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. Lees meer

Arita Baaijens

De bergen, dat ben ik

“De woestijn had me geleerd dat er geen zelf bestaat dat de touwtjes in handen heeft, de hersenpan is een leeg canvas waarop onze gedachten een film projecteren”. Dat belooft wat, dacht ik en nieuwsgierig begon ik aan het nieuwe boek van avonturierster Arita Baaijens “Zoektocht naar het paradijs” waarin zij op zoek gaat naar Shambhala, het Boeddhistische paradijs dat volgens geschriften verborgen zou moeten liggen in het Altajgebergte dat zich uitstrekt over vier landen: Kazachstan, China, Mongolië en Rusland. Lees meer

masai ceremony


Wat maakt ons menselijk? Dat is de hoofdvraag van filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand in de documentaire Human. Om het antwoord hierop te vinden besteedde hij drie jaar aan het verzamelen van emotionele verhalen van meer dan 2000 mensen uit 60 verschillende landen, waarin thema’s als liefde, oorlog, homoseksualiteit, vergevingsgezindheid, familie, leven na de dood, geluk, immigratie en de zin van het leven centraal staan. Lees meer

Why is travelling exciting?

“Why do you want to make a journey”: I asked an older man at the holiday event for special travels last weekend in Amsterdam. He felt a bit overtaken but then replied: “I long for new experiences”. He worked hard in his life and within a few months he will retire.
“What does it promises you when you have new experiences”: I asked him. He looked at me with some confusion in his eyes. Then he replied: “it promises me that I will feel more alive”. Lees meer

Splashy clothes or a Safari to Tanzania?

I am living around the corner of the shopping area of my hometown. I used to walk through that area many times a week. I never truly shopped there, I was of course not the shopping type. But every time I accidentally past by and my eye got caught by some trendy clothing, I bought it without even thinking twice. And I certainly did not allow a question popping up like: “Do I really, truly need this new hot item? Maybe I had enough trousers but not “that specific, great looking, flashy, striking trouser”.  I think through the years this habit costed me a crazy lot of money. Now was it worth it? Did it make me more happy, more wise? Lees meer

Remember when you saw your first Lion?

This excitatory question I found on the website of the Lion Illumination Project active in Tanzania. My first Lion? In my mind the image of a Cross-Eyed Lion occurs. “That’s right, In my mind I am looking straight in the eyes of Clarence”. Suddenly I see the faces coming up of Dr. Tracy and his daughter Paula. And then the name of the series shoots in my brain: “Daktari”. Djee it must have been in 1966-1967. We just had our first black and white TV. On the sofa, in my pajamas, one glass coca cola beside me, we were watching Daktari and to me this cross-eyed Lion was the most interesting character they presented. Because of his handicap, he was unable to hunt and therefore they adopted him. We had a big sheepsdog with long curly hair but this Clarence was something totally different.
Later we went to the Zoo in Amsterdam and there was this small Lion house where Lions were sleeping all day, yawning and bored. Even as a young child I experienced the smell of dullness, caused by lack of freedom. Also I remember the instinctive fear running through my vains while watching them.
Lions! Since 4 years I meet them regularly in the wild nature of Tanzania. Lions can sleep 20 hours a day. twee mannetjes leeuwenSo many times we see them lying in the grass, lazy and relaxed, showing the opposite behaviour of cheetah who is very awake and sitting upright, peering the environment for danger.
But then the moment comes that a male Lion shows up beside your car and every muscle can be clearly seen. And he is looking at a group of Thomson Gazelles a few hundred meters far. Nothing distracts him, all his attention focussed, and demonstrating the power that embodies him. His head up, his manes majestic and suddenly you know; this truly is a magnificent being.  20-hildur-runs-to-simba-east-the short happy life of a serengeti lion

In Tanzania the tribes (like Masaï) are living in areas with wild animals. In general this is a peaceful and harmonious coexistence. But depending on circumstances cats can visit the villages to catch of livestock. But better not touch a cow or goat of Masaï. They are holy, they mean survival. So many cats are killed in this conflict. The Lion Illumination Project is dedicated to honor the warriors on both sides of the conflict by creating a peaceful solution. They install solar strobe lights in the bomas to keep the cats out. At our village Endonyowas Mindful Adventure saw many bright lights, the last time we were there. Walking in the dark after a simple but full meal, those lights were flashing like Gods watching over the village. It works. For lions it is like a disco and they hate discos. If you want to know more or support this project you can read more here

Indigenous people experience Climate Change every day

Last Monday the Climate Change Conference in Paris has started. One of the biggest causes of climate Change is deforestation. The official numbers of CO2 emission varies between 12% en 20%. Wat is deforestation and what are the consequences? Watch this short dutch video.

In South West Kenya you can find Mau Mountains, which contains 25% of Kenyas forest areas. It is one of the biggest compact forest areas in East Africa and millions of Kenyans depend on it for their watersupply. However years of illegal colonisation have destroyed big parts of the woods.

NRC journal of Friday 27 November quotes farmer Alfred Soi: “We have always been warned by the tribal elders not to destroy the wood because it would lead to destruction of life. Why do politicians nowadays forget that? I would like to strike them with a curse”. Years of misrule, mondial as well as local have contributed to icecap melting of Mount Kenya and destruction of the woods  which once were beautiful. mtkenyaforestimg1
The mountain can’t hold the water any longer because of logging. It spits out a wild, brown flood engulfing the agriculture and economic important Tea Plantations. The Tea Research Institute in Kericho measures a rise in temperature of 0.2 degrees every year. Therefore the climate has become unpredictable. They are confronted with dryness and frost, which they never experienced before. In general you can say the indegenous people in all the world are experiencing the consequences of Climate Change the most, allthough they have nothing to do with the causes. Unnoticed they are struggling to survive in their homelands. But several tribes allready started to investigate where and how to migrate the entire tribe. You can read more about this issue here

The problem in the West is that we only know about Climate Change through information. We do not feel it. We do not experience it. As a result only 7000 people marched last Sunday in the Climate March Amsterdam.

Reading the article above suddenly the consequences come closer. These people are living close to nature and they see, hear and feel it every day.

“Never touch a dog in Tanzania, really?”

Today I saw some terrible pictures of peeled dogs hanging at robes in China; skinny, emaciated, broken dogs in cages after a life of harshness and cruelty. It makes me think of Tanzania and the terrible lifes most dogs have to endure. They do not eat dogs but most people have no means to take care of them. The character of these Tanzanian dogs in general is incredibly sweet. How is it possible to remain that quality of sweetness in such bad circumstances? Lees meer

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 Lees meer

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.  Lees meer