Sunday, July 1, 2018

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

Engalaoni village community in Arumeru District

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

By By Devotha John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tell-tale signs that you’re stressed

 

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

Feeling tired

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

Sleep loss

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

Headaches

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

Irritable

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

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

Tearful

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

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Stuck in restaurant with three girls

 

By Eugene Mugisha

I found myself in a tricky situation at the weekend. I was in a restaurant with my most recent ex, the girl I was seeing, and the girl I am planning to date. I know it sounds like a fib, I too could not imagine the odds of something like this happening. But there we were.

As much as I was surprised to see my ex, I should not have been. This used to be our place. They have great chicken and she loves chicken. When we stopped dating, I no longer saw the point in going there. The place was not exactly pocket friendly. My ex did not see me and I thanked God because she would find a way of making a scene.

I did not know why my current girlfriend was here. I had intentionally never told her about this place because of the possibility of something exactly like this happening. I was actually shocked to see her just a few tables away from my ex. I do not know if she was aware of my ex’s presence as yet, but that would certainly change the moment she saw me.

She would start connecting non-existent dots in her head, assume I had come to meet with my ex, and start a war. You see, she likes to pick a fight and any scene involving her and my ex would be chaos and would definitely ruin any chance I had with the third girl.

And now the girl I am planning to see. I do not know much about this girl yet, so I do not know her likes and dislikes. For all I know, she might even be a married woman.

My surprise in seeing her at the restaurant was not because she was there, but because she was there at that particular moment with the other two girls. She was alone, probably the reason she saw me. She acted cool, gave me a little wave, and I waved back.

As much as I wanted to go over and join her, that was not going to happen. I would have to pass by my girl and my ex. So, I pretended I was busy with my food, and kept my head low.

For the moment I was safe. I was seated in a corner which was extremely effective for hiding but not good for escaping unnoticed since I had to walk across the terrace to get out and they would all certainly see me. And from the look of things, none of them was in a hurry.

But I was in a hurry, really personal affairs to take care of. The chicken had been great as always, but I could not help regretting why I had come here that day.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

The rat and the koala

 

By Anwar Aliamin

Once upon a time, there was a rat who worked in a clothes shop as a button maker. He was very enthusiastic about his job and was always willing to learn. This made him very much liked by his boss, the Koala who kept teaching him new ways to make beautiful buttons.

The rat’s joy came from seeing animals wearing clothes with the beautiful buttons that he made.

One day, the chief of the rats announced that he wanted to give his daughter the most wonderful gift that the jungle had to offer, and if she liked the gift, the one that made it would get handsomely rewarded.

The rat told his boss the Koala that they should make the chief’s daughter a dress with buttons that shone brighter than the sun. Surely, she would love it. And together the two of them got busy for days, making the most beautiful dress that was ever made in the shop.

They then wrapped it carefully and took it to the chief’s home. As the rat had guessed, the chief’s daughter’s eyes widened with wonder and amazement when she saw the dress. She was so happy with the dress that she did not bother with any other present after that. This made the rat very happy indeed.

The Koala and the rat politely asked if they could be royal tailors to the chiefs and the King himself. The chief made them exactly that and they were not only known throughout the jungle for their fine clothes and buttons but even outside the jungle as well.

MESSAGE: Hard work and the love for what you do will surely make you successful.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Skipping is great for school children

 

There are many reasons why skipping is great for everyone but here are main reasons why skipping is of particular benefit to kids!

Great for developing hearts! Your heart is a muscle and like any other muscle it gets stronger with exercise. Enjoying frequent physical activity like skipping enables your heart to become stronger.

Helps lay down healthy bones. Your skeleton grows stronger if you do regular weight-bearing exercise. An activity like skipping that puts stress on the bone is recommended for children as it helps to stimulate optimum bone mass in developing bodies. Not only is this great now, it also helps guard against osteoporosis later.

Brain gym. Skipping helps with many aspects of mental ability including those which will help with sport, movement and rhythm, and problem solving. With all the skipping tricks that are available you will have plenty to keep your mind occupied.

A++ academic achievement. Regular exercise improves concentration levels. A short five minute blast with a skipping rope between lessons will increase blood flow to the brain which is your bodies way of ‘putting on your thinking cap’!

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Youth soccer league kicks off in Kibaha

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Season four of the Youth Soccer League kicked off last weekend at Tumbi Primary School in Kibaha, Coast Region. Pupils from 12 schools are taking part in the tournament.

Organised by a Korean non-governmental organisation, Global Together, for the fourth consecutive year, the tournament involves schools from Kibaha Town Council and Kibaha District Council.

Football teams from Miembe Saba, Tumbi, Azimio, Mtongani, Mamlaka, Mwendapole, Mlandizi, JKT-Ruvu, Kibaha, Kongowe, Jamuhuri and Kilangalanaga primary schools, which will compete in the league, received sports gears including new jerseys, shoes and balls.

During the opening ceremony, Global Together Director Sang Yun Nam, underscored the importance of sports for children, saying the games are crucial for not only keeping children healthy mentally and physically but also for building good relations between schools and among the pupils.

“Sports make the brain work better. It helps pupils to have a good focus on school work,” he told pupils and teachers from the participating schools, calling for fair play and respect for each other during the games.

A Standard Seven pupil from Jamuhuri Primary School, Rebeca Obadia commended Global Together for sponsoring the tournament, saying the support will help improve sports performance in the district.

“I’m happy to participate in the competition. I have seen people succeed in life through sports. I’m keen to achieve this through football,” she said, calling Kibaha residents and parents to turn up in big numbers to support their children and spot football talents.

Standard Seven pupil from Kibaha Primary School, William Stanford, said participating in the competition would help build fitness and confidence among the pupils. “Sports help us to avoid health problems, make us physically active and we become happier when playing,” he said.

Miembe Saba Primary School head teacher Rufina Mselewa said games are a platform to showcase pupils’ talents.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Fighting HIV/Aids stigma: A story of hope

Group members engage in various income

Group members engage in various income activities which have improved their living standard. PHOTO|TUMAINI MSOWOYA 

By Tumaini Msowoya

Mbozi. On my way to Ichesa village in Songwe Region’s Mbozi District recently, my mind raced as I tried to figure out what lay ahead of me. I was going to meet people living with HIV. I envisaged seeing not so healthy-looking people but people who had lost hope.

How wrong I was! On the contrary, everyone I met looked healthy and happy, their faces full of hope.

As if reading my mind, Alphan Langison tells me; “All these people here are HIV positive. We have nothing to worry about. We are sure of living a normal life just like any other person.”

Langison is the chairman of Jiwezeshe, a 60-member economic empowerment group of people living with HIV in Iganya village.

Financial stability, good diet and healthcare access have restored the smiles on these people’s faces. Smiles that were inexistent in previous years when stigma was at its peak.

People living with HIV/Aids in Mbozi have new hope, thanks to the National Council for People Living with HIV/Aids (Nacopha).

“Through Nacopha, we were recognised, counseled and brought together through support groups. We are now sure of an income, a balanced diet and access to antiretroviral drugs and other necessities. We are no longer dependent,” Langison says.

Nacopha’s Managing Director, Deogratias Rutatwa says it was not easy reaching this stage. Some people had really lost hope.

“The council unites them and lets them know that life has to go on. One can live with HIV for many years. They only need to accept their situation and follow experts’ advice on staying healthy,” says Rutatwa.

Nacopha supports government’s 90-90-90 treatment target to help end Aids by 2020. The government aims at ensuring 90 per cent of all the people infected with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those diagnosed with HIV receive sustained ARV treatment and 90 per cent of those on ARV treatment have viral suppression by 2020. Viral suppression is a state where the virus reaches undetectable levels through treatment.

According to the 2016-2017 Tanzania HIV Impact Survey, HIV prevalence in Songwe Region is 5.8 per cent. Njombe has the highest prevalence rate at 11.4 per cent.

Before Nacopha introduced the support groups, HIV stigma and discrimination were very high in Mbozi. Many perceived a HIV positive test result as a death sentence.

“Although I had been sick for a long time, I was very shocked when I tested and was told I was HIV positive. I did not believe it. I thought that was the end of my life,” says Hashim Handala.

His friends and relatives isolated him, fearing he would infect them with the virus.

Joyce Machemba who has been living with HIV for 12 years went through the same ordeal. People pointed fingers at her believing she was going to die any time.

“People would refuse to lend me money for treatment fearing I would die before paying their money back,” she recalls.

Stigma made many people living with HIV turn into beggars. They had little or no income because no one bought things from them.

“I’m really grateful to Nacopha for restoring my health and happiness. Today stigma against me is history,” says Esther Mwamlima, who shares a similar story.Before she found out she had HIV, Esther thought she had been bewitched. She had been sick for long and consulted witch doctors in vain.

“I experienced a lot of stigma and I was in bad shape both financially and health-wise. No one could lend me money to buy food and medicine. To them, I had one foot in the grave,” she sadly recalls.

Mwamlima believes stigma can send someone with HIV to their early grave.

Economic empowerment

Nacopha’s national chairman, Justine Mwinuka attributes stigma reduction in the district to the formation of the support groups. Through the groups, members discuss issues about their health including diet. They also remind each other to take their drugs and discuss how to improve personal finance.

When a colleague falls ill, they support them in every way possible until they get back on their feet again.

“This happiness that you see among us is a result of our unity. The economic empowerment groups have changed our lives,” says Mbozi District Nacopha chairman, Moses Haongwa.

The tables have turned. Those who used to refuse lending them money are turning to them for loans. The support groups run savings and credit schemes.

The secretary of Jitegemee group which literally means stand on your own feet, Sofia Nyungu, says her group has managed to raise Sh4.5m from the Sh500,000 capital they received from Mbozi District Council a year ago. This enabled the group to buy and lend livestock to its members for income generation.

“Some of our members engage in farming and others in animal husbandry. We are now able to send our children to school,” says Nyungu.

Tujikomboe group members on their part contributed Sh500 each initially, money with which they bought chickens that multiplied after some time. They divided the chickens among themselves before they received a Sh500,000 boost from the district council.

“We own a groundnuts farm in which we invested the money we obtained from the district council. We have no worries at all,” says Tujikomboe secretary, Justa Nachanya.

