Sunday, November 12, 2017

How a case of mistaken identity paved the way for my business

It pains Gideon to see his peers being afraid

It pains Gideon to see his peers being afraid to go against the system and create their own businesses even though some of them are really talented.PHOTOI COURTESY. 

By Marion Maina

Gideon Kitili, 26, is the third born in a family of six children. He grew up in Kitui South and attended Makolongo Primary School.

Despite the harsh climatic conditions that left many grappling with poverty, Gideon’s parents created a comfortable home for him and his siblings. They also placed great emphasis on education. A dismal academic performance was simply unacceptable.

Gideon passed his KCPE exams and was admitted at Alliance Boys High School. His first few weeks in school were quite a roller-coaster.

On one hand he was excited by the new environment having lived in Kitui all his life; on the other hand, he was intimidated by his mates in the school.

Some of the children were from wealthy families.

In comparison, he felt of a lower social class. For the first time, he became aware of the many childhood indulgences he had missed out on simply because his parents could not afford them.

Brilliance not a redemption

“Although the school system tried to standardise us, some of these differences could not be obscured. The price tags on our personal effects shopping demarcated the social classes. Being brilliant in class was no redemption either. My classmates were rich and smart. It was tough. Some good came out of that experience though. I purposed to excel at school in the hope that I would end up wealthy like them.”

Once he overcame that temporary phase of inferiority complex, Gideon thrived in the new environment. In Form One; he developed an interest in Information Technology courtesy of his Computer Studies class.

He would spend all his breaks in the computer lab.

Had never touched a computer

“I had never touched a computer before joining High School. I only saw them in banking halls whenever I accompanied my father to the bank. The first time I sat in front of a computer during my computer studies class, I stared into the blank screen and it was like looking at destiny. That very moment, I knew that my future was in computers.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ran a program at Alliance High School equipped 40 selected Form Three students, with skills in industrial scale programming, information technology concepts and basic entrepreneurship.

The sessions were conducted in the computer lab. One day, the MIT instructors popped into the computer lab and started issuing out handouts for the program.

Since Gideon was always in the computer lab like, he was mistaken to be among the selected students for the program and given a hand-out. He was in Form Two.

Computer geek is born

Fortunately, the older students did not rat him out. Endless hours of hanging out in the lab had seen Gideon strike friendships with most of the older computer students.

He got trained along with them. With time, Gideon became an accomplished computer geek. By form three, he was helping out form fours with their computer projects for KCSE exams.

After high school, Gideon was admitted at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering as per his course selection.

“One day, the lecturer was taking us round the labs. I caught sight of a group of Fifth Years hunched over an old television model. Curious, I inquired what they were doing with such an outdated TV version. When I found out that they were learning how to fix it, I was puzzled. It was 2011, why would anyone want to learn how to fix old TV models? Why were they not learning how to make improved models instead? Appalled, I changed my course to Computer Science the following week.”

Gideon informed his mother of the course switch and requested her to purchase for him a laptop.

He enjoyed his new course thoroughly. He spent hours on end indulging in self-study of web design, web development, and software programming.

Mutual passion

He met Anthony, a freelance programmer, in his social interactions online. Anthony had graduated with a degree in Electrical and Computer engineering but couldn’t secure a decent job. Frustrated, he had resorted to learning computer programming. Their friendship was due to their mutual passion for computers.

While in second year, Gideon was assigned a project by Anthony to build an app. He did this successfully and earned a lean Sh 40,000. Henceforth, he was begun doing more commercial projects that helped him cope financially in campus.

“I was in fourth year when I landed this big project from one of my acquaintances. When I completed the project, I got Sh 70, 000. My acquaintance pocketed Sh 210,000. When I cried foul, he argued that the company was his thus he was entitled to the lion’s share. I felt cheated. I had put in all the work, but that did not count. That is when I decided to start my own company; Trendpro Systems Limited.”

Trendpro Systems Limited is a start-up that develops web and mobile apps for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises in Kenya.

When Gideon started out, he did not have much capital to speak of. He got a loan from his brother, Ben Kitili, back in 2014. Ben was the financial muscle and Gideon took full charge of the operations. He worked from his house in Zimmerman.

His parents did not understand why he was not looking for employment like all his peers. However, that did not deter him; he remained focused on growing his company and developing an impressive portfolio.

Efforts bore fruit

In June 2016, Gideon opened an office at Hazina Towers. Once set up, he embarked on getting more clients in order to sustain the business. His efforts bore fruit. He hired three fulltime employees and two external consultants to help out with the increased workload.

“There have been a few challenges. Sometimes, potential clients doubt my ability to deliver because of my age. Other times experts in the field let their ego get the best of them and they refuse my contractual job offers. I have resorted to working with my former classmates and friends who are my age. They share in my vision for growth. Together, we have built a strong database of satisfied clients. That is the most important thing. Not age, not ego.”

Gideon is inspired by Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity. He is drawn to the fact that all of Elon’s inventions are geared to meeting societal needs.

He feels that the world would be a better place if everyone did something for society instead of demanding something from society.

He hopes to influence more young people to create jobs instead of looking for jobs.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Poetry slam finally makes its way to Tanzania

A jury of five people rates the performances of

A jury of five people rates the performances of each participant. PHOTOI ANDREW STEPHEN. 

By Roger Braun

It was a premier for Tanzania. For the very first time a slam poetry event took place in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday. Being an art form that is well-known in other parts of the world, it took up to this day to introduce poetry slam in the cultural scene of Tanzania. Driving force behind the event is Loyce Gayo, the daughter of the cartoonist James Gayo.

On Tuesday night, this 22-year-old woman stands on the rooftop of the Eco Sanaa Terrace in Mikocheni and beams all over her face.

“I can’t believe that it took so long – we finally made it,” she says. Ms Gayo left Tanzania ten years ago for Texas and established herself as a successful slam poet in the United States. Last month she came back to Dar es Salaam for half a year with a clear objective: spreading the slam poetry culture in Tanzania.

On this particular night, Ms Gayo limits herself to presenting the event. In the centre of interest are the seven courageous participants that dabble themselves in poetry slam. They are aged between 20 and 35. Only one man figures in the competing field. One after the other will go up on stage and perform the poem that he or she has prepared.

The goal is to convince the five judges that rate the performances. But not only them; it is an integral part of the poetry slam culture that the audience makes its voice heard as well. By clapping, shouting and cheering, it tries to influence the ratings of the jury. When the event starts at 7.30 there are about 30 people attending. In the course of the night more will arrive, up to about 45.

Portraying life issues

Ms Gayo cannot really offer an explanation why it took so long to launch poetry slam in Tanzania while in South Africa or Kenya it has been popular for quite some time. It is in some way surprising, she says, because Tanzania has always had a rich culture of oral representation. She mentions the lively poetry scene in Dar es Salaam, the open Mic events or the vivid music environment. “The culture of poetry slam has always been there,” she says.

It doesn’t come as a surprise then, that several participants of the event belong to the poetry scene of Dar es Salaam who meet regularly at Soma book café. On stage, they talk about the big issues of life: love, death, relationships, family, sexism and friendships. A female participant named her poem “From the womb” and recites: “Please papa, even if you hate mama now, stay cause I am on my way.” Another woman raises doubts about the pretentious self-representation on social media, another one expresses her frustrations about the role model female celebrities sends out. And of course, carpe diem: “When death approaches, you will regret the things you haven’t done instead of the things you have done,” a competitor cites. “Leave a legacy, don’t live nameless,” another one says.

Tuesday’s competition is not an isolated event, but only a puzzle piece in a much bigger picture. Ms Gayo is the founder and co-director of Paza Sauti, a programme that promotes creative writing and performing arts among young people. The first poetry slam that night should be the start to a thriving poetry slam scene in Tanzania.

For Ms Gayo performing arts can play an important role in enhancing the civic engagement of the people.

“The goal of Paza Sauti is enabling young people to talk about important social issues and thereby improving the life in their communities,” she says. The initiative targets children from 6 to 18 years. Ms Gayo and other artists would go to schools and motivate young people not only for creative writing but also for reciting it. Up to now they have reached about 400 children in schools, Ms Gayo says. She expresses excitement about the capacity of young people to perceive the world.

Raising your voice

“The writing of these young people is phenomenal,” she says. “They are able to talk about serious issues such as income inequality, racism and environmental justice.” With Paza Sauti, which is Swahili for raise your voice, Ms Gayo wants to make sure that the youth will keep raising their concerns when they grow older. The ultimate goal is to create leaders that are braver, more honest, more analytical and more sceptical than today’s people in charge,” she says.

The first round has ended. Every one of the seven participants has performed one poem by that time. The next round is yet to come. Some of them will read the text from their cell phones, others recite by heart. Some of them appear somewhat uneasy on stage, limiting themselves to the minimum of moves, others behave naturally, using gestures and facial expressions to stress their point. Two of the competitors even add melodies to their recitations.

Youth poetry festival

The event in Mikocheni is not a goal in itself but serves as a fundraiser for the Dar Youth Poetry Festival in Dar es Salaam, which will take place next weekend. The two-day event will feature poetry by accomplished poets from across East Africa and the United States, but above all, will give young artists between 6 and 18 years the chance to participate in workshops to develop their writing and performing skills. Finally, Paza Sauti aims to send five Tanzanian children to the International Youth Poetry Slam Festival “Brave New Voices” next year in Chicago; in the city where poetry slam was born.

The longer the evening goes, the better the scores the performers get. It is not immediately clear if the participants have really improved or if the judges became milder in their judgements under the pressure of the audience.

Lower scores are often booed by the public, whereas the top score of ten points are acclaimed. After the second round, there is a break for the participants. Then the Tanzanian poet Zuhura takes over. She will be the first one that recites a poem in Swahili, a love poem.

“There are no restrictions when it comes to language,” Ms Gayo explains. “As long as it resonates with the public, everything is fine.” It’s paramount for Ms Gayo that the barriers for artistic engagement are set as low as possible. It is also there where she sees a big virtue in poetry slam. “It is true that poetry itself can be somewhat discouraging at the beginning,” she says. Poetry slam, however, she considers much more accessible because neither spelling nor rhymes nor sentence structure really matter. She is convinced that performing is something very natural.

“When I go to classes, I can see that many children naturally use their body language and automatically use the right words to address the public,” she says.

In the meantime, four participants have been eliminated from the competition. The three remaining artists perform their last poem. It is their third. Two artists finally emerge winners. It is Carol Anande and Jasper Kido, how they are called by their stage names.

“I feel honoured that the audience liked my poems,” Carol Anande says after the event. She has experience in public appearances, but a poetry slam is different, she says. “It is in particular new to me to receive a direct feedback not only by judges but also by the public.” Jasper Kido says, it felt good to participate in the poetry slam.

He too has been a poet for some time, but says the combative nature of the slam is especially appealing to him, because he is competitive and a perfectionist. Both winners express optimism that poetry slam will take root in Tanzania. “We’ve been discussing it for quite some time”, Jasper Kido says. “I am super happy that it has come to life now.”



Sunday, November 12, 2017

PARENTING : Help your child overcome shyness


By Sound Living Reporter

Not every child is an enthusiastic learner who’s always eager to participate in classroom activities. Shy or reserved children are usually hesitant to speak out in class, resist group activities, and may prefer to play alone quietly, away from the group.

It’s normal to be concerned if your child is reluctant to jump into school activities, but try not to worry too much. If your child is in preschool, she may still be learning how to interact with other children and participate in groups.

Kindergartners and children in the early grades who get along fine with other children may continue to adjust to the social environment at school. It can take time for them to be comfortable with classroom rules and routines.

As time goes by, your child may get used to school but still feel anxious about participating. Just as personalities differ, children vary tremendously in how they engage in school activities.

Some children take longer than others to adjust to a new school, daily classroom routine, or teacher, but they eventually open up. Others stay shy – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Normal shyness is not a problem to be fixed.

Your child doesn’t need to be a gung-ho, first-in-line student to learn. But easing her fears even a little can make school a more enjoyable learning experience.

How can I encourage my shy child?

Don’t push. “The absolute first thing parents need to think about is respecting where their child is in the classroom and very incrementally moving them forward, instead of pushing them,” says Meg Zweiback, a nurse practitioner, family consultant, and associate clinical professor at the University of California at San Francisco.

Talk to the teacher

Meet with his teacher to discuss how your child acts in class and ask what you can do to help make the classroom an engaging and comfortable place. Compare notes between school and home. What activities does your child love at home that aren’t part of the lesson plan? What does your child dislike that he is expected to do at school? Work out a plan with his teacher to support your child.

Bring his interests to school

For example, if your child loves to learn about bugs at home, but insects aren’t part of the science curriculum, let him bring the home material to the classroom. Make sure the teacher doesn’t force your child to make a formal presentation, but ask to set up an opportunity for your child to talk or answer questions. The teacher could hold a discussion using your child’s materials as visual aids, or create a bug station based on your child’s supplies.

Even if your child doesn’t speak up right away, just having his favourite things in the classroom can ease his shyness. It’s a way for him to participate and feel a sense of belonging without being verbal, which is a start. Even sharing a book your child loves can help.

Go to school

Your presence in the classroom can help your shy child feel more comfortable at school. Your schedule may not allow for regular or lengthy classroom visits, but even just touching base now and then gives you a chance to observe. Try to take advantage of opportunities to help in the classroom. Most children consider it a treat when a parent visits the class.

Set her up for success

Look for school activities that give your child chances for success, suggests Dale Walker, a professor of child development at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. “Your child may be avoiding things she doesn’t think she can do,” she says. If you think this is the case, talk to the teacher about giving your child a helping hand.

If your kindergartner isn’t very coordinated with scissors or glue, ask if painting or drawing is an option. If your grade-schooler can’t spell the majority of words on the current spelling list, ask the teacher to include some easier words. “If the activity is over the child’s head, you want to tone it down. Make sure your child doesn’t get frustrated,” Walker says. It’s important for your child to develop her skills, and a little extra support early on can boost her confidence and help her take on more challenging activities.

On the other hand, activities that are too easy could be boring your child. If you suspect boredom is the problem, work with the teacher on ways to give your child more challenging projects. Maybe the teacher could give your child materials from a higher grade or extra assignments.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ethiopian Airlines new Boeing Aircraft lands in Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjato International Airport officials

Kilimanjato International Airport officials pose for a photo with Ethiopian airline staff after the aircraft landed at KIA. PHOTOI ELISHA MAYALLAH. 

By Elisha Mayallah

Ethiopian Airlines has made its inaugural commercial flight of its newly acquired Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner, to Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Its launch and entry into Tanzania’s epicentre of tourism is expected to give the travel and tourism sectors a big shot in the arm.

The demand for passenger seats has been growing fast to service the lucrative Kilimanjaro route as the destination continues to attract new visitors and conference organisers to its tourism wonderlands scattered all over the country’s northern zone. The tourism industry contributes nearly 17% of the GDP, far more than minerals. It is set to increase in the near future.

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest and most profitable airline group in Africa, has become the first in the continent to receive and operate the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

This extends the airline’s tradition of setting aviation milestones in Africa. The airline was the first African carrier to fly the 787-8 in 2012, similarly, the airline introduced the 777-200LR (Longer Range), 777-300ER (Extended Range) and 777 Freighter. And more recently the Airbus A350.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is the latest extension to Boeing’s super-efficient 787 family. The new aircraft can fly farther and with more passengers and more cargo, than the Boeing 787-8 – but with the same exceptional environmental performance: 20 percent less fuel usage and 20 percent fewer emissions than the aircraft it will replace.

