,

The price of things

The prices of things as experienced Spring 2012
mostly in Mnenia village and Kondoa town
all prices in Tanzanian Shillings: 1500 TSh = 1 US$

A days wages for a laborer: 3000
Tea and chapati at the local teashop: 300
Bus fare Mnenia to Kondoa 5000 round trip
Delivery of a trailer load of stuff by tractor: 60 000
Delivery of water by donkey: 200/5 gal jug
1 bottle of beer: 2000
1 package of cookies 4000
5 tomatoes 500
1 bunch of onions 1000
1 litre of oil: 3000
1 kilo of sugar 2300

1 kilo of rice 4000
1 apple 700
1 banana 100
1 litre of fresh milk 1000
1 container of yogurt (supermarket Arusha) 4000
1 chicken (live) 10000
1 egg 300
1 fired brick 50
1 bag cement 17000
Meal in a local restaurant Arusha 5000
Meal in a tourist restaurant Arusha12000
1 pair of sandals from recycled tires 6000

 

Dr. Jane Goodall visits the Rock Art Project

Yesterday was an exciting morning for us: Dr.Jane Goodall came for a short visit to the Gallery at the Masai Cafe in Arusha to meet Seppo and get introduced to the work of the Rock Art project. It’s all connected through her Roots and Shoots organization with which the Rock Art Project collaborates in village schools in the Kondoa region.
She is a living legend and for many of us a hero: her name brings up images of a young woman connecting with chimpanzees out in the wild of the Tanzanian forest, and that of a powerful advocate for the protection of wildlife habitat.

Elke Cole meets Jane Goodall
What I heard strongly from her was a deep commitment to the fostering of education and personal action of the next generations.
In her speech at St.Constantine’s International School she spoke of hope: that through small individual daily action we can bring about change, to follow your dream and stick with it and to watch for opportunities to propel that dream forward.
It is often through fortunate encounters in combination with reaching for high goals that the next door will open.
My favourite tidbit was a memory she shared of being four years old and hiding under straw in a nesting box in order to watch a chicken lay an egg: finding the answer to her question “how does the egg come out of the chicken?” It illustrates even at that early age her determined character and a curiosity and love for animals.

She changed how people see animals, she inspires women to step out of typical roles, and she now has access to influential circles where she continues the work that began by taking a ship to Africa. Someone in the audience asked about her retirement and who might replace her, and she responded that there are many individual jobs that people are continuing in her place but that no-one would be the next “Jane Goodall” .
I am grateful to have met her and feel inspired to listen for my passion and keep on going with my work. Lets all do our daily piece and see where it will take us.

,

Brush with Fame in Arusha

Jane Goodall is coming to Arusha.
That’s a good reason to make a trip from our village camp and get on the bus. For 12000 Tsh (approx. 6 Euros) we ride along with people from the villages and their things , namely large baskets containing chickens,  to Arusha. 6 hours of rough ride and we’re glad to walk the few blocks to the Masai cafe where we will stay.
Lots going on here: Gary Wornell from Finland is wrapping up a printmaking workshop in the gallery. Gary is a renowned photographer and printmaker with a stunning portfolio of images and ceramics (his first artistic focus). He is working with Seppo Hallavainio to develop printing techniques on handmade paper. The result are images from the RockArt sites transported onto beautifully textured paper. Examples are now hanging on the walls that I plastered with the clay from Kondoa before we moved to the village.


Yesterday I helped host a fun “Face to Face with Gary Wornell” event that drew in many people for a free portrait session. I was not just impressed by the quality of the images but also by the individual attention Gary paid to each person that he photographed. Even a short five minute session became a personal session where he had the ability to engage with the people and bring out relaxed and beautiful pictures. See Gary’s blog for some samples.
It is a true professional who can keep the attention and stay focused for hours. And after all the photos are shot there’s editing and choosing and printing.  Our small team was able to support the work but the product was all his and required his personal touch.
Now the focus is switching and preparations are underway for Jane Goodalls arrival in town. The local “Roots and shoots initiative” ‘s office is fully engaged in the scheduling and setting up for her brief visit. Thanks to the connection between the Rock Art Conservation Centre and the Roots and Shoots team we will meet “Dr. Jane” here at the exhibition space at the Masai Cafe. Truly a rare opportunity to meet someone with such experience.

