Kristen Hofgaard [e-mail: - phone: (+45)40976317 - web: k82.dk

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Tanzania diary

17. December 2005 - 14. March 2006

14/03/2006 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Kwaheri Tanzania! (Last note)

The worm people

Ok, now we are getting close. Again and again one of us is saying "Its crazy...". It is just so strange to shift like this. Grabbing an airplane and of you go to a total different world. Since we landed in Kenya's capital and crossed the border to Tanzania three month ago, so many things has changed in our heads - at least in mine for sure. I have made many similarities to my stay in India last year, but Tanzania has bin very different. After India I had got enough of unfairness and disrespect. All the time to be looked at like a bag of money. Of course this has bin the similar here, but I didnt feel the disrespect. Today at the marked I think I noticed a clear difference from India. I was watching Bue having a bargaining with a guy about a shirt. They both looked pretty mean and serious, but when the deal was finished (and Bue got his price) they were happy. They did the handshakes and were both satisfied. This is typical. This is what we have experienced all the way. There is business and there is friends. People dont like to make enemies like it happened too much in India, where just taking a cap could be a nightmare.


Funny things

In the beginning everything was new. The total stuffed daladala-taxi's where you can sit for a long time with a big mamma half sitting on your lap. Often someone is also bringing a chicken on the trip. The best way to keep them fresh. Sometimes you see a guy walking around with 5 living chickens in each hand. Yea the transportation of animals can sound crazy with all our debate about ill-treatment of animals, but here it just feels normal after some time. Once I saw a guy riding a bicycle with a big fat pig on the saddle - alive of course! He he - I liked that one!
Also it has bin interesting to get an impression of the political picture in Tanzania. Not that Im very much into the details, but just seeing the ruling parti CCM's posters everywhere is a frightening sight. The just elected president Mr. Kikwetes election poster is in every single village and countryside areas. The parti has has all the power. The few people who has knowledge about alternatives doesnt go to vote because their vote wont have any chance - they say...

The language - swahili

I have really enjoyed learning Swahili which I got told is becoming one of the ten most used languages in the world because it is being used to connect all the tribes in East Africa who is all having their own languages.
When we left Denmark I knew maybe 3 words in kiswahili but today I can even make a very simple conversation with people on the street. People really gets so happy when you can speak a bit. Being able to use the most common greetings is so important for the first encounters. We have had classes with Elias in Ifakara and it has bin a great help, but on the other hand being around Elias and also Bue, whos swahili is pretty good, who was doing many of the conversations. I enjoyed when I went on my own speaking to people who I had no chance to communicate with without my (poor) swahili.

Bue and I

Bue and I have had a great time with eachother during these three month. Being close for such a period can be very hard. Even on the trip we did together to New Zealand in 2003 we had to make a break from eachother for some weeks. On this trip we have managed even without any fights or bad vibrations - at least not worse than we could solve it in a few hours (food often helps..)
It has bin great to see my old childhood friend working on this project. Bue really have a great quality to look at an assignment or challenge with objective eyes abd to draw a logical and reasonable conclusion. The work he did with Elias on the constitution and now the application to Danida and the whole role as being educator of the ICG-board filling out the roles according to the constitution wa impressive though this was the first time for him to do such a job.

Looking back

Looking back I think we got so much out of this trip. Visiting the childcare center in Usa River gave us many ideas about how a place like this should be run - good and bad things. Visiting John Kessy and WOY in Moshi gave us many things to think about - inspiration that we could give further to Elias and ICG's plan about doing HIV education.
In Dar es Salaam when we got kidnapped and robbed on my birthday we got a real life lesson. Be alert, focused and stay come when the fire burns.
Ifakara gave us many things. The opportunity to get close to a local society by being there for more than just the passing by glance has ment so much. The old friends of Henning and Bente and my parents was just like our friends and we felt at home. The work with ICG made a reason for being there and to know people in a closer way.

Ive learned

I think that I got a lot of faith in myself and what I can do. This country is just so full of things that you feel like working on and to do in a new way. My knowledge about this - writing homepages has bin so attractive to people here. Just to know how to write a word-document can be a difficult task.
My plans about my future home has bin growing with a lot of inspiration from here. My believe in how I can do it economical possible to live in my car has got so much stronger - many ideas!

Ok I have to go. Our plain is leaving in four and a half hour. Thanks for following stories hope youll continue visiting, I got many plans for this site also... Also I'll update with pictures that I didnt have time for putting up from here.
Kwaheri Tanzania!


How did the horse end up there???

