9 February 2013

Tanzania: In Focus

It is obvious that ways of life in Arusha change overtime just as they do elsewhere. But some of the changes call for urgent self examinations.

Increasingly, some residents of Arusha sleep along the streets in the City because they have nowhere else to sleep. The number of homeless is increasing.

For some reason the homeless have chosen to sleep outside at the Central Bus Stand and outside the Uhuru Post Office premises along Sokoine Road. Approximately forty people sleep outside the Post Office premise. They sleep on cardboard boxes and cover themselves with whatever they can find. It is easy to count such people because you find them sleeping on the boxes as late as 7:30 a.m. everyday. More people sleep at the Bus Stand but it is somewhat risky to do the counting because you have to do it in darkness at night. It is difficult to count the people during the day because they wake up early to give way to country buses which start to take off early in the morning.

Most of the homeless are men. But one woman sleeps outside at the Metropole Cinema premise along Sokoine Road. She also wakes up late in the morning like the rest of the homeless people along the Road.

It would be interesting to know what the homeless in Arusha think of the many new storey buildings being constructed in the City. It would be equally interesting to know what the City Council plans to do concerning the homeless.

Different clothing fashions emerge all the time needless to mention. Residents of other Cities in Tanzania identify the youth from Arusha by their tight trousers, shirts and jackets. To be sure, youths wear tight cloths everywhere but the clothes are tighter in Arusha.

Maasai people now use both mobile phones and physical encounters to communicate information about their communities anytime while herding cattle in the wilderness. In the past, they communicated such information when they met along the way or when they visited each others' homes.

Insulting each other has emerged as a way of life for operators of city buses in Arusha City. Therefore, the buses are not the most suitable means of transport for reputable people. Imagine traveling with mother in law, father in law, daughters or sons whereby the operators insult each other. Is there law in the country which guides people to mind their language? You may ask.

Borrowing has become a way of life for many in the country. People use to avoid borrowing because of the risks often associated with the act. Not anymore, even though Tanzania commercial banks interest rate is one of the highest in the world at 18-23%. Save for Zimbabwe which leads the pack. You wonder how businesses make profits in Tanzania particularly when volumes of such business transactions are low. Meanwhile, interest rates on savings are approximately 7% annually.

Relatively more people tend to eat brown bread these days. One shopkeeper made a comment that the demand for brown bread is high because even healthy people choose to eat more brown than white bread. But no one expects medical practitioners to stock brown bread for sale at pharmaceutical drugs outlets.

It appears that people in Arusha City nowadays prefer to receive than to give even though many religious teachings emphasize that it is more honorable to give than to receive. May be such people have not read the holy books enough.

Quite disturbing is the emerging way of life whereby people in town corrupt processes to gain something in hidden way during transactions. It does not matter if the transactions involve friends. That means it is difficult to trust a friend to broker a deal that involves cash. It is just an emerging way of life in Arusha City.

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