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Monday, January 22, 2007

The News From Dar

Every morning we at T-MARC get about 10 newspapers – four of which are in English.

Up until recently I almost never read the newspaper here. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. It’s just that I couldn’t figure out how to get it delivered to my house. (There is no formal delivery service or hotline number you can dial). You have to know someone who knows someone who independently delivers newspapers in your neighborhood and it turns out that I don’t know someone who knows someone who delivers in my neighborhood).

Besides, I get the most important local news from my household staff anyway. They keep me apprised of exciting tidbits like when the brownouts are going to become more frequent (because the water was is low at the reservoir or any other number of reasons) and why we waited two hours for the ferry to cross to South Beach (because it had an engine fire and was stuck in the middle of the channel for 4 hours). And for the international stuff I read the New York Times online every day and listen to BBC Africa every morning.

Nevertheless, I live here in Dar and see the value of keeping apprised of local happenings. Despite numerous requests join the office distribution list for the newspapers, somehow they never made it to me. That is until recently, when in a moment of PMS I complained bitterly during a staff meeting that the administrative staff was not taking adequate care of me, the newspapers being a case in point.

Now, since last week, when I walk into the office in the morning, there are four English language newspapers sitting on my desk. Four. And because I made such a big stink, not only do I have to read them all (or look like I’ve read them) but I need to read them within an hour and then pass them on to the rest of my colleagues on the distribution list.

For a few days this was a burden – that was until I discovered how entertaining the newspapers are here.

Most of the newspapers are a mix of well-reported international news (albeit they just copy Reuters articles) and sometimes funny, sometimes scary local pieces.

This past Thursday the newspapers featured a really thoughtful local piece on the death penalty, a pretty good rap up of the Golden Globes results, and a well-done Reuters article about the resignation of Israel’s military chief.

Also in the news were the following articles:

Witchcraft Accusations

Two women, Milembe Lumanija (28) and Mariam Ally (35), both residents of Isangijo Village, Keseasa Ward in Magu District, Mwanza Regon were on Monday this week arraigned in court.

Before the District Magistrate, the Public Prosecutor, Assistant Inspector of Police Raphael mselle, claimed that the suspects were confronted with two offences: being found with government trophies and being involved in witchcraft.

Reading the charges against Mariam, Inspector Mselle claimed that the suspect was caught on January 11th at Isangijo Village in possession of a lion’s claw worth Tsh 450,000 contrary to the law. She was also found with instruments signaling that she deals in witchcraft.

Reading the charges against Milembe, Msella told the Magristrate-in-Charge of Magu Urban Primary Court, John Methusela (working on behalf of the District Magistrate who was on leave) that the suspect was caught in possession of a lion’s skin (hide) worth Tsh. 450,000; four hartebeest’s skins worth Tsh. 150,000 and a hyena’s skin worth Tsh. 200,000 on Janurary 11th at 1:00 p.m. at Isangijo Village.

Msella claimed further that Milembe was charged for another offence of being involved in witchcraft after she was found with a divining board, ankle bells and a calabash, contrary to legislation.

Both accused were not required to answer anything as the magistrate had no power to hear such charges legally. They were returned to remand prison until January 29th when their case will be mentioned again.

Kids – How to Bring Them Up?
By Wendo Dickson

It has been observed that a decline in ethics has added to parents and guardians’ inability to discipline their children these days, thus worsening the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Dodoma Deputy Mayor, Jafari Mwanyemba, put this forward on Monday when he opened a seminar on AIDS for suburban leaders and others, in Dodoma.

Mwanyemba said that the AIDS problem has been increased by parents and guardians failing to tell their children off when these run into danger and letting them go on with it, scared they will commit suicide if punished.

He himself admitted that he has been unable to tell his daughter off for wearing dresses of a kind contrary to Tanzanian ethics, “Many times have I seen my daughter wearing attire foreign to our morals, but I daren’t rebuke her or get angry in case she kills herself,” said the Deputy Mayor.

Mwanyemba advised parents to find alternatives for warning their children to distance themselves from AIDS and temptation, like discussing things in a friendly way.


Kenyan’s Celebrate as Obama Eyes White House

Kenyans rejoiced yesterday after Barack Obama plunged into the US presidential race, saying if the youthful senator for Illinois wins the White House he will not forget his African roots.

Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and white American mother, was greeted like a long-lost son in August when he visited his ancestral village in the remote western Kenya. His vow on Tuesday to “change our politics” with a campaign that could make him the first black president in U.S. history was greeted with cheers of joy and pride on the streets of the capital Nairobi.

“Obama can win,” Giddings Ochanda, a trainee medical technician, told this reporter.

“He has experienced a hard life as an African growing up in the United States, and that experience will make him a good leader for everyone. It will be good for Kenya-U.S. relations.”

Others were overjoyed that someone they saw as a “fellow” African could aspire to the world’s top job.

“If an African can make it to the White House, it will show Africans anywhere can make it,” said office worker Moreen Chirchir. “It will show we can make it.”

When the 45-year-old Obama visited Kenya last year, he was welcomed with a carnival atmosphere and cheering crowds thronging his motorcade.

Despite his efforts to play down local expectations during that trip that his role as a U.S. senator would have an immediate impact in Kenya, many still revered him as one of their own who had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Obama’s father grew up herding goats before studying in America and then returning to Kenya to become a noted economist.

“He has the people at heart,” said Nairobi teacher Leah Alisa.

“He will have American interests as his priority, and he should, but he will change their foreign policy,” she said.

“He won’t forget Africa.”

And by reading this blog… neither will you!

As an extra special bonus - here is a photo from my birthday party last week. In it you can see a Tanzanian, a Dutch woman, a Swedish woman, two Brits, a woman from the Philippines, some lesbians, a gay man, and, of course, the birthday girl. Long live diversity, it is the spice of life!


Blogger Mom101 said...

Hally! I can't stop laughing at those articles.

He himself admitted that he has been unable to tell his daughter off for wearing dresses of a kind contrary to Tanzanian ethics, “Many times have I seen my daughter wearing attire foreign to our morals, but I daren’t rebuke her or get angry in case she kills herself...”

That kills me. I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't laugh but it's an excellent argument for precision in language.

The photo looks awesome. Sounds like a very happy birthday after all, midlife crisis and all. If it's any consolation, you've already entered your 40th year so that milestone is in actuality behind you now. Next year will be a snap. xo

5:47 AM  
Anonymous becky said...

I will remember to have sensitive discussions in a friendly way so my kids won't commit suicide when I rebuke them! that was a gem of an article.

and your party looks like a lot of fun!

7:03 AM  

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