07/03/2006 - Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Getting to the end

Kwaheri Ifakara

Leaving Ifakara was so strange for us. Our old hometown got our hometown again. Packing the room was sad after having made al kinds of installations to make it a nice place. We had a nice goodbye evening with the ICG-members. We got fine words and grateful comments and we also gave them thanks and good luck. Josefina from IWWA gave us each a vikoy (a weaved blanket). Bue and I prepared shawarma for the whole crowd. I think the white yoghurt dressing had a bit to much garlic and chili for them but Bue and I have missed our "national dish" so we enjoyed it so much. Elias really liked it - our black mzungu friend. The time with Elias has bin amazing. I've never felt so close and equal to someone with such a cultural different background as with Elias. We have developed our own humor. We have talked serious things about political problems, parenting and women. Elias has a different way of thinking compared to many of his fellow Tanzanians. His relation to christianity sounds similar to the danish way of thinking - its fine when there is time for it. Elias wants to make differences and he has many ideas, but it is also visible how difficult it is to go against ones traditions.
We left early in the morning. Adolfine, Elias and Husein was waving behind the bus. We were on road again!

Morogoro - Mountain climbing and visiting Martina and Beno

In Morogoro we were visiting Martina and Beno. Martina was an old student of Henning and Bente (Bue's parents). They were so nice to us. We had dinner at their place and we shared local beers in the evening(s). Bue and I took a few walks in the nearby mountain. We could walk from our hotel (Sofia Hotel) in the town center. The first day we just made it to a good river (for swimming), but a guy we met on the way started telling us nasty lies to make us pay him for protecting us. We got rid of him, but the following day when we went on a longer trip to the Lupanga peak (2150 m), we was escorted by a rasta-guy and his dog. That trip was great! Though the view from the top was very bad because of trees and clouds, but the way up was through tropical jungle and lots of the way was climbing with arms and legs - I like!


Martina and Beno in their evening dress.



Mr. Rastaman on Lupanga peak

Dar es Salaam - Edson and capital night life

The 3. we went on to Dar Es Salaam. We met with Edson whom we met last time we were there also. Elias was once taking care of the two brothers of the dentist Doctor Marele. Edson is 15, but he was with us in town and we played pool and had cheese-pizza. At the indian pool- and internet place we met guy from Denmark. It was so strange speaking danish again. Yes, Bue and I are speaking danish together but it is, for some reason, different to speak to someone else. Bue was tired, Edson went home and I went for a beer with the danish guy and some of his backpacker-friends from the states. Suddenly we ended up some place far away from our area with a taxi. There was a big casino, but we just went to the attached bar. I already enjoyed the evenings chaos - without the company of these guys I would never had ended such a place. What happened next was even more surprising. We got company at our table by several young women who was more than normally interested in our white skin-color. We were ended up in the middle of the place where these girls were doing their business every evening. The big city can really show you new things from time to time. The poor women seemed to have found an easy way to help their living by selling themselves in this humiliating way. I got a bit sad by this, but I found it very interesting to see the reality of these peoples life's. I had a fine conversation with a girl who was doing the job to support her two sisters going to school after their parents died.


Bagamoyo - relaxing

Our plan about going to Mafia island got skipped when we were in Dar. The few days we had and the expensive ferry made us change our decision. We took a look at the map and chose Bagamoyo a bit north of Dar es Salaam. In the daladala we met a guy who showed us a place to stay cheap outside the town, but walking distance to sea and town. The guesthouse Moyo Moja (One Heart) is a part of a norwegian chilcare project and it wasnt difficult to see the small europian touches to the place. We even have a kitchen!
Bagamoyo is full of artists because of the national art school and other art-schools is located here. There is handcarvings, paintings and music everywhere. Our guesthouse and the ground is decorated with dancing africans and bathing hippoes. People were playing guitar and singing in the local pub. We felt so lucky to find this place and very welcome with the people here.
This is days for relaxing. Reflect on the past months activities and the future planning in Denmark. Swimming in the hot waves. The water is maybe 25 degrees! Enjoying african cultural music (like the one Im listening to in the background right now), updating diary and making everything clear for what we need to do in Dar before our departure the 14th.


Drawings on the wall of our guesthouse.

20/02/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania

Weekend-trips and further plans...

The last days are going fast. Yes, we really feel like our time left is limited. Today we have 22 days before we leave the surface of Africa. Our plan is to leave Ifakara in this week so we need to finish everything before and we do have some things so we feel a bit busy.

Idete on bicycle

Thursday Elias, Lucas, Bue and I went on our bicycles to Idete - a small town about 22 km from Ifakara. We were visiting a school for mentally handicapped children which is run by Lucas who's also ICG-members (he is also Adolfine's brother). I was in Idete with Elias a few weeks ago, but we needed some more material for the Kilangoro-dvd. It was very interesting to follow the class with Lucas as teacher for the ten kids. The classroom is lent by the public primary school because the room was trashed anyway. Maybe you've seen the pictures I took last time, this classroom is really in bad shape. The sealing is almost falling down and the furniture's is trashed from the other classes. The thing is that the government doesn't support Lucas' project so he is very depended on donations. His plan is to build a new house with classrooms for the children.


