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writings on the wall

Nina

Nina has written 62 posts for africa state of mind

When it rains, it pours

When it rains in Zanzibar, or Tanzania for that matter, it pours. There’s no middle way. If you had something drying on the line, expect to leave them hanging there for another day (or three, if you, like me, happen to be out during rain spells in the rainy season, and never manage to get … Continue reading

Between social media and ignorance, what is there?

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has flooded. If this is the first time you hear the news, you might say “ok” and continue as if it never happened. “After all, there was just a huge flooding in the Philippines, which was all over the news. Dar es Salaam hasn’t even been mentioned, the flooding can’t be … Continue reading

50

Happy independence day! On this day, exactly 50 years ago, Tanzania’s visionary leader Nyerere (pictured) raised the placard for complete independence. A Zanzibari friend of mine gives however a cautious note on why this celebration isn’t as historically correct as it’s made to be: Tanganyika became independent 1961. Tanzania grew out of the union between Tanganyika and … Continue reading

Aid shambles: ..too many bakers..

This is the second (explanatory) post of a three-part series taking a critical look at aid from Tanzania. The first part, including the cake analogy, can be found here. It’s easy to criticise aid, if development woes of the past decades are all assigned to that. But to see why aid is functioning so poorly, … Continue reading

Aid shambles: One cake…

This is the first (introductory) post of a three-part series taking a critical look at aid. Imagine you’re a baker, and you’re baking a cake. The local cookbook isn’t finalised yet so you’re using a foreign one where measures and ingredients are different, meaning you have to improvise a little. While the cake is in … Continue reading

Hakuna matata

No problems. That famous Swahili-phrase from the Lion King (though it is more common to say hamna shida/tatizo) is truly a guiding motto when travelling in Tanzania. Not only does it work as an excuse for those who are supposed to solve the problem, it also works in keeping everyone else calm. Picture above was … Continue reading

Sharing is caring

Dirt road on the rural outskirts of Iringa, a city some 5-6 hours drive from Dar es Salaam. Seven young boys on their way to collect water from a well. Me with a car stuck in the mud. Curious kids next to it. An extra pack of biscuits. And an awe-struck moment. The determination with … Continue reading

“Thin line ‘tween heaven and here”

The quote in the title was uttered by Bubbles, a recovering drug addict, when being returned home to the ghetto after having spent a day in suburban Baltimore, USA in the TV-series The Wire (highly recommend it by the way). Looking at the above map of a small (200x300m) area in Namanga, Dar es Salaam, … Continue reading

Urban transport dreams

African cities are walking cities, but are they walkable? ‘No’ was the immediate answer that came to my mind, but the title of the Walkonomics/This Big City blog post made me curious enough to read more. According to it, walking is “the most popular form of transport” in urban Africa. Realistic enough, there are millions … Continue reading

TRL: African autumn?

News outlets have been writing tirelessly about the Arab Spring ever since revolts began in Middle East and North Africa in January claiming lives and demanding democracy. The scale is smaller and less widespread, true, but it should not be left completely unnoticed what has been taking place in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa too … Continue reading

All writings on the wall

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