Despite all this success, these people are facing one major challenge. The distance to health facilities where they get their ARV supplies.

“There are people who walk for up to four hours to a health facility for service. This is a big deterrent which makes many quit taking their medication. Going off medication is very dangerous,” Nachanya says.

Government can ease this burden by supplying the drugs through the support groups, suggests Magamba Ward councilor, Gilbert Mkoma. “This will make their life easier and encourage more people to take ARVs,” he says. For children on ARVs, missing classes to attend clinic is the biggest hurdle.

Mbozi Chief Medical Officer, Abdul Msuya says the district is looking into ways to bring ARVs closer to the people. He admits the support groups have helped raise the number of people using ARVs. He is proud that the groups have helped Mbozi stand out in the fight against stigma. The doctor says the district will continue with its efforts to ensure people go for HIV testing and those who test positive are put on ARV therapy.

Although the district HIV/Aids coordinator, Dr Mwanahamisi Kapola believes recording zero new infections is possible if all players play their part, Nacopha’s Managing Director, Rutatwa says there’s still a long way to go.

He cautions against giving HIV a blind eye, saying we have been silent on HIV for a long time. He wants people to understand that the disease is still here with us. “All stakeholders including political leaders should not give HIV a blind eye. Let’s use our platforms to talk about it,” he advises.

To show government’s commitment, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa recently announced he will be at the forefront in sensitising men to go for testing.

The Prime Minister says it is very dangerous for people to not know their status. Government plans to ensure everyone knows their status by encouraging people to go for testing.

Email: tmsowoya@mwananchi.co.tz

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

It doesn’t all come out in the wash ...

 

By Gavin Bennett

Washing a car is easy. Cleaning a car is not.

And once in a while your car needs a lot more than the daily wipe, the weekly brush, the monthly vacuum cleaning, or the quarterly polish. It needs a “Valet” service. That’s not a highfalutin version of what your regular washing does. It’s a focus on what routine washing does not do.

In most of Europe, professional Valet Service is a major branch of the motor business and, to give you an idea how popular, important and thorough it is, the most sophisticated job can cost Sh1m! In this part of the world, we don’t have damp and musty winters that demand an annual “spring clean” blitz, and most of us don’t have that kind of money!

But we do have dirt. The good news is that care and hard work are good substitutes for cash. The process best starts with the most greasy and grimy parts – the engine and underpan and inside the wheel arches and wheel hubs. Professional pressure/steam cleaning is the best way.

Once the main and most stubborn dirt has been removed with this mechanical aid of a high-pressure and high temperature jetstream of solvents, detergents and water, you can have the enjoyable job of “detailing” the finishing touches; getting into the nooks and crannies with effort and ingenuity – a toothbrush and a green (non metallic) scouring pad also help.

The next phase is an inside job – the passenger compartment and boot.

Start with a good general clean and then get down to detail. Brush, vacuum clean and wipe, followed by a carpet and upholstery shampooing. The best results come if all the easily detachable parts are removed and cleaned as separate items (floor mats, the back seat squab) and then get inside and behind all the things that are normally covered up (like door panels, spare wheel wells etc).

Finally, when it’s all super clean by ordinary daily standards, tackle all the fiddly little bits in minute detail. It’s the removal of dirt from joints and corners (eg in dashboard vents, around buttons and knobs) that lifts the final result to a wow level. An artist’s brush (fairly stiff, oil-painting type) dipped in water and shaken virtually dry is amazingly good at getting dust out of corners.

On outside bodywork, wash and polish deals with all the main surfaces, but the car is not, and does not look, really clean because of dirt and stains in the seams around door handles and trim strips and mirrors and light mountings; between the louvres of the radiator grille, along windscreen and window seals, behind number plates, in every seam and fold of every panel.

The detailed cleaning concentrates on overlooked stains in awkward places, but it makes all the difference to the final result. Attention to detail for cleaning purposes automatically forces close attention to the condition of each part, so Valet also takes the opportunity to tighten loose screws, replace missing drainage plugs, repair broken retainer clips, replace perished seals, free and lightly lubricate stiff and squeaky mechanisms, separate cables and pipes that may be chaffing against each other…

Done properly, a Valet Service puts all sorts of things right and gives the whole vehicle a close look and a fresh start. As professional car dealers well know, it also increases buyer appeal and sale value.

Email: life&style@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Martha pushing realistic painting forward

Martha Mtasiwa painting on the canvas. She has

Martha Mtasiwa painting on the canvas. She has secured her place Tanzania art scene. PHOTO | ESTHER KIBAKAYA 

By Esther Kibakaya @TheCitizenTz

From traditional to modern scenes, art industry has experienced a major transformation over time, opening new doors especially for women who have passion to pursue a career in this creative industry which for many years has been highly dominated by men.

Martha Mtasiwa, a 29-year-old mother of two is one among such women who took her passion for painting to the next level by deciding to make a professional career out of it.

Growing up, unlike many young girls of her age who were interested in more feminine games, the case was different for Martha, who started showing interests in arts at a very young age.

“It is something I had in me ever since I was growing up my mother used to tell me that my biological father was also interested in drawing though he was doing it for fun. I had different taste of games if I must say, I remember while other girls were busy playing I was busy drawing or moulding,’’ she says.

It wasn’t until 2014, when she decided to do arts professionally “as a self-made artist going commercial was a bit challenging because I felt that I haven’t mastered all the necessary skills needed to compete out there that’s why most of my art work I sold to some close friends and other people who happened to be attracted to my work. These people happened to be the source of encouragement to what I was doing and so they helped in pushing me to better my work,” she says.

The same year, Martha joined Russian Cultural Centre where she received training once every week, something which helped her sharpen her skills in art but still felt that she needed more to reach out to the level she wanted to, “I felt that something was missing from the training and so the same year my mother connected me to Constantine Kiswanta, one of the long time artist’s in the country. He trained me how to do realistic painting, the type of painting which involves drawing real things in real environment,” explains Martha.

After mastering the skills, in 2017, she went solo and started working as an independent artist based in Kigamboni before she moved to Bagamoyo a year later where she currently lives with her husband. She earns a living through art.

While she enjoys painting, however she still feels that some of the expectations she had while starting a career as an artist have not been achieved “for instance I wanted to be recognised both locally and internationally and also to have an opportunity to do exhibitions in different countries, but it hasn’t been possible and one of the reasons has to do with my gender.

As a woman it reaches a certain point in life that you can’t afford to do certain things because of responsibilities such as becoming a mother and so balancing the two can be a challenge.”

Explaining more on what it means to be a woman in the field which is highly dominated by men, Martha says the industry has been favourable for women as it offers a lot of opportunities for them however there are some reasons which pull them back from achieving more.

“For instance, you might want to do an exhibition which will require to do a lot of preparation including having time to draw, do some follow up on venues, however sometimes families may fail to understand what we are trying to do. They think that being an artist involves people who have failed in life, But once you manage to go out, you find that there are lots of opportunities for women,” she says.

Apart from that, Martha says there have been a number of challenges she had to face to reach where she is today, “as an artist sometimes it takes time for my work to be sold and therefore I am forced to sell at a cheaper price. “It takes a lot of time and energy to complete each piece of art work, so selling the work that has taken a lot of time cheaply can be discouraging at times.”

She says the society needs to understand that women who love art especially painting have the opportunity to excel in the industry if they are given full support, “When I was starting my career as an artist, I had little support from some of my family members. They discouraged me, something which pulled me back at some point.”

But she made the decision to continue and believe in what she loved and is happy her mother understood how she felt and decided to give her the support she needed.

“We should start at the family level to give our support especially to young girls so that they can do better in whatever they want to do and achieve their goals in life,” says Martha.

She says its high time that we put more efforts to ensure that artists have a platform to showcase their work, something which could help to nurture new talents and encourage artist to keep on working hard.

Email: ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

We are going to need more books now

 

By Jackson Biko

I wrote a book about a man called Larry who suffers from alcoholism. Then with very little irony (and even less originality) I called the book “Drunk”.

People who are not my friends or family have told me it’s a decent book, so there is a good chance it’s a decent book if we are to take their word for it. You might enjoy it if you get your hands on it.

It turns out that to write a book, you have to meet people and sign their copies and speak to them and laugh with them and tell them that you are grateful that they bought your book.

It’s very humbling and fun for the most part, but only if you don’t do it daily and not for many hours and not hug too many people with foundation on their faces because that stuff remains all over your shirt. Like everything else, it can be exhausting and I get easily exhausted by things and people and I want to run away and hide in a hill to recover, eating wild fruits, roasting fowls over open fires and listening to the natural symphony of the wild.

So it wasn’t surprising that I would find myself selling and autographing my book at a small reading club for women… only they were posh women so they don’t call it a writing club, because that sounds very mainstream and unimaginative, and they are furthest from that. So they called it a Reading Cycle.

“We no longer do chamas,” one of them told me, “it has evolved into something erudite and fun. We now do books because books are not just about books but about life and we are about life.”

There were 10 of them, dressed to come out in the evening to discuss a book they had been reading last month. They were in their 40s, professional women; confident, outspoken, bold and self-assured and they said things with their hairstyles and their looks and their skin and their mouths and when they stood, they stood erect and firm like lighthouses.

The kind of women who are not afraid of eye contact. They don’t blink. And they never look away. The held court at a long table in the garden of a bar in Westlands.

As they evening light faded, they gathered to discuss Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine of which they all had the hardcover. There were several bottles of red wine opened and breathing on the table. A few of them sipped hot toddies.

They laughed with confidence, like they had lived and they had learnt and they had little to prove even to themselves. Illustratively, one of them had carried a book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F**k by Mark Manson, a code that, I’m sure, most of them lived by. They were mothers and wives and single parents and spinsters.

Some ran marathons. Some were only settling on their true north. They smelled of evening perfumes. Their skins glowed, skins that were well acquainted with spas.

Witty

I was a little unmoored by the sheer concentration of female energy in that space. And of their collective pot of cognition. It felt like sitting inside a heavy cloud of unadulterated progesterone. Thank God I had a glass of whisky at hand.

One of them was saying how Union’s book “felt like fresh air.” Another re-joined, “Because Gabrielle felt like us even though her circumstances were of a black woman in America with its different culture.”

