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A weekend well spent – batik workshop with David Kibuuka

Last weekend I spent two days in a Batik Workshop run by David Kibuuka. He is a well known artist of his Modern Batik Style pieces of art. It was a great opportunity for me to spend two days learning a new technique and working with a new material : fabric!

Since I came to Africa, I have been fascinated with the beautiful patterns and designs of the African printed fabrics. And it is everywhere, on each and African woman, babies, tables, curtains, cushions, cars, etc. It is nearly impossible to think of Africa without these beautiful, flamboyant variety of colors and patterns.

For the design that I have worked on, I have enlarged a geisha print form the book A Year in Japan by  Kate T. Williamson and combined it with another great artist Sarah Markes‘ illustration of a Duka (small shop) illustration from her book ‘Street Level’. These two figures, the Geisha and the Duka are a resemblance of my life at the moment. I feel like a Geisha, a presentation of fragile beauty and entertainment in a Duka, the heart of the street culture in Tanzania. I love the collage technique and implementing it in a modern art piece was a great experience.

Thank you David! for the creative and peaceful weekend!

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IT’S HOT in here!

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IT’S HOT
by Shel Silverstein

It’s hot!
I can’t get cool,
I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade.
I think I’ll take my shoes off
And sit around in the shade.

It’s hot!
My back is sticky.
The sweat rolls down my chin.
I think I’ll take my clothes off
And sit around in my skin.

It’s hot!
I’ve tried with ’lectric fans,
And pools and ice cream cones.
I think I’ll take my skin off
And sit around in my bones.

It’s still hot!

“It’s Hot” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s collection of poems of drawingsWhere the Sidewalk Ends, available at Amazon.com.

There is a village out there….

There is a village out there….

Since we have moved to Tanzania, we had and still have a lot of visitors ( family, friends, friends of friends,etc.) But one of these visitors has done a very special thing for me. She opened up a whole new door to Tanzania and Tanzanian culture for me.

Shortly after we moved to Dar, our friends Jonathan and Ann whom we met in Japan many years ago, gave us a shout out for a sudden visit in early September. They were on an extended summer holiday being in between jobs, tired of traveling in Europe and were in need of a place to crash for a couple of weeks to sort some stuff out. We replied quickly with excitement and here they were a day later and we lived happily for three weeks under one roof, chatting for hours, eating, drinking, giving each other support, basically being friends and family for each other. In the mean time John found a teaching job in Abu Dhabi:) which opened a new door for them.

Why am I telling you how I spent my days with my friends? Here is the reason and the beginning of our story: John and Ann decided a couple of days in Zanzibar before they have left Tanzania. During their trip they met a doctor (Sion) who was on a short vacation from his work in a rural village just outside of Morogoro. They’ve spent quite a good amount of time chatting and listened to his adventures about this little village called Berega. Sion gives his blog address to John and Ann. Listening to him and reading his blog, Ann insists them to spend their last three days in this rural village and they leave that weekend with Sion and a teacher ( Liz) who also works in the village school. After their stay in Berega for three nights, Ann came back with the idea of her coming back to Tanzania and volunteering in the village for a couple of months. Seeing their photos and listening to their experience in Berega, Jamie and I were very interested in the idea of visiting the village.

As she promised, Ann packed her belongings in Shenzen, china ( their previous post), shipped everything to Abu Dhabi, paid a short visit to Korea, went to Abu Dhabi for a couple of days and came back to Tanzania. She directly went to Berega this time and started blogging ( www.anninberega.blogpost.org) .

We started following and forwarding her blog updates and spreading her experiences in this rural village in Tanzania to our friends and contacts online and offline. Everyone with whom I have talked to were very supportive of her volunteering and asking how they could contribute. Ann and I started communicating through the phone and a shared Google Doc where we planted our initial ideas of how we can help this village.

You can find very detailed information about the village, the life and daily rumblings of both Ann, Sion and Liz on their blogs. But to give yo a very brief explanation about the village; it is a medium size village with a hospital and an elementary school. There is no water source in the village other than the hospital wells and people of the village ho to the nearby dried riverbed and dig out water and drink it without sanitizing it…

Since Ann has been in the village, with the money that she raised, she has helped the hospital by commissioning a painter to draw educational murals on the walls of the hospital, designed a webpage for the hospital ( ) and found sponsorship for the children who can not afford to go to the school in the village.

Our first visit to the village took place on Ann’s third week of volunteering. Jamie and I had mentioned the village to our friends in the school and four of them ( Dan, Ruth, Melanie and Karen) decided to join us in our trip to the village. We have borrowed a couple of tents from the school as our shipment was still sitting in Dar port ( another story to tell). With two cars full of teachers and tents, we went on our first road trip in Tanzania. It took us two hours to leave Dar after school on a Friday – a lesson well learned- and five hours to Morogoro. When we got to Morogoro, we were very tired of the night driving and decided to stop at the first hotel on the road side. If you ever get stuck in Morogoro, I would recommend this hotel called ‘ Ark Hotel’ with clean rooms and nice breakfast for a reasonable price.


Next day, early in the morning, we drove around an hour and a half and we were in Berega! Such a lovely village it was! After a quick cup of coffee we went to the school for a day of workshop with the students. The experience of working with kids who love to learn and try to get every little knowledge they can get is priceless. After our trip we got together as a group and shared our experiences and wrote down our reflections.

Please have a look at our reflection here.

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