, , ,

Carry water

 

Everyday actions are learned as we grow up, by observation, copying, failure, trying again and getting better little by little. Depending on our home place and culture of origin we learn very different skills: it may be using certain tools in the garden or on the farm, techniques for handwashing clothes, cleaning house even how to do shopping for food.
When, as an adult, you switch home place for a while and immerse yourself in a different culture its time to adapt and re-learn some things. This can be both challenging and very much fun.
A example is haggling over prices. In North America and Europe we are used to walking into a store or market and buying things at a fixed price. Here in Tanzania (and many other places of course)there are situations with fixed prices , such as supermarkets and larger stores, but in many places you have to negotiate for a good price. As visitors we first are given what we call “mzungu” prices: very much inflated and nothing a local would ever consider paying. So we haggle back and forth and sometimes leave without the item, otherwise having arrived at an agreeable price for both parties.
More recently I’ve been practicing carrying things on my head. Here we see young girls transporting buckets or sizeable bundles on their heads gracefully and without touching them with their hands.

starting young

I asked Saum to help me learn and she showed me  to roll up a kanga and place it on my head which cushions and supports the bucket. The weight immediately settles the head and spine into a straight (strong) line. A little steadying by one arm holding the edge of the bucket helps me keep it there and prevents sudden movements. I have to learn to walk slowly and evenly, both strong and flexing all the time keeping a balance between the movement of my feet and legs and the slight movements of the water in the bucket.

years of practice

During a work party with my friends of the Twiga group we were carrying buckets of clay, and great excitement stirred, when I picked up a bucket too. It works much better than our way of carrying off centre and one-sided. Do try it sometime! I was most impressed by the older women in the group working tirelessly and powerfully.

Zaruna laying stone

While some of the group were digging and moving the clay, others were building the stone foundation for the small cob cabin that we are building here at Amarula Camp.
And like every good work party we had food together at the end. Happy about what we achieved and feeling good to be working together again.

Soon we will start cobbing- if you’re in Tanzania and looking to learn cob building, please contact me. There’s always room for help.

, , ,

They still call me Matumaini

Driving from Arusha to Mnenia brought back memories from just over a year ago: then I was sitting in the passenger seat of Seppo’s aging Land Rover with growing amazement at the changing landscape while the vehicle negotiated the endless bumpy road-construction stretch  between Arusha and Babati.(see Kijiji means village) I remembered the beauty of the country road of red earth on the other side of Babati, lined by large trees and populated by village people here and there.


The picture is different now: the road to Babati is mostly finished and traffic moves very fast, but now construction is underway on the other side. Just like in Bagamoyo a few years ago,  I witness the massive impact that better roads have on the natural environment and can’t help but wonder how this will change  remote villages like Mnenia, where we’re going.


Returning to a place means seeing it with fresh eyes and I was a little anxious as we approached the village and camp. Would it still hold the magic that I felt there last year?
The season is just a little later this time and everything is green and trees are blooming. All the fields are planted or tilled and ready. The sky looked heavy with rain when we pulled into Amarula Camp,the campsite of the Rock Art Project. Daniel, our translator last year, was there and his beaming smile showed his surprise when he saw us. “The women keep asking ‘when will Mma Matumaini  come back?'”, he said. That’s what they call me here; matumaini means hope.
The Camp is looking much more finished: the nice banda with attached kitchen is complete, there are three covered Safari tents, another kitchen, a shower building and a structure for the dry toilet. The grounds are being kept by the staff, and it looks like they’re doing a good job.
We sat around a fire that evening under an almost full moon. And I felt again the peace and the sense of ease that overcomes me when I’m there.
For the next day Daniel arranged for us to meet with the Twiga women around 3 in the afternoon. “After they are finished with their work on the fields”.  Of course- this is a very busy time for them.


I had not seen ‘our’ building with its roof (only a picture), so I was quite excited to find it in good shape and the women proudly in front. They all came to meet us- so many hugs, smiles and greetings- and then we sat down inside.
This was just a visit, a re-connection to see what is possible. We touched on some ideas but it will take more talking and thinking before something can be organized. So we enjoyed some sodas and each other’s company and of course some dancing.
I feel encouraged to go back for a longer time to continue the work in the village. Real soon!

 

Viagra is the most famous ‘love pill’ in the world, but it is not the only option for you. The majority of men who tried both brand and generic pills state that Cialis (the most famous and top-quality generic drug) works better. It is up to you to decide whether you choose brand pills or buy Cialis, but ED patients state that:
Now it is possible to avoid awkward publicity if you buy Cialis online in our reliable web pharmacy. To purchase Cialis online simply place your order, use your credit card to pay for your pills, http://cialis40.com receive your drug per post in a decent package and start your way to perfect men’s health!