I was sipping my whisky silently, trying not to draw attention to myself.

One said the book made her go see her gynaecologist, something she had kept postponing for a while because her gyno, a doctor called Kagemi, has long queues and she didn’t have the time or patience to wait.

The one who invited me, Nyambura, said she liked how Gabrielle mentioned how she was nasty to other women, because she knows how they (women) in leadership can be “bitchy” (her words) to other women.

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

PARENTING: Finding out why your child is unhappy

 

By Stephanie Dolgoff

There was no single incident that made Kim Black of River Ridge, LA, realize that all was not sunshine and warm fuzzies between her son Harrison, then 7, and his second-grade teacher. Rather, it was a constellation of things: Harrison insisting that “the teacher doesn’t like me,” that she yelled at him frequently in class, that she was picking on him in particular—as well as the dramatic change in her son’s disposition. “I’d had this happy-go-lucky child, and now he’s coming home crying every day as he gets off the bus,” says Black, a mom of four.

So before the end of the first month of school, Black went to speak with Harrison’s teacher. “I said, ‘My son doesn’t feel like you like him,’?” recalls Black. “She was very defensive, saying, ‘Of course I like him. I like all the children.’?” Black quickly explained that she wasn’t accusing the teacher of doing anything wrong, but that she was simply trying to make her aware that Harrison felt this way, and to understand why. The teacher insisted she had no idea. “I think that started us off on the wrong foot,” says Black, noting that things deteriorated from there and that she had “opened a can of worms.” Harrison grew to dislike going to school, and his grades suffered. Ultimately he was moved to a different class, but not without much angst all around.

It’s hard to know what to think (or do) when your child comes home clearly upset, or with a specific beef like Harrison’s. “You hear things like, the teacher plays favorites, we all get punished if somebody’s bad, she’s impatient with me, or that he’s bored,” says Susan Etheredge, associate professor of education and child study at Smith College. Some of the complaints can be about social issues—for instance, there’s a problem with another child and the teacher isn’t stepping in, says Etheredge, who adds that the beginning of the year is the peak time for all these concerns.

Depending on your style and whether or not your child is particularly sensitive, it may be tempting to advise him (in age-appropriate language, of course) to grow a pair. More likely, however, a part of you will want to elbow your way into the classroom like Nancy Grace on steroids and fight for your kid.

Totally understandable—although more likely to get you branded as the cuckoo mom to be humored than to resolve the problem. Instead, use our step-by-step guide to sorting out your child’s trouble with his teacher. You’ll find that he may soon be looking forward to school—or at least showing up and learning something. [pagebreak]

Step 1: Play Reporter

Sometimes kids will make generic claims, like “The teacher’s mean to me.” You want to find out what that means. Etheredge calls this “unpacking” what your child is saying. Try to get as much detail as possible. Ask, “What exactly did she say? What was happening in the class when she said it?” (You might want to inquire casually, so your child doesn’t clam up or exaggerate.) “Mean” might mean “She makes me do my work,” in which case you could explain that the teacher is trying to show the kind of behavior you need to have at school; after all, some things are very reasonable under the circumstances, but they may not seem that way to a 6-year-old. The idea is not so much to uncover “the truth” of what went down but to get a more concrete sense of what your child is seeing.

Step 2: Play Advocate

Tell your child that you’re going to write down what she’s saying so you can go have a conversation with the teacher. (Give her a chance to elaborate on her story—it’s hard for kids to remember every detail.) “Let the child understand that you, her teacher, and the principal are partners working to help make school a great experience for her,” says Jan Harp Domene, a mother of three in Anaheim, CA, and president of the National Parent Teacher Association. This serves several purposes: Your child knows that you care about what’s happening, that her concerns are going to be heard, but also that you’re not just going to march in and “fix” a problem. Domene advises saying something like “Mom and Dad are going to talk to the teacher to find out why you feel this way”—not “why the teacher did this.” “It’s your child’s feelings you’re dealing with. Until you talk to the teacher, you don’t have the whole picture,” says Domene. You might also be able to give your older kid some tools to handle the situation herself. Suggest options, such as approaching the teacher after class and pointing out, for instance, that she doesn’t think she gets called on very often. Sometimes the teacher may not be aware of how your child feels.

Step 3: Play the Diplomat

If you decide you need to speak with the teacher, set up a time (not at dropoff or pickup), and go in as someone seeking help in solving a problem. Using inclusive language is important, says Etheredge. Say something like “I’m coming to you with a problem I don’t completely understand, but I’m hoping together we can best figure out Mark’s concern.” Here’s where you explain what your child told you and when, using his words as often as possible.

Source: www.parenting.com

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

How to survive an insecure boss that’s ruining your life

 

By Lianne Davey

Twice in my career I’ve had to work for an insecure boss. Hands down, the worst, most soul crushing five years of my life.

When you have an insecure boss, their lack of self-confidence taints everything. They are controlling and vindictive.

They probably need therapy, but save leaving your copy of Psychology Today in the lunch room, there’s not much you can do about that.

Insecure leaders are entirely unpredictable. If you catch them in a moment when they are feeling confident, they can be friendly, capable, and supportive.

But the moment something triggers their insecurity, watch out!

That’s when they get defensive and petty. It’s never going to be fun to work for an insecure boss, but here’s what you can do to survive.

If you’re working for an insecure boss, you’re going to get yelled at, set straight, and micromanaged.

Your first reaction might be to see this as a reflection of your lack of ability. When you question yourself and wonder what you could possibly be doing wrong, don’t exclude the possibility that the only thing you’re doing wrong is threatening your boss with your strong performance.

Take heart, if your insecure boss hates you, it’s probably because you’re good.

Keep a positive mindset and stay centered in your own self-esteem. Never let a boss rock your belief in yourself.

Triggering your boss’ insecurity is going to create misery for both of you.

Instead, find ways to let your boss feel that he is in control. Where you have success, make him a part of it. “Thanks so much for the discussion last week; it really got my ideas flowing.” Where you think change is necessary, use language that shows you respect your boss’ power and position. “We need to change how we interact with the marketing team. How are you thinking about our relationship with them?”

The author is NYT Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Ph.D. Organizational Psychology, Conflict Doctor. This article was first published on Medium

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tips for avoiding car breakdown

 

Breaking down is the last thing anybody wants as the uncertainty around what has gone wrong and how much a repair will cost is far from ideal. Sometimes, a breakdown is unavoidable and cannot be prevented, however, that does not mean that the chances of having a breakdown cannot be reduced.

A few simple maintenance checks can work wonders

Give your car a thorough check every few weeks and you may spot problems before they cause a breakdown. There are 6 key areas to keep on top of: fuel, lights, oil, water, electrics and rubber. When it comes to remembering them, just think: FLOWER

Fuel

Don’t wait until your fuel light comes on, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place. It may sound obvious but, if you’re running low on fuel and you see a petrol station, top up.

Lights

Give all your exterior lights a decent clean every few weeks, making sure to check for blown bulbs and cracks in the lenses.

Oil

Cars can get through up to a litre of oil every 1,000 miles, so it pays to check your oil level regularly (check your handbook if you’re not sure how to). Don’t wait for the red oil pressure warning light to come on – your engine might already be damaged by then. A car will naturally run out of engine oil over time however, if your engine oil light comes on, make sure to pull over as soon as possible and check underneath your car.

Holes or cracks can open up from somewhere in an engine and spill out oil, so if you see liquid dripping down, get yourself to a garage immediately.

If there is no leakage, go to your closest garage, buy some engine oil and top it up as a failure to do so will lead to breakdown.

Water

Overheating causes a lot of breakdowns, especially in hotter weather, so check your coolant level every couple of weeks (again, if you’re unsure, your handbook will explain). If the level always seems low, check for leaks. It’s always a good idea to keep your windscreen washer fluid topped up, too.

Electrics

Battery problems are the number one cause of breakdowns, at any time of year. So if your battery’s getting a bit old and tired, renew it before it lets you down. You should also make sure that your radiator’s electric cooling fan starts running when the engine gets hot. You can check this by running the engine with the car stationary, or ask your garage to have a look for you.

Rubber

If your tyres aren’t inflated properly, you could be putting yourself at serious risk. They’ll also wear out faster and can lead to wasted fuel. If you’ve got a full load on board you’ll need to increase your tyre pressures – your handbook will tell you the right levels.

Never miss service

It goes without saying really. You may bury your face in your hands when a mechanic tells you that you need to replace your brake pads, however, at the end of the day, they are the experts and you need to listen to their advice. Getting a full service will allow a mechanic to identify a small problem before it turns into a big one.

Source: Associated Automobiles and the Independent

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ladies, there is life after the World Cup

To most women this has never been a season to

To most women this has never been a season to look forward to as they are abandoned by their spouses for the love of sports.  

By By Paul Owere

The World Cup 2018 is well into the second round with some teams already heading towards the exit door with the remaining fixture a mere formality but this is a season that has on many occasions left women in tears.

To most women this has never been a season to look forward to as they are abandoned by their spouses for the love of sports.

The question here is, why should something that brings so much joy be the same cause for misery to others?

Women’s tales about football will always, vary from the joy of the Iranian women finally being allowed to watch soccer alongside men to the agony of those whose husbands didn’t return until the next day.

It is 3 a.m. Sarah Jonathan is half asleep and alone in the house because her husband is yet to return from watching a football game which must have ended some three hours earlier.

She reaches out for her phone to call her husband only to be greeted by some deafening noise at a place she thinks is a night club somewhere in the city, the only problem is that she can’t tell where exactly.

Two days later he feigned an arrest by the traffic police claiming he had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol – none of the stories seem to make sense at all to Sarah.

This has been happening ever since the World Cup kicked off in Russia irrespective of the day of the week, his main excuse is that after the games they stay behind to discuss the key moments of the game with his friends.

But as much as this is taking a its toll on Sarah and at some point she thought she was alone, it is not an isolated case as many women have found themselves in this lonely situation and it gets worse when African teams play.

Nancy a workmate thought she was well prepared by buying a decoder so that her husband Timothy can watch the games at home, only to be told such games were enjoyable in the company of other men.