The classroom in Idete.

Mahenge

For the weekend Elias, Bue and I left for Mahenge a small village in the mountains about 60 km from Ifakara. We left the bicycles and used the public transport. A 10 person Land Rover can in this country contain 15 people. It need a little corruption, a dangerous trip and a very uncomfortable seat, but then its easy even to invite another passenger. These guys are crazy to get some money.
Well, we made it to Mahenge, which is the town many people have talked about because of its very temperate climate. German missionaries ones made Mahenge as their head quater of the area because of the low temperatures. And it was nice - very nice. Baridi saana (Around 25 degrees).


Click the picture to see more pics from Mahenge.

Saturday, we hoped to find a waterfall or some place we could take a swim, but people told us that this wasn't possible in Mahenge. We needed to go 30 km, but this wasn't possible because of the nights heavy rain and the dirt roads wouldnt be possible to drive.
In the morning we visited some weavers who's in the IWWA-community. They got taught by Bue's parents and they remembered Bue and Elias as small annoying kids running around, it was pretty funny.
Bue and Elias had got some bad sleep and decided not to join me and Theo whom we met when we arrived the day before, walking up one of the hills to get a view of the area. Theo, around 50, was an old acquaintance of Elias. He didn't speak any english so the trip with him to the top was great for practicing my swahili. We visited several friends of his and also his parents who lived their in the mountain. Mahenge and surroundings was amazing. So green and full of life compared to Ifakara which is situated on a low flat level and is pretty dusty when it hasnt bin raining. There was all kind's of vegetation and we saw monkeys on the way!


Theo on our top - great view!

Plans and Mohammed drawings

Now we are back in Ifakara. We are going to finnish the last video recordings, ICG's homepage, a few visits and then some goodbyes. We are leaving to visit Morogoro town for a couple of days before we plan to go further on to Mafia Island. Maybe. The debate about the Mohammed drawings in the danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has made the situation on the island pretty tense as almost only muslims are living there. The muslim world is in anger about these cartoon-like drawings and the whole world knows about it. The other day when we were playing pool at Blue-Bar the television was going as always. A few guys was watching it. Suddenly it was showing the news about the drawings. It was like being in a movie where you are a suspect and afraid of people recognizing your face. Strange that your nationality has to scare you because of what a newspaper in your country has decided to print...

I took a picture of a page in a Tanzanian newspaper about the drawings. Download the picture HERE

20/02/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania

ICG opening

Saturday the 11. february 2006. The Ifakara Community Group (ICG) had its big opening party. ICG with Elias as chairperson is going to be in partnership with Kilangoro and the projects which is going on in Ifakara. The opening celebration was Bue's and my idea, but ICG did all the arrangement themselves. We were very exited to see the group working together and see what would happen on this day. Elias had given us some idea about it and also we participated in few things but what happened on this day was surprising, good and "tanzanian". Local bands were collected, a group of HIV effected people and blue T-shirts with ICG's text was ready for the day. During the day there were 2-300 people gathered by the football ground and there was speeches and songs about HIV. People were listening and I really think a lot of people got something out of this day. I took video and pictures and enjoyed the local music and dance. A day of happiness and openness about the dangerous subject "aids" which really needs attention in this area.



10/02/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania (Written 9/2-2006 in my notebook)

A day in Ifakara

7.00 am

I woke up around 7. Slept a little more. Bue left for swahili-class at around 9.20. Everyday we switch being the one to have the class, it makes it a little more concentrated and it pleases our different levels.
I packed my bag as I use to with everything that I could need during the day (camera's, minidisc, phrasebook, notebooks, dictionary and swimming suit).

The woman who used to sell chapati's just outside the guesthouse didnt have maharage (beans) today. I really enjoy the bean-soup they make here so I went across the street, just next to the postoffice and the old rice mill. This is where my chapati na maharage mamma situated. She's sitting on a small stool on the bare ground. She has a few charcoal stows making two chapaties at the time.
We are inside the bamboo hut which I guess is only there for the purpose of making shade. I sit by the table, washes my hands when she gives me my order. We are 6 around the small table. The maximum capacity of the place, I guess... A guy is greeting me: "Mambo vipi?". A young guy - I know the answer: "Poa!".

The maharage, the two chapaties and my cup of sugar chai is 400 shillings.

I go to Benignes, a school and catholic center, to join Bue and Elias who's finishing the class. I'm doing my homework. We check the schedule for today. It says filming at IWWA-shop. Elias calls the weaver's that we are coming.


Bue and Elias is having Swahili-class.

A short e-mail check before we go. They provide internet at the center. 'Username', 'password'... waiting ... biip.. click.. The power is gone. Ok - no e-mail-check today...

11.15 am

At the IWWA-shop we did interviews with three of members of the association of women weavers who is supported by Kilangoro. Bue asked the questions, Elias was translating and I did the video-recording. We spend almost three hours there and I think we got some good material.


