. After two years into the marriage, James’ behaviour started to change.

“He started drinking and coming home at midnight. He even stopped going to church and I wondered whether he was really a born-again christian or if he had been pretending to be one all this while. This really disturbed me but I just prayed hard so that he could change his ways and repent,” says the mother of two.

Martha says she did not know James very well given that they had little time to know each other. She wishes she did not rush into marriage after he returned from study. As an after-thought, Martha says she believed he would be a good husband since both were born-again.

She found out he was having an affair after she found a text message from another woman on his phone. However, Martha continued praying, believing God would save her marriage.

When matters got worse, she consulted their pastor to whom her husband confessed he was involved with another woman and promised he would stop seeing her. Unfortunately, he went back to his old ways two weeks later.

“My husband didn’t change his strange behaviour. At some point I thought God had abandoned me and I was really heartbroken. I considered leaving him but I thought about the children. I did not want to leave them and the idea of having them raised by a single parent pained me a lot.”

To add salt to injury, James completely stopped taking care of his family. He even stopped paying school fees for their children now aged eight and five years.

Their marriage went south when James told her he did not love her anymore and suggested they part ways. “That day I cried and told God I had had enough of it. The better part of my marriage was full of tears and heartaches. I blamed myself for having married a man I didn’t know well and who did not value marriage,” Martha says bitterness and regret written all over her face.

She says she could not believe he was the same man who used to shower her with gifts and countless promises. How could he change like this, she wondered.

Why people change

What happened to Martha has happened to so many other people, both men and women. Some, like Martha choose to call it quits while some decide to stay for various reasons. What they all usually have in common is the disbelief that people who had once promised them heaven would betray them later.

But why do people change after living together for some time?

Noverty Deograthias, a psychologist at InforPsych Centre in Dar es Salaam says getting to know each other well before marriage is very important.

When people are together long enough to know each others’ true colours, it helps them to decide whether or not to commit.

The psychologist mentions personality, a person’s background, the nature of their upbringing, influence from friends and family as things that have far ranging effects on their marriage or relationship.

He says there are four types of personalities that define how people think and behave, which is why he advises couplesthat; “Before entering marriage, couples should know each other and especially how each one of them thinks, feels and behaves.”

He notes that there are people who are enthusiastic, active, and social, others are short-tempered or irritable, while there are those who are wise and quiet. The last personality group is one that consists of people who are usually relaxed and peaceful.

He says due to these diverse characters, couples should make an effort to know the personality of one another. This he says helps in building a good relationship once each knows how to live with their partner.

On how influence from friends affects marriage, Deograthias gives an example of how some women change from better to worse after integrating with bad friends, men like wise, something he says may have a negative impact on their marriage.

He says one’s family can have an influence on their relationship too. The expert says in the past couples used to consult families during turbulences but says this is no longer the case.

These days, according to him, it is very rare to see couples in conflict seeking redress from their in-laws because everyone thinks they know better while in fact, no one is perfect.

He says elders used to play a pivotal role in keeping couples together through counseling during the storms.

Pastor Jimmy Nduu from the House of prayer for all nations(Hopran Ministry) says marriage comes from God. He says God is the one who chooses partners for us but not our inclinations.

Referring to our ancestors Adam and Eve, pastor Nduu says the couple maintained their relationship under God’s guidance and therefore enjoyed life in Eden.

The pastor therefore believes problems in marriage crop up because people enter into matrimony without involving God. He says today most couples seek God’s blessing when they are already married.

“But if couples are God’s choice, separation cannot happen. There would not be tears over choosing wrong partners,” says the pastor adding; “The time for dating should be used wisely to learn from each other. It is through spending time to learn from each other that partners can live a happy life in future.”

Faustin Kamala, 47, concedes saying that people forget to involve God to choose the right partners for them. He says neither do they get to know each other before committing.

The father of three says some people make mistakes by tying the knot just because they want to get married, which he says is why some end up making wrong choices. He also is of the opinion that one should take time to know the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with.

A mother of four, Ashura Ramadhani 45, believes most people choose to stay in marriage when they realise they married the wrong partner for the children’s sake.

She herself does not believe in perseverance if one is not happy in their marriage and thanks God she is a muslim.

“Thanks Allah I am muslim and our religion allows us to marry up to four times, so we are free to move on and start a new life when things don’t work out.”

She says the holy Quran also allows a man to marry four wives which helps to avoid extra marital affairs. This she says saves most marriages from breaking up.

“I don’t mean you have to break up with your partner when things don’t go well but I suggest you should take time to know him or her to avoid ending up with a broken heart,” Ashura adds.

She refutes the claim that all men are similar in that they all have roving eyes. She believes human beings differ and that their behaviour is influenced by their backgrounds and how they are handled.

“Most people live fake lives because they want to maintain a positive image before the society but if one goes into detail one would find that all is not well in their relationship,” she says.

Faustin says it is unwise to pretend wearing a wedding ring while you actually are living in hell. He says choosing the right person is the best thing to do regardless of age, education, wealth, religion, race or nationality.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ambitious medical student whose dream is to help the poor


By Devotha John

Since she was a little girl, Juliana Busasi, 22, always dreamt of a society where nobody would die because they lacked access to healthcare. Juliana believes a healthy nation is the key to fighting poverty and enhancing a country’s development.

She wants to see everyone, regardless of their economic status have access to quality and affordable healthcare. To make her dream come true, Juliana chose to study medicine. This would be the only way through which she could contribute towards building a healthy nation, so she believed.

In 2015, two years after enrolling for a degree in medicine, Juliana who is a fourth year student at the Hubert Kairuki Memorial University College in Dar es Salaam founded the Tanzania Health and Medical Education Foundation (TAHMEF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving people’s welfare.

“My dream was to establish a health and medical education foundation one day so as to improve the welfare of Tanzanians,” says Juliana who is the executive director of TAHMEF.

Juliana says it makes her happy when she helps and reaches out to helpless communities. As a medical student her goal is to utilise and share knowledge with communities around her.

The organisation which works with a team of volunteers comprising of medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and social workers aims at establishing a stable health sector which provides service to all community members without bias.

“It is a fundamental right for all people to get equal access to the highest standard of health care from well-trained medical personnel,” says Juliana.

She points out that, they organise and operates ethically accepted health-oriented projects such as free public health screening outreaches that make a positive change in the country’s health care system and the health sector at large. The organisation also conducts free health seminars, health advocacy through walks, online campaigns as well as blood donation campaigns.

Medical students in control

The organisation, which is run by medical students was registered on 13th September, 2015. The deputy minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Children and the Elderly, Dr Khamis Kigwangala launched the organisation in July, 2016.

It works in partnership with organisations with similar objectives such as Population Services International.

“We work in partnership with other organisations, PSI is just one of the organisations that we have worked with. We have also worked with Kairuki Hospital.”

The doctor in the making says under organisation more than 4,000 people have been able to get quality health screening services. These include breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, malaria, hepatitis and HIV screenings. The organisation has since extended its wings to Dodoma, Mbeya, Coast and Mwanza, regions thanks to close co-operation with PSI.

According to Juliana, they provide follow-up services for those whose test results come back positive, which is why it works with hospitals and volunteering medical doctors to provide the appropriate management.

“We provide a number of services, including donating blood to sickle cell patients and creating awareness among members of the society on the importance of donating blood,” says Juliana.

In early July, over 300 women in Kondoa District benefitted from free education and cervical cancer screening provided by the organisation.

They also work with schools which were ready to establish health clubs where students learn about sexual and reproductive health. They currently work with two schools in every region where the organisation operates.