“I had to pay for the premium package but the days he has watched the games at home are as countable as the goals scored by African teams and when he is at home he is always very moody,” says Nancy.

She adds: “On the second day of the tournament since it was a Friday I offered to watch the game with him at his favourite joint but the kind of company that I was subjected to was quite odd.” She has vowed not to go back.

She could not understand most of what was going on such as the VAR, a video assistance referee system which the men were clamouring for plus many other things that she considers ‘silly’.

“There were several boys around who were carrying several betting slips during the Spain versus Portugal game, this was a clear indication that they were not there for footballing reasons,” she says.

Social media

And the social media has been abuzz over all the sorts of new rules that have been imposed on women in certain homes during the games.

On social media, a number of “rules” have been doing the rounds on how women should behave during the World Cup season.

“Non-soccer conversations shall not be tolerated within regulation, injury, extra time or during penalties,” says one.

“There shall be no comments about Cristiano Ronaldo’s looks. Professionalism shall remain an absolute part of the World Cup,” says another.

“Repeats and highlights are as good as the main match, so I’m going to watch them. Don’t you bother to switch the channel,” states yet another.

Then another rule: “We can watch Africa Magic provided actors and actresses are wearing soccer jerseys and they are in Russia.”

To those whose men have decide to stay at home, they can no longer watch their favourite soap opera because the only thing that is being watched on TV is football and football news!

But the tournament, one of the biggest sport showpieces in the globe, will affect more than relations in the family according to some people.

Infidelity

But if you thought this was all about football then you got it all very wrong.

You have all heard how they go to bars to discuss ideas, this season men will stay up late in the name of football sometimes to the extent that they can hardly remember the score line.

Some individuals are likely to take advantage of games being aired at night to cheat on their spouses. But it appears it is not only men who capitalise on the opportunity.

Miriam who has been following football for quite a while now was left spellbound when her husband returned at home in the wee hours, he could not remember the scores neither could he remember the teams that had played.

“Imagine he was talking about how USA beat Nigeria 3-0 yet the US didn’t qualify for the tournament,” says Miriam a mother of two.

Her conclusion was that her man was out attending to business that was not related to football

The Telegraph newspaper reports that ahead of the 2014 World Cup, there was a surge in the number of women using a site where people seek no-strings-attached relationships.

The paper quoted the website spokesman saying there was a 67 per cent rise in female activity on the site in the months leading up to the football event.

For love’s sake

But there are those who won’t take any nonsense for they believe men are using the global showpiece to promote their philandering ways.

They are playing fitting in despite the unfriendly atmosphere that surrounds the game and the spectators.

Neema thinks Belgium are the team to wrestle away the trophy from the Germans and she is well equipped with the necessary information about Hazard and the rest of the team.

She has also taken keen interest in learning some of the laws including the use of the controversial Video Assistant Referee.

“After what happened during the Brazil tournament, I decided to learn a few things about football because that is the only way how we can co-exist in this house,” says Neema.

On the day of the final match, her husband disappeared only to return after two days claiming he had been kidnapped by unknown people.

“He looked fresh but still maintained that he had been locked up at a certain house.”

She believes there is life after the world Cup and that is why she has chosen to give up some of her own pleasures especially with the fact that the games are being played early enough.

Interestingly enough, more women are not only watching football but are able to understand the rules of the game if the social media posts are anything to go by. More women are posting about the matches signalling a shift from the past where male audience were the only football audience.

powere@tz.nationmedia.com


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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Flora: A creative designer on the move

 

Flora Mathew Kawa 36, owner of Florinya Design deals in Creative designing. She says her journey to being creative designer started off as a hobby as often times she used to make her own accessories.

“This is when I studied a Master’s Degree in International Business at Gloucester University in England but soon when I finished my studies I decided to come back home to seek for job,” she says.

Flora who was rewarded as the best business innovator by Clouds Media - Malkia wa Nguvu 2017 also received different awards in and outside the country.

According to her, three months down the line with no job offer she opted for self-employment.

So she decided to take her hobby more seriously and started to engage herself with the fashion industry in Tanzania with the help of her friend, Ms Edna Ndibalema.

“Being the owner I was also the main creative designer, something which pushed me to form a team of experts to make work a success,” she notes.

Flora says as time went on she decided to make her business more impactful by focusing on her community, whereby she realised there were many underprivileged young women and girls who needed to be empowered and so through her business line she thought it would be best if she empowers young women and girls through job opportunities and enhancing their creative skills.

“Through this process we make crochet accessories that tell stories of these amazing women and girls. So this is how I got motivated because I realised I was not only making business but also changing lives in my community,” she notes.

Her History

Flora was born in Moshi 1981, grew up in Mozambique with a great educational background. She completed her primary schooling in Tanzania up to her A Level – Moved to England where she did her Diploma in Marketing from Brayer State University (London Campus), then she went for a Degree in Human Resource from University of Wales Institute of Cardiff (England), and later on an MBA (Masters) In International Business from University of Gloucester (England) and lastly a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship course at Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, USA).

“In my educational back ground, I have been privileged to get the best education from my kindergarten to university level and through this exposure I realised I was capable of doing so much and taking enough risks,” she says.

Starting Florinya Designs

Flora said before she started Florinyah Designs, she was working at a private company - Global Services as a Human Resource consultant and a Social Worker at VI & John Reuben House in England.

These were part time jobs she had on as she was studying at the same time.

“Basically at Florinya Designs we deal in making crochet accessories that tell stories. These accessories can either be statement pieces, earrings, bracelets, bangles etc.” she says.

She says all these accessories are made out of crochet yarn; recycled materials, volcanic lava beads, marble beads, and other recycled materials, noting that she also make swimsuits on custom orders.

The major tasks that we are responsible for at Florinyah Designs is basically to see how we can design, sketch and create eye catching pieces/accessories that will be telling a story.

“This means that making accessories that will be meaningful based on the story of an individual or a group. Also we work as a team to crochet these pieces and collect orders that come through and make sure we deliver them to our customers at the given time with the best work.”

Moreover we take moments to listen to the stories of these women and girls once a month and work around it to create or come up with the exquisite crochet pieces/accessories that will tell stories.

Customers

Flora says her key customers are from middle class to upper class. People who can afford our prices and are willing to support our course of impact we welcome them.

We associate mostly with different events in our community and abroad those are in one way or the other impacting or empowering young women and girls. But at the same time we have clients who order custom made accessories which come from the ordinary.

Success

From the beginning of Florinyah Designs she has managed to learn a lot and hence this has enabled her to reach on higher grounds.

“I was rewarded the best business innovator by Clouds Media - Malkia wa Nguvu 2017, Attained a certificate by the US Department of State under Mandela Washington Fellowship, Best Pitch Practice by Clark Atlanta University, Creative Enterprise Program Certificate by NESTA (British Council Uganda), and also Pitch Readiness Practice By Graca Machel Trust Fund.

“These are awards that I have achieved through my successful journey as an entrepreneur,”she says.

Her Mentors

Flora says after the accomplishment of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (YALI) 2017, she managed to get mentors who follows up on what she do and the progress of business and everyday learning.

She mentions Prof Dennis Kimbro from Clark Atlanta University, Mr Rony Delgarde - Self Made Entrepreneur (Global Paint Charity) Atlanta and Lady Fiskani - Celebrity Stylist, Atlanta. These mentors do regular checks on what I do and my progress.

Challenges

She says the challenges that face her business at the moment are basically funding.

As a small business, we are growing at a very fast momentum and it becomes a bit challenging as we do not have enough funds to quickly cater to our growth,” notes Flora, adding that...

“I am looking to have a small vocational hub for young women and girls who will be able to walk in and learn, train and be assisted on how they can self-employ themselves after a 6 months course.”

She adds that to have such facilities we are looking for funds to accomplish that in the near future. Moreover there are other things like EDF Machines, it is by law to have the receipt machine yet at the same time as a start-up it is quite expensive but then again challenges come to build you not to destroy you so we are trying our best to get one.

Speaking about how she overcomes the challenges, the young innovator says: they have a small space that she have tried to make it a bit comfortable for her and her team to work around and make it as our meeting point.

She says in the meantime she has secured funds and believes she will be in a position to do more and offer space for many young women and girls.

in the future as possible.

On the part of receipts at the moment she says she has receipt books that are accepted in various places she goes to showcase her stuff and plans are afoot to use the Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD).

Asked how she distinguishes herself from other designers, Flora says she can literally distinguish herself from other creative designers based on the quality of her products.

“What I do, how I do it and the purpose of me doing what I do. I am not only doing what I do meaning just a hobby but I am giving my work a reason and a purpose in it.”

I tell stories of individuals or groups of amazing underprivileged women in my community through crochet accessories. These are 100% crochet hand made. Many local artisans make accessories from paper, Maasai beads, pearls etc but i make mine from crochet yarn,” she adds.

Advice

Flora says a simple advice to youths or anyone looking to get into the entrepreneurship world all she can say is to encourage them to ‘DO WHAT they LOVE BEST’.

“Once you know what makes you happy or what pushes you to do whether its 2am in the morning or 2pm in the afternoon - Just go for it and do it,” insists Flora.

She says one does not need a huge capital to record any difference, noting that one should embrace drive, determination, discipline and self-push that pave way for success in business.

“Once all that is there, you will be amazed how everything else will engage itself. And lastly, NEVER STOP LEARNING,” she says adding:

“Being an entrepreneur you need to read and read and read….read for purpose and also read for fun if you may. Knowledge is everything, and just knows there is no end in learning.”

FIVE YEARS TO COME

As FLORINYAH DESIGNS I see myself being a recognised brand both locally and in internationally. I see myself changing lives through my business in not only my community but also the entire world. A brand with a significant purpose in life.

“To be known in every part of Tanzania, Africa ,Europe, Asia and the United States with what we do as crochet accessories and what we are focused and tuned to do. “She says. Her day begin well.

Funny thing she do not have a scheduled routine of her everyday life. Most of the times her day may begin from about 6am the usual freshening up, prayer, breakfast at about 9am we start a meeting with my girls and see what we are on for the day.

If we have sketches that need to be made then we work on them, start crocheting, make follow ups on orders and deliveries.

Check on upcoming events and apply if applicable. By the end of the day, we evaluate our daily work and write reports for the day and prepare for the next day’s task.