The new aircraft will feature fully flat beds in business class, with in-flight Wi-Fi services also set to be introduced. Passengers will also benefit from larger windows and stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity and cleaner air, lower cabin pressure and a smoother, quieter ride.

The 787-9 is 20 feet or 6 metres longer than the 787-8 and has more passenger capacity with 30 seats in Business Class (flat bed) and 285 seats in Economy (total 315 seats) and more cargo space.

As it rolls out a major fleet expansion and upgrade including a total of 20 Boeing 787s, 10 Boeing 777s; 16 Boeing 737-800s and 7 Airbus A350-900 XWBs, Ethiopian Airline will become the first African airline to operate both Boeing and Airbus’ modern next-generation aircraft at the same time.

Currently, ET flies to more than 100 international destinations in five continents using 93 most modern and youngest fleet, 20 of which are B787 Dreamliner, deployed on its long haul routes.

At KIA , Mrs Fitsemt Dejene, ET’s Traffic and Sales Manager for Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions said, the aircraft adds a number and quality to ET fleet which is always ahead of other airlines in Africa.

“And it is also historic for us to receive the B-787-9 aircraft maiden commercial flight to Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa,” said Mrs Dejene, at the new Boeing launch for its tour of airports in the Ethiopian global network.

Kilimanjaro, located in the North of Tanzania, is a major tourist destination with huge economic significance for Tanzania and part of Ethiopian’s extensive network in Africa.

The Tanzanian northern zone boasts of Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in Africa, The Serengeti and Ngorongoro both commanding a big number of visitors. There is also Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Mkomazi parks including the wealth of cultural insight and heritage in Tanzania’s prominent tribes, and the huge Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) based in Arusha.

Apart from tourism industry Tanzania northern zone also has precious mineral resources (including Tanzanite, the one and only in the World), thousands of livestock, a robust horticulture industry that adds, value to the quality of life of the people and revenues in the country’s national cake.

To complement the celebratory mood, a tour leader of the biggest group on board ET814/28OCT, from the UK, has been upgraded to Cloud Nine (ET’s Business Class) to experience the relaxing features and warm hospitality that is much needed after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Five victories for the girl child in 2017

Outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson

Outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Photo | File 

By Young Citizen

The fight for rights for the girl child has been ongoing on a number of fronts and due to these different battles, there comes around. once in a while, a victory that the girl child will certainly be grateful for immediately or in a couple of years down the line.

This year alone, there have been some of those victories in good measure and with the International Day of the girl child just past, it is only right for us to celebrate them, whether for the first time or all over again.

Women drivers in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia had remained the last country where women were not allowed to drive. This year, however, a rather unexpected law gave women the permission to obtain driver’s licenses. The law also allows women to drive alone without needing the permission of their guardians to get a driver’s license. The interior ministry was also to make a decision on whether women could be professional drivers.

You can now marry anyone in Tunisia

The right to choose one’s spouse is one of the many great freedoms that people all over the world take for granted but until recently, Muslim women in Tunisia could not marry non-Muslim men. In September, however, the 44-year ban preventing Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims was lifted. The President of Tunisia, Beji Caid Essebsi, who had campaigned tirelessly for gender equality ever since he took office, pushed for the ban to be lifted arguing that it contravened Tunisia’s 2014 constitution.

First Female President in Singapore

Halimah Yacob a 63 year old politician became Singapore’s first female President in 2017 and this is a victory for the girl child because the more female Presidents that there are in the world or even through history, the more they know that no height is too high for them. Yacob had been announced as the President in September with no elections conducted after two of her contenders dropped out of the race.

Despite the fact that the President’s office in Singapore is mostly ceremonial with the President having no significant executive powers and only some authority over Singapore’s asset and financial reserves, Yacob gave a speech filled with joy over her victory, assuring the people of a fair and committed leadership.

Child Bride As Rape

On the 11th of October 2017, the International Day of the girl child, India’s Supreme Court ruled that sex with an underage wife constitutes rape. It was a landmark ruling which campaigners have said could affect the lives of millions of girls.

It overturned an initial clause that permitted men to have sex with a married girl as young as fifteen and according to Girls Not Brides.

With the new ruling, girls who are raped by their husbands can bring charges within one year of the offence.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ends term as President of Liberia

The first female President of Liberia and the first female President in the African continent at large saw her tenure draw to a close in October and true to her word, worked to ensure a peaceful transfer of power by supervising a democratic election to choose her successor.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is leaving office with a lot of goodwill directed at her she has set an amazing example for the girl child and female leadership as a whole


Sunday, November 5, 2017

What it means to be living a Rastafarian in today’s world


When he talks about reggae, he sounds like a preacher. Elisante Urassa embodies the music originating from Jamaica like hardly anybone else.

He is the new presenter of the TV show “Reggae Power” on ZBC (Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation) and this is what he says about himself, “I not only love reggae music, I am also living a life of a rastafari.” [Rastafari, also spelled Ras Tafari is a religious and political movement that begun in Jamaica in the 1930s and was adopted by many groups around the globe]

A life close to nature

The 38-year-old artist lives in Kigamboni, south of the city of Dar es Salaam in a secluded area called Gezalole.

His living style is all basic. Brick and mortar were used to build the walls; a corrugated iron roof shields him from the rain. There is neither water nor electricity. In front of the house stands a wooden bench he has crafted himself.

Most of the food he eats, originates from his own organic garden. Mr Urassa is proud of not using any fertilizers or pesticide, taking advantage of the very fertile ground, thanks to the pond in his proximity.

He plants vegetables like maize, green pepper, spinach, cabbage and sweet potatoes. “It is an integral part of my Rastafarian ideology to lead a life close to nature,” he says.

Reggae is more than just music

For Mr Urassa, reggae signifies much more than just music. It means to live in harmony with nature and other people.

“Reggae is about love, peace, green environment and solidarity,” Mr Urassa tells Sound Living. “The big message is that we are all one, it is a message of unity.”

Mr Urassa looks at the television as a perfect medium to educate the people about the underlying ideas of the reggae culture.

Once a week – from 5 to 5.45 pm – he hosts a talk show where he converses to viewers about reggae. For him this is a great opportunity.

“I want to use this chance to spread the reggae mentality for the good of the community,” he says. The world would be a better place if more people were attached to the ideaology of rastafari, he strongly believes.

What is it like being a Rastafarian?

When Mr Urassa talks about Rastafarians, he is full of passion, and can even become melodramatic at times.

He would say things like, “If there is a Rastafarian, there is no need to worry. A rastaman would never harm you.”

On the contrary, he would give you his last bite to eat if you are hungry. And yet, despite all the exuberant rhetoric, Mr Urassa doesn’t miss the practical benefits of the spread of reggae culture. “Especially as a country that attracts many touritsts, as Tanzania it is, we would benefit heavily, if all the foreigners felt welcomed here,” he says.

When he arrives at the port of Stone Town, he becomes pensive, even a bit angry. “It makes me sad that this is the first impression the travellers get, when they reach Zanzibar,” he says.

He feels visibly uneasy amid the hawkers, harassing the new arrivals. “Everybody would be better off, if they would stop selling their services so aggressively, but welcome the people from abroad in a sincere manner,” he says. Again, it is obvious to him that more Rastafari culture would be beneficial for everybody.

For Mr Urassa, being Rastafari means first and foremost being friendly to strangers.

“It is about the perspective that every other person is a brother to you,” he says. And indeed, when he walks through the streets of Stone Town, people would regularly greet him saying, ‘Hey Rasta, what’s up?’

“They do that because they know that I will respond in a friendly way,” he says.

It is indeed hard to overlook that Mr Urassa is a Rastafarian. He is proud to tailor his clothes himself, and not just by them in a random shop.

There is just one distinctive thing missing when it comes to his Rastafarian outfit: the dreadlocks.

It is not that he would pass on them voluntarily. It is much more the result of an ugly incident that happened to him twelve years ago. Mr Urassa was on a nine month long trip on the so-called Rainbow Warrior, recalling a Greenpeace ship that was plunged by the French secret service in the 80’s when the environmentalists protested against the French nuclear tests.

Mr Urassa and his allies were fighting against the practice of dynamite fishing and sailed for that cause in the Indian Ocean.

When they were on the island of Mauritius, they were attacked by a group of robbers. When Mr Urassa declined to give his wallet and his cell phone, they pulled him out of his car by his long dreadlocks.

They pulled so hard that they tore out a fair amount of hair at the forefront of his head, his scalp was covered of blood.

Since this incident, his hair at the forefront wouldn’t grow as before. He now wears a cap, covering up his scalp.

Art, his second best friend

Besides reggae, Mr Urassa has a second passion, which is art. Right after finishing secondary school in Dar es Salaam, he immediately started working as an artist.

He was especially interested in visual arts; in drawing, painting and sculpturing.

While it has never been easy to make a living of it, Mr Urassa scored a big success when he was invited to contribute to the World Championship of Soccer 2014 in South Africa.

It was the first time the World Cup took place in Africa, and the organisers were looking for artists to push up their host cities.

Back then, Mr Urassa lived in Durban and was working as a street artist where the organisers discovered the talented Tanzanian artist.

He finally figured among 100 international artists that got commissioned to create art in the host cities.

For about half a year this art collective decorated dozens of pieces of art: sculptures in roundabouts, paintings on walls, dancing performances in the street and so on.

Mr Urassa felt especially pleased when at the final exhibition, one of his artworks got awarded with the third prize. The sculpture he submitted was a three meters tall giraffe he had created exclusively from trash.

“When the end of our collective approached, I looked at all the waste lying around us and decided to use it to do a final art piece,” Mr Urassa says.

It was mainly plastic material he used for this purpose: Bags, bottles, disposable tableware, containers, and so on. Since then, he specialises in sculpting wild animals out of trash.

At his house in Gezalole, there is always a stack of trash lying on the ground that he would use as working material.

Mr Urassa is not only a sculptor, but also a painter. He knows how to paint in Tingatanga style, but he actually prefers to depict landscapes that he draws out of his imagination.

He signs as Ras Gorotto below his paintings – an allusion to his birth at home, instead of a hospital. Most buyers of his paintings are tourists who enjoy the beaches of Kigamboni. That’s the way the paintings find their way around the globe.

And from time to time, Mr Urassa gets contacted by people coming from countries like France, Canada, Denmark who want to find out more about his style and the person behind the artwork.

And it happens that foreigners come to Gezalole to collaborate in a big sculpture or to get inspired by Urassa’s style.

Gezalole means a lot to Mr Urassa, and it is also the place he wants to build his life upon.

He dreams of building another house to host nature-conscious travellers and to teach them about the vegetation and wildlife in Tanzania. He is convinced: “The more we know about nature, the more we respect it.” As with reggae, he wants to spread the message to make the world a better place.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Exercising for good health


By By Jonathan Musa @jonathan_ink

It is 6.30 am on a chilly Friday morning and I am at the Samaki round-about, right in the heart of the country’s second largest city, Mwanza.

The influx of boda-boda riders line-up waiting for customers while beggars wait for passers-by for alms. As I head towards the south of the city, roads seem to be narrower in relation to the activities taking place there.

Apart from the busy daladala conductors wooing passengers to board their buses, petty traders move up and down hunting for customers too. Then there is this group of people, both men and women in work-out gear, who are running up and down the sidewalks, exercising.

It really gets chaotic especially in the morning when people are rushing for work and other activities. Chaotic because it is the same sidewalks that both pedestrians and those exercising use.

The number of people engaging in workouts seems to be impressively increasing by the day, with people jogging both in the morning and evening.

What is this fitness craze all about?

Keeping fit, many will tell you. Others are trying to lose weight and some are following the doctor’s instructions.

Patrick Chacha, a city resident braves the morning cold to keep fit. He mostly gets up early in the morning when there is less movement to exercise. He says hitting the road after six makes it less conducive bearing in mind people’s movements. He says people exercise on the road because there are no specific areas for the purpose.

“We always encounter a lot of difficulties when exercising particularly in the morning when people are rushing to their work places,” Chacha laments.

He says fitness lovers have no choice but to run on the same roads pedestrians use given that a better part of Mwanza is hilly and therefore not conducive for exercise.

Emily Juma, 28, a resident who has to exercise as part of her medical requirement, echoes the same. She too wishes there were places conducive for exercising. Her doctor’s prescription requires her to run ten kilometers daily and is therefore forced to get up unusually early to have the space she needs.

“I was diagnosed with diabetes and the doctor advised me to make jogging part of my treatment. Exercising helps put the condition under control,” she tells me wiping off sweat from her forehead.

Emily says she is forced to wake up very early, sometimes as early as 4.30 am to run when there is less traffic and a few pedestrians.

Good reasons you should exercise

Health and fitness experts say that there are many jogging benefits, which is why it has remained so popular. It is however advised to consult a physician before embarking on any exercise programme.

Experts also advise on starting slowly when you decide to take it up. Start by taking brisk walks at first and slowly introduce jogging spurts as you build your endurance.

According to the Better Health website, benefits of jogging in the morning or evening are that one feels fresh, well-rested, and if running on an empty stomach, one could burn more fat.

It further says that afternoon jogs on the other hand can help you release accumulated stress from the day. Also, jogging helps prevent hypertension and heart disease. Aerobic fitness is linked to a better quality of life.

The benefit of jogging is that it can reduce ones’ risk of developing a host of diseases. Among these is heart disease since the cardiovascular system gets a great workout with this exercise.

On the website the experts quote that jogging helps to keep high blood pressure at bay. It activates the lowering of the ‘bad cholesterol’ in your blood as you do vigorous exercise such as jogging.

Known as the silent killer, hypertension can have long term effects on your body that could lead to life threatening conditions such as hemorrhaging, atherosclerosis and aneurysms if it is unchecked.

Apart from physical well-being, jogging also promotes mental and psychological well-being.”

According to Dr Murthy Venkateswaran at the Sanitas Hospitals, jogging and running, are both aerobic exercises which improve heart and lung capacity.

“Jogging also strengthens the immune system remarkably well. There is strong evidence that aerobic exercise helps promote the stimulation of macrophages or bacteria fighting cells and lymphocytes that fight infections through the immune system,” says Dr Venkateswaran.

A myth or reality?

But on the other hand, according to Dr Thomas Weria, a health expert at Shirati (KMT) Hospital in Lorya district Mara region says that jogging and running is a prolonged and a casual exercise, this step of physical exertion has been proven to lower ones’ testosterone level.

Apart from that, it affects performance in the bedroom. A lack of the hormone can be responsible for slow muscle recovery and an acute lack of energy.

He says after one has run for more than ten kilometers a day, it is very possible to lose the anxiety to do sex and even lack the desire to make love.

“Hormones help regulate our physiology and behaviour, and an imbalance can affect everything from respiration to digestion, metabolism and sensory perception,” he informs Your Health in an interview.

These are echoed by Hans Makoye, a surgeon at Bugando Medical Center, who says jogging for too long can lead to poor or lack of synovial fluid which is found on joints especially knees.

“Synovial is a membrane surrounding each joint and is responsible for the production of a thick, slippery fluid. The fluid helps ensure smooth and easy body movement, if it does not exist then one will neither have the ability to jog nor run. And it is mainly caused by jogging excertion,” he cautions.

Resident echo challenges

Mwanza has very few sport centres where one can do this kind of an exercise. For instance, Butimba Teachers Training College based at Mkuyuni ward in Nyamagana district, has a ground that is always busy with various activities including first league division matches.

The ground has a capacity of accommodating 200 to 250 people at a go and its surface contains seasonal grass that at times dries up during sunny season.

