Sunday, March 16, 2014


The internet café in Singida is a happening place on a Sunday afternoon. The boys are outside watching football, English Premier League. It is the sport in Africa and the world. The gathering is rapt. You can see that one Arsenal supporter is wearing his team's colours. Presumably, the heroes on these teams are the African players who do their country proud.

A note on currency is warranted at this point. We started with pounds in Sudan, shifted to birr in Ethiopia and the last two countries use the shilling. Whereas in Kenya, one receives a mere 83 shillings for a greenback, the Tanzanias give you twenty times that amount of their shillings. Here are a few notes on the table adjacent to a Serengeti beer.

Notice the elephant and rhino on these denominations. Julius Nyerere and other Tanzanian luminaries also grace their coins and bills. Tourism has to be the top industry with Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, Ngorogoro, Tangarire, mention a few. Safari hawkers will hustle you anywhere. Alas, in my view, some poorly educated folks survive off the petty scans that are subsidiary to the actual safaris. 

My cursory impression of Tanzania is that it is a country rich in resources with extraordinary potential. The land is lush and one infers that it is self-sufficient in food. Fruit is abundant, especially bananas, mangoes, pineapple. While it has a comparable population to Kenya, about 44 million, it seems to distribute wealth a bit more evenly (though that may not be the case).

We head south from here to Mbeya, our next rest stop before entering Malawi. The road is dirt and it could get filthy with the forecast rains upon us. Our last night in Arusha, most campers, including me, got virtually no sleep due to a biblical downpour that submerged our tents. We took refuge under any sheltered place that was dry. And proceeded to cover 330 kilometres over mostly tarmac roads yesterday and today. 

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