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The home of Tronder tribe who are to be found within 200,000 people live in this second oldest city of Norway with the mark of cathedral which was built the time of Viking despite their reputation of barbaric. The cathedral was down of christianity which eventual took over for thousand of years till today where t is symbol and tradition . After long trip from Tanzania with slight challenge of immigration interviews and searching I landed in this beautiful city patch in the far north in the same position with Fair Banks, Alaska. The sun is out reflection the ice pecks mountains, ocean, lakes and rivers in the scattering wooden houses gives this place a unique and pleasant look. Since the winter is long period up here people spent lots of time in door and when the sun come it is such a celebration.
This is time when Norwegians celebrate National Day. Norway is founded with several old European tribes who hold tradition for certain extension of time, through monarch Norway have been under foreign ruling even to day as one of developed country the monarch ruling is still complicated. However the country is among the peaceful and people has such high respect with high regards to their culture.
People pour into the Main Street most with what they call costume which seem to be tradition dress. Red with white and blue cross the national flag decorate every house and cars. There were high sense of patriotism. Every city, town and village had their parade in their respective area as well as embassy and consulate of Norway around the world as local TV show. It was fascinating parade to watch, the parade was demonstration of different social organization among of them i saw; Salsa dance club, Ku-Fu club, Karate club, Hip-Hop club, Ski, Homosexual society of some sort, et cetera.
The atmosphere is that of holiday which I can compare with Christmas or so in Tanzania, everyone is in special clothes with plant of food and drinks; children, adult and even old folks are happy. That is my early experience of this country. In this long light day I’m finishing fixing my new bike ‘Mama Sita’, thanks to Arusha community to their invaluable support. Tomorrow will be on the road once again heading south. Hope the weather will still be good because the rumors has it, even in the summer it can be below 0c!
I’m setting off once again to undertake second leg of the ride to cover the distance between South America to East Africa! As I mentioned in my previous blog posts, there has been a lot happening during my break back in Arusha. I am glad there has been enough time to work on many of the other goals of the project, and to make certain changes which would be hard to do whilst I was on the road.
One of the reforms is regarding the scholarships for young Tanzanian students. Raising funds has proven to be another great challenge. Achieving the goal to provide educational opportunities is one my greatest determinations: I am set on achieving this goal and therefore am forced to try to find alternative ways to provide opportunities for these students. One of the alternatives is to try to contact schools, scholarship institutes and other related organizations or individuals who may give scholarships to our candidate students. This kind of work requires a certain amount of time, skill, commitment and of course self-motivation (which I am unable to give whilst I am on the road). I am therefore now looking for someone who is interested in helping to achieve the dream and who might be able to help our initiative with this task.
Working with the Chile to Kili initiative on this side of the project may be bit easer if the candidate had an understanding or experience with the Tanzania community, the education sector and/ or public relations to some extent. Being based in Tanzania would also be another potential help, but not fundamentally necessary (since the world is growing smaller as our use of technology advances). The school (s) I am keen to recruit are, I hope, to be found in Africa; however it would be a great help if we could find schools which can offer courses in Natural Science, Conservation Biology and Environmental Science.
If you are interested in helping with this exciting initiative and would like to volunteer for a certain amount of time, your assistance would be greatly appreciated! If you live in the local area, you could spend time working in the base office in Arusha, Tanzania where the project is hosted (under the Conservation Resource Centre a Non profit organization, www.tzcrc.org).
For more details, or to express your interest, please write to me at email@example.com.
‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ and be part of this new phase in the Chile to Kili initiative.
On break from the big ride, I had a chance to climb Kili. It is about a year since I climbed this mountain. Apart from the challenge to climb this volcanic mountain, with all the side stories and observation, is the chance to travel back in time. Herein lies the story of life transformation. Everyone has certain memories. My memories of Kili have certain profoundness, from being such a young boy taking on extreme work, carrying a basket full of produce sometimes twice my weight; counting my footsteps from one minute to five hours; leaking sweat; hoping that I would finally reach the point when I could throw the basket away and run back down to the village to scavenge in the markets.
Here also is where my log time observation of environmental degradation is taking place, I have seen huge changers which make me felt that i’m not another ‘Doomsday Prophet’. Long team unsustainable human activities have impaired ecosystem leading to loose of natural resource to sustain growing population. More over this have been result of slow shrinking glaciers and rising temperature, there is lot of uncertainty but quiescence of all might be very expensive.
The transition from boyhood to manhood happened here and leaves behind notions of age or numbers; wisdom was learned here.It was a deep lesson of discipline, overcoming intimidation which was still dominating our culture. Together with several other aspects, I had the chance to get to know man of a different color; learning that he wasn’t more or less valuable than me (or at least I convinced myself that thought).