The weavers has their production behind the shop.

1.55 pm

We went for a quick lunch at the Benignes canteen and then I left with Elias' friend and ICG-member Husein who has got the job putting up the advertisement for the ICG-opening party and concert on saturday. I wanted to get some photo's og the happening. I also took the chance shooting a few street life pics. It's nice to have an excuse because people often don't like to be photographed. Several people had ideas that I was gonna make money with their photo. Some women has got offended with the words: "Why do you take my picture?! I'm married!"...

Well, I left the young activists when the banner was waving in the wind above the main-street - a beautiful sight!


Husein and his friends are putting up the ICG banner.



...and here it is!

3.00 pm

At 3 o'clock I had an appointment with the 14 year old Steven who is my chosen-one for the film I'm doing. The aim of this film is to show ordinary peoples life's in the village. I want three characters to show the viewers around. Already I've had a great day with the english teacher William. Now I want the perspective from a boy and later I'll a young mans. (Actually I already did some recording with Elias, but we aren't finished yet.)

This meeting with Steven was just a getting-closer meeting. It takes a bit of time to be able to wake up the charm in this boy. Children have a lot of respect for elders (I'm among them..) and being a wazungo doen't help very much either on making the kid relax. I want Steven to talk to me (while I'm filming) as if I was at his age. He shouldnt limit himself.
Today was great! He found an old guitar with homemade strings from bike break cables!. I enjoyed that guitar very much and played for Steven and his sister. They were dancing. After 7 weeks without my guitar this was so relieving! Steven play'd a bit also. He'd learned it by himself watching television and reading books - bright boy!

We agreed to meet on monday for the filming. Hopefully I can go with him to school, but he seems not to like it too much.. we'll see.

5.10 pm

I went to the pool and met Bue there. I think the temperature was around 37 degrees today so the pool was most needed.

6.05 pm

Bue and I leaves the pool at 6.05. We are riding Elias' bicycles for all the time we are here. He himself has borrowed a third one for himself.

We are going to Mamma Otto. This bike ride is always so amusing. Going along clay huts and dirty children who seemes just as surprised to see us as from the beginning though we're going this way every day. Sometimes they run after us, sometimes a kid starts to cry by the sight of us.

Wazungoooo!!!

6.17 pm

We are arriving at Mamma Otto's place. "Karibu!" - "Asante" - "Habari za leo?" - "mzuri" - "Shikamo" - "Marahaba". We always feel so welcome at Adolfines place. Today she has prepared spaghetti! Usually we would get rice, but I guess she wants to please us a little extra today. He he - nice!

Elias and his old english teacher William (yes, the same guy I was filming) also came and got taken care of by our mamma.

7.50 pm

In the evening Elias, William, Bue and I was watching the first tape of the recordings I did with William. There is a tv at the guesthouse "lobby". William was so amused to see himself and I must say that I'm also very satisfied as well. I'm sure there will be a great movie out of this.

0.20 am

Now. Lying inside my mosquitonet house in my too short bed, listening to Louis Armstrong from my mp3 harddisc. Bue is reading some article. It's late. Goodnight.

29/01/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania

The practical purpose of our visit


Elias and Bue discussing the ICG constitution.

I have to admit that when we left Denmark I didnt have a very clear picture of what we was gonna do here in Tanzania. After listening to Bue's explanations to people on the way telling about the childcare center (IYCCC) and about Kilangoro and after meeting Elias and hearing his version of the projects here in Ifakara, I now feel that I know what we are doing. A nice feeling which could be the least for most people before they go into a project, but I think it was difficult to get a clear picture from Bue earlier and in general to know how things would be since I had'nt bin in the country since I was 6 years old.
Now I know what we are doing and I'll here explain my version of our practical reason and purpose of being here in Tanzania.

Kilangoro

We are here in the name of a small Danish organization with around 50 members started in 2003 mostly by people who were doing voluntary work under a bigger organization several years ago. This is also what Bue's parents did. They were teaching at a weaving school here in Ifakara.
Kilangoro is a group of people who are interested in developing projects in the specific region Morogoro. Ifakara is where most members have contacts and most of the projects is located.
The idea is to have a network of people who can help in what they are able to do, with directly contact to the people in need - no money is used for administration. Most of the donations which is being done at the moment is from private people who is helping some specific things. F.ex. there was a guy who supplied a sawblade for the school of handcraft's here in the town.

What are we doing?

A boy at the school for handicapped children in Idete.


23/01/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania

Living in Ifakara


The road outside Ifakara on the way to the Kilombero-river.

Three weeks has almost passed here in Ifakara. Elias is our guide, friend, teacher and tonight also our cook. We are normally going to Adolfine to eat, but Elias feel like cooking and why not give him the chance.
We are staying at Goa Guesthouse III owned by an Indian guy who owns 4 guesthouses in the town. We have a selfcontained bathroom/toilet but no water so we've made our own alternative shower using empty water-bottles with holes in the bottom.


