Daily Archives: November 1, 2015

Sizing Things Up

Maps of the world give a distorted view of things. The countries nearer the poles are enlarged relative to those nearer the equator and so if you look at a map of the earth Tanzania looks much smaller than it is in reality and the UK and USA look much larger than they really are.

UK SizeThere is an interesting website that attempts to rectify this error and I have used it in this blog to show how big Africa and in particular Tanzania are. The website called

http://thetruesize.com/

superimposes a scale sized map of one country onto another.

The maps below were created using this site.

Here is a map of the UK  for reference


UK (Mwanza Kigoma)Having spent 14 hours on the road yesterday traveling from Kigoma to Mwanza it is worth looking at how far it would mean in Britain – the map has been rotated to fit the journey.

On this scale a journey from Mwanza to Kigoma is like traveling from Lincoln to St Austell (in Cornwall) via Brighton.


UK (Mwanza Dar)A trip from Mwanza to Dar Es Salam is equivalent to a journey from from John O’ Groats in the North of Scotland to Thanet in Kent.

Luckily we can fly to Dar  at a reasonable cost.


US (Mwanza Mbale)

Our travels from Mwanza to Mbale and Jinja via Bukoba and Kampala at Easter (including  Murchison Falls in the North) were all taken by bus.

This would be the equivalent of a journey from London to Middlesborough via Bristol, Liverpoool and Manchester with a hop across to Northern Ireland.

Notice that Lake Victoria fills most of Southern and Central England.


UK (Mwanza Moshi)A trip to Moshi where we will meet the Mums at Christmas is like a journey from Edinburgh to Southend via Ayr and Blackpool.

We will fly this December but we went the opposite way by bus in the summer.


For our epic journey of Eastern and Southern Africa – a map of Britain won’t do so instead a map of the USA

USA

We traveled from Mwanza to Zomba then to Livingstone (Victoria Falls) and back again.US East Africa

This was the equivalent of a journey from the North of Ohio via Washingston DC to Southern Alabama and on into Texas.


This shows how vast Africa really is and perhaps how much smaller the USA and UK are really.US Africa

If you want to see how big your country is compared to any other part of the world check out the site for yourself

http://thetruesize.com/

Disconnect

Mwanza is actually quite connected. There is a relable if slower connection to the outside world here. 

Yes it takes a few hours to download an episode of Dr Who and a movie might need to be downloaded overnight but it can be done. It’s even possible at times to stream live TV here with a little buffering and we can make FaceTime calls with little disruption (Skype has been a little more problematic but not impossibly so!). 

Here in Mwanza we tend to communicate on our 3G connection rather than a fixed line rental which is much more expensive – our phone signal is more reliable and faster than the other options. 

Catching up on news or sport  (formally via News /Sports apps) or friends /family ( informally via Social Media / What’s App /Text) is a doddle most of the time. Writing and posting the blog has been straight forward.  

All of the above is true until you leave Mwanza. As we have traveled  in recent months we have realised that outside of the big towns connectivity drops fast. Our recent trip to Kigoma is an example. Once out into rural Tanzania ythere is no connectivity for hundreds of kilometers – once in town the connection is good but over a very limited area. 

This was certainly true of Kigoma last week. Our base at Jakobsen’s Beach was internet free throughout. My blog posts and general connectivity were limited to the trips to town and actually it was quite refreshing. 

I tmrealise how much time I spend connecting (formally and informally) – out here in the ‘wilds of Africa’ it has been good to remain connected to the UK to keep a small part of the UK here in Tanzania, but for a week we were disconnected for much of the time and able to enjoy unencumbered the beauty of our surroundings, the wildlife, the tranquility. We played card games, talked more and relaxed on the beach. Digital devices were strictly stand alone.

    
    
    
    
    
  

Reading a book (ibook)

  
   

As a connected person I found it strange not to know what was going on elsewhere at first but actually quite liberating too.

Perhaps we all need to be more disconnected for a time.