Many changes have taken place between then and now. II still climb mountains occasionally, managing the crew or leading the trek because I still enjoy this adventure, and would like to inspire more to experience this, to add spice to their lives. Today it seemed like time had never passed at all. I’m seeing the same things I had seen ten years ago. Yes, even some porters I worked with back then – they are still here! Now they are senior porters – unfortunately this doesn’t mean anything more for them: no harsh treatment from the guides, maybe, but instead a strong and harsh treatment of younger porters. Unlike my days as a child porter, today the porter loads their own weight. However, as with most cases of new systems, these things require time. This change requires a mental change rather than following a specific improvement, and therefore some porters will bribe corrupted park rangers to allow overweight loads to be taken, with the poor porter also bribed to get this pitiless work. Knowing the consequences of these actions, I still find it hard to understand people who take these positions. If this is human nature, I’m yet to understand it. The amusing part is that this kind of situation will become tenser as the environment intensifies. Arguments come through every task and hash treatment will be the norm until the last night before heading back to town. Apparently, however, these porters are very good friends in normal life!
It is interesting observing the appearance of the hikers and their crews. Porters are strong, except for a few who are still new – their faces speak out very strongly. They know or imagine what is lying beyond those green, tall trees. Their clothes, which have changed in the period of time through a soaking in sweat, are washed in the mud or alkaline water. Their shoes speak of the turbulence of supporting such weight, through the mud, clay, rocks, rains, ice; through loose gravel when they have to move with their rhythm only. Most of their bodies have burned away all the fat, leaving a good proportion of meat and muscles.
Language and culture is a big bridge between a crew and their clients. This is very obvious, as you will see ‘Tourists’ Toilet’ often in good condition compared to the ‘Porters’ Toilet’; occasionally leaning to one side, almost resigned to give service. Tourists are equipped: these guys do special shopping for the occasion, often equipped from top to bottom with gadgets and equipment which make the crew think they will hike the rocks without having to eat! Yet this is not what experience has taught the experienced crew members. Adding more oddity in the scenario, tourists will stretch, test out their gear and hike up and down (often because they feel unsettled) but appear very confident indeed!
After all is sorted out in an endless amount of time, the journey begins. If tourists are lucky, they will be introduced to their crew. ‘Hellos’ will be exchanged with big smiles, then porters will set off with their bundles on their head and their bitten-up backpacks hanging on their backs.
This is the beginning of the journey to the roof of Africa. Most parts of this journey are a personal story but much will be tested here. For me, here is where Mother Nature resides: she reveals herself in many ways. Mountain Kilimanjaro is unique place, composing several distinctive habitats. From the Savannah plane, it gives rise to the green farming belt perched with corrugated iron roofs and broken by villages. The villages will give way to painted forests and rainforests with amazing biodiversity. The vast names of the flora and fauna (especially flora) prove that they are only known to gods so far. The moorland vegetation will give rise to alpine desert before you start to encounter ice and glaciers and find out you’re in weather you would never imagine to find, just three degrees south of the equator.
There is no day which can optimize another, all come with striking natural bounty. From a sea of green rainforest with a single long path, the sounds are repeated before all fall into the rhythm and feel almost like they do not exist. The next day will be you on top of clouds, with expansive vistas which make you breathe deeply, like you’re trying to absorb the whole of it. In the morning, while the mighty sun is trying to creep through those deep clouds, it blends vast colors. Challenge come along this beauty, to allow you to appreciate every single day. By the third, fourth, fifth day, tourists will reveal what is lying down in their hearts while the crew try to swallow more deeply and continue their journey against this irony.
The services vary up here at the expense of money and man-power: you’re likely to have different meal every day, more or less beyond your expectation.
The way down is a conflict of the mental and physical: you have an argument in your mind to go down fast to a lower elevation, but battle the legs, which have been climbing for most of five days. It becomes tricky.
The last night is supposed to be restful night, yet the crew will be up from five in the morning – they are ready to get it over with, and are full of eagerness about how much they will make. This is different to the tourists, who are still endowed with feelings of achievement. Tips are such an important element for the crew, since they might be more than their wages. Some tourists, out of need, sympathy, pity or kindness will give away their expensive gear and other sort of gifts.
I have seen this journey change lot of people’s life perspective in different ways. Likewise for the crew, this will bring opportunities; add value and quality to their life and their extended lives.
It have been little while since my last entry here. There has been a lot that’s taken place in the Chile to Kili realm, and even for me myself behind this initiative. For this post, I’d like to talk about some of the people I’ve been meeting back home. One of the tasks during this preparation break is to meet students who could be potentially offered Chile to Kili scholarships. This is not an easy task since there are so many passionate and determined youth for these few opportunities, which seem to be like just a drop of water in the driest desert.