Due to its unique form, many parts are hilly thus making it hard for some activities to take place, such as jogging or running in particular sites and thus many are forced to run on highways, an essence that puts their lives at risk.

Speaking to the regional sports representative, he said that the government was aware of the inadequate spaces and thus worked on Nyamagana sports ground, despite that it does not accommodate the number of events taking place within the city.

“Apart from CCM Kirumba, Butimba and Nyamagana, we have a plan of setting up other spaces. We are only waiting for the launch of a master plan and go on with the plans,” he concluded.

On his side, Zephaniah Mahiri, a marathon trainee based in Mwanza shares his views with Your Health. He says Mwanza is a city that needed to have modern and reliable infrastructure. He referred to the city plan that could involve such fields.

Zephaniah says the tendency of doing or participating in jogging or running makes one’s health fabulous, as a role model to many he says it is very rare for a person committing himself of herself to jog or walk.

“As I said earlier, jogging or physical exercise is a routine to those who know about its advantages. The perception form few people that prolonged physical exercising leads to impotence, is a mare myth,” he says.

However, Dominic Mwera, a daily jogger on Mwanza-Shinyanga highway, says there are minimal number of roads especially highways due to the availability of the Lake and as well as the rocks formation.

“An hour cannot pass before hearing of sirens directing people and road users in general to pave way for either police to pass while escorting suspects and criminals to and from the courts or cash being transported,” he says.

This makes it hard for joggers to continue running as they may cause tension.

“Apart from that, some places are polluted by the industry-related activities and hence can affect one’s health, we therefore avoid them,” he concluded.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Be careful of your behaviour


By Sound Living Reporter

Growing up, my siblings and I feared our parents and we hardly ever associated with them,” Shanir Ssemwanga, a 27-year-old businessman in Kiyembe Lane, narrates, adding, “Our mother was very strict and would yell at us over any small mistake. Our father behaved like a probing officer.

Whenever he called you, your heart would skip a beat. The first thought to cross your mind would be, ‘What wrong have I done this time round?’”

One day, Ssemwanga had visited the neighbours when his sister came running to tell him, “Police is back.” His friends quickly asked who ‘police’ was but none of the siblings answered.

“As I rushed home, I kept asking God for a miracle. It was so bad that whenever the examination timetable was out, I would fall sick because I knew poor performance meant a punishment. I felt like running away from home.”

Your parenting style matters

Moses Ntenga, the executive director of Advocacy and Action for Children, says before parents start complaining about the bad behaviour of their children they must realise that their parenting style could be wrong. “When a parent is ruthless and does not interact with the child, he or she erodes the child’s confidence and self-esteem.

This makes the child feel less important, even when interacting with other children.”

Lack of self-esteem psychologically tortures children, making it hard for them to excel academically, because even when they know the answers to a teacher’s questions, they may fear to speak out. “Such children are afraid that their friends will laugh at them in case the answer they have given is wrong. They do not associate with anyone since that fear turns them into loners. They believe anyone who gets to know them will rebuke them even for the slightest mistake.”

Authoritative but considerate

On the other hand, an authoritative but considerate parent will always share a great deal of warmth and interaction with their children. These parents manage to be friends to their children, sharing their lives freely with them. However, there are always a few rules and regulations that are necessary to keep the children disciplined.

Tracy Nabasa, a 21-year-old-student, enjoyed every moment of her childhood. “I knew my parents were strict when it came to home rules and one’s behaviour but before mother held a stick to discipline me, she would have first talked to me and warned me a couple of times. My parents were interested in knowing who my friends were, so I always invited them to come to my home. We shared our experiences with my parents and they advised us.”

Nabasa was particularly close to her father, whom she considered a good friend she could tell anything freely.

Sister Lawrence Nakiwu, a family counsellor, says children whose parents are considerate are always social. Such children learn good communication skills since they often speak to and interact with their parents or guardians on many occasions. This makes them more active in class and eager to learn new things. “Such parents tend to give their children increasing levels of independence as they mature, exposing them to leadership potential and self-control. These are qualities that make ideal employees, leaders, and life partners.”

Being cruel to your children might get the results in the short run. They will be obedient, only when you are around. However, in your presence they may take to whispering to each other – instead of holding conversations – wondering when you will be leaving for work, since your presence makes their life a living hell.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

My journey notes: taking you in the interiors of Lake Tanganyika


By Elias Msuya

On my recent trip to Nkasi, one among the districts of Rukwa region along Lake Tanganyika, I witnessed many tales. I was headed there to fetch rural news for my local newspaper but the journey took an interesting toll.

It took three days to reach the interiors of Nkasi district, crossing many towns and weather conditions. The bus journey was rather a hectic yet exploratory one. Commencing from Dar es Salaam, I passed Morogoro, slopes of Kitonga Mountains, the evergreen Iringa, a night-out at Tawakali petrol station, Mbeya, Tunduma and reaching the extreme cold in Sumbawanga the second day.

Sumbawanga is a small and a calm town compared to Mbeya or Tunduma. Its weather is cold. I booked myself a room at a local lodge and got some rest for the next day’s journey.

The next morning, now the third day of my journey, I prepared myself and headed to the bus stand to find a bus to Nkasi district.

It is a journey of about 80 kilometers on rough road from Tunduma. We arrived at Namanyere Township (Nkasi) at 10am. I decided to take a motorbike to Kipili village along Lake Tanganyika. It’s about 70 kilometers of a rough ride.

After my long journey

Upon arrival, I still had to complete formalities with the district’s executive director before the village chairman could dispense information for my news coverage.

My journey seemed endless. I took a bus back to Namanyere Nkasi to meet the director. Though I completed the formalities, time was not on my side.

I couldn’t go back to Kipili village the same day because it got dark, so I decided to get a room around the area. Inspite of its small area, I had time to refresh with the live band in a nearby grocery.

Clean day delayed my journey

The next day I had to go back to the village and I was very confident because I got the permission from the director. But things didn’t go as I thought.

When I was at the bus stand preparing to board the bus to the village, the conductor informs, “We won’t go now because today is the cleanliness day, so we shall wait until the exercise is finished.”

It was the only bus to the village at the stand, so I had no option. I didn’t even bother to take a motorbike ride to the village because I knew it was a short exercise before we leave.

I was suppose to reach the village at 8am, but we left from there at11am and reached there at 2pm. Because it was already a Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t meet the ward and village leaders in their offices, so I did nothing but just survey the villages and learn how I could venture to the nearby islands namely Mandakerenge, Mvuna, Lupita, Mandauhuru, Mandaluila and villages like Kirando, Mkinga, Kalungu to mention a few.

Canoeing through the lake

I decided to spend my Sunday on the Mandakerenge Island, where I reached via a primitive canoe rowed by a single person in the second deepest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika.

My hosts told me that there are some motor boats including the one which makes two journeys from Mvuna Island in the morning to Mandakerenge and then to Kirando Village and it comes back in the evening until tomorrow. If you miss the boat you must hire other motorboats or local ones without motors.

After reaching at the Island I met the village executive officer, Clarence Msemakweli, who shared with me a village report.

I observed that people are living in the extreme poverty in these islands with poor social services like health, education and sanitation.

Infrastructures are not found including roads since there are neither motor vehicles nor bicycles. They only use canoes and boats to reach the neighbouring villages.

The same day I took a motorboat to Mvuna Island, which is about seven kilometers away.

Their main activity is fishing, which the locals confess that they earn more money than engaging in anything else.

The Mvuna Island chairman, Elias Mlea told me that it was due to political reason that their community has been segregated.

On the other Island like Mandauhuru in the same district has neither a school nor a dispensary as a result children use local canoes to commute to Mkinga village in mainland for school purposes, but not all.

Mkinga village is among five villages of Mkinga ward. Other villages are Kalungu, Majengo, Ntanganyika and the Island of Mandauhuru.

Speaking with reporter in his office, Nkasi district Council executive director Julius Kaondo admits that the district has been far back in development, but they have been doing their level best to restore the situation.

“We are facing many challenges including education sector in which we are lacking teachers, equipment and infrastructure. Until now we are lacking 1,400 classrooms from 660 we have,” he says.

One thing I came to realise is that such small districts are neglected, not even heard about when it comes to emphasizing basic things such as health and education. I think we need to wake up and comprehend the fact that childhood exists in the interiors of Tanzania that needs as much importance as the children and people who dwell in the city.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

The water pot of Mkuranga

The pot quenches the thirst of passersby. PHOTO

The pot quenches the thirst of passersby. PHOTO | Elizabeth Tungaraza 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Today’s world is full of wonders. It is normal for both urban and rural dwellers not to trust each other. Nowadays almost everybody trusts nobody except God. But just some few kilometres from Dar es Salaam, the dwellers trust a pot and the water. Even for passersby, they would go for the precious liquid to quench their thirst.
At Mivule Village in Mkuranga District, Coast Region, about 32km from Dar es Salaam, a big pot made of clay soil finds a home. It usually sits under a big mango tree. For years, the pot has been here. No one has attempted to steal it or discard the water in it. They trust the pot and drink the water inside it.
At a glance, it looks like someone, who was on his/her way home from fetching water, has just put the pot down, with a cup on top of it, to take a quick rest. However, no one come to pick it up and take it to the final destination.
The pot, commonly referred to by the locals as “mtungi wa maji” has been there since 1970s. It was owned by Mzee Ally Sultan Zanduro, and his wife, Khadija Said, who shifted to Mivule Village in the late 1960s. They died years ago but what they started as an act of generosity lives on.
According to his last born son, Adam Zanduro, the old man built a house near the Kilwa main road. He received many guests at his home, not as visitors but as passersby from other villages who would only knock at his door just to ask for drinking water to quench their thirst and cool down their body temperature before continuing with their journey.
“Most of the people, who stopped over for water to drink, were using the main road, to ferry charcoal by bicycles from villages to areas such as Kongowe, Vikindu, Mbagala and other parts of Dar es Salaam, which are not very far from MKuranga District. When they reached this area and see the house they always stop and ask for water to drink,” said Adam.
As the passerby’s frequency to ask for water to drink increased, the old man sat down and planned for something that would not cost him a lot, in terms of money and his time. “Mzee came up with the water pot idea. He then put the pot full of water and a cup on top of it just by the roadside for anyone to drink. This saved him the time he would otherwise spend attending to and serving passersby water to drink,” narrated Adam.
Adam said before his father died, he asked his children to continue offering drinking water to the public. Now Adam, is the one, out of eight children who has been tasked by the family to handle the pot.
“If I’m not mistaken, the current pot is the tenth one since the old man  passed away. Some of them broke up during cleaning. Sometimes, we have to replace an old pot with a new one after a long use,” he added.
“I’m the one who usually take charge of cleaning and refilling it with water. I always clean it and refill water twice or thrice a day, depending on the consumption rate,” said the 25-year-old who is also the  last born.
Adam, who is living at the family house, is working at a factory just across the road. It becomes easy for him to check, clean and refill the pot with water. According to him, consumption rate has decreased in recent years compared to the past. Adam is of the opinion that modern life has changed people’s perception to the extent that they have become reluctant to just drink water from the pot.
“Today, people can buy bottled water which they can carry with them throughout their journey unlike in the past. However, there are still those who cannot afford buying bottled water,” he said.
Adam is grateful to God there is no single case of diarrhoea or any other water-borne related diseases that have been reported after people drink the water from the pot.
“We change the water frequently and we are very concerned about the cleanness of the pot. That is what we do. The rest we leave to the Almighty God,” said Adam.
“During the night, travellers, especially truck drivers, usually stop, drink and sometimes refill their empty bottles with water from the pot so that they can carry it for the rest of  their journey,” he said.
“We have never heard any complaint from anyone regarding the safety of the water. I’m confident that it’s the Almighty God that protects the water and keep it safe throughout the day and night,” he added, saying the only time one cannot find the pot  is during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The Myth
Some people associate the pot with superstition. However, Adam rules out such outdated beliefs, saying what the family has been embracing for all the years are nothing but prayers.
“It is our personal sacrifice. Offering one’s possessions, no matter how small, for the sake of helping those in need, is a blessing that can help in purifying our souls,” he said.
“My father decided to put the pot in order to help those who are thirsty. Even though there are some people who are superstitious. We don’t blame them because the world has changed a lot; we live in the digital era. Some say it is uncivilised for people to share one cup for drinking water while affordable bottled water are plenty. But they forget that there are some people who cannot afford buying bottled water,” he said.
Just near the place where the pot is placed, there are two women Sinawema Maulid and Mwanaisha Awadhi, who have recently opened a small food vending business. The women are new to the area but they heard stories about the pot before they came to Mivule Village.
 According to them, their customers go for drinking water from the pot, despite serving them with drinking water. “I have never tasted the water in the pot. But most of our clients who usually drink it tend to like it. They say the water is cool and tastes good,” said Mwanaisha.
Mwanaisha was so surprised when she heard stories about the pot for the first time. “I was asking myself why the old man decided to put a pot by the roadside. I am selling food here and most of my customers drink that water,” noted the resident of Mwandege Village.
Sinawema said with the water. They are selling food without water because most of their customers prefer water from that pot rather than bottled water. “This shows that they really appreciate and like it,” she noted
According to Adam, helping or putting other people’s needs before yours also makes him feels good and it strengthens his relationships. “Taking time out of your busy life to do something that the community appreciates makes our family feel good. I will not abandon this family tradition. This connects me in one way or another with those whom I serve,” said Adam.
“There are times I refill the water in the evening and find it empty in the morning. In such a situation I know there were truck drivers or other travellers whose vehicles had mechanical fault and they take the water to cool down overheating radiators. When they pass by the area and found me either cleaning or refilling the pot, they come and thank me for rescuing them the other night,” he recalled.
Mohammed Abdalah Ntungata, 81, who shifted to Mivule Village in 2011 from Kurasini in Dar es Salaam, lives near the home of the late Zanduro’s family after buying a plaot from the family in 2009.
According to him, he was surprised the first day he saw the pot. “Zanduro decided to give back to the society in his own way. Our religious beliefs want us to give back to the people,” said Ntungata.
Ntungata, however, said unlike in the past, people who make a stopover to drink the water are few compared to what he used to see. “Today, there are few people who walk long distances on foot. Most of them use vehicles and motorcycles, thus they cannot easily see the pot. Only few passersby and bicycle cyclists use the water,” noted Ntungata.
Kassim Rajab a truck driver, whose vehicle had broken down on the roadside just near the pot, said he was surprised to see the pot under the tree. “It looks like someone has just put it there and left. I stayed here for almost the whole night fixing my truck and I didn’t see anyone coming to pick it up,” said Rajab.
“After sunrise, I saw passersby come, drink the water and go. Despite being thirsty I was hesitant to drink the water in the first place. After some hours, I saw a young man cleaning and refilling the pot with water. He was the one who assured me that there is nothing bad about the pot and the water. Since then, I just get a cup whenever I feel thirsty. The water is so cool and tastes nice,” narrated Rajab.
Adam says they do not add anything to the water to either purify it or make it taste good. “We fetch the water at a nearby house where there is a deep well that produces clean water. We don’t put anything to purify it. The good thing is that whoever drinks it loves it and keeps on drinking,” he explained.
The good hearted Mzee Zanduro had never, during his lifetime, denied anyone water. He continues to do so even after his death. Adam vowed to uphold his father’s legacy and pass it on to his next generation. People around the village and passersby as well, have their trust on what Zanduro started some 45 years ago. Through the pot water tradition that has existed for all those years, it is definite that Zanduro still lives on.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Youth making pads out of sugarcane


By Edgar R Batte

        Briefly introduce yourself.