It currently runs a project called Nuru Health, which aims at empowering unemployed women and developing a movement to reach every Tanzanian through free health care services for low income earners and to contribute to other facilities and needs in hospitals in the rural areas.

“Our first target regions are Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Simiyu and Singida. We aim to reach every Tanzanian by providing free health care services for the poor,” she says.

Like goes the saying of the wise, no good deed goes unrewarded. Juliana’s efforts to bring about positive change in the country’s health sector saw her being nominated for this year’s Malkia wa Nguvu Awards which recognise women who go out of their way to make remarkable changes in their lives and the community surrounding them. Juliana won an award in the health category.

Like is the case with some winners of the Malkia wa Nguvu Awards, Juliana did not apply for nomination but her services were noticed by members of the society, something Juliana says influenced Clouds Media Group, the awards organisers to take more attention on what she does.

Juliana calls on government to collaborate with private health facilities in optimising people’s wellbeing. To improve the country’s health sector and to ensure the services are available to all, she says contribution from the private sector and donors is highly needed.

She also calls upon society to have trust in services offered by medical students, a challenge her organisation is facing.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

The young actress taking on bullying

Six-years-old, Stefania Klosowski. Photo | File

Six-years-old, Stefania Klosowski. Photo | File 

By Young Citizen

Bullying can be a very stressful affair for children and according to statistics most children get bullied by their peers either at school or at home.

However there are some children who have over the years stood their ground against this bad behaviour.

At just six-years-old, Stefania Klosowski is a budding actress, model, and VIP personality, that is on a mission to not only conquer the entertainment industry, but to help put an end to bullying as well.

Represented by Modelogic Midwest, Stellar NYC, and Big Mouth Talent, Klosowski has appeared in print adverts for Kohls, Meijers, and has walked the runway for POSH Child Magazine during New York Fashion Week 2016.

Klosowski lights up a room and spreads joy wherever she goes; however, she is not a stranger to being bullied.

In an interview for the inaugural launch of Action Magazine, Klosowski and her mother Shannon recalls that when the petite rising star was in Kindergarten, girls in her class were making fun of her hair.

They called her ugly, and saying that her hair looked like wool, an unfortunate scenario that is far too common in today’s society.

Immediately Shannon gave Klosowski a mirror to vocalize the good things about the positively beautiful reflection that she saw.

And now, Klosowski is heading straight for the top, taking a stand against bullying as a part of her personal mission.

“People should be nice to people. It hurts people’s feelings when people are mean,” she told Action Magazine in her interview, “so I want the world to be nice so no one cries.”

To make sure that her wish comes true, in addition to her modeling and acting obligations, Klosowski is a brand representative for Take Action Apparel & Gear, a company that is geared towards helping children who are victims of bullying have a voice through fashion and fun.

In addition to all of her professional obligations, the Chicago born enjoys fashion design, art, singing, dancing, soccer, her dog, any and everything purple, and of course all-things Disney.

But most of all, during her free time she loves spending time with her family and friends.

So, what’s next for Klosowski? It seems that the sky is the limit and we will all just have to grab a front row seat to follow her journey on Instagram!

And just like Klosowski, you too can turn the negative things that other children say about you into something to help you stay focused.

But why do some children turn to bullying? The answer is simple: it solves their social problems. After all, it’s easier to bully somebody than to work things out, manage your emotions, and learn to solve problems.

Bullying is the proverbial “easy way out,” and sadly, some children take it. Bullying itself can come from a variety of sources and the first source is always the older brothers and sisters, extended family members or parents who use aggression or intimidation to get their way. Tiffany Silva


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Electronic gadgets are bad for your child’s brain


By By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax

Sandra Alex,17, had her first smartphone in 2008 when she was just 13-years-old. Her parents bought her the phone when she was in Standard Seven. Now a high school graduate, Sandra recalls how the device almost made her run crazy.

I met Sandra at the Little Theatre in Oysterbay, Dar es Salaam recently during the screening of a documentary on growing up in the digital age. The young lady says she had become a social media slave and wanted that to end. She did not want to be controlled by her smartphone anymore. On one particular day, one after the other, Sandra uninstalled all the addictive apps on her phone, especially those to do with social media.

“I started with Instagram, since that was the worst of all as I would be on it almost 24/7. This was followed by Snapchat and others I had installed on my phone,” says the slim light skinned girl who lives in Masaki. “I had become a social media addict. That is where my mind used to be all the time. All I did was update my Instagram page almost every second by posting pictures of myself and just everything that I wanted my followers to see. In short, I just couldn’t get my hands off my phone. I was like a slave to it, doing whatever it wanted me to do.”

The profound effect brought about by Sandra’s excessive use of social media, as she puts it, was lack of interest in physical interaction. Whenever she went out to meet friends, she found it so hard to concentrate on conversations but would rather find her fingers busy swiping through her smartphone screen.

“I realised something wasn’t right and I had to do something quickly. It was very hard in the beginning but I kept trying and eventually got there,” Sandra recalls. Today she only uses Apps like Kindle, her favourite, where she reads books online. She also uses WhatsApp for easier communication and has completely dumped Snapchat, Facebook and other Apps she finds addictive.

Common Sense Media, a US based non-profit organisation which provides independent reviews, age ratings and other information about all types of media, carried out a study last year on Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance and found out that half of all young people feel they are addicted to their devices.

According to the study, almost 60 per cent of adults think their children are addicted. Internet addiction is described as a swath of excessive and compulsive technology related behaviours resulting in negative outcomes.

Dr Pamela Kaduri, an addiction psychiatrist at the Muhimbili National Hospital says there remains substantial disagreement about whether Internet addiction is a new psychological disorder or the manifestation of another disorder, how it is measured, and how prevalent it is.

Internet addiction, Dr Kaduri says, is a real and growing condition. Be it smartphone or social media addiction, experts warn the addiction can have a severe impact on a child’s development in school and on his or her future life.

Some stakeholders point out the fact that today’s parents are very busy and thus spend less time with their children, they unknowingly put the children at risk of addiction.

The parents’ long absence from home makes them feel guilty “and to make it up for the lost time and to make their children happy, they expose them to digital use by buying them digital devices,” says Ms Joyce Maina, a teacher at the Haven of Peace Academy in Dar es Salaam.

“Parents think they can use the gadgets as a substitute, which is totally wrong.”

Despite supporting the idea that parents contribute to their children’s Internet addiction, Dr Namala Mkopi, a Consultant and Child Health Specialist at the Muhimbili National Hospital, says it’s not fair to judge them negatively since most do so as a way of showing their children affection.

The expert argues that the digital devices are good for both parents and children and that parents only need to understand the side effects and how to deal with them.

Dr Mkopi says too much screen time makes a child develop a sense of social detachment and sees no importance of physical interactions since they are only used to online interaction.

“This can lead to severe repercussions to a child’s future life even during their adulthood. It could result to severe social dysfunctions, like being unable to properly raise their own families or poor public speaking skills” Dr Mkopi says.

Ms Veneranda Kirway, a clinical psychologist and an assistant lecturer at the Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, says the environment around children needs to be conducive so as to minimise the harmful effects of the gadgets.

“For example, when students are on long holidays, how do we ensure they are not idle? Being idle could lead to their exposure to these gadgets” observes the clinical psychologist.

Dr Kaduri concedes saying that the most critical and difficult period is the time between when a child returns from school and when they go to bed.

“We don’t have any after school programmes, then how do we monitor our children? What does a child do after school? I think we need to look at this carefully and see how we can help,” says Dr Kaduri.

Mr Salmin Jongo, 34, is a father of four children, two who are in primary school. The Upanga resident is of the view that as a father, it his duty to make sure his family is happy.