For Chile to Kili initiative goals of conservation education, we try to focus to deliver these opportunities to those who come from the boundaries of natural reserves and those who need the help the most. I started traveling in the coast and other remote part of north-eastern Tanzania which also foster lots of natural reserves. The challenge for most of these young people is a lack of clear direction – most Tanzanians don’t have career goals, or know what they want to do beyond “just getting a job”; this is a consequence of a rote-learning colonial-style educational system that is good at producing clerks. Others in the remote areas – like those who come from pastoralist communities, but who play a huge role in conservation – are the least educated, and may even require short course of language before the naturalist or ecology training.
I was lucky enough to have grown up in a place where I could fall in love with the natural world and wildlife of Tanzania. It’s a disappointment to me now that I’m back that I find that so many of the young people here who even get opportunities to study conservation or work in wildlife areas don’t appreciate the chance and prefer to live in the city, and don’t understand the importance of the wild world that tourists come to see here.
I met Lilian Mremi through other Conservation Resource Centre members. Lilian has a deep passion in wildlife and environmental conservation – . She was born 22 years ago in Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania. She grew up and there and was educated in public schools both primary and secondary level. She recently completed her Technician Certificate in Wildlife Management at the College of African Wildlife Management (Mweka) and holding a one year certificate.
Due to great desire of environmental and wildlife habitats conservation, also community development through educating them on sustainable utilization of environment and its resources, she decided to study wildlife management at Mweka college of African wildlife management. However due to financial difficulties, she opted to work as a teacher at Mwika secondary school after completing A-level studies at Majengo Secondary in 2010. She engaged in teaching Biology and Chemistry subjects for a year and managed to save some of college fees to MWEKA and the rest of it was donated by family friends and relatives.
As connecting with her career goal “to live in healthy and sustainable environment and see a responsible community in environment and wildlife conservation”. Lilian is asking for a scholarship through Chile To Kili to help her pursue a diploma course in wildlife management at Mweka.
This scholarship will help her fulfill her career dream; the education that she will obtain at Mweka College of African wildlife management will improve her understanding and widen her knowledge on wildlife, their ecology and environment in general. Her future career would be a focus on working with community – especially youth – on formation of small groups in every village that will be voluntary working together to protect and restore environment, wildlife habitats and their ecology. The skills obtained by the youths from these small groups will build and enhance their leadership abilities and change community perception and attitudes towards conservation.
Two other possible candidates are two Maasai youths – Songali Kicheche and Loio Mandati.
Songali and Loio are from the Ngorongoro Crater area, in the village at in the second crater, Empakai (Empakai village). Neither were able to even go to primary school. They have managed to overcome many challenges, not least of which the lack of support that pastoralists societies here give to their young. They are illiterate, and though manual labour for a cattle herder isn’t really an idea they would normally consider, they are now Kilimanjaro porters. This is very difficult job even for those who are more accustomed to manual labour. I admire the determination of these young fellas, I visited their homeland. There are good chances for these youth to realize their potential of their dreams of becoming naturalist and guides in their respective area which attract hundred of tourists as well as students and researchers.
I am now set my self into routine life once again; wake up early make breakfast cycle to CRC offices work in the desk for full day. Desk work include, writing letters, call consulates and embassies, plan routes, plan calendars, go through students applications, interviews, just few to mention. In between weeks its few talks for schools to share part of achievement of Chile to Kili and it odds.
Since I’m not very accustomed with this sedimentary life I try my best in to get out in the weekends. Thanks to my friend Erik Rowberg for borrowing his road bike so I can cycle with club in the wednesdays.
In this weekend I took off alone to hike the nearest peak of Mt. Meru 4 565m (14,977ft). There were some fun challenge in the begin of my mission, the rangers try to stop me to enter because I was using motor bike but at the same time there were some locals go through when I ask why? They said that I’m a tourist! Second they don’t believe that I have Visa card to pay with. After paying and go through all these fun challenges still the service was quite unacceptable. As I took hike up this scenic volcanic mountain alone just accompanied with the rhythm of creation, peace, calmness of nature, I think about how human can destroy his life.
I explain this when I come back home home for a break, it conflict and challenge for most of us African. I know it not wise to pass this blame to any one but the quesqueces of culture dismantle destroyed self respect and worthiness leave them without ethics, values and morals. The rangers have stereotype though that only western are the one who can use the park, though there have been talk of promote domestic tourism but mind set and economy barrier will still be big hindrance.