Weekends we prefer to socialize as a group this is to bring about group engagement and enjoy moments together. Crochet work is very fascinating, challenging, tiresome so what we do is encourage some social activities amongst ourselves.

Flora mention the enjoyable moment As almost she love everything to be precise, from the designing to the sketching to the making of the accessories it is one of the best moments and feelings ever I do enjoy.

“And am happy and glad my team has the same feeling when it comes to the whole working process. I enjoy the end product because it has a story behind.”

I love watching movies, so my very best thing is going to the movies. Secondly I love socializing, with friends and family: Like also going out, enjoying a bit of music, dine out, etc. In my free time I also enjoy doing things, being creative and discovering things. I love cooking, reading, travelling and lastly taking timeouts at the beach.

Flora distinguishes herself as first before others she believes in God.

“I can easily to talk to kind of lady. Charming, caring, humble, great personality and always ready to help and assist if need be,” she says.

I love socializing, engaging with people in various educational and fun activities. She notes that she is a lover of movies and adventures.

“I love playing basketball I used to be a good player back then but at the moment I work out for fun nothing serious. I love my family and all my dear customers and work colleagues. Because of them I am who I am today and I thank them so much,” says Flora.

Ends.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

When you have to get out of that friendzone

 

By Jackson Biko

The worst place on earth for any man to live in is the place where you exist just outside of the heart of the woman you are attracted to.

I have a female friend who plays for her team (to mean she likes girls). I have known her for 15 years. She doesn’t wear dungarees or men’s shirts. She doesn’t have short hair or a Mohawk, or veins standing out on the back of her hand. She’s as girl as they come.

I was attracted to her when we met but she dodged and ducked my advances and after a month of this terrible dance of musical chairs, she finally told me that she didn’t “like me that way.” I asked, “What is wrong with me? Is it my forehead?” She said, “No, it’s not even you or your forehead, it’s me.”

I laughed and thought, is she using that tired line on me? Is this how low I had sunk? “No, seriously,” she said, “I like girls.”

I said, “I don’t blame you, I like girls too.” Then she said, “I’m serious, I’m not into boys. I like girls.” I said, “Oh come on. You are not.

You can’t be. You are just saying that because you can’t stand my forehead. That’s impossible.” She said, “Why not?”

I was lost for words. I had never met a real girl who liked other girls. I had just seen them on TV, in American shows, wearing baggy pants and black lipstick. What did I know of the ways of the world, a small town boy like me?

I thought girls who liked girls wore shirts with cut off sleeves and could climb trees and make a fire using two sticks. I thought they shaved their heads and pierced their lower lips and wore men’s socks and said things like, “I will see you later, bro.”

I thought they would beat you up if you owed them money or stared at their girlfriend. I thought they lit cigarettes in your car without permission. Not this girl, surely. This girl was gorgeous. Sometimes she even tied her hair in a ponytail. And she giggled, for Chrissake. Girls who liked other girls didn’t giggle.

Anyway, long story short we had to become friends. Many years later we are thick as thieves. She’s a good person, a complete riot and a free spirit.

Women friends fall in many categories. There are those like my friend up there. There are those who you went to school with or worked with and you all have some mutual respect. There are those friends who became friends by the virtue of their brilliance or intelligence or the ability to see things in a way you will never see.

Then there are women you are friends with because you have the same temperament and disposition and they get you and you get them, but you have no physical chemistry.

Then there are girls who were more than just friends before but then you broke up and they dated some guy with a big nose and then somehow, time passed and the feelings ended and now you are friends and you can’t even believe you dated once.

The other friends are your pal’s ex-girlfriends, your girlfriend/wife’s friends or cousins, or the daughters of families you grew up with. Then there are women you are friends with because they are not your type. Neither are you theirs. So it works perfectly.

But the trickiest friendship is the one where you had feelings for her but she didn’t. She said “Oh no, let’s just be friends, I don’t want to ruin this.” (Meaning: I feel nothing for you. A cow will learn to dance salsa before I date you) and so you reluctantly accepted.

This is the most useless and torturous friendship that a man can ever get into it, because you have to pretend. When she starts dating someone else you have to listen to her nauseating stories about him. And act supportive. You say things like, “Oh that’s really nice, I’m happy for you, I hope things work out.”

editor@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Here is how to save on fuel amid rising prices

 

By Mustafa Ziraba

The main reason many high fuel consuming cars fail to appeal to customers is fuel. High fuel prices is an uphill battle for us all.

Public transport drivers have this stereotype of always fuelling with little amounts under the guise of saving money. However, in my experience, their driving habits totally blow away this rationale. Aggressive driving including speeding, rapid acceleration and braking wastes fuel. It can lower your mileage. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more fuel money.

Carpooling

Globally there is a shift in the car industry to more fuel-efficient cars using hybrid technology. However, the biggest fuel savings come from the old standards, car-pooling and public transport. Cars have become so cheap that those who do not own one forget that a car cannot run without fuel when they are able to. If you and your friend or neighbours share your cars using one at a time to and from work, you cut your fuel usage by about 50 per cent. No other step will save you as much money. Also, if you have two cars in the family, leave the guzzler at home as often as possible and if you are able to, use public means.

Open windows or air conditioning?

This is an age-old conundrum. Unlike a car’s heater, which uses free engine heat, the air conditioner robs engine power and lowers fuel economy. So which approach is better? Well the past few weeks of the blazing heat would push anyone to have their AC working. If your car has been sitting in the sun, drive for a few minutes with the windows open to cool it off. Then, if you are hitting the highway, close them up and turn on the A/C. Aerodynamics are more important at high speeds.

Inflate tyres

Keeping your tyres inflated properly and your engine running right is critical to efficient motoring. Under-inflated tyres can lower your fuel economy whereas over inflated tyres increase risk of tyre damage when encountering bumps and potholes. Even if your car seems to be running well, that perplexing check engine light you chose to ignore could represent a dead oxygen sensor or some other emissions control problem that causes the car to burn a hole through your wallet at the pump.

Cars with larger engines typically waste more fuel at idle than cars with smaller engines. Do not let your car idle when you are stuck say in jam. Idling uses more fuel. So, when in jam, switch off the engine and restart when there is movement.

Regular servicing

Keep your car well maintained with regular servicing to keep it operating at peak efficiency. An inefficient engine with things such as fouled spark plugs, for example, will not make optimum use of fuel. Be sure the air filter and the fuel filter are clean. If they are not, replace them immediately.

editor@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

The best way to tenderise and flavour that nyama choma

 

By The Citizen Reporter

Postmortem aging, sometimes called “conditioning” or “ripening,” is a natural process which improves the palatability attributes of meat, especially cuts from the rib and loin. Commercially, postmortem aging is accomplished by subjecting carcasses, primal or sub primal cuts to controlled refrigerated (above freezing) storage conditions. Of the palatability attributes of beef steaks, tenderness is the attribute most demanded by consumers, and the improvement in tenderness is the primary reason for postmortem aging. Postmortem aging, however, also improves the attribute of flavour.

The two methods of aging meat

Aging or conditioning as it is called in many countries improves the tenderness and flavour of meat. There are two methods for aging meat: wet aging and dry aging.

Dry aging

Dry aging is more expensive and takes long. Meat which is dry-aged is hung in a clean, temperature and humidity controlled cooler for two to four weeks. During this time, enzymes within the meat break down the muscle and connective tissue making it tender. Moisture is lost from the outer parts of the carcass causing an inedible crust to form which must be trimmed off and discarded. The carefully controlled environment, the time involved, and the loss of outer portions of the carcass make dry aging a costly process.

Wet aging

Wet aging occurs when meat and its own juices is vacuum packed in plastic and boxed for distribution. Because the plastic packaging does not allow loss of moisture, the meat may absorb more moisture which results in an increase in juiciness and tenderness. Both methods of aging work well and can create a better product. The difference is that dry aging gives a more distinctive flavour while wet aging is much less costly and allows for a quicker entry to the market and therefore a much longer shelf-life.

The old method of aging meat is known as dry aging. Dry aging is done by hanging meat in a controlled, closely watched, refrigerated environment.


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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Leaving positive fingerprints on a child’s brain

 

By Janet Otieno-Prosper @JanetOtieno

I am at Aga Khan Hospital Pediatric unit in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam on Saturday morning. Mothers and a few fathers have brought their children to the clinic and from my obsewsrvation, some parents are playing with their children by throwing them into the air and then catching them midway and this ends in giggles. Other parents are busy on their phones and would only look at their children when their cries draw their attention. They are seemingly oblivious of the importance of interacting with their young children or playing altogether.

Play is important part of a child’s life and parents should play with their children most of the time, this is according to Lisa Ferla, a senior manager Early Childhood Development at Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF), Tanzania. She points out that there is opportunity for integrating early stimulation in the country’s health system.

According to the Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development (ECD), early stimulation are activities that arouse or stimulate a baby’s sense of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Infant stimulation can help improve the baby’s attention span, memory, curiosity, and nervous system development. It is used in children from birth to age 6, with the aim of optimising their cognitive, physical, emotional and social well being, to avoid undesired states in development and help parents effectively in the care of their infant.

Ms Ferla states that this is very important for all children though their organisation’s focus is on children living with HIV or live in communities affected by HIV.

She explains that children in Tanzania just like the rest of the world simply need interaction, play and communication with their parents and caregivers.

“This needs to be done right from the beginning - conception. As it is understood that 80 per cent of brain development process takes place in the first 3 years of child’s life,” Ms Ferla outlines adding that the important message parents need to understand is that babies/children can hear and understand even before they begin to talk because they use their senses to communicate their needs and learn about their surroundings.

On how parents should interact or play with newborns and young children, she explains that both parents and caregivers need to understand that they don’t need to go out of their way to accommodate play and interaction with their children but instead embrace the use of daily routines opportunities to interact with their babies.

“For instance during breastfeeding time, a mother need to look at the baby’s face and smile, touch gently and sing. Parents can also use opportunities such as meal time to talk to their children about their day, praising them in small achievements they get and much more,” Ms Ferla states adding that they need to know simple available items in the households such as colourful cups and spoons that can be used as a toy for a child to play with.