“This includes meeting my children’s needs when I can afford just to make them happy.” Mr Jongo who is an engineer bought his younger children a video game and although he hasn’t bought them smartphones, he finds it okay when his children play with his or their mother’s phone. Surprisingly, he does not know what the children do with the phones.

Experts see ignorance among a majority of parents on the effects of the use of digital devices on their children as a major problem that might lead hundreds of children to Internet addiction.

In an effort to voice the issue and fill the existing information gap, concerned experts decided to screen a documentary called Screen Agers: Growing up in the Digital Age which took place on the 21st and 22nd of July at the Little Theatre.

The Award-winning documentary, released last year by a US-based filmmaker, Delaney Ruston, probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and Internet addiction. Parents, guardians and children were in attendance and discussion followed after the screening.

“Once a child is used to gadgets when they miss them, they become unhappy and furious to the extent that they can even engage in a fight simply because they want a smartphone to play game,” says Dr Kaduri, the addiction psychiatrist at Muhimbili. She says excessive use of digital devices can be as bad to the child’s brain as taking heroine or other drugs.

Dr Mkopi says prevention is better than cure. He says for those children that are not yet exposed to screen its better if they are not exposed to the use of these devices. “It’s absolutely prohibited to expose a less than 2-year old child to screen.”

For those already exposed, Dr Mkopi advises parents to slowly disengage them from the screen by introducing them to physical activity like exercises.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Get in sync with your partner on discipline


By By Sound Living Reporter

Children can weather subtle differences in their parents’ discipline styles: Maybe one parent is quicker to rein in rudeness while the other parent is the one who freaks out about spilled juice on the couch. No big deal.

But researchers say that children whose parents have significantly different child-raising styles are more likely to have behaviour problems. If one is a pushover and the other rules with an iron fist, it’s confusing for children.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect that as parents you and your partner will think and act exactly the same way, says Jane Nelsen, co-author of the Positive Discipline series. The key, she says, is to avoid getting locked into a power struggle with your mate.

To help break the old habits and find strategies you can both live with, you’ll need to have a heart-to-heart with your mate in which you agree on some basic strategies. Our panel of discipline experts walks you through the ten key steps of creating a discipline partnership:

1. Talk with your partner about how discipline was handled when the two of you were growing up. Parenting patterns are often repeated, so this can give you each insight into the other’s style.

2. Ask your partner why he disciplines the way he does, then listen without interrupting. Be patient and respectful. Ask yourself why you’re opposed to your partner’s method. What are you afraid will happen?

3. Ask what qualms your partner has about your discipline style.

4. Explore openly all the options on the table, balancing pros and cons. Develop a shared set of rules and consequences you can both agree to try, then be prepared to adjust or return to these a few weeks later if it’s not working for everyone.

5. As you begin your new, shared strategy, settle discipline disputes as they arise, one at a time, in a calm, private place away from little ears.

6. Compromise — but present a united front to your children. If they see you’re working together, they’re less likely to try to play you against each other. Vow not to badmouth your partner’s disciplining techniques in front of your child.

7. If you suspect your child is playing the two of you against each other (“Dad lets me clear the table after I watch my show”), tell him you’ll give him an answer once you’ve spoken with your partner. Or tell him he needs a “yes” from both parents before proceeding. Remember: Not all discipline decisions demand an answer right now.

8. If your partner seems discouraged — even if you’re not thrilled with how he handled a situation — be generous with encouragement and empathy. Find a private moment to check in with a gentle, nonjudgmental opener like, “That was rough. I bet you’re feeling upset right now. Do you want to talk about it?”

9. If you have school-age children, post clear family rules and review them with the children to reinforce the message that you and your partner are a team. Involving older children in establishing rules often inspires better cooperation. Have a plan for revisiting rules and consequences so they can be adjusted as your children age.

10. What if your partner refuses to even entertain a talk on the subject? That’s tough, but don’t give up. Ask him to make a list of your child’s behaviours that drive him crazy, plus his ideas about how to extinguish them.

If you cop a “there’s only one right way and it’s my way” attitude, it will just keep you locked in a battle zone. Instead, try to understand the logic behind your partner’s approach. If all else fails, give him a book or article on the topic or solicit the help of a teacher, doctor, school counselor, or therapist.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lifetime experience at Ruaha


By By Elisha Mayallah

My friends and I recently embarked on a five-day tour to Ruaha National Park located in the south of Tanzania, about 130 km west of Iringa. The park is a favourite to those who have visited a few parks.

In a small group of three, we travelled from Arusha through Dodoma to Iringa Region. Our trip took two days because we did not want to drive after night fall. The sight of trucks, villagers walking and cycling along the road with their cargoes was amazing. So travelling anywhere is often a slow journey – all the more time to enjoy the very scenic countryside. We passed through Mikumi National Park where we saw some few wildlife such as baboons, giraffes, zebras, and gazelles just off the highway.

It was very exciting. We arrived in Iringa around 2 in the afternoon the following day and after we had lunch, we contemplated on whether or not to make the drive to Ruaha along a paved road. It was already 3pm and we were told it could take up to three hours to reach the park and so we had no reservations. We had to either risk getting a place before dark or wait until the following day.

We looked for divine guidance and then felt confident to begin the adventurous journey. We were all up for the challenge.

We were looking for a camp in our guidebook called Tungamalenga that was supposed to be situated about 35 km outside the park. We must have missed the sign and when we were about 30 km from the park gate we saw another sign to a lodge, the Sifa Safari Campsite, not suggested in our book, but which advertised tented bandas, flush toilets and hot showers.

This enticed us to investigate as it was almost 6pm and getting close to dark. On entering the gate, we were met by the manager who showed us his banda lodgings.

The solar-powered banda is a tent structure on a cement foundation with thatched roofing overtops. The lodging included ‘full board’ (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Well, things just seemed to be turning out in our favour as the accommodation was more than expected and our stay was perfect.

Dinner was served in an open dining banda lighted by lanterns as the solar battery had run out of power. The manager picked us at our banda and escorted us to the dining lodge.

The evening meal of beef stroganoff, a noodle dish, and rice vegetable was amazing considering the manager had to bring in his staff to keep an eye on us, the only guests that night. The meal concluded with a campfire under a million stars.

Breakfast the next morning included eggs, toast, fresh fruit, a wonderful cinnamon roll and lots of coffee. The manager was a wonderful host and we all agreed that we would recommend this place to anyone.

By 8 am we embarked again on our adventure into the park and drove to the Ruaha River Lodge, a place we had read about in our guidebook and which was recommended. It was rather upmarket and we were offered a discount as we planned to stay only one night. We thought the previous night’s accommodation was special but this was even more so.

These bandas were more elaborate – built of stones with thatched roofs and lots of screened windows. They were very large with amazing bathrooms, hot showers, flush toilets, sitting areas and verandas overlooking the almost dried up river that was visited regularly by lions, elephants, gazelle, and baboons. Lunch, dinner, and breakfast here were served in an open dining area.

While we had lunch just after our arrival, our host pointed out to two lionesses lounging under a shade tree across the river; our first experience being so close enough.

After lunch, we booked a game drive. Our vehicle was an open truck with a guide and a driver. We felt confident having two experienced guides in the exposed vehicle.

Like the rest of our trip, to this point the safari did not disappoint. We saw an amazing variety of animals, birds, and plant life with wonderful commentary along the way. The pictures highlight many of the animals, but actually being there close up with wildlife in their natural habitat was a lifetime experience, especially driving within five feet of a male lion under a tree and within 20 feet of a family of elephants resting their young under a shade tree.

We saw giraffe, many gazelles, African buffalo, banded mongoose, zebras, lizards, baboons, warthogs, hippos, crocodiles and lots of birds.

