What do you know about Tanzania?
Tanzania is 6,000 miles from the UK and has a fabulously varied culture. Kiswahili is the common language, English is the official language of government, but many people living in the rural areas of Tanzania away from the main cities speak their own tribal language too. Here are some facts about Tanzania that might surprise you and could have been useful for the after dinner quiz on Christmas Day:
Dodoma is the capital city, not Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has borders with eight countries - Kenya (to the northeast) and Mozambique (to the southeast), Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Tanzania is made up of three geographical regions: the islands and coastal plains in the east (where Masasi is), a saucer-shaped plateau in the centre and west (where Nkokoto is), and the highlands in the northeast.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa standing at 5,895m, lies in these north-eastern highlands. Another special geographical feature is the Great Rift Valley, which cuts through the centre of the country.
The school year is coming to an end (the school year in Tanzania is January to December – much more sensible than the UK system!) – and the fourth year students that the Link has sponsored – Julius, Senga, Yona, Dekasi, Bertha, Edina, Irene and Judith - will be leaving Vumilia Secondary School.
Hopefully, some may move on to higher education to complete their A levels. I will contact the sponsors of these eight students to ask whether the sponsorship can be transferred to one of the new year 1 students who will move from Nkokoto Primary School to Vumilia Secondary School in January.
Arriving upstairs at the Country Market on a Thursday morning, the customer finds an almost bewildering array of goods, all home made and locally sourced in one way or another, from individually crafted and unique greeting cards, to colourful toiletry bags; from Seville marmalade to hearty casseroles; from Gloucestershire honey to baskets of hyacinths; from buttery mincepies to home made Christmas cakes and puddings; from delicious loaf cakes to savoury cheese straws.
A month by month breakdown showed that the unusually cold spring months contributed to this increase, whereas the warm dry summer saw numbers drop on the previous year. As we enter the winter months we anticipate that need will rise again especially amongst those facing insecure work, debt and changing benefit payments.
We are in healthy shape in the warehouse following the Harvest period, over 100 schools and churches from the district held celebrations and donated over 7 tonnes of food and toiletries. This will provide much needed stock for the colder months.
Our annual Tesco Food Collection will be held in the Cam and Stroud stores on Thursday 29th November through 1st December, this collection helps us stock up with seasonal items that will be used to make over 400 Christmas Hampers. We'll also be presenting some of the entries to our Mascot competition.
The Stroud based Tesco stores are also currently hosting the Foodbank as one of the options for the blue tokens, if you happen to shop there, do please consider supporting us! Thank You!
Tanzania Today – some aspects of Tanzanian life
Children: In Tanzania, 50% of the population is under 18 years old. The children we met in Nkokoto, Vumilia and Urambo were delightful, but not all children in Tanzania have homes in villages such as these. Estimates are that there are at least 10,000 children living on the streets of the six largest cities alone, many experiencing physical and sexual abuse. Researchers suggest that for many children the situation at home may not be a lot better where there can be a high level of well-concealed domestic abuse, which is the main reason why many children run away from home in the first place. Runaway children frequently get into trouble with the law. The police aren’t particularly well-trained to deal with these children (in fact, many questions have been asked recently about the way Tanzanian police’s authority is misused) and the child protection legislation, good in theory, is not regularly enforced due to a lack of resources. I have to say that on my visits to Nkokoto, I saw no evidence of domestic abuse at all (but then, if it was occurring, it would be hidden from me of course.)
In September we went to the Edgemoor Inn for our postponed “summer” lunch and had an excellent meal! We all liked the varied menu and appreciated that they catered for both small and healthy appetites! In fact we were so impressed that we have decided to book our New Year lunch there for 15th January.