Back to the mountain on sunday, I wake up in the morning to find out my bike is gone. In the street where I have been living with my family since I was 17 years old there lots of iddl young guys. Their situation can be explain in the several ways but most it luck of willing to take on the challenge, learn and adopt new way of living. My dad grew up here in the mad house with only education to allow him to write and read in Ki-swahili but he work hard determined to change the situation, he passed on this example, spirit and motivation to me. Some how being success material or mental in the pull of un success it another challenge. Things doesn’t work well in the neighborhood but moving prove to be not ease, changing this situation of unwillingness and luck of motivation sound like life investment.
Mathari Wangari a Kenya environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize ambassador explain this well on his book ‘The challenge for Africa’ A dedication for Africans and friends of Africa.
At the age of 18, I took my first long bus trip 600 km from the northeast highlands of Tanzania to the coast. Without enough money I couldn’t afford a seat, but for a village boy being on the bus traveling to an unknown place, all I could feel was adrenaline from the adventure. Every single kilometer was breathtaking for me. The Pare and Usambara mountains have a slight valley division in between them that became my geographical highlight for the trip. These green mountains, which I later came to learn, are known as ‘Arch Mountains,’ a chain of mountains that start from Taita on the Kenyan side and wander across Tanzania from Pare, Usambara, Uluguru, Udzungwa and give way to lake Nyasa/Malawi. It is said that they are older than the world-famous Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, comprising of endemic species which are still being discovered.
I have had a few chances to visit these mountains and it is an adventure to go to these mountains by bus, but I find that the people who are living there are still, to some extent, hiking up and down the mountain and through the valleys, rivers and forest. So what I thought was extreme adventure to hike Mt. Klili or Meru is just daily life for these folks.
Four days before the end of 2012, the chance to hike the Usambara mountains materialized. With two other friends, we set off from Arusha. About a four hour bus ride took us to a place called Same. Same is a small town in the foothills of the Pare mountains. Our original destination was Mnazi in the foothill of both Pare and Usambara mountains. We had planned to take a bus to Same and then drive behind the mountains into Mkomazi valley. We thought that would reward us with the opportunity to observe the wildlife while traveling along the boundary of Mkomazi National Park. Unfortunately there was no bus till evening hours so we didn’t get to Mnazi.
The challenge of traveling this way is dealing with the tiresome local processes. The bus ride itself is an adventure which requires lots of patience and flexibility. Getting the right and reliable information is difficult because there is always a bunch of middlemen who want to overcharge you for tickets. First they claimed that the bus would take us to our destination in Mnazi, but after paying another guy came in to say that the bus would not reach there but instead somewhere close. One of the strangest things I have come across is the way people have lost the value of being honest. The middleman overcharged us and I knew this because I asked the fellow passenger how much he paid and he wouldn’t tell me. I think he was scared by the threat of the middleman who was cooperating with those working for the bus. This was the same for the bus that serviced the small towns and villages. The middleman squeezed passengers together to seat six where there are supposed to be five. I thought about this situation since people pay more than enough, but the irony is that while their own people steal from them and treat them harshly, they also transport them with little safety. The system which is used here is the same that was used in colonial times. Those who have little knowledge and sense of ownership threaten the people. Centuries of a system that breaks the collectiveness of the community has very visible results today. It is frustrating to see how people have a lack of courage, confidence, dignity, respect and self-worth. Lack of necessities and insecurity keeps this vengeance cycle.
We squeezed together with others who also have little option and we got to Kihurio the village in the valley dividing Pare and Usamabra mountains. Between here and our destination is about 30 kilometers of shrub plains. The only option of transportation was motorcycle or sand/stone truck. We hop in the truck with me sitting on the top absorbing the clear blue sky to the horizon of undulating mountains above lush green bushes. The road is bumpy and sandy with acacia branches overhanging . On the way we pick up villagers who walk 12 to 15 km from the mountains to the market in the plains or farms . These people are not used to the vehicle. Before we get to Mnazi strong winds break from the mountains, fifteen minutes later warm rain washes out the dust.
Mnazi is on the foothill of Usambara mountains named after the coconut plant which stands tall and proud into rice paddies. We had coconut rice with beans in the street stalls served by a quite happy mama. At night it was less hot and humid after the rain. Frogs, crickets, bats and mosquitos sing us into a deep sleep before we are awoken by the muezzin arguing that ‘Allah is Great’ so everyone should wake up to praise him.
