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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

 

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.

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.

Usambara Mountains
changing landscape
roadside offerings

Nov 22
Hot pink and blue are the roadside colors of Tanzania. They represent  three large cellular providers Vodacom, TIGO,  and Zain. The presence of their advertising shows up on tiny roadside stores to large block buildings painted in these colors that everyone knows.
The busride from Dar to Arusha takes 9 hours on “kilimanjaro express”. The landscape changes from the coastal flat land to red earth from which people make bricks, past vast areas of sisal plantation leaving the Usambara Mountains to the East. Looking West and North the view is wide open, small hills dotting the landscape.
We only stopped once for a 15 min food break at Kerogwe – a rest stop with restaurant, toilets and vendors selling fruit and newspapers.
Eventually towering clouds in front of us : Kilimanjaro is hiding. We drop passengers in Moshi and carry on to Arusha, another 70 km, now through green areas with rivers, small gorges and the everpresent mountains.  Mount Mehru to the West is visible – it anchors Arusha into place.
Seppo picked me up and we drove to his studio and gallery adjoining the Masai Cafe that his wife Julia runs. On display in the gallery are masks from different areas (not just Tanzania) and some prints of rock art on handmade paper by Seppo. The Rock Art is of course why this next project is happening- so I take this first impression as an invitation to awaken my curiosity.
Arusha is busy- and yesterday (Sunday) many churches held large celebrations for confirmation. The sound of their music and amplified voices reached everywhere.
Evening came with a full moon in the sky- first full moon in Africa this time. We went to dinner at a Lebanese restaurant. Yes this is truly a tourist town: you can eat greek, italian,lebanese,  ethiopian and probably a few other flavors. “too many mzungus” sais Julia, although she knows that this is what brings money to town, but also makes everything more expensive.
Today a little internet session and then off to Kondoa- another 4 hours in the Jeep. Away from the fancy food and busy streets.

Elke in the foundation trench

Before we start looking at the next location I want to just tell a little more about the Baobab site.
The builders went to work and quickly built the earthbag foundation. We topped it with a gradebeam to strengthen the structure and  provide good base for the blocks. Making a level form is easier said than done because the boards that are rented are not straight at all. So we did our best.

foundation done

By the end of Friday it’s all done and the lead builder Mohamed , Caito and I went around and marked doors, windows and special features into the fresh concrete. Hopefully this will reduce errors when they look at the plan. When I return in a month the site will be transformed and I expect to see the walls up and perhaps even the top floor slab poured.
A lesson for me: Thinking about saving money I thought using rubble would be better than good gravel. Turns out that rubble is hard to get, involves more transport and costs almost as much! So ask questions before making assumptions- and understand that what may be waste elsewhere is not necessarily seen that way here.

planting with Sally

Sally an I spent a couple of late afternoons last week planting the shrubs and trees she brought to the farm. David and Gabriel worked with us as we chose good spots for each. In a few years the garden will be tall and shady with all the beautiful trees.

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