My name is Lydia Asiimwe. I am a co-founder of EcoSmart Uganda Limited. We are the producers and suppliers of low-cost sanitary pads made out of recycled sugarcane fibre.

What is the origin of EcoSmart Pads?

It all started when Susan Mbabazi, a member of our team met, a 16-year-old girl called Kyomuhendo, who had travelled a long way from her village in Rwanyamahembe, in Mbarara District of Western Uganda in search of better health care at Mbarara Regional referral Hospital.

Kyomuhendo had developed wounds in her vagina that had first presented with itching soon after her menstruation period. She had been using three pieces of the same old cloth over the past two years during her period.

To Mbabazi, this form of menstrual management was part of the reason for Kyomuhendo’s pain and she was determined to do something about it.

A week later, Suzan Mbabazi was selected to participate in the CAMTech Uganda internship programme and she got her chance to tell this story. Two other students on the programme and a member of staff were inspired and they joined us to form a team.

The team grew to be known as the EcoSmart Pads team and we have figured out a way to upcycle (re-use waste) sugarcane fibre into a material that we are now using to make low cost and eco-friendly sanitary pads. Our vision is to ensure equality, vibrancy and dignity in menstrual management among girls and women in Uganda.

How did you come up with the idea?

During the CAMTech Uganda internship programme, we were challenged to come up with innovative ideas to solve this health challenge.

Based on our inspirational encounter with Kyomuhendo, we started thinking through possible natural or plant materials we could use to develop a sanitary pad that would be cost effective in the long run.

We had three options; maize stem fibre, soghum stem fibre and sugarcane fibre. Our lab test results showed that sugarcane fibre had the highest absorbence rate, equal to cotton.

Who is part of the team, and what role do they play?

Team members include; Noel Aryanyijuka, a biomedical engineer; Suzan Mbabazi, a computer engineer and the sales and marketing manager; Sam Kazibwe, an IT specialist and the research and development manager; Shakira Namatovu, a specialist on gender and the Health Networking Manager as well as Lydia Asiimwe, the administration and Human Resource Manager.

What is the eco component of the solution?

First is the fact that we are upcycling fibre that would otherwise be disposed off. Secondly, sugarcane is a plant material that easily decomposes to make manure that increases soil fertility.

What is your source of sugarcane waste?

Currently, we get material from Kinyara but we have not yet entered into a formal agreement with them.

What materials are used in making this pad?

100 per cent of the absorbent layers are sugarcane fibre, we have a thin cotton cover and a baby fluid holder dressing it up.

What is your anticipated production capacity? Where will you produce it from?

We hope to produce 92,463 packs of 12 pieces per month (if we get the resources). Our target is to be able to supply at least 833 packs to each of the 111 districts in Uganda per month which will yield to 10,000 packs per district in a year.

How are you planning to get these pads to the intended users or audiences?

We are generating a registry of all units that support vulnerable groups of people and are also working through the already established local government units. Through these channels, we will have our product reach its end users.

How much will the pads cost and how did you arrive at the price?

A 12-piece pack will cost Shs1500. This will come as a result of a heavy subsidy from philanthropists and venture capitalists who are interested in impact rather than profit. The unit price was arrived at when 90 per cent of the end users we interacted with during our needs assessment confirmed that they could afford to pay Shs1,500.

About Upcycling

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of the recycling process.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Making a living through agriculture

Despite the challenges, Eve does not regret

Despite the challenges, Eve does not regret investing in agribusiness as she believes it is a gold mine whose potential is yet to be tapped. PHOTOSI COURTESY. 

By Devotha John

Reaching one’s goals in life has never been an easy task. It involves passing through rocky paths and one has to keep trying until they realise their dream. And this is exactly true of Eve Daudi,34, an upcoming agricultural entrepreneur.

Since her childhood, Eve had an ambition of becoming a successful entrepreneur in agriculture. And thanks to her perseverance and tireless efforts, the Sinza-Mori resident, is now on the path towards achieving her life-long dream.

Her ambition of making it big in the sector derives from the fact that she is who she is today because of agriculture. She was brought up by her peasant mother following her father’s death when she was still a little girl.

It is through agriculture that Eve and her siblings were able to go to school, which is why she had an interest in venturing into the sector.

The fifth born in a family of six, Eve who was born in Magu, Mwanza in 1983 appreciates the fact that her family survived through agriculture. All their needs from food, clothing, education, you name it, were met thanks to her mother’s hard work on the farm. Eve and her siblings used to help her till the land during the holidays and thank God they never lacked.

“Because agriculture was our livelihood, I thought it would be okay if I chose agriculture for a living in future. I thank God I have so far realised my dream and I have no regrets,” says a proud Eve, now a wife and a mother of a six-year-old child.

Unlike her mother who was a hand hoe farmer, Eve does it a little bit different today. She does her farming in a much better way, and plans to stop depending on the unpredictable and unreliable weather patterns by practising irrigation in future.

When she completed high school in 2005, Eve who had studied Physics, Geography and Mathematics did not secure a government’s loan to proceed to university. She wanted to pursue a degree course in business administration.

“After I failed to get a study loan I enrolled at the Open University of Tanzania for a Business Administration course where I paid for my studies,” says Eve.

Eve used to work for a jewelry shop where she used to earn Sh 50,000 a month. She asked her employer to help her pay for her initial fees and deduct the money from her salary. Having studied Maths in high school, Eve used to teach secondary school students during her spare time to augment her income. The extra money she earned helped her through her education.

“In 2008 I got a job at the then Airtel mobile phone company where I worked in the customer care department,” says Eve.

Six years later, Eve was among the over 186 employees who lost their jobs following downsizing. Since she was paid her terminal benefits, she thought it was the right time to pursue her dream to invest in agribusiness. She now could buy land for farming.

“After I received my benefits I embarked on agriculture with full force. It was something that I enjoyed doing and thought could change my life,” says Eve.

She bought five acres of land in Vigwaza Ward in Coast Region and established a pineapple farm. Things were not easy in the beginning since the farm was always invaded by monkeys. This did not deter the young woman as she did all she could to make sure her project ran smoothly.

“I used to spend the whole day on the farm to deal with the irate animals. It was not an easy task but thanks to neighbours who also found a need of joining hands in fighting against the beasts, we managed putting them under control” she notes.

The same year Eve tried her hand on sesame farming, which was at the time highly paying, expecting a good yield. Unfortunately, things did not go as anticipated as she ended up harvesting only six bags.

Eve’s life as a farmer took a new twist in 2015 when she participated in Oxfam Tanzania’s Mama Shujaa competition searching for a role model woman in feeding the starving population, where she emerged number five. She got the opportunity through a WhatsApp group. The group’s administrator had sent the members a form and encouraged them to take part in the competition. Eve grabbed the opportunity and the rest was history.

Mama shujaa wa chakula

Mama Shujaa is Oxfam Tanzania’s Television series involving women farmers, which highlights the gender inequalities this demographic faces and demonstrates women’s value in the industry. Mama Shujaa wa Chakula, or Female Food Heroes, brings 18 women to live together for three weeks to engage in various farming competitions, and grants the show’s winner an opportunity to expand her operations. Though women make up 75 percent of Tanzania’s farmers, they often live in poverty and their contributions are often overlooked.

Through Mama Shujaa, Eve was chosen to participate in the Rural Farmers Forum in Ethiopia in 2015, a time during which she was elected President of the forum. Rural Agricultural Forum is an open forum and a movement for change working to make agro-food research and innovation more effective, responsible and equitable towards achieving sustainable development outcomes.

“My participation at the forum made me realise I had something to do in my society,” she says.

The forum uplifted her spirit especially given that she was slowly starting to lose hope in the business, given the challenges. The forum helped her to be an inspiration to other women aspiring to invest in the sector.

Her being selected as the fifth winner of the Mama Shujaa competition opened up many opportunities for her including trips to attend agriculture-related meetings and trainings within and outside the country. Eve has visited Ethiopia, USA, Italy, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana.

Through Mama Shujaa, Eve has been a role model to both youth and women who look up to her as someone who dared to venture into agriculture and managed to face all the challenges and is earning a living through the sector.

Through Oxfam, Eve has also participated in different seminars and workshops aimed at fighting for the rights of small scale farmers. She also was among women who climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to highlight women’s land ownership right.

Apart from being proud she dared to venture into the sector shunned by many, Eve has had her share of challenges. The major one being conned at the beginning of her journey into agribusiness. Eve was made to believe she had bought ten acres, which is what she paid for to later realise she had been given only half of what she bargained for.

Apart from her crops being destroyed by animals like monkeys, Eve, has also lost a good part of her yield to unpredictable weather due to climate change.

Challenges aside. Eve was among this year’s Malkia wa Nguvu award winners, an award that recognises women who go out of their way to bring about change in society. She won in the agribusiness category.

Although she does not regret investing in agriculture, Eve cautions that one has to be careful when it comes to selling their produce. Timing, she says is very important lest you end up selling at a loss. When the market is flooded for example, she puts sales on hold for a while.

She sells her crops at Tandale, Mabibo and Ubungo markets where she says prices keep fluctuating.

“We only get customers at these markets who buy our crops at throw away prices,” she laments adding that prices get better when customers buy directly from the farm.

Her secret to success? Never give up, she says.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Going to the limits for affordable health care

It is the tradition of the Rotary Club in Dar

It is the tradition of the Rotary Club in Dar es Salaam to raise considerable funds for a good cause each year. PHOTOSI SOUND LIVING REPORTER 

By Sound Living Reporter

It’s all set for the Marathon in Dar es Salaam this morning. It’s still very early in the day, but thousands of people in blue rotary T-shirts are flocking from all over the city to the Masaki peninsula.

Some are on their way to the start of the race, others have already embarked on their tour and are eager to reach the finish line as soon as possible.

It was not long after sunrise at 5 o’clock when the most daring of the participants kicked the marathon off 42 kilometres of sweat and pain lay before them. They were followed by the cyclists an hour later (half and full distance) as well as the half Marathon runners. Most popular, however, was the walk over five or nine kilometres that started at 7 o’clock.

Just next to Coco beach, a good number of students and organisations had gathered to go on a charity walk together. At the very front stood the oldest participant of the event, no other than the former president of Tanzania, Ali Hassan Mwinyi. He succeeded the father of the nation, Julius Nyrere in 1985 and has this year celebrated his 92nd birthday.

It was a very moving moment when thousands of participants waited for the start signal. School children were chanting, the moderator played some electronic dance music to fire up the folks and the people were chatting full of anticipation of the walk. A foreign ambassador called it the gold standard of a Tanzanian event, others would just talk of a big folk festival.

It was the first time this year that the Dar es Salaam Marathon went over full distance. Before the race used to cover 21 kilometres, this time it was the double as much for the ambitious runners and cyclists. This innovation didn’t pass unnoticed by the professional runners, some who made the trip to Dar es Salaam to compete for the 2 million shillings cheque.

The best current runner in the field, however, did not go full speed. The Tanzanian marathon runner Alphonce Felix Simbu won the gold medal at the world championship on London this year, but didn’t compete in Dar es Salaam. Instead, he used the race for training purposes, settling for a half-marathon.

By adding more and more different distances, the Dar es Salaam Marathon has become bigger and bigger in recent years. It all goes back to 2009 when the local Rotary clubs of Dar es Salaam came together and organised a charity walk with 700 participants.

Their goal was to raise enough funds to plant 25,600 trees in schools and public places, inspired by the United Nations Environment Programme “Plant for the Planet” who aimed to grow one billion trees to fight global warming and increase biodiversity. When the Rotary clubs planted these trees, they found out that schools’ sanitation and water situation was almost non-existent. For the following year , they pledged to provide 25 schools with drinking water provisioning.

Further projects followed, in particular a state of the art oncology paediatric ward at Muhimbili National Hospital and the creation of a fully equipped and modern entrepreneurship centre for the University of Dar es Salaam Business School. That’s how the marathon of the Rotary Club became a tradition in Dar es Salaam, each year raising considerable funds for a good cause.

This year’s fundraising was dedicated to health. The goal was to raise Sh1 billion to build a clinic at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). The funding supports a CCBRT’s social enterprise project, which aims to expand revenues to enable subsidised care in the disability hospital.

“We believe in the power of community,” explains the chair of Rotary Dar Marathon, Catherinerose Barretto, on the reason behind the event. “Not one single person, but together we can move something,” she says. The idea in the first place was to organise an event where everybody could participate and thereby raise a good sum of money for a good cause.

Ms Barretto offers a positive summary of this year’s innovations. The extensions of the runs didn’t pose any problems, despite the fact that the route had to be doubled, to save the runners and cyclists from having to make the same way twice. As a result, the full route went down as far as Kigamboni, where the participants had to cross the 680-metre-long bridge that was just opened one year ago.

“More volunteers and more material was needed, but thanks to the commitment of our members, everything went well,” Barretto says.

There was a big diversity among the 15, 000 participants. There were children, middle-aged persons and older folks. Black people, Indians and Westerners all came together, men and women, sports professionals and amateurs.

“This is an amazing event,” Annukka Paavola says. This personal trainer and physiotherapist who comes from Finland finished the 42 kilometres of cycling as the second woman. She usually runs half-marathons, but opted this year for the cycling race over the full length. It was actually the first time she had riden a bike for 42 kilometres.

“I was stunned that I did so well,” she says. All the more because she had borrowed the bike from a friend. She is full of praise for the marathon, finding it especially charming to start running just after sunrise. She also was satisfied by the good organisation and the great team spirit. “It really seemed that everybody was in it together,” she says.

This was especially true for the family of Gabriel Landa. This business consultant rides every day to work for 60 kilometres both ways for training purposes. At the marathon in Dar es Salaam, he participated in the 42 kilometres race while his wife and their children went for half the distance.

They had to get up at 4.15 o’clock in the morning to be at the starting line on time, he says. He doesn’t regret. “It was definitely worth it,” he says. Even though he is a cycling enthusiast, sport was not the main reason why he participated in the race.

“I felt obliged to come here because this is a social responsibility event,” he says adding; “I am happy to help marginalised people to get affordable health care.”

Another passionate sportsman is Arno Rohwedder, a honey producer from Kigoma. Just one week earlier he had run a marathon in Zagreb, Croatia. Then he found out about the marathon in Dar es Salaam. The timing was not ideal, but he decided to participate no matter what. When he stood at the starting line, he could still feel the pain from the previous week, but he didn’t care.

“To run a marathon in an African metropole was just too tempting.” The run was okay, he says with a smile marked by pain. The conditions were certainly not ideal to obtain a good time, he says. Not only was the marathon in Zagreb a heavy burden for him, but also the heat and humidity of Dar es Salaam.

“But it was finally not about the time, but about the fun to do it,” he says. At the time of interview he was still capable of standing on his legs. “We will see how I get out of bed tomorrow,” he told me with a strained smile.

For most participants, however, the athletic challenge was not the main interest, but rather spending a good time with friends and meeting new people. Four friends of Indian descent had just finished their bike race and were discussing the route over 21 kilometres.

“It was a great experience,” says Alizaygam Bhimani from Dar es Salaam. “This event is about the unity of the people,” he adds.

His friend Alinaqi Esmail agrees. He was surprised to reach the finish line. “We tested the route yesterday, but I couldn’t be sure to really make it,” he says. The group of four is full of joy about the race. There is only one drop of bitterness for Sameer Dewji. He finished 7th in his category under 21 and had hoped to get an award, just to find out that only the sixth best of the ranking would be awarded.