She emphasises that play materials don’t need to be expensive or purchased all the time as locally available materials such as boxes could be used to make cars, water bottle and small stones can make a rattle for a baby. She underscores the need for parents to interact with the child and not to leave him or her alone playing.

On what mistakes parents make, she is of the view that some parents don’t stimulate their children enough.

“I don’t think you can ever over do it, the misunderstanding we have is that babies especially those newborns cannot hear, see or understand anything, while evidence shows us this period is the ‘window of opportunity’ for brain development which is important foundation for the child,” she points out.

“There is no dosage, what matters is quality, so even if a parent gets 10 minutes to spend with her or his child then they should do it well by providing time to talk and listen to the child, engaging in a simple activity such as reading a book or story telling plus encouraging and praising the child.

She says lack of child stimulation comes with consequences since not interacting with babies right from early stage is akin to closing the doors for the window of opportunities in their life. It means these children may miss out to reach their developmental potential later in life such as not performing well in schools and eventually get employment. Thus it comes with a very long-term impact.

Because many parents and care givers are oblivious of the dangers associated with lack of stimulation, the interaction with the children is very little in Tanzania just like the rest of the world.

“Especially with understanding on babies abilities and with the use of mobile phones and TV, these children are missing out on the opportunity to improve their language skills through interaction. There are studies on this,” Ms Ferla sounds the warning bells.

There is also Lancet series on ECD which gives evidence based study that through quality ECD intervention, even children from poor and vulnerable families like those who are affected with HIV, poverty, malnutrition have the chance to reach their developmental potentials.

“This is why, at EGPAF, we are pushing for this, so to also target many vulnerable children in our country,” she concludes.

Email: kikijanty@gmail.com

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI: How your feelings create your reality



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

What signs are you giving while making decisions in your life, be they major decisions or minor decisions?

Are you showing signs of someone who is confident, daring and gutsy? Do you show conviction and feelings of success? If these are the signs you give while making decisions, these are the things that you will invite.

Your feelings create your reality. When you send positive vibrations to others, you receive positive vibrations. What you can imagine vividly and invite with feelings, you attract in your life. Feelings, positive vibes and imagination begin the winning attitude cycle.

Success begins with your self-concept, what you think you are made of. We are not talking about ego, which is the basis of a self-centered attitude and a superiority complex. Instead, we are talking about a winning attitude and positive pride.

What you believe is what becomes reality.

Once you create a new belief and reinforce it in every way you can, you start to breathe new life into yourself.

If you do not bet on yourself, no one will bet on you. No one will believe in you more than you believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, the whole world believes in you. Belief in yourself changes the landscape.

Your demeanor, voice, understanding all change. People begin to respect what you have to say. You increase your value in their mind.

These feelings are translated into goals, action and decisions. Self-belief can help you actualize your potential in three ways:

Empowers your commitment

Once you start believing in yourself, you acquire the confidence to commit. Because only when you believe in something, can you commit on its behalf. And once your commitment is in place, everything falls in line, whether in business or in life. Hence the first step is to believe and then to decide.

Self-belief will remain important followed by a clear direction and an action plan set the wheels in motion. Not being decisive reflects uncertainty, lack of confidence and nervousness and weakens your self-belief.

Empowers you to choose your path

Once you start believing in yourself, you start focusing on yourself. This increases your self-awareness.

Only a person who is self-aware can choose his path. In other words, you can choose at what level you want to play your game.

If you want to play at the top level, then everything you do has to reflect that. How you and your team interact with clients, employees and other stakeholders has to reflect top-level attitude and outlook.

If you want to play at the top level but part of you believes you are not at that level, it will manifest in your behavior.

Your own demeanor has to align with that top-level standard. What you feel within you translates into your actions, reactions and overall behavior. Self-confidence comes about when you have paid the price to be better and better every day.

Every day you have a choice of doing things as they come along or focusing on priorities. Focusing on key priorities creates the best outcome.

Empowers you to envision your success

Success is the product of the interaction of the individual and the environment and grace. If the individual himself lacks self-belief then an important component of the success is shaky.

Many people are not clear about what success looks like because they are unsure about their own abilities. Hence finding focus is difficult.

Once you start believing in yourself, your focus improves and your path to success becomes clearer. Then you can decide what great success looks like for you both in the long term as well as short term.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Why Trump and Kim summit is a spectacle of peace

 

By Saumu Jumanne, Saumu.j@gmail.com

There is no doubt that the United States of America’s Donald Trump is one of the most controversial presidents on the globe today. There is also no doubt that sometimes he trades in lies and misinformation— so as to get his way.

Many times in the campaign period Trump referred to his political opponent, who eventually got more individual votes than him but sadly lost in college votes, as “crooked” Hillary Clinton.

In the campaign period, ‘lies’ are a bit understandable (not acceptable) but even as a president he continues to call Hillary “crooked”. Crooked means a person who is dishonest or a criminal, but who knows what it means for Trump!

According to The PolitiFact scorecard out of his statements “the half true” stands at 15 per cent, mostly false at 22 per cent, and false 32 per cent, which is ranked the highest score. He was therefore awarded PolitiFact’s 2015 Lie of the Year.

It has been a very interesting spectacle for the whole world, to see the story of now the man who holds the power at the most powerful nation on earth, charm, shock and even divide the Americans to the core.

In his bid to make America great again, the world will have to absorb some shocks ignited by now the world number one showman.

Canada, China, Mexico and other nations that have been trading with USA are all feeling the heat. Russia and China have their own ways of retreating because they also consider themselves superpowers, just like US.

The man once just seen as Jest- a not a serious political figure, a man of no shame and little professionalism, his actions often leave some Americans with an egg in the face.

All that aside many Americans, especially the republicans, who propelled him to power have faith in him. No matter what he does or say, they support him.

So it has not been a wonder that not very long time ago, Donald Trump and Northern Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un traded bitter insults on twitter, only a few months later, to meet, and sit down as equals- leaders of two independent nations.

George W. Bush in his presidency called North Korea to be among the “the Axis of Evil” because of its nuclear capabilities.

The North Korea–United States relations has been in cold for over 50 years, and their historic handshake, a few months ago seemed it would never happen. But with Trump, everything is possible, so long as what Trump wants, is what you want!

Trump and Kim, North Korea-United States summit in Singapore, June 2018 has made history- it ended with the two leaders holding several discussions and finally signing a joint statement calling for security, stability, and lasting peace. For peace in the world, so be it, hopefully, it was not a show, and there were no lies!

Yes, it’s paramount to search for peace. If the coming together of the two leaders makes the world a better place, we must support it regardless of their characters, so long as they walk the talk. Albert Einstein once said: “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Let us all pursue peace. In addition, South Africa’s Desmond Tutu once said that “if you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” Meaning, the two former enemies have done the right thing: talking.

There are reports suggesting that Trump should be nominated to win Nobel Peace following the historic summit with Kim Jong-Un.

That would mean the world for the US leader. The Trump-Kim historic event reminds me of a saying “in politics, there are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interest”. To common mwananchi, let love and peace lead us!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Three Iftar locations in Dar to end your Ramadhan fast

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Ramadhan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, is soon coming to an end. It is well known that during this month, Muslims observe fasting from morning twilight (Fajr Prayer) to the evening twilight (Maghreb Prayer).

During this period, they abstain from drinking, eating and immoral acts while practicing acts of worship such as prayer and reading the Quran. The breaking of the fast at the end of the day occurs at sunset every day of Ramadhan. The feast gets even bigger in the last week of Ramadhan.

To Muslim, fasting is said to be an obligation and not an option. It is one of the five pillars on which Islam is built. The act is said to have a lot of benefits from personal to spiritual.

During breaking of the fast, which is one of the most notable points of the day during Ramadhan, Muslims always come together to share food by getting together and eat.

It is also during this time of Ramadhan, some places in the city have become famous for selling different types of food that Muslims and even non-Muslims can enjoy the Iftar. From streets to hotels, one cannot miss the various spots were Muslims break their fast. However, for many years some areas have become well known as places one can enjoy breaking the Iftar in a big way. And these joints get even more crowded in the last week of Ramadhan.


Kariakoo

The streets of Kariakoo are some of those famous places that people can enjoy the Iftar. During a recent visit at the time of breaking the Iftar, Life & Style magazine came across a number of people sitting in groups enjoying their Iftar and confirmed that the numbers would swell in the last week of Ramadhan.

“This is a busy part of the city and apart from that, there are also people who are living around this area who are Muslims and so we try to accommodate those who can’t make it home on time to break the fast and even those who wish to eat out once in a while. Not only that, we also have non-Muslims who wish to enjoy the Iftar and at the end of the holy month, we do it in a big way,” explains Salim Mohamed, a food vendor in Kariakoo.

He says during time of Ramadhan, they receive a lot of customers, especially during the evening hours and most common food they sell are the food preferred by many to be eaten during the Ramadhan month, ‘ we sell all type of food from porridge to chapati and other variety of food that we know most people will enjoy eating when they come to break their fast especially in the last week which we make it a feast to remember.

Salim says during lunch they operate normally because they are doing business but in the evening they focus on customers who are fasting.

Other places that are famously known as best food joints during Ramadhan and get crowded in the last week of the holy month can be found at Magomeni Mwembechai, Dar es Salaam. With more than half of its populations Muslim, the place serves as one of the best joints where one can enjoy good food for Iftar.

“If you are looking to dine out you may want to consider coming to this part of the city. We have the best food joints especially during the evening because during the day most joints don’t sell food because majority of people living here are Muslims,” Says Mohamed Bakari, a restaurant owner in Magomeni Mwembechai

He says it is during this time when they receive a lot of customers Muslim to non-Muslims who comes to enjoy the Iftar, ‘sometimes people feel like having their Iftar outside their homes for a change and so they look for a place where they can do that. We serve dishes that we know they can enjoy which is a bit different from what they are used to and they love it,” says Mohamed.

Omar Hussein lives with his wife and other family members in Magomeni, Dar es Salaam. Each evening of Ramadhan they share meals with other family members and friends and then pray. Like all observant Muslims, Omar and his family fast from sunrise to sunset during this period.