After a breakfast of strong tea and chapatti, we set off to tackle the mountain in front of us. The day before we asked for information and a route, which I had previously assumed existed. Locals claimed that to get to Lushoto, the town in the middle of mountains, by foot will be very difficult. It is the light rain season so the river may be flooded, and secondly, it is steep and the path to it too complicated. The good thing here was that the information varied: some was encouraging, while some was discouraging. The hike started like any other kind of hike on a tropical mountain, from savannah vegetation changing to more dense mountain forest. There are a few indigenous trees remaining, but locals are desperate for fire wood, charcoal and fertile land for farming. Farming is done without any precautions, farmers are farming in the steep slope of the mountain without contours which means all the fertile soil it washed down when rain comes, or is blown by wind in the dry season.
The panoramic view grew more stunning as we hiked higher and higher. There are still plenty of birds. Diversity of other wildlife has gone with population growth and only remain in the small forest reserve. On the way we encounter several villagers most with catapults/sling-shots for hunting birds. One of them, who I interviewed, claimed to have killed 100 birds so far.
The hike was so exciting that although you feel your physical limitations your mind is arguing to push a little bit more. The environment is so calm with only the noise of the water in the river, birds and roosters. The true, humble and genuine characters of the people, which is expressed through greetings, welcomeness and smiles, was overwhelming and emotional but inspiring. At midday in the village of Mbaramo we were given a warm welcome though we were total strangers. A big plate of rice, Saladin and vegetables was made for us. Locals look upon us as young heroes who leave the comfort of the city to embrace their life, which is considered as primitive and backwards even by their young folks, who have abandoned all and disappeared into the urban world. This also happened again in the other village where we overnighted. My friend was offered a bed while I pitched my tent in the back yard.
The pressing issues for me in these villages were:
Environment degradation, which is due to the lack of knowledge and requirements such as the need of energy. A certain percentage of forest and indigenous vegetation still exists and this is the natural ecology which has sustained life here for centuries. Farming and other activities still rely highly on nature. There are so many wild fruits. At some points I saw that locals do little to attend to some of their crops such as Banana. They seem to leave nature to take care. There is no alternative energy so trees are disappearing. Farming into the steep slope without contour in some places is just lack of knowledge, while in other places it is just irresponsible and avoidance of hard work. The existence of natural forest and other natural vegetation is due to huge respect which these people have for nature. Despite the fact that missionaries and other religious agents have been converting these people to their Gods and condemning local beliefs, there is still remnants of local belief. In the riverine forest, in the overhanging rocks and cliffs and deep into forest there are shrines. The shrines are sacred places for these people. These places are out into nature, which indicates the respect of the nature. It is known that when locals lost this value for their environment it was the beginning of environment degradation. I found other examples of this in the communities of native Americans.
The other pressing fact was the labour division. I’m not sure if most of man live in the towns, but often you will see women and children working in the farms and carrying or collecting firewood. At one point, I saw this man sitting down with who I assume to be his wife collecting firewood, even though I know it is culturally normal to make a joke and be harsh to the man who sits down. I told the woman that she should have amazing love for her husband because she is working and he sits. It is quite a scary sight watching two kids, who look like sister and brother of 6-8 years, carrying huge bundles of wood. They looked tired and felt the pain of the load.
Cinnamon and Ginger are the only cash crops in most villages. Forest products, such as timber, are another way of making quick money. One man has broken the cycle and planted 2,000 trees which he will harvest within 7 to 10 years. He gave us a tour to his farm which seems to make quick changes compared to the other places without trees. There is potential for agricultural farming: coffee, banana, timber, potatoes and existing ginger and cinnamon. This can be done in sustainable ways to protect the fragile ecology, which has lots of benefit especially beyond this mountain region.
The challenge is for government and civil society to assist these people with knowledge, awareness, tools, infrastructure and marketing. These are the goals of Millennia Development Goals (2000-2015), it is very sad to see that few achievements have been reached so far, especially goal number 8; ‘Ensure Environment Sustainability’.
Our village to village trek, with very little modern remnant brought us at Lushoto town, the town in the middle of the Usambara mountains. From here we took bus back to Arusha.
“The only thing we really have is now. Widen our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
We all belong somewhere, where we consider to be home. Our culture, tradition and languages diversity are very important are the same to biodiversity.
Since I returned home for a break, I had to re-experience life here. Due to my new knowledge and perspective, I have different viewpoint. Since I have realized that my personal journey for searching for whom I’m It Doesn’t end there, but the the journey continues as I continue to find the reasons and connection to things and environment.
I thought the cultural ties would be the strongest and most significant after experiencing different cultures and understanding them at a basic level, but I think in general we are all moving towards a global village where your culture remains to be something of certain importance as life leads those who are willing to its complexity. Back in my village I see how culture brought my folks a long way but for my generation it is something of less importance. During the colonial together with religions deny this important aspect In other words, to day we are trying to combine the remnant and adopted to form new cultures as we move on.