The bonus was spotting a leopard resting in a tree close to his kill (a gazelle) which was hanging much farther up in the tree. This whole area was very dry, except near the river, but our guide told us that during the rainy season it is normally lush and green.

We look forward to coming back during the rainy season to see the contrast. It was over far too soon, and we returned just after 6:30 completely enthralled with our experience.

Like the night before, we were escorted to dinner and back to our bandas for our own safety as the animals roam around the campsite in the evenings. This time our escort was a Maasai warrior in full regalia, holding a spear in his hand. He spoke English very well and we discovered he was also a guide for this lodge – a versatile Maasai.

The next morning at breakfast, there was a buzz about a lioness that had roamed around the camp during the night. I had heard what I thought was an elephant close by, but it must have been the lioness. We then understood why we had been warned against leaving our bandas after night fall.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Engineer Mkufu proves women too can excel in male-dominated fields


By By Esther Kibakaya

In July, all eyes and ears were directed to Washington DC where the world’s first international robot olympics for high school students took place. More than 160 nations including 40 from Africa were represented.

Tanzania was represented by a team made up of seven students from various secondary schools in Dar es Salaam. The competition aimed at inspiring a passion for technology innovation and leadership among the world’s youth.

The once-in-a lifetime experience was an opportunity for the young people to prove to the world that Tanzania supports brilliant minds that will someday bring about positive change in the world.

The young scientists’ trip to the US was partly made possible by the involvement of a selfless engineer who volunteered to mentor the team and who also offered technical support in assembling the robot the youth presented in Washington DC.

This is none other than Mkufu Tindi, a senior electromechanical engineer with Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

Mkufu’s wish is to see Tanzania produce as many scientists as possible, especially women. She contributes towards making this happen in many ways including being a member of the Institution of Engineers Tanzania (IET)’s Women’s Chapter, which supports and promotes the engineering profession. It also provides a responsive service for women in the engineering field as well as inspiring young girls to pursue science-related careers.

A holder of an Electromechanical Engineering degree from the University of Dar es Salaam’s College of Engineering (CoET), the mother of two was among the few girls who graduated in her class in 2009.

When she enrolled for the course, she was among eight female students in a class of 24 students. Out of these, only three female and nine male students completed the course.

“I developed an interest in engineering since I was in Standard Five and thanks to my family that helped nurture my dream. Aunt Elizabeth especially, with whom I lived played a major role in making my dream come true,” Mkufu shares, adding; “I had this passion in science subjects and my aunt, inspite of her tight work schedule would always make sure she spared a few hours to help me with mathematics. She would give me exercises to do before I went to bed.”

Her main inspiration

Although her aunt had a very demanding job she always involved Mkufu in things she believed would be beneficial for her future.

“Through her I believed it was possible to work in the science field and still be able to accomplish other duties like being a mother and a wife.”

Apart from inspiration from her aunt, Mkufu was lucky to have attended the then prestigious girls’ schools, something she attributes to her confidence and daring spirit.

Having gone to Kilakala and Msalato girls’ schools made her believe she had all it took to pursue any subject in higher learning regardless of her gender. And this is exactly why she chose to pursue a degree in engineering, which many girls still shun todate.

“Studying at Kilakala and Msalato girls’ schools had an effect on who I am today, because I grew up with the confidence and belief that a girl can do any job a man can do,” says a confident Mkufu.

Being in girls’ schools did not make her think girls were weaker in academics or in certain subjects since they used to outshine boys’ schools in exams at times. “This made us believe we too were capable,” explains the engineer.

After graduation, Mkufu joined the power utility company (Tanesco) where she has been working for the past seven years. She initially worked in the office of the Procurement and Contract Management Unit responsible for donor funded projects for three and a half years. She was later promoted to the position of senior electromechanical engineer in the company’s research department responsible for studies and development of major hydropower projects.

Has she ever felt inferior among her male colleagues? “Never,” Mkufu says on a serious note. However, she says she can’t ignore the fact that stereotyping still persists in many male-dominated fields.

The most critical problems women in her field face include the fact that there still are people who think female engineers are not as competent as their male counterparts. This she says leads to unfair allocation of work. For example women are given lighter tasks simply because they are not trusted as being capable to handle complex ones.

“I remember how I once was assigned to represent the company to do a certain job in another company together with some male colleagues. I was the only woman on the team and when we arrived at the company, the boss there insisted he wanted a competent engineer who had experience in donor funded projects to execute the work.”

To his surprise, Mkufu’s colleagues told him she was the person that had been assigned to perform the task.

“He still was not satisfied and this really annoyed me although I did not show it. I instead used the opportunity to prove to him that women can even perform better if given the opportunity,” she proudly explains.

It’s all about mindset change

To end such kind of stereotypes, Mkufu says it’s about time society changed their mindset. People should understand that female engineers too can handle complex tasks in the same manner as their male counterparts. Or even better.

“We have so many examples of female engineers who are doing wonders in different engineering fields. Others have even received presidential appointments to different positions while others are leaders in different major projects in the country and they are doing very well.”

As a working mother of a three-year-old son and an eight-year- old girl, Mkufu admits that its hard juggling the two but she always tries her best to strike a balance between her roles as a wife, mother and career woman.

The strong support and understanding from family and friends makes it possible especially given that there are times when she has to be away from the family for field work for longer periods.

When she is not working away in the field, Mkufu makes sure she spends weekends and public holidays with her family.

On the most rewarding thing about her job, Mkufu says it is when she sees the actual product of what she had started as a plan on paper.

“I can say that this is the greatest reward one can get. Starting any project from an idea and watch it grow from the design drawings up to the actual structure, that’s very rewarding,” she happily explains.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Never carry a woman’s purse


By By Jackson Biko

You are about to leave the house when your woman hands you her purse to hold as she puts some hair products in a different bag. When she’s done you hand back her purse and she says, “Carry it for me.” You don’t say anything. You just put the purse firmly in her hands.

In the car, she pouts and asks, “You can’t carry my purse?”


“Why not?”

“Why should I carry your purse?”

She rolls her eyes and looks outside the window for a second before saying, “So you are saying you can never carry my purse, ever?”

You sigh and say, “ No, I will not carry your purse as long as you have your hands. “I’m not the kind of guy who carries a woman’s purse,” you say. She turns all the way in her seat, crosses her arms cross her chest dramatically and asks, “Eh heh? Tell me, so what kind of a guy are you?”

“I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t carry his woman’s purse. Why would I?”

Then she retorts, “Because you are proud of me!”

“Sweetheart, I don’t have to carry your purse to show you that I’m proud of you. ”

She responds gravely, “By the way sometimes you say things that simply shock me. Ati you can’t carry my purse.” “I think a confident man would not think twice about carrying his woman’s purse,” she says.

“That’s the thing with women. “They say ‘Oh African men don’t know how to be men anymore’ … ‘Oh, there are no men left anymore in this town, just boys’, then when you get a real man, you hand him your bloody purse to carry. And once you have handed this real man your purse full of tampons and make-up, you will turn and say, “Oh, I can’t have a man who does everything I want. Such a man bores me.’”

“One would think you are living in the 50s,” she says as she pulls down the visor and starts applying lipstick. That’s another thing with ladies; they will sit in the car through the whole drive, talking and talking and then they want to apply lipstick and powder their faces when it’s time to leave.

“After you start carrying your woman’s purse, where do you stop?” you ask.

She stuffs her cosmetics in the evil purse that has caused this debate and says in conclusion,

“If you love your woman you should be able to do everything for her. It doesn’t make you a lesser man. It shows you are a man who is comfortable in his skin.”

Dear male reader, never ever carry your woman’s purse. Sometimes women will make you do things, not because they want you to do them but because they want to see if they can make you do them. Don’t do it, brother.