Getting together is often difficult, but Omar’s family do their best to break the fast together sometime during Ramadhan, “Despite our busy schedule we always get time to enjoy the meal together as a family and sometimes with our neighbours and friends, with whatever God has blessed us with for the day. Home is where most Muslims enjoy breaking their fast, this is where we get to see other family members whom we haven’t seen for a long time,” says Omar.

Sinza

Another food joint that those who wish to enjoy the last lap of Iftar and enjoy the best meals at the same time can be found at Sinza, which is also one of the place surrounded by a number of restaurants and hotels.

Walking along the road one cannot miss a number of advertisements on billboards placed on various restaurants showing that Iftar is served in those particular places. While majority of these hotels and restaurants continue to offer services during the day, come night they offer buffet for those who wish to break the Iftar.

“I enjoy coming here during this time of the month, I am not a Muslim but I have a number of friends who are Muslims and so we visit a number of places around here to break the fast, especially in the last week of Ramadhan. As college students we don’t have time to cook for ourselves and so we come here often together with Muslim friends to eat,” says Irene Joseph, a student from the Institute of social work.


Oysterbay

Apart from the streets, some hotels in the city have been famous for selling Iftar during this holly month of Ramadan. DoubleTree by Hilton – Oysterbay is one of them. While one can enjoy the ambiance and contemporary decor design of the hotel, it also provides dates for those who wish to break the fast in the traditional manner. The hotel also provides a nicely marinated selection of dried fruit, with a full buffet that changes on a daily basis throughout Ramadhan. It is usually a must visit Iftar locations for those who visit Dar es Salaam and gets packed in the last week.

Serena Hotel in Dar-es-salaam is also one of the hotels which offers a sumptuous iftar buffet spread with live cooking stations as well as special traditional Arabic charcoal grilled meat selection. The iftar is offered in Serena’s newly refurbished Serengeti Restaurant that has well-lit ambiance, airy and reminiscent of a Safari Lodge. It is also worth visiting in this last week to sample it out before Ramadhan comes to an end.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

This is why everyone is practising unsafe sex

Many say they don't use protection because they

Many say they don't use protection because they don't enjoy sex without condoms. Photo | File 

By Devotha John

Jamila Ramadhan left her boyfriend of five years after she found out he was cheating on her. Her boyfriend had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and had accused Jamila of infecting him.

“That evening, he came to my place and handed me a pack of antibiotics. He had pus oozing out of his private parts and he accused me of infecting him with a venereal disease,” the 20-year-old first year university student sadly recalls. 

Since they did not practise safe sex, Jamila thought it was a good idea to take the medicine in case she too had contracted the disease. 

“I did not go for testing because I was naïve. After all, I did not have any sign of the disease. I just took the antibiotics but I was sure if I had the disease, I must have contracted it from him. He was the only man I was seeing at the time,” says Jamila. 

The majority of sexual partners engage in unprotected sex, regardless of the risks involved. Most use condoms at the first encounter and stop after they have been together for a while. 

A doctor at Amana District Hospital who preferred anonymity as he is not the hospital’s spokesperson says they receive many patients with STIs. According to him, the numbers are high because apart from patients who seek service at public health facilities, others go to private facilities while many others opt for self-medication. He says because signs take long to show in women, many are unaware they are carrying venereal diseases. 

When you ask around, everyone admits they have had more unprotected sex than they had protected sex. But why given the health risks? This is a question that most seem to not have an answer for. Some will tell you they don’t enjoy sex when they use a condom. 

A hard nut to crack 

Paul John, a third year university student does not know of a person who practices safe sex throughout the relationship among his friends. 

“We use protection the first time we engage in sex with a new partner and stop once we get used to each other, sometimes a few weeks into the relationship,” he shares. Paul says the tendency is people trusting each other after a while. 

Paul has contracted STIs several times and ensures the girls he sleeps with constantly take medication too. He does not bother for one night stands. 

Surprisingly, Paul has never tested for HIV because he fears being told he is HIV positive. He better not finds out, he says. Why does he practice unsafe sex then? He just laughs it off. No further explanation. 

Despite the HIV threat particularly among the youth, changing people’s behaviours seems to be a hard nut to crack. Sexual partners continue to engage in unprotected sex despite the risks. 

The preliminary findings of the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey 2016 -17 show there are approximately 81,000 new HIV infections annually among adults ages 15 to 64. 

HIV prevalence among adults ages 15 to 64 is 5.0 percent (6.5 percent among females and 3.5 percent among males). It is estimated that 1.4 million Tanzanians aged between 15 and 64 are living with HIV. 

Complex human mind 

“It’s really difficult to understand the human mind. We know the dangers of engaging in unsafe sex but we still continue to have unprotected sex, sometimes with strangers,” says Elias Japhet, a dala dala conductor. 

He has slept with prostitutes on several occasions, sometimes without protection. Elias says one night stands are common at parties and says very few people remember to wear a condom when they are drunk. Like Paul, he has never gone for an HIV test for fear of finding out the worst. 

Married people are not spared. Susan*, a mother of one had an unprotected encounter with an ex and regretted it thereafter. She spent sleepless nights for weeks as she suffered pangs of guilt and the fear that she might have contracted HIV. 

“One day I met an ex with whom I had lost contact for many years. We were happy to see each other and exchanged phone numbers. We started texting each other shortly after we met and one thing led to another. We soon planned to meet at some hotel and ended up having unprotected sex. He claimed he did not have condoms,” says Susan. 

What if she had contracted HIV? Susan She did not want to infect her husband. “I regretted ever meeting him again,” she says. 

She had to find a way to convince her husband to use a condom until she went for an HIV test. Thank God she tested negative. Susan never wanted anything to do with her ex again. 

Are you satisfied?

A Dar-es Salaam-based behavioural psychologist, Novelty Deogratius, says cheating is mainly a result of lack of satisfaction in a relationship. He mentions lack of intimacy and communications as factors that lead to cheating. 

“One partner will feel empty, lonely angry and unappreciated. Because of this, they’d want to fulfill their needs outside the relationship. They do so to show their partner that someone else values them,” says the psychologist. 

He says when couples lose intimacy among them, communication breakdown becomes inevitable, a situation which makes each one of them to have mixed feelings when they opt for extra-marital affairs. 

According to him, cheating for couples who are in conflicts becomes a niche for solace as none of them enjoys being home. 

“So most of them start engaging in other relationships, feeling that the person they married was not their choice. It is during this time that everyone starts longing for another partner,” he stresses. 

Peer pressure

The psychologist adds that peer pressure is also to blame because in most cases some women or men tend to pump their compatriots with unbecoming advice on how to live in relationships. 

“It is not uncommon to find women at a salon praising each other for engaging in extra-marital affairs; the same also applies to men who think that having a good number of women in a way exudes virility,” says the psychologist. 

Personality also may put a relationship at risk, according to the psychologist. There are people who brag about having dated hundreds of women before marriage, warning that it is hard for people with such behaviour to do away with the behaviour once they marry. Dr Plackseda Ngowi who works with Plan International’s health centre in Buguruni says they receive patients with different sexually transmitted infections. Apart from treatment, they give these patients guidance and counselling. 

“We advise youth to abstain from intercourse or resort to one partner. And for married couples, if one of them is infected with HIV, we encourage them to use condoms or separate,” she says. 

Abdallah*, 34, does not think he would use condoms with his wife even if he tested positive for HIV. How can one use condoms in marriage? he asks. The father of two would not use condoms even if his wife insisted they do for whatever reason. 

If she did, he says, that would guarantee a ticket back to her parents home. His religion allows him to marry more than one wife and he wonders whether he would be obliged to have protected sex with his wives if he had more than one. Trust is the most important thing, he believes, although he has extramarital affairs. 

Anglican Pastor Raymond Michael says his church requires those intending to marry to test for HIV and other STIs before marriage. 

“After we are contented that both are HIV negative, we take them through two to three weeks seminars on marriage life,” says the pastor. 

* Names have been changed to protect privacy. 


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Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Instagram changed everything for this Makeup artist

Sauda applies makeup to a client at her salon.

Sauda applies makeup to a client at her salon. Photo | courtesy  

As social media continues to gain ground in the country, it consequently has had both positive and negative impacts on people depending on use.

While it has unfortunately seen some end up behind bars for misuse, others have had their lives change for the better.

Sauda Abdallah, owner of Topfairy’s ladies salon at Makumbusho is currently the talk of the town in the beauty industry, thanks to social media. The 22-year-old make up artist who has 78,000 followers on Instagram is who she is today because of the internet.

The second year banking and finance student at the Institute of Finance Management, says her journey to stardom started as a hobby and that she had no idea it would later earn her money and fame. Sauda likes looking beautiful so she would not go out without applying make up and to her surprise, people would want to know who did her makeup.

“I used to post my photos on Instagram after applying make up and people would send me messages in my inbox asking to know how much I charged for make up. I used tell them I was not in the business but they used to insist they wanted me to do their makeup. Some used to tell me they had their own make up kits and that they would pay me labour charge,” says Sauda.

When her Instagram followers persisted, Sauda gave in to their demands. She started charging for the service and saved the money she earned from the business. It is this money that she used to buy the tools of trade and started following her customers to their homes whenever they needed her service.

Most sought-after make up artist

Hardwork, dedication and the quality of her work has earned Sauda a big reputation, making her one of the most sought-after make up artists in town.

Her clients include the likes of Hamisa Mobeto, Aunty Ezekiel, Esma Platnumz, Madam Rita, Tunda, Munalove, Shilole, Diamond’s mother, Diana Edward and Zarina Hassan to mention but a few. Judging by the photos on her Instagram page, her work is extraordinary.

Since she was a child, Sauda used to love looking beautiful, a desire that was influenced by her mother and sisters who were so much into cosmetics.

“Applying make up was my hobby and I grew up doing this. There is a time when I used to carry cosmetics to school and I would sometimes get in trouble with the teachers,” she says.

When she learnt how to use social media, her first priority was learning how to apply make up better on YouTube. She would practice what she learnt on YouTube using her sisters’ make up kits before she went to learn the trade from a professional at a fee. Her intention was not to improve her skills for business purposes but for her own benefit.

Sauda used to enjoy it when people told her she looked beautiful whenever she passed. She also liked standing out from the crowd at parties, which is why she had to do whatever it took to improve her skills.