I discovered that the simple things such as smells, sounds, language, certain way of life, sights of places are the things which have been the most haunting. I am not sure if it is because it’s the ‘mother culture’ or because of my deep roots, but the things I have found out is; they bring out strongly appealing feelings.
Back into the wild…
A twenty minutes cycle from my house leaves me out of fast growing urban life. Here, it is not so much deep in the wild, but people still live among a balance with other living things. Birds are in abundance and the density is still high because they are beneath other living things. To successfully birding, I have to be in their respective areas early as sunrise. I start my old routine in the foothills of Mount Meru. In the mixed crop fields, riverine forests, patches of bushes and river dams for water distribution, there is striking variation of birds species.
In the calm and calming forests, there are birds chatting and their calls are quite audible. A Tropical Boubou female calls to communicate with a male in the deep echo melodies which has about six variations. This kind of call gives this bird nickname of ‘bottle bird’. Other fascinating musical bird is the Robin-Chat. This bird is like an orchestra with several melodies in perfect tune and sometimes can even imitate calls from other birds. At the top of tall trees are Cuckoos, Orioles, Eagles, Drongos, and Hornbills–all contributing their unique calls to the symphony.
The most amazing thing is the variation of colors on these small, but unique creatures. Tropical Boubou with its shining white and and black patching against green or dry bush is quite a sight for this secretive bird. Most of musical birds have a variation of color. I am starting to wonder what the connection is between color and music? But also there are other birds like the Saddle Billed Stork, which is very colorful, but not musical.
In the dams I spent time sitting down trying to fit in this world watching and counting how many minutes Grabes spend under water before coming up again. Cormorants organize themselves into group for more effective fishing. Solitary Heron have to be patient to wait for unlucky fish of other invertebrate. Humerkops are restless, but giant Kingfisher is noisy and interrupts the calmness. Kingfishers rest on the branches overhang in the river after their morning fishing.
Three to four hours of walking and birding I end up with fifty species, this event isn’t only birds. There is deep, persistent call, almost like metal scratching, from a Cicadas. Before it gets to the point of annoying my brain gets used to it. It is the rainy season and flowers are blooming and producing an amazingly fragment smell.
I also had chance to go deep into parks, it rain season now most herbivores enjoy green pastures likewise predators. Wildebeest after caving now they’re all over Serengeti and Ngorongoro ecosystem eating up to save energy for their annual trek.
This is an invaluable resource, natural bounty and open lab for diversity and ecosystem is threatened with our daily activities eg. Lake Manyara which is more than half of lake Manyara National park is sedimenting due to the soil erosion caused by farming, also the salinity cause by increasing warm weather and luck of natural balance all threaten existence of this ecosystem.
Happy New Year to you all, thank you for all your support and follow-up. And most recently, thanks to TailWinds Magazine for the nice article:
On January 13th, I started my epic solo mission to cycle around the globe. With a plan to cover the distance from Chile in South America back to my homeland in the foothills of the great Mount Kilimanjaro, all in an effort to raise $100,000. In the begin some told me I was insane, some said it was too ambitious, and my beloved grandma even told me that it would be better to get married and find the meaning of life.
I admire education because it is vital where I come from. Over time though, I realized we learn throughout our life. Up to today my education is informal and I am still struggling to acquire formal education. From this quest is where I came up with the idea of cycling the globe in hopes that young Tanzanians, like myself, can have the opportunity to gain the knowledge needed to protect our rich but fragile ecology, and manage our country’s natural resources for sustainable development. By cycling to raise money, it is my dream to bring formal education to those that wouldn’t otherwise be able to go.
So far in twelve months, I have cycled from Argentina to the Canadian Border through the United States. I covered 110,292km (approximately 68,532mi). On this journey, I have had to overcome so much; social challenges, mental challenges and the hardest, physical challenge. I found myself in the Northern Hemisphere in the winter season, which I would have never imagined the difficulty I would have continuing to pedal to Alaska–even with my sense of adventure! I tested the weather when I pedaled from Northern California to Washington–a series of cold rain, persistence of cold weather, frozen passes and as I reached further north, the shortness of daylight hours. I am now taking a break for the winter season, making a great effort to prepare for the second and last leg of the journey to cycle the world and drive change. Due to the visa difficulties I am forced to change the route plan. My plan now is try to acquire a European visa then cycle from Northern Europe through West Africa and finish in East Africa.