Thank me later.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Car ground clearance: Here is what you need to know


By By Gavin Bennett

If your car is a speed-bump scraper, or you want it to be less vulnerable on rough roads, there are several ways to increase its ground clearance.

The simplest and cheapest are to adjust the suspension height, or fit larger wheels and/or tyres. There are a few keynotes to bear in mind: First, a little increase makes a lot of difference. So don’t try to change a lounge lizard into a rock rabbit. A suspension lift of two or three centimetres will make a car significantly more competent; more than that will be technically complex and expensive, and could have some unwanted side-effects on the suspension and steering geometry. If you need to go more up-in-the-world than that, don’t change the clearance. Change the car.

Second, if you go for more height using bigger wheels, or even just a higher profile tyre, you will need to check the space in the wheel arches for both suspension travel and steering lock. And even if there’s no problem there, the change will affect the car’s gearing … perhaps awkwardly.

A bigger tyre/wheel diametre that gives a higher ride also increases the tyre’s circumference. And that changes the gearing ratios, which affect acceleration, top speed, and distort the speedometre and odometre readings. The difference may be small but that can be noticeable, and ultimately annoying.

Third, recognise that a car’s clearance is not a single measure. It varies depending on whether the vehicle is static or dynamic, and on the load it is carrying. Not just the height, but also the hardness of the suspension matters. There are also distinctions between the so-called entry, break-over and departure angles, determined by the wheelbase and the length and height of front and rear overhangs. With these in mind, and with some consideration for cost, the inevitable question will be whether bigger tyres or a lifted suspension are the better solution.

For your personal preferences, some modifications can give you a plus that you want with a minus you are ready to tolerate. Change settings within their design limits; don’t try to reinvent the system.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Canned foods you should avoid


By By Sound Living Reporter

It’s pretty amazing how many foods we’ve preserved in a can over the years. However, not every canned food is a dream come true. There are plenty that sound convenient and tasty but are truly horrible for your health. Avoid the following whenever possible.

Corned beef hash: This mixture of beef, spices, and potatoes isn’t exactly the perfect health food. In one 15-ounce can of this you can expect to eat 840 calories, 22 grams of saturated fat, and 2,460 milligrams of sodium. You should only take in 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day.

Canned chilli: Some canned chili with beans can hold over 500 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, and nearly 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Even if you can get past these atrocities, there’s another number that’s sort of confusing — and that’s the 10 grams of sugar. Just say no.

Fruit cocktail: At first glance, some fruit cocktails look innocent — 100 calories isn’t bad, and 21 grams of sugar isn’t too much of a nightmare. But once you realise there are actually 3.5 servings in one of these little cans, those numbers are much, much worse. You could be taking in 63 grams of sugar in one sitting.

Baked beans: Beans are known for their high protein content. Unfortunately, baked beans are one of the least nutritious ways to consume an otherwise healthy food. In some of these cans, you’re getting nearly 600 calories and over 50 grams of sugar. Do yourself a favour and control the sugar content with your own recipe.

Cream-based soups: In all honesty, we really could put just about any cream-based canned soup on this list and find a reason as to why it’s bad for your health. A can of some of these soups contains 340 calories, which is reasonable for a meal. But the 20 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat you’ll also be eating is really cause for concern. And like all cans of soup, the sodium content is outrageous at 1,600 milligrams.

We can guarantee making your own potato soup would be 10 times more healthy and delicious.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

PARENTING : Are they watching the right TV programmes?


One Saturday afternoon in Uganda’s capital Kampala, Betty Birungi was disturbed when she walked into the living room and found her four and six-year-old daughters watching a love scene on one of the cartoon channels.

“The male and female characters, I presume boyfriend and girlfriend, were having a phone conversation about love. The boy told the girl she was the girl of his dreams and that he had always liked her. The discussion did not end there as the two advanced their dialogue on meeting during the later part of the day,” Birungi says.

On another occasion, Birungi was embarrassed when she found the girls watching a kissing scene between an action hero and a reformed female villain.

Unable to take it any longer, the mother of two restricted their viewing by blocking the inappropriate channels using the remote parental control option. “By airing such content, these TV channels are brainwashing the minds of our children and before you know it, they will begin imitating the same actions at such an early age,” she says.

Birungi is just one out of the many parents complaining of the unsuitable material airing on some of the children TV channels and hopes concerned service providers take action.

Authorities speak out

On whether Uganda Communications Commissions (UCC) was aware of the inappropriate programmes showing on the different children channels, Godfrey Mutabazi, UCC’s executive director in a brief telephone interview stated, “The complaints have been brought to our notice and we directed DStv to stop airing the programmes immediately.”

UCC, a government regulatory body of the communications sector undertakes a range of functions including licensing, research and development, consumer empowerment and policy implementation.

Meanwhile, Fr Simon Lokodo, the minister of Ethics and Integrity says he is aware of the numerous complaints from pay television subscribers.

“I was informed of the inappropriate content last month after viewers sent me personal messages urging me to do something about this,” Fr Lokodo says.

He adds, “I was forced to call up the concerned parties including Mutabazi, who responded that he would expeditiously handle the matter. I’m also aware that a committee is being setup with the aim of screening material before it is aired on television. But personally, I condemn such channels for airing inappropriate content for children as it is eroding the morals of today’s children.”

Shows banned

In an email sent to Sunday Monitor, Tina Wamala, the public relations and communications at MultiChoice Uganda mentions that some of the animated television series including The Loud House and Hey Arnold! have been removed from the Africa feed. In addition, The Legend of Korra, another animated television series has also stopped airing and has no plans of doing so in future.

“They will no longer be available on our platforms,” Wamala stated in the email.

In addition, Wamala noted that MultiChoice had contacted the channel suppliers on the various recent complaints made against Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Nicktoons channels with regards to their programming.

“In Africa, as in all markets, we always seek to be respectful of local laws, cultures and sensitivities and, in some instances; this means we do show amended versions of the United States (US) original series. We constantly review feedback from our audiences to ensure that this is the case and this is a responsibility that we take extremely seriously,” the email continued.

Meanwhile, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa, comprising the world’s most popular entertainment brands including Nickelodeon revealed in an email forwarded by Wamala states, “We acknowledge the concerns expressed by customers. While we explore a variety of options, we will suspend the shows in question in Africa.

Although, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa and Nickelodeon Africa are committed to diversity and inclusiveness, VIMN also respects the varied cultures and regulatory codes of the markets in which we operate.”

Other unregulated distributors

Despite the move by respective authorities banning particular cartoon programmes, there are still unregulated distributors selling unsuitable children video content. For instance, many of the video libraries we visited in Kampala are still selling some of the banned cartoon series on DVDs.

Some of the dealers we reached out to denied knowledge of the ban.

Brian Kakeeto, a video library owner in Kampala, went further to mention that they would not stop selling the inappropriate DVDs as the business is their source of livelihood.

“This is where I earn my living. As long as they don’t come and arrest me, I will continue selling the material whenever a client comes to ask for it,” Kakeeto says.

He makes most of the sales during holidays when children are home.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

New film highlights Albino plight

The film ‘Inner Struggle’ was one of those that

The film ‘Inner Struggle’ was one of those that brought viewers to tears at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. PHOTO | PAUL OWERE 

By Paul Owere

Last week there were many films that were screened at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and so much happened but there is one film that has attracted attention.

Though there is some effort being done to stop stigma against people albinism, it is a problem that is yet to go away and still needs to be worked on.

The film ‘Inner Struggle’ was one of those that brought viewers to tears as it takes a look at an orphan girl with albinism who has been found abandoned on the streets, is adopted by a successful businessman and his wife.