Secondary school students comprised the majority of the participants. More than a hundred Form Five and Six, Tambaza Secondary School students for example, participated in the 5 kilometres walk. Their teacher Christine Kimwaga says she took her students to the marathon because sports is healthy and the event was aimed for a good cause.

Among them was Mussa Ramadhani who says he was happy to have participated in the walk. “I met old friends and made new ones,” he says. He is determined to come back again next year. So will 14,000 others. The marathon next year will take place in the same month of October.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

PARENTING : Tooth care for young children


By Sound Living Reporter

What’s the best way to brush my child’s teeth?

Use a small, soft toothbrush and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste. (It’s fine to use any fluoridated toothpaste. Note that many toothpastes marketed for babies and toddlers don’t contain fluoride.) As soon as your child’s teeth start erupting, use a thin smear of toothpaste or a dot the size of a grain of rice.

After her third birthday, you can use a pea-size amount. Be sure to follow these recommendations to avoid giving your child too much fluoride.

Twice a day, in the morning and at night after dinner, gently brush the teeth on both the inside and outside surfaces, as well as the tongue, to dislodge bacteria that can cause bad breath. Once you think your child can manage not to swallow the toothpaste, teach her to rinse with water. Replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to look worn or splayed.

Your child’s dentist may also recommend flossing between any tooth surfaces that are touching. The best time to floss is right after brushing so the floss will draw fluoride from the toothpaste down between the teeth.

When can I let my child start brushing his own teeth?

As soon as he’s willing and able, it’s a good idea to let your child try to brush his own teeth, even though he probably won’t do a good job until he’s about 7 years old or so.

In the meantime, brush your teeth while he’s doing his, and then “check” each other’s teeth to see if they’re clean. Tell him you’ll get the spots he “missed” and let him get your “missed spots,” too.

What can I do if my child won’t brush?

If your child fusses when it’s time to brush, it might help to buy her a toothbrush with a special cartoon character on it.

Liz Johnso, a mother of three says this worked well for all her children. “My firstborn really hated brushing until I bought him an Elmo toothbrush. From that day on, he couldn’t get enough. It was just the ticket I needed to interest him in brushing.”

You can also let your child have several brushes in different colours so that she can choose the one she wants when it’s time to brush.

Does my child need fluoride?

Developing teeth can benefit from a little fluoride. This mineral prevents tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel and making it more resistant to acids and harmful bacteria.

Your child can get fluoride from toothpaste, water, and, if needed, supplements. His dentist will also apply a fluoride varnish to his teeth at his dental checkups.

Most municipal water supplies are fortified with adequate fluoride. (Call your local water authority to find out about yours.) If your municipal water supply isn’t fortified or you get your water from a well, consider buying a test kit from your local health department, a hardware store, or a pharmacy.

If the fluoride content is less than .3 parts per million, ask your child’s doctor or dentist whether you should give your child a supplement. You can get a prescription for drops or chewable tablets.

Bottled water and fruit juices may also contain fluoride, although the amount isn’t always listed on the label.

Keep in mind that while a little fluoride is a good thing for your child’s teeth, swallowing too much of it over time can lead to a condition called fluorosis, which can cause white spots to show up on your child’s adult teeth.

That’s why it’s important not to use too much toothpaste, especially before your child learns to rinse and spit it out.

Are certain foods more likely to cause tooth decay?

Yes. Sweets (including fruit, dried fruit, juice, and foods such as peanut butter and jelly) and starches (such as breads, crackers, pasta, pretzels) can contribute to cavities.

Try to serve these foods at mealtime rather than as snacks so they’re more likely to get dislodged and won’t sit on the teeth too long. Serving them with water is also helpful.

When should I start taking my child to the dentist?

Experts recommend that you take your child to the dentist within six months after his first tooth erupts, or by his first birthday, whichever comes first.

If you haven’t taken your child for a dental checkup, make an appointment as soon as possible. Then follow the dentist’s guidelines for follow-up visits based on your child’s needs. If you can’t afford dental care for your child, consider getting in touch with your local health department to find out about resources.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Lagos, the beautiful city that never sleeps

Lagos is a beautiful metropolis made of islands

Lagos is a beautiful metropolis made of islands separated by creeks. PHOTOI JANET OTIENO-PROSPER. 

By Janet-Otieno-Prosper

The only time I disconnect from all the hustles and bustles of life is when I am airborne. I take time to read and perhaps meditate. So was my trip from Dar es Salaam to Lagos, Nigeria last week. Though it was tiring since we had started our journey earlier, it was so relaxing just to sit and let my mind wander.

We also stopped over at Cotonou, Benin the birthplace of African voodoo to refuel before continuing with our journey. We then headed to Lagos, which lies in southwestern Nigeria, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the Niger River delta.

From aerial view, Lagos is a beautiful metropolis made of islands separated by creeks. So we arrived in Lagos late afternoon and found our host – Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) staff waiting for us at Murtala Muhammed International Airport located in Ikeja, Lagos.

I made it to the list of TEF African Journalism Fellowship after a rigorous selection process and managed to meet some Tanzanian entrepreneurs who were traveling to attend the third TEF Entrepreneurship Forum at the Nigerian Law School in Lagos.

TEF is a showcase of innovation and entrepreneurial potential that exists in Africa, which brings together thousands of entrepreneurs and other ecosystem stakeholders from across Africa.

Coincidentally we could easily identify each other since we were wearing Tanzanian T-shirts or having tri-colour scarfs bearing the beautiful national colours.

We were then driven from Ikeja to Ikoyi, an upmarket area in Victoria Island where we passed through Third Mainland Bridge, which connects Lagos Island to the mainland. It is also known as Ibrahim Babangida Bridge and was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the construction of 6th October Bridge was completed in Cairo.

Almond nut trees and palm trees line up the streets of Lagos giving it lush green beauty. We couldn’t but help notice magnificent skyscrapers, good road network an indicator to the economic strength of Lagos.

The expensive cars that people drive on the streets of Lagos also testify to Nigerians love for finer things in life and opulence. On the second day we were driven through the city on our way to the United Bank of Africa (UBA) headquarters where Tony Elumelu, the philanthropist and founder of TEF who is also the chairman of UBA and the top bank officials were meeting the African journalists fellows.

We were taken through the history of UBA and its footprints across africa and beyond. We saw some beautiful buildings among them is UBA house in Marina road, a landmark which many people in Lagos recognise and falls in the list of some of the tallest buildings in Nigeria.

As we left UBA house, across the road, we could see people haggling outside Balogun Market but we did not get the chance to get inside and buy a thing or two since it was getting dark but could not help but notice colourful African fabrics.

On our last day, we visited Eko Hotel, an ultra-luxurious Lagos landmark. The hotel spreads three buildings on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and its rooftop bar gives one a spectacular view of Lagos – the city that never sleeps and Kuramo lagoon. This makes Victoria Island the main evening attraction for its good nightlife and Nigerian music.

The food can be so peppery in Lagos such that you can’t help but whizz your nose and snort to the annoyance of your fellow diners. Well, you can blame Nigerian cooks for their delicious meals. Menus feature peppered rice and even more peppered sauce though I also got a lifetime chance to taste fufu. Oh, it is so delicious. Most of the population live on the mainland, and most industries are located there too but the island scenery is breathtaking if you ask me.

Nigerians are very good looking, warm and hospitable people. In fact I am beginning to think that Nollywood makes us believe that they are too rude which is not the case. They were speaking very good English as opposed to the pidgin, which is usually used in most of the Nollywood movies that we are used to.

When it comes to dressing, I gave it to Nigerians. Both men and women in Lagos have adopted the taste of luxury fashion and pride themselves in good dressing. And aren’t we going to give it to Nigerians for the good music too? If you ask me if I want to visit Lagos again. My answer will be yes.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hadija the girl who beat odds to finish top

Hadija Aziz Ali who emerged top overall .Photo

Hadija Aziz Ali who emerged top overall .Photo | File 

By Young Citizen

Boys have always dominated the top spot at the Primary School Leaving Examinations but this was not the case at the 2017 whose result was released on Friday.

Hadija Aziz Ali, 13, from Sir John primary School in Tanga beat all odds to take the top spot, though she seemed surprised at her own success too after the results were announced.

“I believed I could pass, but I didn’t expect I could get the highest marks in the country. I thank God for this, my parents, teachers and my fellow pupils for cooperation,” she said in interview on Saturday.

She was among the 41 pupils, who sat for the primary leaving exams this year, with her school becoming 4th at national level and top in Tanga Region.

Soft-spoken Hadija said she entered the exam room to fulfill her long time dream of passing her exams and later becoming a paediatrician later in her career.

She was speaking at her family house along Donge Street, Tanga Region. She said the secret behind her success was cooperation she got from her fellow pupils, teachers and parents, who were encouraging.

“I am very thankful to my fellow pupils, particularly Florence Julius, Saada Ahmed and Lina John. I will never forget how they used to encourage me to work harder,” said Hadija.

Her mother Ms Jane Kihiyo (48), could hardly contain her tears as she spoke of the results. She didn’t believe her daughter would be the best pupil in the whole country.

But she said her daughter was confident she would pass her exams. “My daughter refused to go for interviews that would see her go to a private secondary school. We have been struggling to find for her good schools, but she didn’t give it attention,” said Jane Kuhiyo, who is a nurse at Besha Health Centre in Tanga.

Hadija is the fourth born child in her family, her eldest sister is a specialist medical doctor in Kilombero District. Another sister is Salma Aziz, a graduate of St Joseph Journalism College. She also has a brother, Ali Aziz, a Form Six student at Musoma Secondary School.

Speaking about the result the school owner and managing director Ms Orida Yona, said she was very happy, but was not surprised at the results because she expected the outcome since preparations were very thorough for all pupils.

“This year’s competition was very high for Standard Seven pupils because almost all of them were doing well,” she said, proudly.

Other top 10 pupils speak out too

Mbaraka Faraj from Feza Primary School, who was among the top 10 best pupils, said the secret behind his success included studying hard and group discussions with other pupils.

“I was not surprised at all because my performance was good since I was in Standard One, but also I normally set my time table for studying and doing extracurricular activities,” he noted. His ambition is to become a businessman like his father.

Mbaraka’s father, Mr Faraj Mbaraka, said he was very happy. “This is good news to the whole family. I was not aware of the results since I received a call from Feza Primary School asking me to go to the school,” he said.

Mr Mbaraka’s farther said the family expected such a kind of results because his son was doing well in studies since Standard One.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

In remote villages, the real problem is poverty

Living in a remote village in Singida, Monica

Living in a remote village in Singida, Monica Ezekiel struggles to provide for her children. 

By Esther Kibakaya

On October 17 (two days from today), the world will commemorate international Day of poverty eradication. This year, Sound Living traveled to a remote village in Singida region where our writer got to witness firsthand the level of poverty that still persists.

It is 12 noon and the sun has reached its highest point, as I walk towards few neighborhood houses scattered in a remote village I could sense the smell of food coming from numerous homes that surrounded the neighbourhood. However, when I arrived at Monica Ezekiel’s house, the case was different; the appetizing aroma that had engulfed the air had soon vanished, what pervaded the atmosphere was a stench of decay from the mud house in which she dwelt.  

Sitting on the ground under a tree, outside her one old bedroom mud house in Masimba village, in Iramba district, Singida is Monica, she is not alone; with her is her youngest daughter who seems to be in deep thoughts that can be reflected from her facial expression.

After spending hours looking for water, this is the only time she gets to rest before she starts to prepare an evening meal for her family. “I am so tired, I was up since 4 am fetching water from a spring hole. It has taken me almost six hours to fill all my buckets. Because the spring holes are mostly dry, once you get to the water source, you should expect to spend even more time waiting in line,” she sadly explains.

The 38 year old mother of five from two different men is currently raising her children alone after she was separated from her second husband two years ago. Coming from a poor family, she never had an opportunity to go to school because her parents couldn’t afford to pay for her school expenses.

She openly admits that poverty is now starting to take its toll on her children, especially her eldest son. Monica says her son has become a village boy with no future after he had completed form four and failed to get money for school fees to join a college he had applied to.

“if only my son would have managed to get the college fee, I am sure he would have studied hard and  helped us in the future. But the question is; where would we get the Sh1million needed as college fees for a college he has applied to? it’s not possible for people like us who are  struggling  to make ends meet,” she lamented.  

 With the Sh5000 she earns per day from her business of selling tomato’s, Monica  is able to feed her children but because the amount she earns isn’t enough, they are forced to eat two meals per day or even one if things don’t go well with her business.

“What I earn is not enough to put food on the table for my children, so what I do is try to make sure we have at least two meals per day; breakfast at 10am and in the evening we eat our second meal. But that is on a good day, if things don’t go particularly well at work, then we end up eating one meal per day,” she says.  

Monica sees little hope for her children whom she wishes would get to finish their education and break the poverty cycle in her family. “it’s hard to predict the future unless my children finish their education and get good jobs, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. No parents would wish to see their children live the kind of life that my children endure but there is nothing we can do about it. Reality is things are hard, and they keep getting tougher each day,” the struggling mother says.

Poverty is a global problem

Monica’s family is one among thousands of families living in poverty throughout the world and her story represents the ordeal that many of these families face each day as they struggle to make a decent living in a bid to end the poverty cycle.

The government and other private institutions both local and international  have spent millions, if not billions of shillings on families like Monica’s to empower  them and end  the cycle of  poverty that is deep rooted in many Tanzanian family, especially those living in remote villages. However, the programs clearly haven't been effective enough in getting majority of poor communities out of poverty.

Presenting the national five year development plan 2016/17 – 2020/21 last year at the National Assembly in June, Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Philip Mpango, said people living in rural areas, majority of them live in acute poverty and that their ability to get basic needs in very low.

He mentioned five regions leading in poverty based on the 2012 Population and Housing Census and the Household Budget survey; these include Kigoma where 48.9 per cent of its population is said to live below the poverty line and Geita, whose population of the poor is 43.7 per cent. Other poorest regions include: Kagera (39.3 per cent), Singida (38.2 per cent) and Mwanza (35.3 per cent) with per capita income dropping from $1,047 (Sh2.3 million at the prevailing exchange rate) in 2014 to $ 966.5(Sh2.2 million) in 2015.

Global efforts have been made by the United Nations to recognise the resilience and courage of families living in poverty throughout the world and the importance of reaching out to the poorest and building an alliance with citizens from all backgrounds to end poverty.

That’s why each year on October 17 the world commemorates the International Day of poverty eradication, with this year’s theme - Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies, reminding us of the importance of the values of dignity, solidarity and voice underscored in the call to action to fight to end poverty everywhere.

According to World Bank, Tanzania has sustained relatively high economic growth over the last decade, averaging 6–7% a year. But while its poverty rate has declined, its absolute number of poor has not because of its high population growth rate. The country's overall population is about 55 million (2016).

World Bank Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment 2015 report shows that until 2007, the poverty rate in Tanzania remained stagnant at around 34 percent despite a strong growth at an annualised rate of approximately 7 percent. This apparent disconnect between growth and poverty reduction has raised concerns among policy makers and researchers, leading to an agreement that this mismatch needed to be addressed with a sense of urgency.

However the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (MKUKUTA) over the past few years has given high priority to eradicating extreme poverty and promoting broad-based growth. The MKUKUTA II assessment report 2010 - 2015, which takes stock of the achievements and challenges of MKUKUTA II, showed that during the period under review, GDP in real terms grew by seven percent or above with the exception of 2012 where it grew by 5.1 percent.

“The GDP growth however has not reached MKUKUTA II target of achieving and maintaining an 8-10 percent growth necessary for eradicating absolute poverty by 2025. Income poverty starts to respond to economic growth. The proportion of Mainland population in basic needs poverty was 28.2 percent in 2011/12, down from 34.4 percent in 2007,” stated the report.