Thanks to Marry Anna Rose for such a great support and kindness. Marry Anna and other close friends encouraged and supported me when I was deciding if it would be a good idea to fly back home and join family for holiday while I was taking a break through the cold winter. The flight from Seattle to Nairobi was long and tiresome. Luckily, I had 24 hours in London to rest. Coming from the US, I was so surprised how UK is different, starting with immigration–they were so flexible. It took about 20 minutes to get two-day visa without the usual bureaucracy complications. I was impressed by how people were so patient and helpful (at least most of those I met). It was extremely expensive though. The taxi driver even advised me not to take a taxi. He explain how I could use buses, and again the bus driver was nice enough to tell me where to go and even offered directions. There, the people had a sense of compassion for foreigners. The thing I liked the most was finding out that in London ‘English don’t speak English’. It was very difficult understanding them because they spoke so fast. The most noticeable thing was ‘size’ compared to the US. In the UK most of the cars are small sized and often with more than two people on board. It was cold and snowing so my activities were limited.
I didn’t know how I would feel when I reached the Motherland. Landing in Nairobi and walking out of the plane, it was hot and humid and the wind carried the familiar odor that hit my face suddenly. I felt the strength which I have never felt before. Super excited and joyful, I stated to confront the harsh reality which will prove that things will never be the same. The taxi driver’s overpriced ride, driving to noise and smelling the streets of Nairobi, now I am starting to see things differently. In the morning at the B&B I had a great welcome back to the third-world with half-cooked bacon, over cooked sausage, and a cold omelet. I decide to stick with chappati and milk tea. Looking at the street, the street vendors were opening their stalls selling second-hand clothes, cheap Chinese products, scratch cell phone credit, peanuts, cart-pusher with huge loads were bare-chested and pouring with sweat while he was shouting to vendors to give him the right-of-way, all while a car was honking behind him. That is just beginning of a typical African morning.
Traffic is super intense! In the midday it was as hot and humid as I remembered. There were public transport riots due the the new laws, so people were walking and there were lots of people marching–some with their bundles balanced on their head. It made me remember those lonely streets and avenues of North America. Motorbikes carried three people with their belongings and some had two umbrellas to protect passengers from the unforgiving tropical sun. The driver of our 70-passenger bus was a bit impatient, but guess he had the right to be since he was trying his best which required a lot of experience. Out of city, on the way home to Arusha, under 120km/h (80mils/h), a herd of cattle attempted to cross the road. The driver slammed on the breaks and almost hit one. The Maasai herder was mad at him. What is supposed to be the highway is often shared with cattle, donkeys, and sheep. In this evening, folks sit under acacia trees and seem to be engaged in deep conversation while children play soccer/football on the dusty pitch.
The plains are green and stretch to several hills and mountain. The clear blues sky gives way to a yellow fire and soon the sun sinks into the mountains and we were left with only darkness. No street lights, but yet a woman selling fried fish beside the dusty road recognize me and shouted, “Hello!” I could hardly see her through the kerosene lamp…I am back home!
I wasn’t expecting culture shock but it happened (is happening). It is taking time to re-experience the quality, the system, etc. It is also hard to find the same common things to share with my people, nevertheless I am happy to reunite. It my environment, my people that motivates me to continue fighting for change. Seen all this, I realize that the set of so called with development was totally wrong as it produced less and less intended results, people still face the basic challenges which were supposed to be solved 30 to 50 years ago.
“The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King, J
It is such an eternal battle when it comes to making decisions of what should be the next move in what I thought was the ultimate plan. The challenge started with visas and the plan to cycle to America through summer fell short almost two months and prevented me from reaching Anchorage, Alaska before the weather changed. Again the visa to Russia, which will allow continuation from Anchorage still remains a great puzzle.
Since the beginning, I couldn’t set off as wanderlust even if I could continue without attachment and responsibility. I would never find eternal peace, satisfaction, or happiness. I found the courage and worthwhileness of this challenge when I set out to learn about the relationship between people and their environment. The greatest threats to humans and the environment in Africa has forced individuals to sacrifice so much. Through education and conservation, we will be able to help alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable growth and protection of our natural resources.
Compromise…my second important move
I think the word ‘adventure’ may have carried different weight when Livingstone set off to find out what lay within Africa. Maybe it would have different meaning for Pururambo of Papua New Guinea if would have never set off from the forest. For those with the internet and all the modern things and latest technology, traveling to the next city might be an adventure. For adventurers, the experience can be compared to an athlete who is determined to win a marathon–he would first spend a lot of time training and preparing to endure all that comes with the feat. Adventurers dream and sometimes their commitment leads to an obsession. It is at this point that compromise has little room. I went through this and it has been very difficult. Thankfully I have friends who argue that ‘plans are made for change’. Those friends have made me realize that it is time to take a six month break to continue to develop my conservation efforts and work, to arrange visas, reassess the route, etc.
In this difficult time I still remain intact because I wasn’t only searching for an adventure, but for personal betterment. During the time I take a break, I will be able to start school for my Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management at College of African Wildlife Management (MWEKA), in Moshi, Tanzania.