The film is heartbreaking drama based on many true stories from real life situations in Tanzania.

At the screening it left many viewers with welling eyes as they sympathised with the young girl who the traditional healer was advising her father to scarifice for the sake of his business’ survival.

The businessman is faced with a difficult decision to make when his business starts to go bad, he gets an advice that will put him in an extremely difficult situation.

He is torn between choosing whether to listen to the witch doctor’s advice or will he listen to his heart. At the same time the young girl faces many difficulties in school, where schoolmates and teachers who do not seem to understand a thing about her.

The advice is dismissed at first but a man who has everything to lose sometimes have to resort to extraordinary measures.

A visit to a witch doctor makes him not only a lot poorer, but also doesn’t get the result that he returned home with the belief that his own daughter is the cause of all their problems.

The actors in the film are all amateurs without any previous experience of acting who go a long way to give a credible impression. The film helps to teach easily in an understandable way, what albinism means.

“Our hands do not go right through people like Alice as if they were ghosts. She is a human being like all of us, capable of love and kindness, and her body, or severed limbs, provides by no means to luck or magical powers to others,” says Eva the film producer.

According to her it’s an interesting idea to educate through films and if ‘The Inner Struggle’, makes a high-impact, is it perhaps a medium that can be used in the future.

“The film is highly topical as we hear of human sacrifices intensified at election time, and that people with albinism still are at significantly greater risk than others.”

Though there is a happy ending as the man decides again the plight of Albino children remains as a reality in Tanzania that is still to be dealt with .


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Presenting the case of the neglected boy child

Parents and activists should pay attention to

Parents and activists should pay attention to the boy child as they have done to girls to enable them appreciate the true nature of manhood and succeed in life. PHOTO | FILE 

By Salome Gregory

Back in the 1950s and late 70s most the families neglected the girl child. The boy child was given priority when it came to education. As a result majority of women ended up being stay at home mothers. Taking care of their families and farming was the norm.

Despite the women being the major food producers, they remained voiceless, powerless at the same time they suffered abuse from their spouses. As a result, activists on human rights stood up to fight for women and girl child rights.

Movements, campaigns, literatures with the focus of empowering women and girl child made it possible and their situation has so far improved though there are still gaps which need to be bridged.

However, the same struggles to put women and girls at the fore front have impacted negatively on the boy child. A simple survey by Sound Living reveals that it is also important for both parents and activists to also focus on the improvement of the well being of the boy-child.

Prosper Jariji, 24, is among other boys who was neglected by his parents. Seven years ago, he moved from his village Kichwele in Kigoma region to continue with his Primary Education at the Mokachi Centre in Kigoma.

The centre was funded by the European Union to cater for orphans and vulnerable children.

The centre was closed as soon as Prosper and his fellow pupils had completed Standard Seven.

Though he was enrolled at grade V, his parents never bothered to visit him during the entire time he was at school until he completed his primary education in 2011.

“I am coming from a poor family but it was not an excuse for them not to visit me at the centre. I had a lot of unanswered questions of why they never showed up on visiting days. As soon as I completed my primary education I was selected to join Bushabani Secondary School in the same region,” says Jariji.

But still he had to request for accommodation from one of the staff members of Mokachi Centre as it was not too far from the school.

He says his family never supported him so he resorted to selling water after lessons and would do house chores for his hosts. In exchange they would pay for him school fees.

At one point, the host family invited his parents one weekend and asked them why they neglected their own son. They said boys are born to be fighters so they believed he would fend for himself.

According to Jariji, the host family supported him until he completed secondary school in 2015.

“I did not perform well so am just helping this family run their business and they pay me Sh150,000 per month. I am still living with them family and it has turned out to be my second family. I am looking forward to opening my own shop in a years time from now,” says Jariji.

In September 2011 Plan International launched a report “Because I am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls 2011, So what about boys?” to show that gender campaigns have completely ignored the plight of the boys.

The report shows that boys and men should also be catered for in the campaigns to have a positive impact in our societies and economies.

Drawing on research and case studies, the report argues that working for equality must involve men and boys both as holders of power and as a group that is also suffering the consequences of negative gender stereotypes.

It also makes recommendations for action, showing policy makers and planners what can make the real difference to girls’ lives all over the world.

Commenting on the matter Jeanne Ndyetabura, an assistant commissioner for social welfare in Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, says that, it is true that majority focused on the empowerment of the girl child forgetting the boy also needs same attention as the girl.

There is a lot to do for the boy child. It is not possible for the country to see how much damage the neglect had caused to the boy child if we do not take time to reflect how boys are coping up with the daily challenges.

She says that, there are issues that affect the well being of boy child like drug abuse, gay issues as well as involving themselves in unsafe sex.

She says that this is the right time that parents and activists should pay attention to the boy child as they have done to girls. Failing to do that means we will end up with a generation of irresponsible fathers and husbands,” added Ndyetabura.

Martina John,35, is a nurse, a married woman and mother of two boys and two girls. She agrees that, most of the parents including her neglect the boys thinking they could make it easily unlike girls who need so much support.

“I love all my children. But I treat the girls with favour unlike boys. I always start with girls, even paying for their school fees, buying clothes then I come to the boys. I just feel girls need more attention because our society is already male dominated,” says Martina.

Adding to that she says, she is doing that to make her daughters more strong and confident to face challenges ahead of their lives. With boys, she thinks since men are do not need much attention since they are physically stronger.

Adam Mbulininge, a cleric based in Dar es Salaam says that men were naturally created by God as the head of the family. But he still gave power to parents to teach and mould their children on better ways to become responsible adults.

According to Pastor Mbulininge, most of the parents tend to think that men/boy child also need special attention as girls. He says the belief that men are born to be strong and face all troubles and solve them without even emotional support is wrong.

“This is wrong. We are raising a generation of men who would not strive to face challenges of life. Instead they will turn out to be lazy in thinking and opt to shortcuts as solutions that will put them into serious problems,” says Pastor Mbulininge.

According Gozbert Lawa, a sociologist based in Morogoro, if parents don’t not take care of their sons as they do with girls, there is a risk of raising violent adolescents/fathers.

He says that, these boys feel unloved by their parents and in the process of trying to get the attention they lose it and get into being violent and unmanageable.
‘‘ It is important for parents and activists to also give time for the boy child. The rising number of abuses in marriages, and irresponsible fathers came from this neglect of the boy child,” he says.

He warns that this would continue if serious steps are not taken to address the plight of the boy child.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

TRAVEL :Tourists visit Arusha to plant trees


By Elisha Mayallah

The daily life of the locals is slowly but surely becoming the agenda of tourists who venture out to volunteer on community work.

In need of a break and change of scenery, a group of 15 tourists from Colorado in the US packed their bags and travelled to Tanzania to participate in community work.

With a holiday to spare and a desire to escape the aduous demands of the high school work they set out from Arusha city last week. From there they headed to Tengeru, 13 kms away, for their first base.

They started their day with an insight of the Meru culture in which the Tengeru Cultural Tourism Program (TCTP) was their host.

They were part of a full day programme as environmental conservation volunteers at the intersection of Patandi and Akheri Kati villages

The Tengeru Cultural Tourism Programme works with the loal communities and actively involves them in environmental conservation activities. And it values has been added to the local economy.

Their objective is to stick to the principles of green environment and uplift the community as well as ensure it adheres to an environmental code of practice. International tourists keen on adding in their holiday itinerary on a community work are increasingly popular through the initiative of cultural tourism activities.

According to Ms Gladness Pallamgyo, the cordinator, Cultural tourism ensures local people benefit directly from the tourism industry which thrives on their culture, heritage, and natural resources.​ ​On this day a total of 60 tree seedlings were planted as part of the conservation effort. The target is to plant 5,000 trees in the surrounding areas.

