We Met a Warrior Who Had Just Killed a Lion

Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by Amy 2 Comments

Today started with the rain, which sucks, because what in Africa is already slow is now stopped — plus camping in the rain is not really a mood booster. So, waiting for the sun. This morning we were supposed to milk cows and make butter, but because it was the monthly local market day, we did interviews with a bunch of Datoga women and then went to the market. We met a warrior who had just killed a lion, which is celebrity status in this culture. He was covered in jewels and beads! The market is always my favorite place to be — the local markets are only once a month and people travel as far as 300 miles to come and trade their cows or crafts. It is total chaos, butchering cows and goat to have for lunch with honey or corn beer. Woman aren’t allowed to drink the beer but I had corn beer a couple of years ago. It tastes like wet corn, hence the name. We were walking with Chief Momoya through thousands of Datogan’s and I turned around and saw that we had a group following behind us. When we made eye contact, the questions — in Datoga dialect — came flying. Two had never before seen a mzungu (white person) and the others were just staring at Vance’s dred’s. S–t, loosing network connection. More later plus photos.


In a Land Where Bushmen Communicate with Texting…

Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

We successfully uploaded our first video posting but are having some difficulty uploading the second one. Working diligently to find the spot. We have been riding around and went to the tower itself. So, we are going to the local hospital that has its own. I know them well because we brought them AIDS meds the last time here, so hopefully this will work!


Remembering the African Three-Step

Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

I know better, but how soon we forget. I have been here so many times that I know better than to test the African three-step — which is, it takes three times for everything. So, we are playing acclimation and picking up a dropped ball or two. I think that since we are so dedicated to doing this right we actually screwed up on some things, like leaving some important numbers behind, taking for granted the customs… Vance is taking a few steps (three to be exact) to catch up. It is, however, exciting to be here at the time when Obama’s Seal Team 6 killed Osama. The African’s are high-fiving us everywhere. Big thumbs up all the way around. On the other side, Vance saw his first dead body on the side of the road. The first time is always jolting. But the Tanzanian Busara Team has caught up today and now is truly psyched to get to Lake Eyasi. As I am signing off we are leaving Karatu! We are in the African three-step groove!


You Don’t Rule Africa

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by Carol 1 Comment

As I have said time and time again, Africa rules you — you don’t rule Africa. So, we are a day behind but catching up with our schedule. Bringing so much equipment into the bush for such a long time is no easy task. In about an hour we will leave Karatu and head to Lake Eyasi. Once we are there, no looking back! So the daily routine of taking Malarone (malaria pills), learning the side effects, getting used to the climate change, money, and traffic takes a little while. We wanted to make sure all of the equipment works and can be easily accessible. Vance has been meeting all of my friends and the Busara Tanzanian Team. We are psyched; we have all the dialects covered in our team and we are looking forward to working hard. We just took our last showers for ten days (yes, lots of jokes) and the Daily Dung Hut Diaries have begun!


Bandit?

Posted on: March 16th, 2011 by John No Comments

Alrighty! Spent the morning and I mean from 4 am to 10 am debating the word bandit. We are getting ready for our trip so I am ensuring our security in the bush. This is no easy task, every time I go I have to set up two 911’s. Meaning that I have two different escapes, with two different teams, so that if one team sells me out the other team is there and neither knows the other exists.

Currently, there is a drought in Kenya, so this adds to the fun! We are going to be close to the Kenyan border. But the border is a bush border, no patrols, no shacks, no authority just a couple of rocks and an imaginary line. This is always a concern because during a drought, families will migrate to more lush areas. These families are desperate. They see white people (mzungu’s) and think of us as an ATM’s. Since the bandits are not from that area it is difficult to find the culprits.
So, when I was talking to one of the 911’s this morning he mistook the word bandit, for terrorist. This was a huge misunderstanding. With each tribe, the use of the English language and Swahili dialect changes. It is up to you to adapt. And apparently I am not on my useless language game today!

How dare I accuse Tanzania of having terrorists! How dare I, Tanzanians are the best! Not all of Africa is filled with terrorists. We are not Somalia!

Point well taken, maybe I will try to use the word thieves tomorrow. Or better yet, foreign thieves. Or for the sake of time, here’s all my money!


WHAT A TURN OUT!

Posted on: January 29th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

The launching of the Busara Project Website live was fantastic! Of course like any event it had its moments. The typical last minute freak out- rain, the dog escaping and my favorite, the infamous cable.

Cable? What cable?

The mysterious cable, which I think is the modern version of loosing a sock. You put it in the car, it was with all the other equipment, only two people in the car and Voila! No cable!

Now typically in those situations, the “rip the car apart game” begins, the unspoken “you jackass” conversation is in full form, looks only- no words, words are for cheaters. The classic “plug ponder and shrug”, to the “fix it or die” look would have been normal.

But Africa has taught me that living in the moment and enjoying the people that are around you is the most important.  And that’s’ what we did! Seeing people enjoy all the hard work that went into getting this project off the ground too the people that came to understand the importance of these tribes. One of my favorite quotes from the night was a woman from Alabama who announced to all of us in a southern accent “I didn’t know Africa was so fun to learn about.”

I want to thank our close friends, new friends and the invigorating energy of wanting to be part of the Busara Team.  The adrenaline high from finally getting the website up and the genuine interest made the night nothing short of giddy!

Ohhh yeah and the great spread from Ibis Bay and some serious African Hooch didn’t hurt!