Her make up teacher showed an interest in her after teaching her for a while and started engaging her in her business whenever she had more customers than she could handle. This was a great opportunity for Sauda for apart from giving her the chance to practice, she also earned some money.

“A week after completing training, my teacher called me and asked me to go do one of her client’s make up in Kariakoo. I just did not believe it when I got to Kariakoo and realised that the client was the famous TV personality, Madam Rita. I was a bit scared but then I thought if my madam had confidence in me, then there was no need to be scared. I did a good job on her and Khadija Kopa the famous taarab singer and both were satisfied with my work,” explains Sauda.

Not afraid of competition

This experience gave her confidence that she was qualified for the trade. Today she employs three workers who provide for their families with the income they earn from her business.

Sauda can serve up to 20 customers in a day. She receives such many customers during the graduation season and when everyone seems to be tying the knot especially close to the month of Ramadhan.

Commenting on competition, Sauda says she does not find a threat in anyone for she believes it is the quality of your work that makes clients come to you.

“I don’t fear losing my clients to anyone because customers have reasons why they prefer their service provider to others. It actually makes me happy when competition gets stiff because it means improvement in the quality of services we offer. You have to more creative to survive competition.”

Sauda mentions Maza Sinare, famously known as Maznat, who is a famous make up artist in the country as her role model.

“I grew up looking up to her as my role model and even when I consulted her for guidance, she really encouraged me to follow my dream. Unfortunately, she had not started offering training that time for I would have enrolled immediately,” says Sauda.

Five years from now, Sauda believes she will have made bigger strides in her business given that she will have completed her banking and finance studies. She believes the course she is currently pursuing will help her manage her business better.

“I am currently busy with studies so I do not have enough time to concentrate on my business. I believe I will do much better after I graduate. I decided to further my education so I can run my business better. I have a plan to expand my business when I am done with studies,” she says.

To fellow girls, Sauda advises them to know that there is nothing as satisfying as earning money from one’s sweat.

“It is very gratifying. My advice to girls is that they should not feel ashamed when they decide to do something to make their lives better. They should just go for it. You can not fulfill your dream if you don’t work on it. It is up to you to make your dream come true.”

While some people waste time on social media doing unproductive activities, for Sauda, the platform is her major tool of advertising her work.


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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sowing seeds of gold in agribusiness

 

By Devotha John

Planning to venture into agricul-ture? You need to do research first. This is what Hadija Jabir, an entrepreneur in agribusiness advises.

The 27-year-old managing director and co-founder of GBRI Business Solu-tions Limited, says people need to do research and study the market before setting up business. She cites an example of how everyone these days is investing in water melon farming, whose market she says is currently fragile.

Hadija who sells vegetables both local-ly and abroad is so successful that she this year won the 2018 Malkia wa Nguvu award in the Agribusiness category.

The mother of two started with 8 acres in Kiwele village, Iringa Region in 2016 and is now a proud owner of a 40-acre farm in Kiwele and 10 acres in Kilolo, Iringa. She grows cucumbers, brocolli, green beans, avocado, sugar lap and pep-per.

She exports to European countries and has always been assured of reliable market. Hadija has travelled the world, thanks to agriculture, which many peo-ple, especially the youth shun.Know why she is successful? She did her research before embarking on the project and says one mistake most farm-ers make is ignoring the research aspect to the detriment of their ventures.
 “Before I started my project I used to visit different farmers to learn how they go about business and to find out the challenges they faced so I would find ways to avoid the risks and uncertainties in the business,” Hadija says.

The business and finance graduate from Saint Augustine University of Tan-zania started business when she was at the university.

“I founded GBRI business solutions when I was in the first year at St Augus-tine University. The aim was to empower the community around me. The compa-ny officially started operations in 2016.”

The thought of venturing into agricul-ture came when Hadija visited a friend in Iringa Region. Seeing the vast erable land in the region, she thought there was money in there and immediately thought of starting a farming project.

Hadija says the eight acres she started with initially seemed big and scaring as she was not sure what tomorrow held. However, two years later she thanked heavens for not having let fear overcome her and she has since never turned back.

Before investing in agriculture Hadija had tried her hands on soap making, a business which unfortunately did not pay off. It was difficult getting a loan to run the project and this made her try agriculture. She believed being one of the basic needs, food would not let her down.

“Demand for food is always high. Peo-ple can live without soap but not without food. In a country with over 50 million people, demand for food must be high. I therefore found it feasible to invest in agriculture in Iringa, which is one of the country’s food basket regions” says the ambitious farmer.

Hadija who is currently in Italy on a business trip does green house and drip irrigation farming. Her local customers include Village Super Market, Seacliff Hotel, Food Azary as well as whole sale customers.She exports consignments to Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom twice a week, thanks to the inter-net.The internet has helped her a great deal to study the market for her produce and it is through online plat-forms that she gets markets.

Hadija also participates in international agricultural fairs where she showcases her produce. One of the major obstacles she encounters in her busi-ness is the lack of direct flights to the markets. Because of this, she does not sell as profitably as is anticipated. She says connect-ing flights has never been feasible to upcoming businesses.

 Lack of air plane services in Iringa is also a challenge. Hadija is forced to transport her produce all the way to Son-gwe Region, which adds more expenses.Another stumbling block is being unable to meet customer demand. Hadija’s company is in the process of using out growers so as to meet the high demand. “Our customers abroad demand 26 tonnes of vegetables a week while we are capable of producing four tonnes only. Plans are on the cards to start buying produce from other farmers.

” Khadija says packaging is another challenge as she is normally forced to import packaging materials from Kenya“Our agriculture policy is also a prob-lem.

We face problems in purchasing raw materials, even setting up cold roooms to store our produce has never been easy. It is also time the taxman regulated the policy to push local businesses,” she notes.According to her, even the interest rate in microfinance institutions needs fixing.

She notes that it is so high that it hardly gives room for small farmers to grow.Hadija calls on graduates to work hard and avoid waiting for white collar jobs, noting that there are lots of opportuni-ties in agriculture. Perseverance and confidence is all they need, she says. She adds that agribusiness is the way to go and that subsistence farming only leads to poverty. She calls on government to put reliable aviation services in place. Email: djohn@tz.nationmedia.com

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Let’s do South Indian this weekend

An onion-tomato uttapam served at Mithai. Photo

An onion-tomato uttapam served at Mithai. Photo | Tasneem Hassanali 

By Tasneem Hassanali

When we talk of ‘Indian’ food, our taste buds drift to ‘spicy’ and ‘hot’. It’s true to some extent but not entirely. Having schooled for three years in the Southern part of India – I fell in love with their cuisine and etiquette of eating. From their popular breakfast rice cakes known as idli to their luncheons served on a banana leaf, I was all in.
One of the days last week, I skipped lunch at work and decided to go for a 3pm meal, not realising that most kitchens close by that hour. Thinking aloud, a friend of mine suggested a place called ‘Mithai’, an eatery located along the temple street in Kisutu area that’s usually open at such odd hours and that they serve South Indian dishes. Nothing screamed afternoon glory as this for me that day. It was a bonus.
Being on a fat-free and gluten-free diet, I knew I wouldn’t go wrong as South Indian cuisine offers a lot of steamed recipes.

Menu: I was pretty impressed with how they illustrated their menu book – personalising each section with an artwork. It was colourful and easy to pick. They not only had South Indian dishes but also North Indian and Chinese – but strictly vegetarian.

My Order: I ordered an Uttapam, which is basically a pancake prepared from a rice and lentil batter and mixed with your choice of add-ons. I picked onion, tomatoes and coriander. The kitchen staff were very cooperative when I requested for my dish not to be cooked in any refined oil. Yes, it yells healthy. It comes with three types of chutneys and sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew with tamarind broth) that complement the dish. It was pretty filling.


A must try: Masala dosa, which is basically a stuffing of seasoned potatoes enveloped in a pancake, which looks more like a long version of crepe. It’s crispy in texture.

Tip: When ordering a dosa, make sure to specify whether you want it crispy or soft.

thassanali@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Giving autistic children a new lease of life

 

By Esther Kibakaya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email: ekibakaya@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bridging the digital divide

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Establishing NLab

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tackling lack of funds challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief background

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

Email: etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

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

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

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

By Terry Ramadhani

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are times when

You might feel aimless

And you can’t see the places

Where you belong

But you will find that

There is a purpose

It’s been there within you,

All along

And when you’re near it,

You can almost hear it

It’s like a symphony,

Just keep listening

And pretty soon you’ll start

To figure out your part

Everyone plays a piece

And there are melodies

In each one of us

Ooohh it’s glorious

And you will know how

To let it ring out

As you discover

Who you are

Others around you

Will start to wake up

To the sounds that are

In their hearts

It’s so amazing

What we’re all creating

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

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

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

She sleeps in power! She lives forever!

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

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Local medicine making a blessing to Tanzania

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI: The benefits of giving are instantaneous



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

He impregnated his ex behind girlfriend’s back

 

By Eugene Mugisha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of material are men made from?

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

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

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

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

Email: lifeandstyle@thecitizen.co.tz

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

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

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Shift in car buying behaviour

 

By Alfred Zacharia and Janeth Muhizi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email: azacharia@tz.nationmedia.com

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Nose picking: What to do about it

 

By Life&Style Reporter

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

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

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

What to do about nose picking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to do about nose picking

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

I just refused to let bullying break me

 

By Tom Mwiraria

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

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

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

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

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

Tough early days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blow to self esteem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

GENDER TALK: Who is a woman?

 

By Tumusiime Deo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So who is a woman?

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

A woman is someone’s grand daughter

A woman is someone’s daughter

A woman is someone’s mother

A woman is someone’s sister

A woman is someone’s cousin

A woman is someone’s aunt

A woman is someone’s God-mother

A woman is someone’s employer

A woman is someone’s employee

A woman is someone’s customer

A woman is someone’s workmate

A woman is someone’s ex-girlfriend

A woman is someone’s best friend

A woman is someone’s patient

A woman is someone’s friend

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

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

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

AT A CROSSROAD: How tomato scarcity can be alleviated

 

By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

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

There has been a mixed bag of success and failures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

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



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One cannot be free unless the other is free too.

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

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

 

By Abdi Sultani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

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