Our shower-solution. We fill up the bottle and mount it on the installation. We refill it from the bucket on the floor. A shower is around 4-5 1½ l bottles.

You like our bathroom? See a strange 10 second videoclip HERE.Avi

Powercuts

During the last two days we didnt have any power and it was necessary for the two danes also to make our own fan-system to cool down in alternative to the dead fan in the room (See 10 second videoclip HERE! Avi). I guess we have around 2 powercuts a day. Sometimes just for a few minutes and last time for more than 40 hours. I got the story from another indian guy who has the pub next to Goa III 'Blue Pub'. He told me that when the norwegian company who build the power station which provides Ifakara and other areas with power had too much trust in the smaller company who was putting up the poles for the power-cables - they didnt use any kind of cement for the foundation which has resulted in these poles to constantly fall.

Visits in the local areas

One day we were visiting Emelia. She was working with Adolfine in the house where we were 18 years ago. I think she and Adolfine also had a good friendship with Bue's parents Henning and Bente. I remember Emelia from that time. I was only 6, but I liked her and I think she liked me too. It was so funny to see her again. She remembered my parents and my sister and she got happy for some news.

Emelia.

We have bin visiting different people who in different way are being supported privately by people in Denmark. I like going these places. Elias is with us all the time showing us the way and helping us as our interpreter. Often the way there are on small paths between clay houses and wazungoooo-screaming kids who are sitting under the mango trees waiting for the sweets to fall down.

The swimmingpool

The temperature here is very stabile lying around 30-32 degrees day and night. For a Dane this is not easy. I couldnt live in such heat. I dont like how it makes you in this lazy or slow tempo, but we found a solution! A swimmingpool by a swiss science center connected to the Sct. Francis hospital. A nice place to cool down. We are going there pretty often and we've started to teach Elias to swim. Not many people down here knows to swim and I think he likes it.

10/01/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania (uploaded 11/01/2006)

Ifakara - The legend is real!

Hi. No more crazy dark city-stories. Now we are in the countryside. It is such a pleasure for me to be back here in Ifakara! From I was here last time, 18 years has passed. I turned my 6th year when my family and was visiting Bue's family who was living here two and a half year, teaching at the weaving-school. In all this time the village and the things that happened in that month we spend here, has almost become a legend in my head. I mostly remembered things from pictures and from what my parents have told me. I have heard the name Adolfine so many times. She was making the food in the house where we were staying at that time.
Yesterday we went to Adolfine, or Mamma Otto as she's called traditionally after her oldest sun Otto. It was amazing to meet this woman. She looked very healthy and in peace with her self. She cooked a nice meal. First I thought she would have forgotten me but she had'nt. She asked many curios questions about our families. Suddenly found a very old looking photo-album with pics from her visit in Denmark.
Bue's parents gave the two house-mates Adolfine and Emelia the choice either a visit to Denmark or the money-value of such a trip. Emelia, who we have'nt met yet, choose the money while Adolfine choose the trip. I think this is pretty interesting. Choosing the trip shows some big curiosity I think. It would be interesting to ask them about this decision, but lets see, I'll have to learn some swahili first.


Adolfine aka Mamma Otto

Elias is our host here in Ifakara. He is one of Bue's old friends from that time in the 80'ies, but they have had contact since. Elias is engaged in many things and have a big heart for the orphans and street-children here in Ifakara and he is helpful to the people who needs his help. When we met this morning for our swahili-lesson he had bin up most of the night to help a neighbor who's child was suffering of malaria.
Elias is the one we are gonna work with here in the town. I will write more about this another day. We are going to Adolfine for dinner now. Ciao!


Elias and Bue in our room. Adolfine's son Otto is passing bye.

08/01/2006 - Ifakara, Tanzania (title edited 11/01/2006)

Robbers or rubber-rope?
- Kidnapped and robbed by Kelvin and friends.

Ok, I'm gonna tell what happened from exactly a half an hour before I made the last update 'Hebiya mwakampya' on my birthday. As we do all the time, we met a very nice guy, Kelvin, who wanted to spend some time with some wazungo's (like they all will...). Bue and I had already talked about finding some live music to celebrate my 24th year, so this was fine because it's nice to have mafrican with you when you go out in the evening (you hear so much nowadays...). Well, we went to the internet (while the sun got down) and I made that upload. Outside we met with Kelvin. He was with a friend and they were both keen on beer and music. They were selling beer just opposite the street in a small shop with the "great" name: 'Darling'. We and some locals were drinking Tusker and smoking beedies which I have brought from Denmark. I really felt like a good evening was gonna come and we spoke about this with big words. After 1-2 beers we got hungry for music and food and went to catch a taxi. Kelvin, his friend, Bue and I. They suggested pork and we liked the idea. As only very very few people in Tanzania, according to Kelvin, is eating pork, because they are all muslim's, it was not possible to get pork so many places, but we had a great time in the taxi finding a place and we felt good that we could get the taxi for for only 1000 which is a very good price for such a ride - we thought...

