Daily Archives: March 20, 2015


Many of you will have witnessed some sort of eclipse of the sun today. Sadly no such event occurred here in Tanzania where the sun remained bright and full, whilst baking down upon us. 

The moon was I assume somewhere up there in the blue, near to but not over the shining sun.

I have been lucky enough to witness a total eclipse back in 1999 whilst on holiday in Brittany. We made the long trip up to Cherbourg in Normandy to watch the eclipse together with many who had sailed across the sea from Britain, including my parents.


It was a cloudy day and the cloud was seemingly impenetrable but as totally approached the world got suddenly dark, as if it were night. The lights in the harbour came on and the seagulls screeched. Then in the dark the clouds parted, just enough to give us a fleeting glimpse (no photo). Totality lasted but a few minutes and then like someone switching on a light it grew bright (even though most of the sun was still covered).

That was my one and only total eclipse in almost 50 years on this planet. The next visible here in Tanzania will occur on September 1st 2016 (partial).  If I’m still here (as I hope to be) it’s a definite watch!

If you saw the eclipse I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

Life on the Streets

It’s a hard life on the Mwanza streets. A physical life, a life living hand to mouth. The streets of Mwanza are populated by traders. Some sell food, everything from popcorn and peanuts to barbecued beef and bananas. Some sell Tanzanian Maps and Rat Killer. Others repair shoes, others carve and sell stamps. Still others make and sell bangles and other jewelry or pieces of Art work.

All of the above scrapping a living from their wares, day by day, week by week.  We have got to know some of these guys (they are in the main male). Musa who repairs shoes near the Traffic Light is a really nice guy who is just trying to better himself. John is a street seller who makes bracelets. Both have in the past approached us for small loans  (there is no shame in doing so here). They don’t take something for nothing indeed John sold me some bracelets for 8000TZS (about £3.20 the money from which he will use to buy small screw threads with which to connect necklaces. I had no qualms in doing so – I’d much rather give to something positive rather than to a beggar. For me 8000 was really nothing and I wouldn’t do that for anyone. Similarly Musa has asked for some money to repaIr his shoe repair stand. I paid extra for the repairs to my sandals – he charges only 20000TzS (80p) for repairs! I hope I’m not coming across as altruistic or naive, but giving examples of what happens here.

Mwanza Streets (33)

There are of course the beggars and the street children as well as those better off who beg for money – I am less likely to give to those and certainly in smaller quantity (a larger sum would probably be stolen off the weaker ones anyway. The prase “Give Me My Money” is often heard and is particularly grating. This is possibly s mistranslation on their part from Kiswahili into English, but it is not conducive to  charitable giving, especially when associated with Mzungu!

Give me folk like Musa and John any day!