Since coming to office, President Magufuli has reoriented public expenditure toward development spending, reducing recurrent expenditure significantly, and intensifying efforts to mobilize domestic revenue. Government spending was cut back, and a cap put in place on the salaries of executive officers. Measures were introduced to control tax exemptions. 

But as seen in Singida region, the level of poverty remains excruciatingly high. Parents and guardians are not able to afford basic needs to their families, all this owing to the sorry state of the economy.

World Bank poverty assessment recommends promoting faster economic growth in labor intensive sectors, including agriculture where three-quarters of Tanzanians continue to be employed.

“Reducing population growth and the country’s high fertility rate on average, five children per woman by empowering them through education and employment support and with family planning services can stimulate per capita economic growth further,” stated the MKUKUTA II report.


Social Context

According to World Bank, although Tanzania's poverty rate fell from 60 per cent in 2007 to an estimated 47 per cent in 2016, based on the US$1.90 (around Sh4,000) per day global poverty line, about 12 million Tanzanians still live in extreme poverty on earnings of less than US$0.60 (around Sh1,300) per day. Many others live just above the poverty line and risk falling back into poverty in the event of socio-economic shocks. Universal education, and the waiving of fees for primary and secondary schools, has drastically increased primary school enrolment.

With approximately 800,000 youth entering the labor force every year, nurturing a vibrant private sector to provide productive jobs is critically important.







Sunday, October 8, 2017

Meet these bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire

Bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire

Bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

During pre-wedding planning, most people, especially organizing committees, focus on expenses that they would incur to make the ceremony successful. Due to the fact that most people seek contributions, the nature of wedding ceremony becomes self-financing. The more you collect contributions from close friends and relatives, the better.
However, during preparations, most people focus is on how they will foot the bills for such items like wedding reception party venue, decorations, photography, drinks, catering, master of ceremony, music and DJs. It is unfortunate that the forgotten part during the whole wedding preparations period is the bridesmaids and groomsmen, who will join the best man and matron to accompany the bride and the groom.
This item is the most forgotten one yet it is an important one as it plays a decorative and even an entertaining part during the ceremony. The difficult thing is that the bride and the groom are left to plan for this part alone. They even have to dig deeper into their pockets to foot the bills for outfits for their young relatives who will be ready to play the bridesmaids and groomsmen part.
It is commonly known by many that the bridesmaids and groomsmen teams usually comprise of brothers, sisters and/or close relatives and good friends from both the bride’s and the groom’s families.
The good news however is that the bride and groom need not worry about who to request to play this role anymore. Having realised the pressure this item puts on the groom and bride to-be, young men and women are teaming up to relieve the bride and groom of the burden.
These young men and women aged 18 and above offer the bridesmaids and groomsmen service. You just have to pay a fee, relax and let them do the rest for you. One does not have to dig deep into their pockets to foot the bill for the maids and groomsmen’s outfits for their friends or relatives to play the bridesmaids and groomsmen part.
I met them at a friend’s wedding. The group of 12 were busy doing their jobs. Before the wedding comes to an end I saw them distributing their business cards. It is from there  that I realized they were maids and groomsmen for hire.
Regardless of their age, among their major task, bridesmaids and groomsmen have to keep the bride and the groom calm. They have to be emotionally supportive to the bride and the groom as well as assist the matron and the best man throughout the wedding day. They also help the organizing committee attend to invited guests as well as dance with the guests during the reception party.
Their group is called Professional Maids and Grooms and they have seized the opportunity for self-employment.  Their leader, Cecilia Anthony, who was also among the bridesmaids, said they decided to come together to form a team of bridesmaids and groomsmen for hire and grab available opportunity in the market. “Yes, we are the professional maids and groomsmen for hire,” boasted Cecilia when I approached her.
“I didn’t know that one day we could make money in wedding ceremonies through such a job,” said Cecilia, who had been playing the flower girl role whenever there was a wedding ceremony in her family.
“I was doing this since I was a little girl. Whenever a family member had a wedding, they would ask my mother to allow me be a flower girl. I’m happy that my mother didn’t let them down. She allowed me whenever I’ was needed,” she said. The experience she acquired and confidence she had built for years made Cecilia become much more comfortable playing part as a maid in a wedding.
According to her, she met with other group members during a wedding ceremony. “It was at my relative’s wedding ceremony when I met with five boys and girls who were bridesmaids and groomsmen. I didn’t hesitate to sell the idea to them after we noticed the bridesmaids at that function were not well coordinated and would miss their steps and stumble,” said Cecilia, who is a student at the College of Business Education (CBE). They later picked a Master of Ceremony as their supervisor, who advised them to register their group with the National Arts Council.
“We did it in July this year and decided to add more young men and women with this passion,” she added. Now they are twelve. The six young men are Zedekia Chonya, Henry Frank, Anderson Mongi, Victor Nyoni, Thomas Richard and Baraka Mzimba. The six young women are Rukaiya Abdalah, Zarka Rajab, Nadya Khalifa, Happiness Elias, Deborah and Cecilia.
In making it more official and keeping it professional, they decided to laid down some rules and regulations in which any prospective member has to adhere to if he/she want to join the group.
“We do not allow any of our members to take alcohol during the ceremony. This is strictly observed and we set some penalties for any member who acts contrary to the rules we set,” said Victor.
“We are very strict on drinking during the ceremony. Despite the fact that we are above 18 years, we need to show some decency to our clients and invited guests, some of them are our prospective clients,” added Victor.
According to Cecilia, each group member has to contribute some money each time they get paid. “A Sh20, 000 membership fee is a must for anyone who joins our group. Also each member has to contribute Sh5, 000 from earning he/she will get as payment after taking part in a wedding ceremony. The contribution are used to finance our expenditures, including buying the outfits for various wedding ceremonies. Every week we are able to get two contracts and we divide ourselves and everyone goes home with Sh50, 000 per night and one can earn up to Sh200, 000 per month,” she explained.
“We have almost different outfits, including traditional African outfits for boys. Clients place the request, what they want their wedding ceremony to be, including the theme and wedding colours and what they expect from us,” said Cecilia, adding that the group bargain on prices according to how complex or simple the wedding will be.
For clients, it is a big relief, said Victor, adding that the brides and the groom would have nothing to worry about the outfits the bridesmaids and groomsmen would wear or dancing style they would choose. “We always dress according to the wedding theme and colours,” he noted.
For a minimum amount of Sh350, 000 to Sh500, 000, bride and the groom can hire Cecilia, Victor and their colleagues for the bridesmaids and groomsmen services. However, the price package depends very much on the nature of the ceremony, be it a wedding ceremony, kitchen party, send off party, bachelor party and the likes.
What the bride and the groom will incur is transportation cost as well as for beauty and hair saloon charges which are not included the package, said Zedekia. “We usually have one pick up and drop off point,” he added.

Since their registration, the group has offered services in more than 40 wedding ceremonies. Despite the smooth provision of their services, interferences from the bride’s and the groom’s family members is the most annoying incident they have always faced.
“Before the wedding, we always sit with the bride and the groom for a briefing on their expectations. However, during the wedding, you will find some family members striving to dictate what they want us to do. This is really confusing,” said Rukaiya, a student at The Kilimanjaro Institute of Technology.
Zarka shares the same feelings with Rukaiya. “It’s very disappointing to see that they are taking us for granted. They frequently interfere,” said Zarka.
Every parent or guardian would want the best for their children or relatives. It is from this point of view that parents and relatives of the six girls who form the group were hesitant at the beginning to allow them take part in offering bridesmaid and groomsmen services.
For Zarka, Rukaiya and Nadya, things were not easy in the beginning. When they joined the group for bridesmaid and groomsmen services, their mothers, sisters and other relatives were not happy and they tried to discourage them from offering such kind of services.
Rukaiya’s mother and sister were denying her the  permission to offer such services at wedding ceremonies. It was also difficult for Nadya, a Form Four student at Yusuf Makamba Secondary School. Her family thought that she might end up being a carried away with such activities and forget about studies. “I promised them that I will not lose focus because I know how important education is in one’s life,” said Nadya, adding that since she joined the group, she has been saving the money she earned with a view of starting a small business in future.
Zarka, whose dream is to become a fashion designer, also experienced similar challenges from her relatives. “My sister thought that it will be a time wasting activity,” noted Zarka, saying what her sister had in mind was something like entertaining dancers and not bridesmaid and groomsmen services.
“I usually came back home with some sort of evidence of our work, showing her some video clips and photos made her start believing in me,” added Zarka, a student at Vocational Education Training Authority (Veta).
Her sister changed her mind as the days goes on after realising that her young sister is engaging in offering a decent services that earns her something enough to cover her personal undertakings.
Their supervisor, Allan Jullius Madafa alias MC Madafa said he met the boys and girls at one of the weddings he was hosting.
He said that they were dancing and some of them were missing the steps. “After the wedding I talked to them on how they can do better and this came after they have told me that they have formed a group for maids and grooms,” he noted.
The following day, one of the boys asked him to become their mentor and he agreed.
We have our group which is known as Nyota Njema Entertainment group.
“In the group we offer Mcs, Food & Catering Services, Cake, makeup, grooms and maids, video and still pictures, cancelling, event planning, designing wedding  clothes live performance dancing and entertainment.
I discussed with the Nyota Njema Entertainment group members so that they can enrol the young women and men under the group,” he noted.
“I agreed that they should be under my supervision.We told them they should select a leader who will be updating me on the group issues, guide and direct them, and each of them is supposed to contribute Sh10, 000 per month to Nyota Nyema Entertainment to support each other in medical issues, wedding and even death ceremony, “ he said.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Song and dance as children’s home turns 10

Children at the House of Blue Hope on their

Children at the House of Blue Hope on their 10th anniversary.PHOTO | ESTHER KIBAKAYA 

By Esther Kibakaya

It was a day full of cheerful moments when children from House of Blue Hope together with those who had played major roles in the year’s achievements, celebrated 10 years

It was a journey that was worth celebrating and they did it in style with a street party held at the centre in Mabibo.

The neighborhood was a busy place as children living at the charity centre played and danced with joy, for it was a milestone they had achieve.

“I am so happy to be part of this celebration, I live nearby and I have friends who are staying here at the blue house and they have invited me. We ate danced and played all sorts of games, I wish they could do this every day,” says Hassan Juma,12.

Frank Charles,16 who has lived at the centre for several years shared the experience he had while living at the centre saying it has helped him to have new hope and dreams he had lost.

“I have been given an opportunity to go to school; I can see the dream that I once had of becoming a scientist turn into reality. I have a special interest in computer science and so whenever I have an opportunity I invest a lot of my time learning about computers and everything that has to do with it,” says Frank.

The Celebrations were also joined by the first alumni who were excited to be present to witness the new children who have started their journey through the charity’s guardianship.

“The life that I have today has been highly contributed by people who decided to dedicate their time and efforts to support us. When I first came here I was young with little to hope for but this place made me realise my dreams because I was taken to a good school Loyola secondary,” says John.

Having worked hard to raise funds in order to double its size, the charity has ambitions of securing the futures of more children with the coming of 10 vulnerable girls in the new girls’ house.

The girls having been at the house for a few months now, they settled in their new home, while preparing themselves join formal school at Gonzaga Primary School.

Daudi Mboma, who founded of the centre shared their journey saying they have come a long way.

Whereas some of the pioneers left the charity along the way, he is happy that few remained and new people joined them to give their support to these vulnerable children.

“This is our 10th year as an organisation; it is very exciting to reach such a milestone not only by the fact that we have turned 10 but its years of changing lives of vulnerable children. We have seen children coming to the house with no hope for the future but now we are witnessing different stories,”


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Haydom festival celebrates culture in style


By Elisha Mayallah

Every year in September a cultural festival is hosted in the small-town of Haydom, in Mbulu district Manyara region. This has been a tradition of this town since 2011.

I recently joined visitors and locals in the celebrations during this year’s popular festival that promotes the four tribes.

Hundreds of people from communities in neighbouring Singida, Dodoma and Arusha regions and from all over the globe unite to celebrate the largest festival on the four popular tribes living side by side in the backyard of Haydom.

The festival which was in its 6th edition this year has not only become popular in the interior areas but also across the country, particularly in Dodoma, Tabora and Mwanza regions.

The cultural gathering has made some key changes to improve the overall festival experience. Camel riders swarmed a large part of the main area this year. This time around the organisers included spaces in which to chill out at the new food court.

And last but not least there were quicker exit and entry routes for traffic to make sure there was less congestion and everyone can easily make their way over to see their favourite area or at the main stage where traditional dances were daily hosted.

The greatest musical talents from a variety of different genres, including Wagogo from Dodoma, a snake dance troop from Nzega in Tabora and a traditional dance group from Mwanza all have set their calendar to attend and fully engage in the festival.

The tribal competitions were two Datooga traditional dance groups from Mulbadaw in Hanang district and Getanyamba, Mbulu district. Other traditional dance groups were two Iraqw groups from Qhaloda and Mbulu, while the Hadzabe from Kipamba.. The Bantu family had groups from Mazangiri, Nyeri and Iguguno in Singida region.

Invited groups were Maisha Sanaa group from Mwanza, a Traditional group from Compassion centre in Arusha, Nzega Sanaa group, Sa ngarasasu, the Wagogo from Dodoma, Makumira Cultural Arts Centre who have always been the mentors on the festival competition by coaching the groups and help in sounding and other winning tricks.

The three days event organized by Four Corners Cultural Programe (4CCP) based in Haydom, among others focused on enlightening and making the communities’ take part in entrepreneurship.

More than 50 IR-VICOBA groups brought the best of Cultural items and handicraft including traditional products such as honey, cereal crops traditional clothes, baobab powder, bow and arrow and so on.

They were initially being exposed to market their own wares and form partnership and alliance with other stakeholders to increase their marketing opportunities.

4CCP as a community empowerment project has been using the festival as a platform to link the communities they work with to connect with the outside world and other stakeholders.

The range of activities is from water, sanitation, and Hygiene promotion, economic empowerment through IR-VICOBA (Inter-Religious Village Community Bank) programs.

Other areas included accountability and good governance, gender justice as well as youth empowerment, as key issues for the communities’ empowerment.

In addition, health sessions were conducted daily by Ms Juliana Busasi from the Tanzania Health and Medical Education Foundation (TAHMAF) based in Dar es Salaam mainly on health risks to women.

Juliana who is a first-year doctor student from Hubert Kariuki University talked to girls and women about breast cancer.

Moreover, there was voluntary blood donation who donated 50 units as well as HIV?AIDS screening and testing.

Ms Eliminata Awet, the coordinator of the 4CCP emphasized the message that the festival has been all along focusing on giving a platform to the Nilotic, Bantu, Cushtic and Khoisans. “ It is time to build a relationship and embrace family values.

The opening of the festival was graced the Mkalama District Commissioner Jackson Masaka who represented the Mbulu DC. The festival run from September 20 to 23, 2017. The coordination of the event was made possible by a few sponsors such as Ethiopian Airlines who are a consistent supporter of Tanzania tourism.

Other sponsors, according to Nelson Faustin, include the Norwegian Church Aid, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, Tanzania Tourism Board - Cultural Tourism Programe Unit, Trust Engineering, Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Tazama Auto spare, NMB and CRDB banks.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Losing baby teeth: What to expect


By Sound Living reporter

“My tooth is loose!”

