leeuw en zijn harem

Kijk, daar woont een man met wel 148 vrouwen

We reden in de bus van Arusha naar Ngorongoro toen O, de Masaï jongen die ik sponsorde om leraar te worden me aanstootte en zei: “kijk eens Alina, die hutten daar tegen de berg op. Daar woont een oude man met wel 148 vrouwen”. Zijn stem klonk naar mijn idee vol ontzag en het was me niet duidelijk of dit kwam uit respect of jaloezie. Hij vertelde me dat een polygame Masaï man met veel vrouwen een rijk man was. Niet omdat hij zoveel prachtige vrouwen had maar omdat hij voldoende koeien in zijn bezit had om de bruidsschat te kunnen betalen. Ik keek naar het dorp, de tientallen hutjes dicht op elkaar en ik vroeg me af wat zich daar binnenskamers allemaal afspeelde.
Zouden die vrouwen gelukkig zijn of veel ruzie maken, verdeelt hij zijn aandacht gelijk of trekt hij bepaalde vrouwen voor? Ik durfde het O nog niet te vragen. Die avond sliep ik in het bed van een van de priesters uit het dorp, die zelf afwezig was. Read more

Petting Lion cubs

Every year 600 Lions die. Sixty percent are killed by Sport hunters. In twenty years the Lion population went down with 80 percent. At the same time private reservations for breeding Lions go up simultaneous. Most of them are established in South Africa.

The Lions are raised on farms to make money. The young ones are already big business because of tourists paying for petting a Lion cub. They do not know Read more

Does this really still exist?

Imagine you wake up at 6.00 am in the morning. You wash your face and take a cup of tea. Then guide Ginew comes to pick you up and brings you to a big baobab tree. Under this tree four Hazdabe bushmen are sitting around a small fire. They are half naked though it is cold in the early morning. They are accompanied by many dogs. Tanzanian dogs are good watchdogs but they also show a totally sweet character. Ginew shows you the place where one of them sleeps. It is not even a house. It is outside and there is some reed above their heads.  Read more

Leaving a safe world behind

An adventure means to leave your safe world behind and follow your nose because there is no map to guide you.

Four years ago I started sponsoring a Masaï guy of 22 years old to study in Arusha and become a teacher. One year later I travelled to Tanzania to visit him and to meet his family in Ngorongoro. At the airport I immediatly was confronted with the police because they asked for my vaccination papers, which I did not take with me. It costed me $ 50,- to buy a fake paper from him. Now I know I should have refused because they can not force you and after some intimidating behaviour will let you go.
In Arusha I stepped out of a taxi and I see three black guys with dark sunglasses in a typical macho way of walking come towards me. Was I really going into the ghetto with them? That night I slept in a room with a strong door and bars in front of the window, which stimulated my nightmares. I was lying in a double bed with a young girl and two black guys were lying on the floor. All night the neighbors were repeating very loudly the same music of the Bongo flava hit of that moment. I did not sleep much that night. I had arrived in a totally new and unknown world and my mind was clearly awake.


The first evening I was also introduced to the sister of my student. He told me she ran away from home to Arusha to escape from forced marriage. She looked like a girl that lived for a long time on the streets. Her appearance was unhealthy and she suffered from stomach pains that are very common in Tanzania because of lack of food. What can you say confronted in such a visual way with the hardship of their lives?

A few days later we left to visit his family in Ngorongoro. Everything was an adventure to me. The aliveness of the bus station early in the morning, the way black men were jumping on me to sell a bus ticket of their company, the baskets with bread, eggs, nuts, cakes, fruits and other stuff that appeared at my window once I had seated. And do not forget the smell, the typical African smell that comes to you the moment you enter Tanzania.

After two and a half hours we arrived at Karatu. Karatu is the last town before entering Conservation area Ngorongoro. So you can imagine the special character of this town. First of all it has red, dusty roads and houses. Many jeeps that transport tourists drive through the main street and are parked in front of multiple restaurants, shops with tools, sleeping accommodations, many banks and supermarkets. You can even get real coffee here.  And everywhere you look you will see Masaï men and women in their colorful shuka’s.

After stocking up a lot of food for the village, we find a local jeep to transport us and many other Masaï to the home village of my student. I am invited in the front and accompanied by the cheerful sounds of Tanzanian music we are on our way to the gate of one of the most beautiful places on earth.

To be continued…..

Glady gets the celebration of her life

A “Send of” celebration in modern Tanzania

Glady has been travelling all the way from Dar Es Salaam to Arusha to have her Send of celebration at the home of her family in Arusha.  She is the niece of Msafiri. During this celebration her family send her of to have a new life with her husband. It is like cutting the navel cord for the second time. The celebration starts at 7.00 pm but before that moment everybody is preparing and dressing and making sure everything is okay and looking their best. Glady looks beautiful in her pink dress. She is surrounded by many young unmarried girls that wear her veils and several young unmarried boys. They laugh a lot together. Africans laugh much about everything…..It sometimes makes me forget about the harship of their lifes Read more


Ton van der Lee was a young Dutch producer of movies. He worked from 7.00 am until 11.00 pm every day and his business went extremely well. He had a beautiful girlfriend and a great house at one of the canals of Amsterdam. One day he was in a meeting with colleagues at a terrace using his mobile phone and suddenly was struck by this feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness. Everybody around him Read more

Sharing info online is risky in Tanzania

Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete has signed into law a controversial “Cybercrimes Act”. This fact has been announced Friday, the day after we blogged the leaked numbers of Elephant slaughter in the last 6 years in mostly Ruaha/Rungwa area. This Blogging can be seen as a Cybercrime by the Tanzanian Authorities, because the Tanzanian National Parks (Tanapa) deny the report.

The new law makes it a crime to share information online that the government deems false or misleading. So sharing the Elephant report in Tanzania can be seen as a crime and it can cost two years in prison. Read more

They escort us

One of the things I had to get used to in Tanzania is the escorting phenomenon. But nowadays I like it many times. It gives me the chance to meet very different people.

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They need something

No matter if you travel by bus, daladala or jeep, you will be amazed at first how many police control people have to endure. Three to eight times a day is no exception on a day of travel. However soon you will discover it is big business. You can not believe the crazy reasons they come up with to get money out of your pocket. Tanzanians like to say with an apologizing smile: “they need something”. Read more

Safari profits

Today I was searching for hiking Safaris in Ngorongoro on Google. On top I find a Tanzanian company that offers an 8 day Trekking for € 5.872,- pp excluding international flight. And they are not the only ones that ask over the top rates. In this case it is a shameless offer. It shows greed and nothing else. Read more