Well, we went down a small, dark and bumpy road where there was a small restaurant but some guy outside said that there was no more pork. We went a bit further and the street got very dark. The party in the taxi had got even better when the taxidriver admitted that he liked to smoke marijuana. We all had a good time and were laughing when the driver stopped the car and took out one, then two, then three finished-rolled joints! The cabin got full of smoke from the very bad rolled joints. From the open window some guys, friends or whatever, looked into the car and asked to get a drag on the smoke. "Is this marijuana?" one of them said. In the second they heard my happy voice saying "Yes, smoke!", the two men got in the car very angrily. "This is the police! We see that you are smoking marijuana!" they were shouting. Our "friend" who had bin sitting on the front seat ran away. One "policeman" took his seat and the other sat on Bue on the right backseat. I sat in the middle with Kelvin on my left (blocking the door). The driver slowly started to drive. The two policemen were very angry shouting about the president of Malawi who had bin visiting this area and that they because of this were trying to clean up the streets from people like us who were smoking marijuana! "Why do you come here and smoke marijuana!?! Eight years in prison is the penalty for smoking marijuana in this country!!!".

Compared to the crazy situation, Bue and I acted very calm. We asked to see their identification (it looked pretty homemade to me), and told them that we were fine with goin to the station. They were trying to threaten us with the penalty and it was so obvious that they were making a show. They were not real policemen - it was all a setup. Kelvin were acting terrible sitting beside me saying "oh no, oh no....".

I felt the situation absurd and was almost gonna tell them how stupid it was. Bue saw the situation a little more cool - "We have to act in this" he said. These guys only wanted money and the question was more about how much we would loose and how much they would do to get what they wanted. Bue gave me a hint and we started to act hysterical to make them think that we were desperate to avoid the penalty they were talking about. We said "Thank you for helping us". They told us to search every pocket and give them every single bill to for letting us go.

Earlier we had told Kelvin that we were not like the other tourists spending money on safari's and stuff like that because we simply don't have the money. We had also told him that we would'nt pay for his entree at the concert later on. This was probably lucky because they believed us in the end that we did'nt have the kind of money that they expected. Anyway, they was'nt satisfied with the about of 170 dollar that I had as rescue in my bag, so they forced me to use my credit-card in an ATM. Bue stayed in the car with the three guys while I walked out to the machine with one of the so called policeofficers. There was a guy outside who could be a guard (there is normally guards outside all banks) and I asked him to look at the batch of my companion, but the guard either did'nt dare to interfere or he did'nt know how a real police-batch looks like. My kidnapper got angry about this interruption and it was clear that he was happy that he did'n got disclosed. "Stop, this! You talk to much!!" he said.
The first machine did'nt work and we went to another one. We thought that there would only be ATM's in the light and crowded areas of Dar, but these was't places you could cry for help. This one was a dark street and there was only a few people outside the second bank and I couldnt do anything this time. He wanted me to draw 500 dollar. I tried to tell the "policeman" who was with me that I only had money for the few days I had left and not even enough for my ticket home. I pressed my pin-code wrong two times and showed him the bill every time that the amount was to big. This was'nt the smartest because It said on the reseat that there was a pin-code failure, but it worked anyway. I think this guy was so nervous and he just wanted to get away from the situation. Every time I made some kind of excuse he said "You talk to much!" or "Lets discuss it in the car." I said to him "Listen up, this is a matter about you who wants some money. I know what I have on my account. I have 150 dollar and thats it. I'll get them from the machine and I'll hand them to you and then we go - you leave us here. Okay?". He said "Okay" and it happened so. We went to the car with the money. I told Bue that we could go now. The guys in the car spoke in Swahili. I think the guy I was with believed that we did'nt have more and Bue got free. They drove away.

The area where they left us was very close to out hotel in Kariakoo. We walked home in 5-10 minutes. We were exited like after watching a great movie. We talked about eating mango and how expansive it is to get the pleasure of doing a bungy-jump compared to this exiting evening. We lost a little more than 300 dollar which was nothing compared to loosing life's, camera equipment and other hidden dollars.

I've never liked to get advises from people who's trying scare you. I think there is too much fear in this world for this. We have to have trust in eachother though there is some desperate and crazy people among us. I've got a lesson from real life now and I'm probably gonna be more careful after this, but at least I know why.

Hey! If you know danish you can also take a look at Bue's version of the story HERE

Some VERY EXTRA BONUS for the Danish understanding people: Just after we came back to the hotel, when we were enjoying the mangoes we started the minidisc and recorded the whole story!
Mp3 Listen to the mp3 HERE it takes 66 minutes.

