Eating in Tanzania

(Above Photo:By Paresh Jai from Nairobi, Kenya – Ugali & Sukuma WikiUploaded by Common Good)

The white substance in the photo above is called Ugali.  It is made of very finely ground cornmeal boiled in water.  People in Tanzania use this as an eating utensil.  They take off a piece, roll it into a ball and put an indention into it.  They scoop up other foods with it, always using the right hand.

You are expected to wash your hands before and after a meal.   Meals are usually taken sitting on the ground, often from a communal bowl or platter.

The people of this beautiful country eat many of the same dishes found in other parts of Africa but dishes including coconut and/or bananas usually originate from Tanzania.  Zanzibar – the islands off mainland Tanzania are known for spices.  A blend of Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg and Black Pepper is an important part of many of the dishes eaten here, giving them a unique flavor.




Watch this youtube video to learn 10 interesting facts about Tanzanite.  This is a beautiful stone used in jewelry.  Some say it was first recognized by the Maasai people.  Some say a man came upon a cluster of the gems and reported it to man who was looking for rubies.  There is a Maasai legend that a bolt of lightening started a great fire and the heat of the fire created the precious mineral.

Tanzanite is found at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.  Remember that this mountain has several volcanos.  The gem is mined from underground.  Here is video to watch showing a trip to the mines in Tanzania.  It shows how the gems are processed as well. That part was most interesting to me.

The gem is heated to 800 degrees to create the beautiful color seen in jewelry.  In 2002 it was made the December Birthstone. Do you want to know something really interesting to us?  Elias, Damien and Bri ALL have December birthdays!   Tanzanite is your birthstone.



Does Tanzania or China use Daylight Saving Time?

Tonight we change our clocks moving the clocks one hour forward.  One way to remember this is Spring Forward / Fall Back.  In the Spring we set clocks forward one hour. In the Fall we set clocks back one hour.  So if you go to bed tonight at 8 pm and you get up at 7 am tomorrow, you will get one hour less sleep than you did with these sleep and wake times yesterday.

I used this site to find out that Tanzania does not have Daylight Saving Time.  I did a search for China and learned that they don’t do this in China as well.  Please see the above map and see which countries use a Daylight Saving Time system.  The green areas are using a Daylight Saving Time.  The Blue ones used it in the past but don’t any longer.  The White areas indicate places that have never used a Daylight Saving Time system.

Are you interested in where this time change thing started?  Here is a internet site that gives good information about this.


Rare? Tree Climbing Lions

Well, who knew – cats climb trees!  At first I saw articles talking about a RARE tree climbing lion.  Now I see that they really aren’t so rare.  It seems that when one lion climbs a tree the other lions try it.   This article gives more insight into why they might be climbing trees.

This website has good information about the Serengeti National Park where we might see tree climbing lions.  This park is HUGE!  In fact it is 1.5 million ha (hectares,  1 hectare is about two and a half acres)

People go there to watch the Great Migration.  The animals move in mass to get to better water and the Wildebeests to the birthing plain where more than 8,000 babies are born every day!   They say when the 2 million Wildebeests run across the plains you feel the earth vibrate.  The heat makes the air shimmer.  Dust settles on everything.  Flies bother everyone and every animal.  I watched several videos trying to decide which one would give you the best feel of what it would be like to be in the middle of all this awesome activity.  I chose this one because it didn’t show as much animal killing.  I know that all animals have to eat but I just hate to watch the kill.  If you don’t mind seeing it, you can search youtube videos about the migration in Serengeti National Park.

I sent you a compass.  I did so because I wanted to emphasize that much of this country is enjoyed not through road maps but by direction and distance.  Did you learn how to use your compass?  I will post something about compass use in a day or so.



Kite surfing!

Tanzania is located on the east side of Africa with a coast line on the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar is part of Tanzania.  It includes several islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of mainland Tanzania. Zanzibar is primarily Arabic. There are several kite schools. One is near the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. Several of the older schools are in Zanzibar.  You can check on what is happening there through webcams. Check them out.  Isn’t the sand and water beautiful?

Check out this site to watch a video about kite camps available. There are several youtube videos available to watch about kite surfing.  Here is a really good one to show you more about getting there and the views of the country and the people that live there.

Did you see the Rare Giraffe in Tanzania?

I remember a picture of you standing near the rare giraffe spotted in Tarangire National Park!  She was named OMO after a locally sold laundry detergent.  She is not an Albino.  Albinos lack pigment all over including the eyes.  An Albino’s eyes look red due the lack of pigment to cover the color of the blood vessels of the eyes.  OMO has a rare genetic abnormality called Leucism. Some of the cells, but not all, are unable to produce pigment.

When I saw the word Leucism I just knew the root – Leuko – had to be Latin.  Many words in medicine come from Latin.  I looked it up and the Latin word for White is Alba.  (Now I know where albino come from.) The Leuco…base is known to me because we have special blood cells in our body called Leucocytes.  These are White Blood Cells and they are responsible for fighting infections and foreign substances in our body.  I found out Leuko is the Greek word for white.

Leucocytes in our bodies might fight off infection but I am afraid that OMO’s Leucism may make her vulnerable to attack, not only by animals of prey but poachers who would value such a rare hide.  I hope OMO finds protection from both.  She is so very beautiful.  At any rate, Leucism would not be a good genetic trait to pass on.  I found out that it can be passed on but may skip generations before another one comes along.  She could have “normal” colored babies but one of her grandchildren could be born with it.  Not all creatures (many other types of animals can have the same genetic abnormality) have the lack of pigment in such a large area.  It could have been only on a part of her body.  Wouldn’t that look strange?  Imagine a normal colored giraffe with a white head!

I think OMO is pretty special.  Don’t you?