You can check out all the Launch Party photos on Facebook and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter. You’re on the journey with us and we welcome your participation, questions and feedback. Oh, and please sign up for our Busara Project newsletter!

photo by kenné



African Time

Posted on: January 14th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

Keeping in mind that in the bush there is no electricity, daylight only. The Chief has a couple of solar panels for his house and for charging his cell phone. His experience with computers is minimal. He usually travels to the closest city, which is about 2 hours away to answer emails and communicate. So now that he has his own computer this should make his life easier. It takes him 3 weeks to get the computer and he has to travel to Arusha, which is about 6 hours by bus to pick it up. He gets it, very excited. We email back and forth and set a time for Skype! How cool is this, get the call at 4am, which is the middle of the day for him with the time difference, that he is ready, call the rest of the Busara Team and get to the office.

We wait, wait, wait, and wait for 4 ½ hours, nothing. The Chief beeps me, which in Africa means to call them back, they all have pre-paid phones and it is cheap to beep. I call back they are trying to figure out the computer.

In Tanzania problem solving is a group sport, lots of talking, discussing and looking. We set another time, once again Busara Team up, psyched! No Luck. Try another day, nothing.

Africans have difficulty with qualifying time even when you are there, meaning when we say meet you at 5, it is understood that you are meeting at 5pm that day (or if you are one of those sunrise nut bags then hopefully you are talking to one of your own). If you say 5 to an African and you don’t qualify it, it could mean anything from 8pm (never 5pm) of that day up to anytime over the next 3 days. You quickly learn to qualify your statement with first asking if it is African time or American time. Now add the time difference into the equation and the conversation can get tricky. So finally we set a time 2pm Tanzanian time, 6 am Key West time. To ensure that the Chief understood I asked him on the phone what time and he kept repeating 10 am, 11 am, Lunchy, 1pm, 2pm Skypee!

Don’t forget to sign up for our Busara Project newsletter, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You’re on the journey with us and we welcome your participation, questions and feedback.


Deplaning

Posted on: January 13th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

One would think coming from Tanzania which smells, really smells, a place of total chaos, no infrastructure, 140 different tribes and completely indescribable, that I would be happy to be home.  But I hated getting off the plane, I used to love it. Home in Key West.  Who in their right mind would feel anything but giddy? A bright, sunny beautiful place filled with eclectic people; artists, writers, drop outs and millionaires. The ultimate relocation zip code, the Southernmost City. The fastest way to describe Key West is it is somewhat of a Noah’s Ark with a disco ball or the Titanic depending on your political views.

The only thing Key West and Tanzania have in common is there’s no winter and both have men in dresses. Although I don’t think the Africans lip synch!

For the last 6 years I have been traveling back and forth for months at a time working with different tribes; Maasai, Datoga and Hadzabe (bushmen), focusing on women in business, tribal tourism and business development. I was mainly in Tanzania, (East Africa below Kenya), but have worked in Nigeria as a tourism specialist! (another story)  Right now and this kind of freaks me out, I am not even excited to see a full bathroom. Anyone that has traveled to third world countries knows bathrooms are a luxury.

Even though mastering the art of Not peeing on your ankles really isn’t a resume builder but it should be, I am sure someone has Longdrop Specialist listed on their skill set. (Longdrop by the way is a wooden shack that is over a dirt hole. The Africans dig about a 10 x 10 x 10 hole, put rotting wood planks across and cover it with dirt moving the access hole and hut accordingly.) An Olympic sport as far as I am concerned. Actually on this trip a new Peace Corp volunteer was found hanging in a Longdrop after an hour of searching for him. Apparently the wood slats had rotted completely leaving him in a Longdrop pool. Well, as the Africans say shit happens.

Don’t forget to sign up for our Busara Project newsletter, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You’re on the journey with us and we welcome your participation, questions and feedback.


Seems Smart

Posted on: January 10th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

How hard could it be since I had spent extensive time there? Well, execution is always an adventure of its own. Our team decided that social media was the avenue to use to be able to distribute as much information as to as many people as possible on real time.

Communication has gotten a lot easier over the last few years thanks to the fact that Tanzania is the technology dumping ground for China. I get a better cell connection in most places Africa then I do in my house! It’s easier to put up a cell tower than lay ground lines so in that respect they are way ahead of us. Most Tz’s have had cell phones for years, especially the ones close to the city. But it is not uncommon to see a Maasai warrior stopping in the crater with his cows to text or take a call. I always wonder what the text says, “what’d you kill today?” or “your 3rd wife is being a bitch” or “get home and start this fire.”

Anyways, we decided that email was good but not great, the Africans hate AOL. love yahoo and are just starting to use gmail. So we thought that a computer with a camera would demonstrate our incredible access and bring people along with us on the journey. How cool would it be to talk to the Chief of Datoga or Maasai in the bush while being here! So we sent a computer.

Don’t forget to sign up for our Busara Project newsletter, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You’re on the journey with us and we welcome your participation, questions and feedback.


Baby Busara

Posted on: January 7th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

While I was there this time, it became apparent to me that the times are changing rapidly. That the cultural well-being of these three tribes that are dear to my heart will be soon be changed forever. Between the challenges of globalization, government regulations and resources becoming scarce these tribes in particular are in danger. Kind of a hallmark statement but that’s why they get the big bucks. The three different tribes Maasai, tall elegant charming warriors, Datoga, shorter reserved stealthy warriors, and Hadzabe (Bushmen), mighty mouse built hunters, are on the verge of cultural and traditional chaos.  Having lived with them and understanding their ways it seemed crushing to me that the world would be not be able to experience the wisdom of their cultures and traditions.

So, the Busara Project was born. A brain child to help capture this moment in time of these particular tribes and share it! These are the oldest in East Africa, ranging for 3000-10,000 years old. Celebrating living treasures! Yippie!

Don’t forget to sign up for our Busara Project newsletter, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You’re on the journey with us and we welcome your participation, questions and feedback.


Video From the Field

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