05/01/2006 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (picture added 09/01/2006)

Hebiya mwakampya

Try to pronounce it. Happy new year. Put the pressure on the italic letters.

Just to catch up with the missed days. In Moshi, 80 km from Arusha close to the famous mountain Kilimanjaro, we were meeting John Kessy from the Tanzanian started project White-Orange Youth (WOY) who are doing information-programs about AIDS. It was interesting to see and feel his engagement in these matters.
One day Bue and I also went to Marangu Mtoni where there should be some famous waterfalls. As always some guys wants to be our guide which they say is most necessary. This time we got rid of them and went on our own along the river. We enjoyed our freedom an took many swims in the most beautiful spots.

On the 30th we took the bus to Dar (es Salaam). The temperature and the humidity was rising as we got further down the land and to the sea. We were seeking directly to a small beach-hut on the other side of the bay on the Kigamboni peninsula.
In Denmark we don't have very big waves but lots of sea. Here I enjoy the power of the waves and the nature-forces so much. I'm throwing myself around in these waves which can carry one maybe 20 meters if you catch it right!
On this beach we were celebrating our 'mwakampya' - new year. A great night which started out with no expectations (this is always the key to a good time I think). We were hanging out with these very nice Indian mafia-looking guys who gave us beers and wine the whole evening. We were happy about this while our budget limit is difficult keep below our 15 dollar/day (Per person, this should be possible even in Denmark, I think...).

Today its a special day for me. My girlfriend Marlies took the plane this morning flying to Venezuela and South America where she's gonna travel around for 5 or 6 month! I'm so exited about her trip!!
The day is also a bit special because it is my birthday. I'm turning 24 today! The funny thing is that my dear old friend and travelpartner haven't remembered this fact and I'm not gonna tell him. This is difficult but I have to learn to keep that kind of secrets - it makes it a little more interesting ha ha!


A young guy on the street rapping for his friends. Notice his hat - I love Denmark!

Well, Dar is nice. I like the streetlife and all the funny shops. The greetings and comments about my beard can be a bit exhausting. I think it would be interesting if I could wear a black body for some days and really get into the people. Walking around as wazungo will always make a distance. It's like being a moviestar i guess. It was the same in India where I even had to write a few autographs for people I didn't even know...

Ok, now Bue found out! He heard my conversation with my farther when he congratulated me in the phone. I'm not offended by this little oversight. Bue is not very thoughtful and I think he is a little annoyed by this, but what can he do??? That's the way he is. Is there any harm in forgetting a friends birthday? - No. Actually most of my friends use to forget my birthday... and I think I'm good at forgetting theirs too...

...think Bue's birthday is the 30th of october.

02/01/2006 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (picture added 09/01/2006)

English on trial

Being in a country where education is not easy accessible for everybody there can be some pretty funny conversations arising and my english not improving by this. Here's a few nice lines from nice people:

"You can take maybe ten beers. Me myself I don't like."

After loosing his girlfriend he says: "After finnish the feeling I want to find another she."


From the bus on the way to Dar es Salaam

31/12/2005 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Happy newyear!!!

We are staying in a small hut by the beach. This is where we are gonna celebrate the new year. Please enjoy it! It's not a matter of surviving - Its life!

31/12/2005 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Watching the streetlife in Moshi

I see
A boy with a box on his head, holding his neck to maintain the balance.
A woman cleaning the bushes between the car-lanes. She wears a neon green west and a gaily colored scarf on her head.
A guy with a heavy load on his wheelbarrow. He makes a break to blow his nose.
Kilimanjaro appear above the clouds and the town.
A boy with four soda-boxes on the back of his bicycle.
A clean white-dressed policeofficer stepping inside and old reck of a car.
My friend Bue reading the newspaper.
A sign for the staff - in english - saying that they have no holyday.
Welldressed woman carrying a small red plastic bucket. She meets a boy who gives her something and he leaves.
The table where I just had my breakfast.
Some cool guys walking on the middle of the road greeting someone they know.
A gentleman carrying red colored tyres for a mountainbike.
A rastaguy crossing the street - the same way agin...
Ab older woman with a huge plasticbag on her head touching her stomach as if it has pain.
A man with a bucket of laundry.
A man with a little bag which could contain a trumpet.
A light blue pickup.Some guys are sitting on the edge.
The green flag of the ruling parti waving in the wind. (They are the only parti supported by the government)
A woman covered in black except from a slice around her eyes.
A guy making attention with the sound of some coins in his hands. He wants to sell something.
Some white people buying mango's from a lady on the sidewalk
Two men meeting in a long handshake while exchanging friendly greetings.

This was some notes I wrote down in my notebook the 28th in Moshi while eating my breakfast.

26/12/2005 - Moshi, Tanzania (uploaded 28/12/2005)

Habari za Kristmasi!

