Category Archives: Daily Life

Funeral of an Employee in Tanzania

There has been a recent accumulation of obituaries in FINCAs email flow. Apparently every death of someone who is an employee or direct relative is acknowledged so co-workers can offer their condolences.

It appears that there is a specific way of dealing with death in Tanzania. There is substantial risk of losing face for the representatives of the company, especially if it is a foreign company. Let me tell you a little story. Continue reading Funeral of an Employee in Tanzania


Hear, See and Feel the Odd Side of Tanzania

There is a significant degree of oddity in my life abroad. It’s being transmitted on all channels to me: visually, verbally, sensory. I’m doing the Tanzanian “club handshake” at least three times a day and have become pretty proficient at it. There is also the “stroke shake” I mostly get from women: a not-to-firm handshake followed by a soft and sliding release. Eating by hand doesn’t  remind me of childhood anymore. Sneezing is not commented. By either party. Took quite some time to get used to. Continue reading Hear, See and Feel the Odd Side of Tanzania

Mouthwatering Meat Meet

I’ve written about my disappointment with meats in another food post, that’s why I just had to check out the Nyama Choma Festival that took place in Dar es Salaam yesterday. It’s first and foremost a place to go to with friends to eat and drink and listen to music. The fact that some places sell wine by the bottle and beer by the four-packs is a testament to this. Well, I made some friends…

But let’s talk about the serious gourmets who are into marinating their products “until the meat just wants to slide off the bone” as one guy told me. Continue reading Mouthwatering Meat Meet

Dar es Salaam Buses – Mirror of Life

sarah_markes_bajajaiIn Dar es Salaam there are buses, minibuses, taxis, motorbikes and three-wheelers (bajaj) – all available to transport the public. But for moving large number of people there are basically just the large buses. Always painted in the colors of where they come from and where they go with the terminal stations stenciled onto the colors: “Posta”, “K/Koo”, “M/Mbusho” or “M/Rangi” (find a map with some Dar bus stands). And they have curly writing on the side: “City Bus” it says.

For a fare of TZS 400 (USD 0.20) you get to see a lot of the city.  Yet the passengers complain about the high prices. Continue reading Dar es Salaam Buses – Mirror of Life

The Food of Tanzania

I wanted to give you a mouth-watering insight on the versatility of Tanzanian cuisine. I’ve asked my co-workers what they like eating, as they are coming from different places. I’ve asked about festive food, and I’ve eaten a whole lot of different meals myself.

But there it is: The festive food is nowhere near exquisite as the Imperial cuisine of China. Festive food in Tanzania has two main ingredients: pilau rice and meat. And the practice of schooling kids 1000 km away during Tanzania’s socialist years may have leveled the national taste somewhat. Dar es Salaam is a melting pot and is offering pretty much all kind of local food. So it looks like I may have reached the width and breadth of food after only two months. Continue reading The Food of Tanzania

The Story of Kitimoto

Tanzanians have a great hand with barbeques, as do the Kenyans and the South Africans and the Swazi and probably a great many more people in Africa and in the rest of the world. Ah, not to forget the Argentinians!

In spite of the abundance of grilled meats and the great skillsmanship Kitimoto is something else. Kitimoto literally stands for hot seat. Continue reading The Story of Kitimoto

Tanzanian Wine for the Middle Class

There are South African wines but who has heard of other wines from Africa? Chateau Musar from Lebanon, where wine was produced all through the civil war, sometimes delivering crates of grapes to the wine cellar in the middle of the night in order to escape sniper bullets. Continue reading Tanzanian Wine for the Middle Class

Dodoma, the Powerless Capital of Tanzania

Last week’s business trip to Tanzania’s capital Dodoma has given me a very distinctive taste of Tanzania. I would never have guessed that anything else but Dar es Salaam is the country’s capital. Dar es Salaam has the industry, the workforce, the sea port, the embassies, the international airport, the companies and the traffic while Dodoma Continue reading Dodoma, the Powerless Capital of Tanzania

The Epic Race of Population vs. Economy

Let’s do a little thought experiment to visualize the challenges faced by many developing countries. Imagine a country with a population growth of 5% and economic growth of 3% per year. The standard of living in year 0 would be 100%. Where would that country be after twenty years?

Continue reading The Epic Race of Population vs. Economy

A Lesson in Communicating Effectively

Saturday July 18 marked the end of Ramadan. But on Thursday evening July 16 nobody in my office or in the rest of the country knew if they would go to work on Friday or if it would be a public holiday. All depended on the sighting of the new moon at nightfall.

The opinions differ as to which location is relevant, which tool may be used to detect the crescent moon, whether Continue reading A Lesson in Communicating Effectively