Ms Pallangyo, speaking to reporters said the Village Conservation Initiative (VECI) is one of the projects under their watch. “As part of our environment conservation efforts, we have a tree planting project which is friendly with the environment and the livelihood of the rural people.

It has put together a sensitization programme designed to instruct and enlighten, and to promote environmental conservation awareness of those living at the foot of Mount Meru forest and the surrounding areas. Under the foot of Mount Meru, 4566m second highest in Tanzania, and its surrounding areas have higher rainfall than the lowlands, so greater agricultural productivity and higher population densities also distinguish them from the lowlands.

The steep gradients which are common in these highlands present special problems for farming, especially when tree clearance precedes cultivation of the soil.

Tree felling is often followed by surface runoff of rainwater and soil erosion, which results in the rapid environmental damage. Some of these problems can be avoided by replanting of trees.

“We have many training exercises aimed at helping the community adopt new methods of conservation. These methods will lead to increased conservation protection and food production, thus reducing the poverty level among community members,” stressed Ms Pallangyo.

Community members living near the forest, according to Ms Pallangyo, are delegated the duty of helping to ensure all who use the forest act in a manner conducive to safe, and productive usage of the natural resources. In addition to self policing activities, land pressure is used to help curtail land encroachment.

The area favours the wildlife making it prime safari destination of choice.

Tanzania has so much to offer. Sadly though, daily life is often far removed from such idyllic conceptions, said Lisa Marie Howell, one of the tourists.

“Through the safe distance of our digital television sets it may be hard for us to fully comprehend the adversity faced by the average Tanzanian citizen but this time round I am glad to experience this first-hand” Lisa said.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Engineer earns billions by fixing telecom firms across East Africa

Mr Barnabas Ndyanabo Bwali who has executed

Mr Barnabas Ndyanabo Bwali who has executed major engineering projects in the telecommunications industry across East Africa. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By Sound Living Reporter

Mr Barnabas Ndyanabo Bwali has made his mark in the telecommunications industry across borders. With creativity and resilience evidenced by the size and quality of multi-million dollar projects he has executed in the last 16 years, Mr Ndyanabo is a self-styled engineer in telecommunications.

Whatever he tries his hands at bring in the money, endearing the man born in rural Kagadi District to many high-profile suitors—corporations.

Driven by the adage, “You are your own limit; nothing will fail you except your thoughts and fears.” Mr Ndyanabo is a skilled Ugandan engineer offering his services beyond Uganda.

The journey

His journey started nearly four decades ago in Kagadi, a district in the Western region of Uganda.

In an e-mail interview, it emerged that he first saw light from a bulb when he was in his early teenage years.

He said: “I never saw an electricity bulb till I was 13 years in Senior One in 1991.”

Interestingly, he notes that to date, there is no electricity pole in the Sub-County of Bwikara in Kagadi District where he was born save for a few household generating power from solar panels.

“Although I was born where there was no power, that never stopped me from achieving my dream of becoming an electrical engineer, a dream I started harbouring when I was in primary school in 1984,” he said.

About 17 years later (July 2001), the journey that started with a dream became a reality when he completed his Electrical Engineering Degree, (majoring in Telecommunications) from Makerere University.

Professional life

Armed with a degree, Mr Ndyanabo embraced a trait that, in most cases, is never taught at school—emotional intelligence. With combination of the two—emotional intelligence/quotient (EQ) and intelligence quotient (IQ), Mr Ndyanabo was propelled to handling sophisticated and mega engineering projects that would be handled by foreign expatriates.

“The secret is to find something that are passionate about,” he said, adding: “Draw a road map on how you will achieve that dream by identifying your career goals and develop a refined list of career options by assessing your interests, skills, abilities and values.”

Career highlights

“I have more than 16 years’ experience in delivering complex, multi-million-dollar telecom initiatives, with particular expertise in network roll outs and modernisation projects for corporations, such as Warid Telecom, Airtel, Vodacom, Tigo, Nokia, and Ericsson,” he said in an interview.

He continued: “As a certified project management professional, my speciality is developing and managing projects within time, budget and quality requirements.”

Over the last 16 or so years, Mr Ndyanabo has done high-value initiatives in the region.

Some of the highlights of his career include: spearheading an execution of more than $282 million in Transformational and Network Expansion initiatives and CAPEX (acquire or upgrade of physical assets).

He headed the management of a $190 million (about Shs684 billion) project for the launch of a startup Greenfield mobile telecom operator Warid Telecom Uganda, which saw Warid Telecom (now Airtel) an Entrant of the Year Award at AfricaCom Awards in 2008.

He also spearheaded a countrywide Network Swap or modernisation for Vodacom Tanzania.

He also headed Green energy project that generated operating savings of 35 per cent. This was in addition to amplifying Ericsson business in Tanzania by $15m annually via strengthening customer relationship with Tigo.

How Ndyanabo has taken his services across borders

Over the years Mr Ndyanabo has managed projects amounting to billions and trillions of Shillings, sum of money that is two or even three time what is allocated to several government ministries, departments and agencies.

Currently he is plying his professional expertise with Airtel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

He has been there since 2014 where he is leading operations in 20 countries.

Before that he worked with Ericsson in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania between the year 2013 – 2014. He also had a stint with Nokia in the same country between the year 2011 – 2013. He has also worked as project director where he was hired to lead and implement Vodacom Tanzania Telecom deployment initiatives and hybrid power engagements.

But before that he had a stint with Venture Communications Ltd as the Project Engineer between the year 2001 and 2005.

And then he was hired by Zain Uganda (now trading as Bharti Airtel) as transmission project manager- in 2005 – 2007.

Before leaving for Tanzania, he was the head of Projects, Warid Telecom Uganda Ltd. (now trading as Bharti Airtel Uganda) Kampala, Uganda between 2007 and 2011.

While with the same company he was selected by Abu Dhabi group owners of Warid to establish new operations in Ivory Coast.

Awards bagged

The award he has won makes him a proud Ugandan and East African. With his skills set, he is globally competitive, something he wants his fellow country men and women to emulate.

The accolades which Tigo Tanzania won at an international mobile phone operator competition in South Africa in 2013 the best network improvement category which improved network quality were a as result of his role.

It was not long before his creativity and leadership saw him bag CEO Award for Project Excellence in 2009.

In 2008 during the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town, his contribution saw the then Warid Telecom Uganda now Airtel Uganda, win two awards.

For the new entrant of the Year award which Warid Telecom Uganda won then, the judges were looking for an operator or service provider that developed a unique business model to offer new services in a region.

Judges looked at both the company’s network deployment strategy and effective branding and marketing campaign for the launch of its services. The entrant had to have shown outstanding results following its launch in terms of customer uptake, revenues and growth prospects, something he spearheaded and implemented.

The Warid Telecom, now Airtel also won the best Customer Services Provider of the Year, thanks to Mr Ndyanabo’s role in all these.


His journey has been dotted with some setbacks.

“It has never been a walk in a park. You must invest time, focus and resources in bettering yourself,” Mr Ndyanabo said.

Competitors have kept him on his toes. “Competition has never been easier. Now you are up against the global village, meaning you have to stand out from the rest of the world. That won’t be handed over to you on a silver plate.”


Friday, July 21, 2017

Bringing that outdoor gaming experience to Dar es Salaam

Mr Mohammed Raza, the founder of Escape Game

Mr Mohammed Raza, the founder of Escape Game with his father. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax

There might be a couple of criteria that determines a perfect gaming experience but its appeal to a wide audience in terms of age, gender, mental and physical capacities could be important to the acceptability of the particular game.

