DixPix Photographs

     

EASTERN AFRICA

 
     
       Critters LIFE AND OVERVIEW  
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The African Section of the website is a small one, based on some brief visits by the author to Tanzania and Malawi, acting as a geological consultant.  Lacking Swahili and any deep understanding of the society, this presentation is more superficial than those for Latin America or Indonesia.  On the other hand, geologists have the advantage of going to places that tourists are unlikely to see, and having to deal with the people on a different level.

On this page are some of the features of East African society which I found most distinctive, which can be broadly interpreted as different from those of Europe and North America.

Other pages from East Africa      Birds      Critters       Flora

 

One of the more striking aspects is the bright colors and patterns worn by most women, even is some of the poorer sections of the country.  These can brighten up towns which otherwise tend to be a bit drab. Click to see big picture (800x451 pixels; 155 KB)
Like almost everything else of importance to daily life, clothing and fabrics can be bought in open markets, some sectors specializing in fabrics, others in food, hardware, etc. Click to see big picture (800x525 pixels; 196 KB)
Here, as in some other parts of the world, most things are carried on the head.  Both men and women seem to prefers this, and the children start out young.  Shoes are rare in rural areas. Click to see big picture (800x536 pixels; 225 KB)
Unlike methods such as backpacks, almost anything can be carried on the head, leaving hands at least partly free for other uses. Click to see big picture (800x563 pixels; 188 KB)
Some loads are quite an amazing balancing act, this chap in Malawi makes it look easy. Click to see big picture (800x459 pixels; 179 KB)
An they are able to carry items which look like they would roll away with the slightest provocation. Click to see big picture (398x600 pixels; 106 KB)
Babies seem content carried behind in a swath of textile. Click to see big picture (800x544 pixels; 234 KB)
A school bus from one of the better schools in Dodoma, these kids are even in uniforms. Click to see big picture (799x600 pixels; 154 KB)
Buses are the lifeblood of transportation.  This one is besieged by vendors hawking food at a stop, a scene which might be from any part of the 'third world". Click to see big picture (800x566 pixels; 158 KB)
And were there are buses, there are long lineups waiting patiently. These women are hoping to take produce into Arusha, Tanzania. Click to see big picture (704x600 pixels; 168 KB)
Boats made from the bark of a large tree, on the Ruvuma River in southern Tanzania. Click to see big picture (800x531 pixels; 175 KB)
The boats prove to be somewhat of a ferry service across the Ruvuma.  This is also the border between Tanzania and Mozambique, and rumored to be a smuggling route. Click to see big picture (800x592 pixels; 198 KB)
Pulling a heavy cart in the town of Mbeya. Note that the fellow going along for the ride has fancy shoes while the one pulling is bare footed. Such is reality. Click to see big picture (637x600 pixels; 141 KB)
On a lighter note this is a beer commercial in the same town.  The truck travels about with its own generator for music and lights, and girls to sing and dance to advertisement songs. Click to see big picture (688x600 pixels; 140 KB)
Many signs of ingenuity.  Here in the village of Mbinga, a bicycle has been transformed into a machete sharpener, pedal powered. Click to see big picture (532x600 pixels; 126 KB)
Far from the lure of plastic toys, children devise their own amusement out of sticks and stones. Click to see big picture (800x500 pixels; 173 KB)
In East Africa, as in most places, washing is largely a women's chore. Click to see big picture (755x600 pixels; 190 KB)
Roadside sales also seem to be handled by women. Here, near Morongo Tanzania, manioc or cassava roots are on offer. This is a South American plant, now a staple starchy food throughout the tropics. By tonnage it is the largest African crop. Click to see big picture (640x580 pixels; 179 KB)
Some forms of manioc have to be treated to remove cyanide.  In a final stage it is pulverized into a flour.  This is the traditional method at the village of Mipotopoto near the Tanzania-Mozambique border. Click to see big picture (450x600 pixels; 92 KB)
Burning back grass and brush to plant a crop. Once more a women's job. Click to see big picture (628x600 pixels; 209 KB)
A government campaign against the genital mutilation of girls. This is in the capital and it is hard to say how much control the government has over that ancient ritual in the countryside. Click to see big picture (800x433 pixels; 113 KB)
And there are worst problems from inter-tribal hatreds. This is a prison near Arusha housing some of those most responsible for the genocide of Tutsi's in Rwanda. Click to see big picture (800x514 pixels; 130 KB)
Cattle are an important part of the fabric of East African society. Here a skin is being stretched and dried. Click to see big picture (696x600 pixels; 212 KB)
African Longhorn Cattle or Watusi once comprised the native herds of East Africa. Now they have largely been replaced by varieties giving more milk and less trouble. This one is at the zoo in Phoenix.  The impressive horns are said to be mainly a cooling mechanism. Click to see big picture (743x600 pixels; 203 KB)
Cattle are still very important to the Maasai people.  Here is a herder guarding his herd-- no longhorns to be seen. Click to see big picture (779x600 pixels; 238 KB)
Fish from ocean, rivers and lakes provides an important source of nutrients in much of Eastern Africa.  Here is a heap of microfish in the town of Mbinga near Lake Malawi.  Great for soups, condiments, sauces, etc.  Click to see big picture (741x600 pixels; 269 KB)
For the curious, this what the "micro-fish" look like up close.  Click to see big picture (800x587 pixels; 218 KB)
Pesticide delivery for an agricultural project.  Not much protection used in these parts. Click to see big picture (621x600 pixels; 151 KB)
Bags of coke for sale by a highway.  Coke production is ecologically damaging, producing large volumes of smoke and consuming comparatively large amounts of trees. Click to see big picture (800x581 pixels; 195 KB)
Mining is an important part of the economy of Eastern Africa. There is a large informal sector, including panning for both gold and for gems. Several types of gemstones are a bit heavier than other minerals, and are here been sought near Liparamba in southern Tanzania. Click to see big picture (735x600 pixels; 174 KB)
Natural rubies from the Chimwadzulu mine in southern Malawi.   Ruby is a clear, red form of sapphire. Click to see big picture (800x587 pixels; 145 KB)
This is the chaotic mining town of Merelani in Tanzania.  It is situated on a deposit of the unique purple gemstone know as Tanzanite.  There are some modern mining tunnels here, but mainly a mad scramble of poor people digging in hopes of finding a gem. Click to see big picture (800x554 pixels; 196 KB)
Dodoma is now the Capital of Tanzania.  It was moved to this interior location from Dar es Saalam in 1996.  Click to see big picture (800x428 pixels; 156 KB)
This village in Malawi is more or less typical of how most people live in rural settings. The one government building (for health and administration) stands out clearly. Click to see big picture (800x594 pixels; 226 KB)
Heading south to a remote area on the Tanzania-Mozambique border.  The "road" is so grown in that it is often hard to see. Click to see big picture (605x600 pixels; 198 KB)
A guide walks ahead of the vehicle, he also carries a gun-- this is wild Africa. Click to see big picture (541x600 pixels; 204 KB)
Creeks are crossed on unsecured piles of logs.  This needs a steady hand at the wheel, and was not really designed for cars. Click to see big picture (800x600 pixels; 252 KB)
Finally, the isolated village of Mitomoni. Click to see big picture (684x600 pixels; 160 KB)
And a nutritious dinner of fried termites.   Welcome to the real East Africa. Click to see big picture (800x592 pixels; 227 KB)