Those words represent a big milestone in your child’s life. Baby teeth have to fall out to make way for permanent teeth to grow – a process that continues until the final molars (also called wisdom teeth) are in. This can take until your child is anywhere from age 17 to 21.

Most kids are excited to feel a tooth wiggle (and perhaps get a visit from the tooth fairy), while some worry it will hurt when the tooth falls out. If your child is a worrier, you can reassure him that he probably won’t feel anything.

First in, first out

A child’s 20 baby teeth, which often come in by age 3, usually fall out in the same order they came in. That means the lower center teeth (lower center incisors) are usually the first to go, around age 6 or 7. The top center pair is next.

A baby tooth typically doesn’t loosen until the permanent tooth below pushes it up to take its place. But it is possible for kids to lose a baby tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, especially because of an accident or dental disease. In this case, sometimes a pediatric dentist will put a custom-fit plastic placeholder (spacer) in until the adult tooth is ready to emerge. This prevents future spacing problems.

Some children lose their first tooth as early as 4 or as late as 7. Generally, the younger the child was when the teeth came in, the earlier they fall out. If your child begins to lose teeth before 4, consult a dentist to make sure there’s no underlying problem. It’s also possible for a child to reach age 7 or 8 without losing any baby teeth. There’s probably nothing wrong, but it never hurts to check in with your child’s dentist to make sure.

Out with the old

Encourage your child to gently wiggle a wobbly tooth. (Some loose teeth can actually be rotated because the root underneath has almost completely disintegrated.) Remind your child not to yank a tooth before it’s ready to fall out on its own because it makes the broken root more vulnerable to infection.

A loose tooth that refuses to come out may need to be pulled by a dentist, though this is hardly ever necessary. Losing baby teeth is seldom as painful a process as teething.

In with the new

The new teeth may look bigger, especially those first few. That’s because they are! Adult teeth also tend to be less white than baby teeth and have pronounced ridges because they haven’t been used yet for biting and chewing.

In rare cases, a couple of new teeth come in before the old ones are gone, creating two rows of pearly whites. This is a temporary stage, sometimes called shark’s teeth.

If your 6- or 7-year-old complains of soreness in the back of his mouth, it’s probably the first permanent molars coming in. (He has no baby teeth there to fall out first). Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can ease the ache, though it’s unlikely to last long.

Brushing is now more important than ever. You’ll probably need to supervise the process until your child is around 8. The American Dental Association recommends using fluoride toothpaste – just a thin smear for kids younger than 2, and a pea-sized dot for kids age 2 and older.

Replace toothbrushes every three or four months (sooner if the bristles are frayed) to reduce harmful bacteria and keep them working their best. And make sure your child sees a dentist twice a year.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

This is how Winfrida turned her misfortune into success

Winfrida Joseph is now a successful business

Winfrida Joseph is now a successful business woman. PHOTO | JONATHAN MUSA 

By Jonathan Musa @jonathan_ink

Every finishing line is the beginning of a new race. Toiling, going without food, exposing herself to sun looking for greener pasture, was all about her life.

Meet 38-year-old Winfrida Joseph who became a widow in 2011 when her husband died in Mbeya region where he was working as a police officer. He succumbed to diabetes.

It is not easy for anyone particularly illiterate woman to cope with the situation as drastic changes take place like transferring children from private to public schools, changing the meal plans and much more. It happens mostly when the dead was the sole bread winner.

“I was mixed up. Where to start from was my big question. Little knowledge acquired in school was worry number two,” she said.

The mother of four, Rebecca 21, Monica 18, Wilbert 14 and Diana Thomas 9, explains that when the husband was still alive, she managed to travel to many places through his transfers.

This made her know a lot concerning behavioural, economic and the nature of some places.

“My husband worked in Moshi district, Mtwara, Tanga and Mbeya,” she says.

Winfrida says, challenges occur, but proceeding on with life as a single parent, requires a thick skin.

She says she was born in Itilima district, Simiyu region. She never managed to complete her education as she dropped out in Standard Six due to family conflicts.

Her next aim was to practice tailoring or hairdressing in a salon but there was no room for that, they led a difficult life as their mother went back to her maternal home in Tabora region and their father was irresponsible. Being five in number, each child was adopted by paternal relatives.

“I was brought up by my uncle as my parents separated while we were young. Being the firstborn, I saw it as a burden staying with my uncle so I opted for marriage,” she wept.

At the age of 18, she got married to Thomas Vungi who was a newly employed police officer stationed at Mwanza in Kirumba ward, Ilemela. They stayed together for fifteen years until his death.

“My husband was buried in Mbeya as per his wish,” she remembers.

At Mbeya, Winfrida was forced to look for any employment that would help her feed, dress and take her four children to school.

She says she was unable to pay the school fees for her firstborn Rebecca, who was in Form Three in a private school. We used to pay Sh2.2 million per year, affording even a quarter of it, was not easy.

She understood the situation and agreed to join an ordinary public school. Thanks to her hard work she made it to college, later.

Mbeya, has weather with enough rainfall and fertile soil, which enable it to be the largest producer of some food crops.

She therefore made some arrangements with local women who introduced her to maize farming while waiting for her husband’s inheritance procedures.

She says she had planted some maize and got employed at a nearby pub. This made most of her friends abandon her since bars were associated with immorality.

“I did all these to ensure that my children don’t starve. I trusted myself, despite the challenges,” she says. One year after the death of her husband, she was ordered to quit the police quarters as was the procedure.

“Things begun getting out of control, the little I gained from farming was used to take my second daughter (Monica) to hospital as she had developed epilepsy. I never knew about the disease’s origin but the fact is, the young girl started falling down as days went by,” she says.

Her elder daughter Rebecca was a pre-candidate in Form Three while the second child, Monica dropped due to her health status and Wilbert in Standard four.

When she was thrown out of the police quarters in February 2015, and her daughter, Rebecca was the most affected.

“There was now no place to call home. I had to leave everything behind including clothes and utensils because none of my relatives I called seemed to care,” Winfrida.

The church was the only remaining destiny. She went to the KKKT church based just some miles away from where they lived.

She asked for assistance to enable her travel with her children to Mwanza city where her late husband had bought a small piece of land some years back.

The money raised was Sh150,000 which enabled her travel to Mwanza.

“My husband began working as an officer at Mwanza here, he therefore had a piece of land at Igoma, within the city,” she acknowledges.

She says that, the remaining balance she had was used to rent a small room to accommodate them and pay for her sick daughter’s medication.

“It was not easy. Remember I carried nothing from the house at Mbeya. So here I had to look for quicker means to buy clothes for the children and food. I worked in various places including hotels and even doing laundry for people at a small fee,” she narrates.

The moment they bought the small piece of land at Igoma in late 90’s, it was cheap. A 50m by 100m would wa sold for for Sh100, 000/ to Sh 200,000/ depending on the location.

”I had to look for a reliable broker to sell this piece of land on my behalf, because I had already discovered the land’s current value in Mwanza city,” Winfrida.

In the middle of 2016, she managed to sell her late husband’s piece of land at Sh12 Million.

She therefore opened an account and deposited all amount.

“I tried as much as I could to do something that I could call an asset and not a liability,” she states.

She went to the rural part of Kisesa and bought two pieces of land and one back at Buswelu in Ilemela district. They both cost Sh3 million. She used the remaining money to construct her own home at Kisesa, a few kilometres from the city of Mwanza. Apart from that, she has managed to build two guest houses. One at Buswelu and another one at Kisesa a few kilometers from the city of Mwanza. She also sells drinks and has managed to employ a few people to assist her run the business smoothly. She says she learnt about this business while working at a pub in Mbeya.

Rebecca, her firstborn is studying at a public service college in Mbeya while her third born completed primary school and is expecting to join Form One next year.

Since she began this business in April this year, she makes Sh3 to Sh4 million per month.

“Very many people think negatively about this business but that is not the case. Roughly, I gather, Sh 2.8 million per month from the two guest houses,” she says.

However, she says whenever she tries to inquire about the husband’s benefits, she is told that it is not ready. This being the sixth year.

She says when the husband died, she was directed by the late husband’s colleagues to the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (Rita) offices at Mbeya district council to fill some forms of which she did. She was told these would enable her get the benefits but she is still waiting.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

PARENTING : Improving your child’s grades


By Zuurah Karungi

“Mummy, we are not going for holiday study,” Janice told her mother at the beginning of her school holiday. This is because the Uganda Ministry of Education issued a directive that saw most schools keep closed during second term holidays.

Janice’s grades were bad compared to the previous terms and she had told her mother that extra study would help her get better for third term, so that she could get promoted to Senior Three.

The mother looked disappointed and baffled as she scratched her head for solutions.You could be like Janice’s mother and all you hunger for are good grades. Some teachers and parents share how to help your child bring a better report card home.Give them reading materials

Jacob Katumusiime, a teacher at Hanna Mixed School, Mpigi notes that people who are exposed to functional school items grow to love the subjects associated with them.

“Buy for your child a mathematical set, even if they do not know how to use it, this will prompt them to question themselves on its use and they will endeavour to use it,” says Teacher Katumusiime. This will in a way draw a child’s attention towards loving mathematics.

Get involved in their studies

Katumusiime says some parents stop at dropping off their children at school but never engage with their teachers which is inappropriate.

“You have to actively help the child with their schoolwaork and in the process, meet with their teachers, befriend them and discuss on how to make the child improve,” he says To him, this will motivate a teacher the urge to help your child even more.

Establish the cause

It is important to identify the cause of poor performance. Could it be stress at home, at school or natural awareness. Margaret Tumusiime, a counselling physiologist, says every child is capable of excelling as long as you befriend them to establish what bothers him. “From there you will forge a way forward on how to improve their grades.”

Be positive with them

Sharon Gimono, a mother says complimenting your child encourages them to work harder.

“For example, when my son has not done well, we talk about it and when he is setting off for school, I tell him, you can make it, you still have a chance to do better, and I know you are better than this,” This makes a child feel that you believe in them and will work hard not to disappoint you,” Gimono explains.

Buy them the necessary materials

Patrick Akena, a guardian, notes that children perform better when they are provided with necessary materials.

“Of course, parents might not necessarily buy every course book but ensure most of the basics a child has to use at school are available,” says Akena. When you buy these materials, the child’s part is to ensure they put them to good use.

Know their peers

Do not come off as a rude parent but knowing your child’s associates make life easier.

Patricia Kamaherere, has a daughter at one of the top secondary schools in Kampala. “My girl is in Senior Two but every visiting Sunday, I ensure to see her friends and she takes time to explain what each of them does for her. The term she did not perform well, her friends were the type that worries more about snacks and pocket money instead of classwork,” Kamaherere recounts. She sat the groupmates down and politely asked them to also befriend the best performers in their class. “Last term my daughter had improved by remarkable strides and had cut on the frequent calls for snacks and money.

Feed them well

Katumusiime notes that good feeding is a catalyst to good performance as it makes the brain function well. “Parents should feed their children on body building foods, give them plenty of water and fruits and foods that boost their brain growth,” he adds.

Punishment is not an end

Tumusime notes that punishing a child is never the solution to their poor grades as it makes them hate school and studying more. “Psychologically, a person resists something forced onto them. When a parent uses force, the child will deliberately refuse to read hence continuous poor performance,” she adds.

Armed with these tips, you can help your child for better grades.



Sunday, October 1, 2017

The amazing rocky island that is Saanane National Park

Saanane Island is an amazing attraction sight.

Saanane Island is an amazing attraction sight. PHOTO | ELISHA MAYALLAH 

By Elisha Mayallah

Saanane Island National Park close to Mwanza has become a conventional tourist attraction near the city.

Mwanza city provides numerous pursuits for travellers who know no boundaries and the idyllic shores of Lake Victoria are the host of many local activities.

Completely unique in her own right - it is an island detached from the mainland on Lake Victoria – Saanane is a small rocky island home to some fascinating land and marine species.

To get there my companion and I, recently, joined other visitors in a short boat ride. The ride takes visitors to see the wealth of nature, including sweeping horizons of Lake Victoria. The Sanaane Island National Park is located 2 km south-west from Mwanza city centre. It is this precise accessibility that inspired us to tour the park.

A quick scale of Capri Point, one of the leafy suburbs of Mwanza city, gives visitors an amazing high up panorama view across the waters of Lake Victoria, and Saanane itself.

Saanane Island is an amazing attraction sight. The island is a breathtaking scenic setting with natural growth and marine attraction. It has been pulling in many residents from Mwanza city and other surrounding areas for decades.

The island was named after its previous owner, Mzee Saanane Chawandi, a fisherman who was persuaded to leave and let the island be used for conservation in the early 1960’s.

Ever since given its proximity to Mwanza, the island has flourished attracting visitors from near and far. It was awarded game reserve status in 1991.

Saanane island which became a fully fledged national park in July 2013 is comprised of three islets. The islets lie on the southern part of the main island.

Saanane which is the latest additions to the family of Tanzania parks was originally meant to promote intensive conservation education in wildlife and recreation (a day tour or outing) to Mwanza residents.

It has now turned to be a tourist hot spot for many including international visitors. Saanane Island is the second National Park to stride in Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest fresh water body after Rubondo Island.

A guide told us how the wild animals were brought into the park, which was a game reserve before being gazetted as the 16th Tanzanian park.

Between 1964 and 1966 different species of wild animals were ferried to the Island. These included buffalo, bushbuck, dik-dik, elephant, eland, impala, black rhino, topi, warthog, and wildebeest. Other species were zebra, monkeys, and velvet, giraffe, porcupine, and crocodiles. However, wilder animals like rhinos were caged.

The aquatic part of the park offers all types of fish (mainly Tilapia and Nile Perch), crocodiles, water snakes and monitor lizards, other reptiles including tortoises, grass snakes, pythons and agama lizards mainly found on huge stones.

Other attractions include the remarkable landmarks of Mwanza: the huge naturally rocky hills and landscapes, And the lake view, natural vegetation decorated by various bird species, insects, and flowers.



Sunday, October 1, 2017

When Mwanza teenagers met their idols

Bongo Flava artiste Ali Kiba addressing Nganza

Bongo Flava artiste Ali Kiba addressing Nganza High school students .Photo | File 

By Young Citizen

It is not always that superstars spare their time to visit schools; their busy and tight schedules just won’t allow them whereas to others it is just none of their business. For the young boys and girls it is a chance of a lifetime for they rarely get to see their idols in close range, take pictures with them and even talk to them.

Last week however the stars performing at the Tigo Fiesta festival in Mwanza threw away their high profile life styles to visit Nganza High School where they met the teenagers. It was an ecstatic moment for most of them who admitted that apart from seeing the stars on TV , this was the first time they were seeing them in real life.

“I never ever hoped that I would one day get to meet AliKiba and take pictures with him, this is like a dream come true to me,” commented one of the girls. Through a parallel programme of the festival called Kipepeo the artistes led by AliKiba paid a courtesy call to the where they interacted with the students and shared inspirational stories.

The artistes included Saida Karoli, Rayvanny, Ommy Dimpoz, rapper Roma and even radio personality Millard Ayo was on the cards as they interacted freely with teenagers.

They encouraged the students to work hard in their studies because there is no easy path to success and also called on the girls to aim higher every day. One lucky student Glory Wilfred got away with a cash reward of Sh50,000 from Ommy Dimpoz after she was named the Best overall Form Six student.

Through the Kipepeo the festival visits public girls’ schools to encourage students to pursue their dreams with the belief that every dream can be attained if nurtured properly.

The artistes and other local celebrities share their stories with the students highlighting some of the hardships they encountered to get where they are today.