Mohammed Raza, 22, founded Escape Game - which dwells on the idea of locking a team of players in a room and forcing them to use their mental capabilities to solve puzzles, decipher clues and escape from the room.

He is of opinion that apart from its broad audience focus, the game offers a sense of perfection as it allows players to gain valuable lessons or insights from their gaming interaction.

“It should have a clear goal, self-explanatory and provide a level of interaction with other players,” he says.

Raza, who graduated from Brunel University, London in 2015 with a degree in Business Management, says that after gaining experience at Jumia and Reliance Insurance, he was looking for something new to pursue and the idea of Escape Game popped up.

Raza narrates that going through an early-life crisis and unsure of what to do career wise was the key inspiration towards gaming experience as he was against the idea of working behind a desk or business that someone else could copy.

“I was looking for something that could be truly unique and the opportunity fell in my lap,” he says.

This concept allowed Raza to provide a service that was new in the market and it was something he could enjoy pursuing.

Raza says it dwells on the idea of locking a team of players in a room and forcing them to use their mental capabilities to solve puzzles, decipher clues and escape the room.

“It is an interesting mix of teamwork, communication, logical thinking and lots of arguing to achieve the final goal,” says Raza.

“It sounds weird when one hears about it for the first time, but the concept has grown exponentially in the last 5 years,” he explains.

To Raza, work experience of any kind is valuable saying that his idea of coming up with the game was a result of what he learned previously where he used to work.

He recalls how his father used to make him work during his final year in high school while considering the work chore unknowingly that it was building him a foundation to come up with an idea which would later come and shape his career.

Raza also says the internet played a part as it allows anyone with access to get all the information at our fingertips.

“You can learn anything and everything by looking online. Accounting procedures, marketing strategies, coding, online shopping and Escape Game Owner Groups are just a few of the things I searched for.”

The game differs slightly with other gaming though it can be played by people of all ages. The only difference, Raza notes, is younger people require a couple more hints than adults.

“The activity requires players to think outside the box in the context of their environment in order to achieve the set goal,” he says adding, “This means looking at colours, numbers, and details and patterns to figure out the challenges. The beauty of this game comes from seeing how your teammates perform under stress and frustration, as well as their interactions with each other within the game.”

Teams participating could come from a wide range of people.

These, according to Raza, include couples, friends, families or even corporate groups. To successfully complete games, teams must have players with various skills like pattern recognition, communication, logic, hand-eye coordination and much more and as such appeals to a wide variety of people.

Raza was able to come up with numerous lessons which he was able to learn along the way of coming up with his gaming idea.

He advises people to, “Consult with professionals in that industry, have a proper plan for marketing the product, thoroughly research , keep your accounts in order, and finally, ask your employees to work with you, not for you,” he says adding, “these lessons stem directly from errors I have made during this process. We also make mistakes but learn from them.”

Raza states that finance and guidance are two more important barriers between an idea and its execution. He, however, opines that nowadays there are people who are willing to break those barriers if provided with the service that they need or can’t reproduce. “Nevertheless one should find an idea that is both a need in the area of operations and have a unique selling point.”

The challenges that Raza says occur many times are; the unfamiliarity of the gaming among the city residents as to most of the fans of gaming plus it is a new concept and people don’t have much information about it.

“However I keep in mind that the concept is entirely new in Dar-es-Salaam, and we would have to educate our market. I also remember bringing officials from the municipality to play an Escape Game because they simply didn’t understand why anyone would want to be locked in a room and have to do puzzles to come out,” he says.

Raza thinks that for the country’s youths to be able to utilize their potential to the maximum, they need to bring at least two things on board.

“First, we need to learn from the mistakes we make as we will make errors in judgement throughout our life but as long as we learn from the mistakes, we can eventually win them over.”

He adds that two is to be passionate by giving their ideas or business 100 per cent all the time. Raza thinks, “Successful people did not get where they are by only working between 9-5.”

Raza is looking forward to providing corporate companies with exciting, unique and educational team building sessions as he thinks there is a market for profiling senior executives according to their behavior inside the games.

“One could determine their strengths and weaknesses as well as their interpersonal skills with other co-workers through observation,” he advises.

Additional reporting by Tasneem Hassanali


Friday, July 21, 2017

Faridi lost his sight but not the vision to a full life

Faridi Shija busy crushing stones. He has

Faridi Shija busy crushing stones. He has managed to triumph despite losing his sight at the tender age of 8. PHOTOS | JONATHAN MUSA 

By Jonathan Musa @jonathanmusa

Blindness is lack of vision. It may also refer to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

But to some blind people, it does not matter especially when it comes to daily activities that would enable them to make ends meet. And this is why we bring you the story about 58-year-old Faridi Shija who has managed to triumph despite losing his sight at the tender age of 8. From excavating and crushing rocks daily, he has managed to build a decent house, take his children to school, employ casual labourers and buy cows which give him enough milk to sell and generate more income. He also lends money to people in his community when they are in need.

He lost his eyesight at a the age of eight after suffering from measles. Coping with this situation did not cost him such much. Faridi, a father of six and a grand father of two says instead of lamenting about his situation, he has chosen to do something to bring food on his table.

Faridi who lives in Ibanda village, Ilemela District in Mwanza says struggling with life for about fifty years has never been easy since he did not even manage to attain education. As he got older, he had nothing to since no one would accept to give him any job given his situation.

He then chose to crush stones at a stone quarry in Ibanda village, Kirumba ward that is about a half a kilometre from where he lives. He says this job is what he does best.

“This is my life and I am doing it well. I can’t go to the streets to beg for money yet I have this job which has been supporting me all my life and my family. I am blind but happy with my job,” he says.

He says from his crushing stones, he has managed to take her children to school of whom, two are in secondary while three in primary and the youngest, still at home.

“I cannot leave this job because no one can heal a blind man but since I am very good at this job I am happy to continue doing it,” Faridi.

He says at times, he smiles and thank God particularly when some people come to borrow some money from him for it makes him feel valued.

“When people come to ask for financial assistant from me, I realize that I am valued in the society and not stigmatized,” he says smiling.

Although Faridi admits that he faces challenges in his trade, he says he has succeeded in many other ways.

“I managed to build my own house, educate my children and also support my family despite the challenges I face,” he said.

He sells one (heap) truck of concrete at Sh 200,000. He says he has created very big customer base and get many orders in advance.

With this kind of business he has managed for about fifteen years, he has employed casual labourers to help him for efficiency and timely service delivery.

“Converting stones into concrete is not as easy as one plus one, a lot of energy is consumed and determination here is the main secret. Due to its heavy task, you cannot get at least casuals who can last for long, they run away because of the nature of the activity here,” he stated.

He says, one may most likely think stone quarrying is a simple job to do but there are many challenges.

“When you tour the quarry, you will also discover it is a job that cuts across sexes and ages,” he said.

But the task is not simple at all. For instance the mechanism they use to excavate rocks from underground and crack them into small pieces is incredible, at least in this era.

They use a small flat metal, which they place under the rock and then hit it with a big hammer.

Timing is vital as well, because when one misses the head of the metal and hits the rock, the price can only be pain in their hands.

“Sometimes we hit our fingers with the hammers we use. It is a tiresome job. I don’t plan to leave it because it’s all I have got and I am getting older anyway,” he said.

He, however, explains that initially, it could take him a week to gather stones that fill a truck.

“If you work alone, it will take you about a week to crush stones that fill a truck. But since I employed casuals who assist me here, we can fill a truck within eight to ten hours,” he narrated.

Extracting rocks and breaking them into smaller construction materials (concrete) is a hard task.

Except for the rough methods they use, hot