Asking for help and support…
Perhaps one of other challenges I am confronted with is to ask for support and help, especially financial support. I have not gone hungry this entire expedition, which means there is still enough for all of us. There is a lot of wealth in developed countries, but all humans, no matter which part of the world, have never been short of their own challenges. You can either search for these challenges to enlighten yourself or you can sit down and make lot of money to protect yourself and avoid inconvenience. There are many charities helping individuals, but sometimes it is difficult to choose who you find most in need of your support. At the last fundraiser event I held in Issaquah, Washington (outside of Seattle), I met several people who had different stories to share concerning the shortcomings of some charities and nonprofits. The stories they shared all have some truth and made me feel very ashamed of organizations disguising themselves with good intentions. Some told me of nonprofits they heard about growing into huge institution that end up spending 50-70% of their donations just on operating costs and frivolous expenses. I have seen this in Africa so I couldn’t even contribute, but instead, try to explain my future path in life. Giving without a plan may lead to bad tendencies, but I have also seen how important empowerment is to make miracles happen for those who are truly in need.
After deciding to take a break, two of my successful entrepreneur friends suggested that they volunteer to be part of organizing trips to Africa where other adventurous people can experience different cultures and learn about conservation and the environment. The twist is that they will experience it all on a bicycle tour from Congo to East Africa and then down to Southern Africa. The profits from this tour will benefit Chile to Kili and my education, environmental conservation, and sustainable development. The tentative date for the trip has been set for November 2013.
Thanksgiving is here…
I would like to thank everyone for their great support for the Chile to Kili initiative. I wish I could count individuals and their contributions, but both amazingly and unfortunately you are too many. Because of this act of giving and sharing your stories, I am both happy and feeling loved. I have also opened my eyes to the beautiful world which we only see occasionally even though it exists within. The only thing I can promise for now is to carry on this act of helping and supporting.
We have almost received the funds for the first student and hopefully I will be awarded this scholarship as I am carrying on the mission to assist my fellow students. We are so grateful for your consideration last Thanksgiving and we hope that you will think of us this coming Thanksgiving.
‘It when we love the place that we can defend and protect’
I am writing this blog post to respond to various questions I have been asked, this is also my though of how I think we can success on our efforts of nature and environment conservation.
May be civilization speed up our evolution, I am saying that because we can see that in the south where the civilization was rather in slow motion, now it among of those place which has ecosystem which is less interfered with our activities. We are all aware of northern influence to the south, north they reach extreme point of using their natural resources turn to south for more exploitation which prove to be rather difficult to stop. The economic, social imbalance and pressure have put south into more challenge situation. Young countries born with debts,end up to being source of income for northern banks till today, the development plan from banks and other monetary institutions are more of investment than empowerment. This situation left most of the southern countries into un thinkable poverty, luck of development and growing population lead to great environmental degradation. Global climate change caused with northern pollution create another lear of challenge for 3rd world countries.
Conservation awareness start in the north in the 1950′s start with declaration of demarcated areas such as Yellow Stone National Park, as always the ideal was installed to the colonies. Without any integrity the emerging countries inherit the structure.Like other resources the large scale encroachment and-consumer still remain developed countries, this is a challenge we are facing today to save our thriving flora and fauna.
Our passion and efforts towards conservation of flora, fauna and wild areas which also is water shed, rain forest, soil, et cetera will be more effective if we will also integrity and empower local communities. We are primary beneficiary, this is land of our accentors, we love these lands, being from these area we are endowed with local knowledge which give as the values which is a one of the reasons to conserve the environment and resources.
People asked me if I think there is someone to be blamed for all these, personal I don’t think so even if there is one I will not do so because this will make me run from the reality and being irresponsible, we are responsible for the situation and we have ability to make changers and decide our fate. What I learn from my young age is the roll of individual back then and still in some point things like government is too huge to understand and relay on. The river I used to fetch water it was too big to cross to day, it seasonal, in the dry season people have to walk for kilometers up stream to get water. My laboratory; frogs may be some not known yet, birds, rodent, monkeys, et cetera suffer the same extent. This is one case in the foothill of Kilimanjaro, time to time Tanzania face tribe war between agriculturist and pastoralist fighting for the dwindling resources. My frustration is when I find out the people from north/developed countries are short of awareness, it my hope that we will grasp this situation and be the change we wish to see.
Change of economic and development policies towards developing countries will help souther to develop, hopeful sustainably for the sake of our remaining wild areas and environment in general.
‘Confession of Economic hit man’, ti a book which can give good understand. Also recently documentary ‘End of Poverty’ will help to have an idea if you do not.