Last weekend at Nganza the main speaker was Bongo Flava artiste AliKiba. He shared his personal insight into his journey and encouraged the young girls to work hard in school because according to him education doesn’t have substitute and it offers insurance. The students too, apart from meeting their idols they also had a word for fellow students.

“I have big dreams and I believe that through hard work I can get to the top, nothing comes easy, for example the artistes here told us their stories which were very uplifting and we now know that they didn’t get there by wishful thinking,” said Glory Wilfred.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Our slums still not a good place to live in

People living in slums are exposed to many

People living in slums are exposed to many health hazards 

By Salome Gregory and Devotha John

Tomorrow we will commemorate the World Habitat Day. The United Nations designated the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter.
Every year a new theme is created to promote sustainable development policies to ensure adequate shelter for all and this year’s theme is housing policies, affordable  homes.
The themes often promote one of UN-Habitat’s focal areas such as inclusive housing and social services, a safe and healthy living environment for all with particular consideration for children, youth, women, elderly and disabled.
Affordable and sustainable transport and energy, promotion, protection, and restoration of green urban spaces, safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, healthy air quality, job creation, improved urban planning and slum upgrading and better waste management are all revisited during the World Habitat Day.
According to the 2012 census, Tanzania has a total of 9.3 million houses. The current housing shortage in Tanzania in at 3,000,000 units with an annual increment of about 200,000 new demands.
And this is why Sound Living visited Kigogo Ward along Msimbazi Valley and other slums in Dar es Salaam to give you a glimpse of life in the slums even as many prepare to celebrate the World Habit Day.
Our writers visited Kigogo, Buguruni kwa Mnyamani ,Buguruni Sukita area, Tandale,Manzese, Mbagala, Vungunguti, Temeke, to mention but a few where residents are living in informal settlements. And the going gets even tougher when it rains since most of these areas are prone to flooding.
After making random house-to-house visits, Sound Living noted that there were no marked streets and the filth that surrounded these dwelling places is a story for another day.  There are no proper toilets and other sanitation facilities. The residents who were randomly interviewed by Sound Living claimed that there were many cases of waterborne diseases.
A spot check by Sound Living revealed that there were no regular taps as residents were moving with yellow jericans looking for water.
One of the residents identified as Ashura  Malick informed Sound Living that  she normally fetches water from Msimbazi River, which is not fit for human consumption.
When asked whether she knows about the dangers of using unsafe water, Ashura noted that she only use the precious liquid for bath and cleaning utensils but buys drinking water.
“I normally buy drinking water along the main road, where I find vendors selling a twenty litre bucket at Sh500,” says Ashura.
 Sound living also witnessed a good number of people farming along the Msimbazi Valley at which vegetable growing is a commonplace.
Along Msimbazi Valley there are a number of houses which are nearly collapsing due to erosion caused by human activities.
Towards the afternoon we finally sat and had some conversation with 50-year-old Fatuma Ibrahim. There is a bedsheetcovering the door to her house, which is made of rusty tins, and corrugated iron sheet. The strong stench from the pit latrine right in front of her door was evident. Narrating her story Fatuma Ibrahim is a mother of two children plus two grandchildren who live with her after her daughters left when their house was washed away during the floods.
Fatuma said before she started living along Msimbazi Valley she was living with her husband in Jangwani Ward since 1985. She said that the 2012 floods washed away her house and her husband drowned in the process, adding that her only alternative was to relocate to Msimbazi.
Fatuma expresses her dismay about the dangerous situation in the slums.
“It is risky to live in this environment.  A month never passes without having a sick person in our family,” she said adding that the area is also a hide out for criminals, who even erode children’s morals as they sell them drugs and expose them to all manner of vices like prostitution.
Fatuma said she depends on vegetable farming for survival, noting that living along water sources has been helpful in making her farm green all the time hoping that she will someday build a permanent house and set up a small business.
“So what I get is little money, which is enough for food and sending my grand children to school.  If the government comes to demolish our settlements, all my dreams would be shattered,” said Fatuma oblivious of the danger of staying in the area.
And like Fatuma, many people are living in these informal settlements due to poverty and population surge in most African cities like Dar es Salaam. According to a 2014 report on ‘Tracking Africa’s Progress in Figures’ issued by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dar es Salaam will have at least 6.2 million people by 2025 – this marks an 85 per cent increase in population in a 20-year period from 2005.
One obvious thing about the projected rise in population is that the majority of people coming to the city are leaving drought and poverty-stricken rural areas in search of greener pastures in the city, where they will most probably stay in informal settlements.
Children and youth below 25, representing nearly 64 per cent of Tanzania’s population, are the most likely to seek education and employment opportunities in a city.
Even Tanzania’s youth living in rural areas are connected to a global urban culture, by information, technological innovation, development aid and an increasingly globalised commodity market – all factors with a strong urban connotation.
 Many rural youth therefore aspire for an urban lifestyle, which influences their music, fashion, food and lifestyles. Young people are especially attracted to Bongoland (Dar es Salaam considered to be the city  of   brains), where the smart ones go to “make it”.
This poses a genuine concern to policymakers considering the influence of the urbanites in shaping the socio-economic and political landscape of nations all over the world.
To address informal urban settlements, experts have called on authorities to avoid providing social services to areas considered to be unfit for settlement.
According to UN-Habitat, demolition of city slums should not be politically driven but a continuous process until the problem gets solved once and for all.
The Competitiveness Africa Report 2017 indicates that Tanzania’s population is one of the fastest growing on the continent, only rivalled by that of DR Congo and Nigeria which stand at annual growth of 3.7 and 6.7 million respectively.
With an annual population growth which is estimated at 2.9 million, the challenges of housing posses as a potential threat to urban and rural development in Tanzania.
Tanzania’s housing backlog is the fourth on the continent where Nigeria ranks highest with 18 million followed by DR Congo with 4 million, then Egypt at 3.5 million in that descending order.
According to experts in real estate the number of available houses includes the over 3 million substandard houses that are mud-walled and grass thatched.
The situation is worsened by the fact that the rate of construction does not meet the annual rising demand of homes in Tanzania and Africa in general.
In an earlier interview with Sound Living, United Nation Development Program (UNDP) officer in charge David Omuzuofoh said the government should come up with a forward-looking policy that will allow for proper expansion of cities like Dar es Salaam which amkes lives of people livable.
“Dar es Salaam cannot remain with this population in the next two decades, but when the government will come up with a policy that will allow expansion of the city and the country in general, Dar es Salaam will be sustainable,” he said adding that it is hard to control rural-urban migration since people  believe they can find everything in the city.
“If people in the suburbs, rural areas could access all necessary requirements like social services in their localities, the city would be livable and majority won’t find the need to migrate to Dar es Salaam,” he said.
Husea Company Limited which deals in urban planning states through its Chairperson, Renny Chiwathat there is a need to improve at least five suburbs in Dar es Salaam to tackle congestion in the city.
  The housing challenges are not unique to Tanzania as current housing deficit in Africa is estimated at 64 million houses, combined with an explosive population growth of 3.2 billion people in the next 85 years requires a massive housing effort according to a survey by Betoniq. Without replacing existing houses that are sub-standard, 10.6 Million houses have to be built in Africa annually to keep up with housing demands of the continent.
 However even as developers make an effort towards narrowing this gap, there are some glaring challenges that seems to stall the progress in solving this crisis.
 Funding of major housing projects have been left in the hands of mainly private developers who are also faced with a myriad of shortcomings including taxation which in return make the houses out of reach for the  common citizens.
 Even with the introduction of mortgage financing in Tanzania through Tanzania Mortgage Refinancing Company (TMRC) most citizens are still ignorant of the availability of such to enable them get such funds.
The poor infrastructure, the ever rising prices of construction materials and huge compensations for the land in the areas where developers seek to invest is another challenge which in the long term pushes the housing prices thus people end up in the slums.According to Dar es Salaam City profile report by UN Habitat, majority of Dar es Salaam’s population live on unplanned and informal land and lack access to appropriate housing and services.
The local authority in Dar es Salaam lacks the capacity to supply planned and serviced land in urban areas, and a large number of low-income dwellers have been forced into unplanned and unauthorised settlements.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Inside a local shoe factory in Tegeta

Dedan Munisi owns Wa Asili Asilia company

Dedan Munisi owns Wa Asili Asilia company producing African products made from pure leather and beards such as school shoes, official shoes as well as casual shoes. He has employed 68 people. PHOTOS |SALOME GREGORY 

By Salome Gregory

With the growth of online business globally, I could not tell if the received images of male shoes via my mobile phone three weeks ago were made in Tanzania due to its quality and designs.
The shoes are made of pure leather. Different colours and the designs are official shoes, military boots, casual shoes and even school shoes.
On asking how much the shoes were a friend referred me to Dedan Munisi,38, Managing Director of Wa Asili Asilia producing African products made from pure leather and beards such as school shoes, official shoes as well as casual shoes.
The factory which is located in Tegeta at Magofuni grounds also makes batik shirts and dresses, scarves, school and laptop bags and belts just to mention a few.
Munisi who is famously known as ‘Ras Mizizi ’ says his factory also makes furniture using the remains of dhow, which can no longer be used in the ocean depending on the customer’s needs.
Sharing his struggles from a humble beginning of unemployment, he says he now owns a local factory that has employed 68 people from the initial four when he started.
He says, soon after completing his Form IV studies in 2001, he started a small business of selling vegetables from the little pocket money he saved of Sh300,000 and could paint as well. His painting talent made it easy for him to do better in his course as he had an idea in paintings and designing.
 “After a long period of job search with no success, I realised my painting talent was the only way to generate more income if I could add some more expertise to it. Since I only earned income through paintings and art work, I decided to go Nyumba ya Sanaa in 2005 for a three months course on batik printing and designing,” he says.
Munisi and his three friends shared a small office in Mwenge, outskirts of Dar es Salaam Central Business District. During that time majority of Tanzanian’s would only wear rosaries and tasbih. The introduction of culture accessories especially bracelets were well received and most of the University of Dar es Salaam students became his good customers.
He says, he is among the very first founders of the thread accessories in Mwenge as most of the people who do it today learned from him and his friends.
“However, after making some profit in Mwenge we decided to share our profits  equally and  my friends  shifted their focus to another business but I stuck with this one,” he says.
In just a year after my batik course with a very good profit  prospects, the introduction of Madera and male designs started flowing in the country and badly killed the batik market in the country. And during that time majority of women and unemployed youths involved themselves in selling and producing batik,” says Munisi.
He further says in the same year, Urafiki Factory stopped producing  raw materials that were meant for batik making. It was never easy to cope up with the falling of batik market as the cost of production doubled due to the fact that they had to buy raw materials from China at a double price compared to how they used to buy from Urafiki Factory.
“As a way of coping with the market fall of batik, our main focus shifted to making products from leather. We started with hand bags, belts, key holders, sandals etc,” he says.
“Soon as I expanded my business into leather products and realised there was market opportunity by receiving orders as well selling at wholesale. Producing more for the customers led to looking at a bigger place that also contains a workshop in Tegeta. He spent all of his savings to build the workshop and train two other people to support him,” he says.
“I had to start going to local festivals to showcase my work as a way of looking for market. And the first festival to attend was the Bagamoyo Festival of Arts and Culture in 2007. In a period of five years I managed to employ 15 people and trained them,” he says.
 In 2010, I participated in Wezesha Safari Lager competition. The competition meant to recognize self employed youths with facility challenges and I won a modern industrial machine costs up to Sh2,500,000.
He says, such a competition was a very positive way of the company to give back to the community as the machine given to him ten years ago still operates. Sadly, the competition only ended up in its second edition.
“In 2015, I had to move from my previous workshop to be here. I had managed to build a six-roomed workshop and a house for my family. This has helped me a lot as I am living in this compound and there are times I can work 24 hours when we have plenty of orders,,” he says.
 Commenting on the challenges he says, getting a bigger place to build a modern workshop is not easy as it needs a lot of money. He thanks his friend who volunteered to give him a space at Magofuni grounds free of charge for two years.
Currently two years are about to end and I am looking forward to see how we will manage to pay him his rent little by little.
He says, another challenging part is when you train people and once they manage they just quit and start business of the same and start fighting for the market. “It is not easy to avoid this as I keep on training them and I will continue to work with those who will be loyal.”
 He calls upon the government to walk the talk on giving priority to industries as President John Magufuli promised.
“There is a lot of impact that can be brought up by people with small scale industries. If the government could separate politics and development, Tanzania has a brighter future ahead in industries,” says Munisi.
He says, Small Industries Development Organization  (SIDO) should walk out of its office and reach out people with small factories and full of potential to support them with right information on how to expand and manage the increase of the products prices to push the country’s agenda on industries.
Developed countries purchase leather from Tanzania and manufacture in their own countries when the final products get here very few people can afford it.
“Tanzania is the second country in the Africa continent with so many animals, this means we have enough leather here but majority of leather is exported to the international market,” he says.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Horrifying health effects of mining

Small-scale miners face numerous health

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

By Jonathan Musa

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

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

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

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


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Helping children with clubfoot in Tanzania

Clubfoot results from the abnormal development

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

By Salome Gregory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 17, 2017

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

Nancy Kerubo and her daughter Natasha. PHOTO |

Nancy Kerubo and her daughter Natasha. PHOTO | COURTESY NMG 

By Pauline Kairu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Intimate experience with the beach and bush in Saadani

Saadani National Park is the only wildlife

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

By Elisha Mayallah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 17, 2017

PARENTING : Make moving easier on children


By Sound Living reporter

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

Make a family wish list

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

House-hunt together

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

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

Pack a treasure box

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

Throw a goodbye party

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

Tour your old haunts

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

Make a memory book

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

Say goodbye to your home

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

Helping your child adjust to sleeping in her new room

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

Moving-Day survival kit

Pack these items in your car

Drinks and snacks in a cooler

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

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

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

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

Preparing them for new school

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Keeping children safe from strangers


By Elizabeth Tungaraza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional information from the Internet


Sunday, September 10, 2017

How to bounce back after retrenchment

Experts say there is still life after

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

By Elizabeth Tungaraza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life after retrenchment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says he was not paid all his benefits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tree house in baobab tree at Diamonds on Manda Island

Diamonds on Manda Island. PHOTO| RUPI MANGAT

Diamonds on Manda Island. PHOTO| RUPI MANGAT 

By Rupi Mangat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why Diamonds?” I ask.

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

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

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

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


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Making child’s first day at school easier


By Sound Living Reporter

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

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

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

Have your child meet his teacher.

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

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

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

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

Tips for Tear-Free Goodbyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security Alert: Bringing Comfort Objects from Home

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 10, 2017

She quit her nursing career to venture into entreprenuership

Diana Gasper wants her dream of becoming an

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

By Devotha John

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

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

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

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

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

Diana said she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

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

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

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

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

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

Her travel firm

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Women mentorship

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

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

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

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

Her vision

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Raising a child who is God fearing

Patmo Junior School Standard Seven pupils on

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

By Young Citizen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Coping after the demolitions along Morogoro road

Zainab Mkuye holds her six-year-old son,

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

By Salome Gregory

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

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

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

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

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

News too hard to bear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She recalls the demolition day as one of the

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

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

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

Living out in the cold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 3, 2017

PARENTING : Signs of a strong-willed child


By Sound Living Reporter

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

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

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

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

They want to learn things for themselves.

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

They have an opinion about even the smallest things.

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

They go against the grain.

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

They have a hard time switching gears.

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

They exhaust you in arguments.

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

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

They don’t necessarily care what you think.

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

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

They have a firm sense of right and wrong.

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

They have a firm sense of right and wrong.

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