Christmas is over us. We know. It is visible with christmas trees and gifts hanging in the trees by the big hotels. SantaClaus from the local Rotary-club was also visiting the children in Usa, and he was even wazungo (european/white) as he IS according to the children. Ha ha!

Bue and I had a great day by the pool by a very expensive hotel Dik-Dik close to Usa River. We did headjumps with and without bathingshorts and drank cold Safari-beer. We were polite to the staff while our veins got influenced with the good alcohol and we were in a good mood when we left the place and met a group of celebrating monkeys.

This is where we spend our afternoon on the 24th!

The christmas-dinner contained zebra-meat at another high-class lodge where we met the three volunteers from the childcare centre. This was my first christmas without my family and the usual christmas-traditions and I found it surprising how I felt like keeping them this time. The traditions really makes a country special and different. So, we danced (half)around the christmas-tree in the hall while all the rich safari guests were learning about our tradition. When we were singing "Saa' det jul igen, saa' det jul igen..." around the house (including the kitchen) we even got some african family with us!!!
We ended up in the town and got home in the early morning-hours and felt to sleep with the singing from the mosque down the street when the Tanzanians started their celebration on the 25th.

When we got up we took a walk around the city. This was an interesting experience while everything was closed and the only people we saw on the streets was children eating icecream and families in their nicest cloth enjoying the day. In a backalley on the sidewalk in piles of rubbish a little group of poor people where singing celebration-songs. It sounded like a hardcore punk-band because of the overloaded amplifier but it was a strong feeling to hear and watch. I recorded some of the music on my mini disc. Listen to the mp3 Mp3 HERE

The Christmas-band in Arusha.

26/12/2005 - Moshi, Tanzania (uploaded 28/12/2005)

Goodbye to Usa River na wa toto

Today we came to Moshi which is about two hours from Arusha. We are gonna visit some doctors who started a project telling young people about AIDS.
It was so nice to visit the childcare center in Usa and I think it was good for the inspiration for the place which is in development in Ifakara. I think there was many things to take with us. It was nice playing with the kids and interesting to see how good they were doing compared to the village-kids and even to danish children in the matter of learning english. Even the small watoto's spoke english because of the influence from the volunteers who is speeking english to them. I hope (and think) that I or we will be returning again some day.

20/12/2005 - Usa River, Tanzania (edited: 28/12/2005)

The first pictures!

We promissed the kids to come and play football again today so I dont have time for writing about the pictures but you can take a look HERE. Very shortly:
We are staying in a guesthouse just beside the children center. Bue wants to get inspiration for his and Elias' project in Ifakara.
Yesterday we were visiting Fabiano who is manufacturing bricks in the small village, Ilboru, outside Arusha and 20 km from Usa. It was very interesting to hear his view of the situation in Africa. We had some of it recorded on MiniDisc.
Haya, go ahead with the pictures!

17/12/2005 - Arusha, Tanzania

Karibu!

First I want to gratulate my dear sister - its her birthday! Hongera!


From the first encounter with the Kenyan people in the airport I've liked the place. The warm wind and the group of taxi drivers, hotel-employees and safari-tourist guides who was "assisting" us around the airport gave me clear flashbacks to India last year, but in a total different way. Of course everybody wants to make business, but there's a huge difference between the way its done. Instead of making the business-agreement turn into a fight like it happened constantly in India, people wants to have fun, to enjoy and they are not making it too far. This is my impression after about two days and of course I have some skills and experience from India to make these situations more comfortable but there's no doubt that this is a warmer place.
Well, we got a taxi to central Nairobi and Marble Arch Hotel which was way above our budget (78$ for a double room) but we were tired and.. bla bla bla.. The streets were full of people crossing the road along the cars. I like this kind of traffic because you really have to be alert compared to Denmark where you like a zombie passes on green without looking and if a car passes the red light - to bad.
Our taxidriver was very nice (only expecting a small tip...) to show us a place to buy bus-tickets for Arusha to where we went the next day. It was a 6 hour bustrip in a very shining little bus. We were the only whites in the bus and on the way crossing the savanna I had my first flash-back to my visit to Tanzania when I was 6. The smell of the black people's sweat is different from ours and in some exotic way not as bad as white sweat.
Well, now we are in Arusha, staying in a lodge in a less touristed area. Last evening when we had a beer on the veranda a young guy makes a notice on my beard which I constantly are getting comments on. Well, we got in a chat with this half Tanzanian and half Ugandan guy and found out that he had met Bue's sister Vibe a month ago and went on a safari together - strange coincident!
Our plan is to go to the orphanage in Usa River close to here tomorrow. Bue have bin there before and we have got an invitation for some Christmas-celebration-thing..
Today we board sim-cards for our mobiles if some of you wants to call us - feel free: +255 787908105 (Bues number is with 4 instead of 5 in the end). My number is also shown on the 'Contact'-tab.