klimaatverandering

Learning to trust life

Are we allowed to fly for this?

I have been travelling through Tanzania for ten years and I have been living here for three years now. I want to try to convey in this blog why I think Mindful Adventure, in this time of serious attention to climate change, is allowed still to invite people to fly to Tanzania.

verzet tonenIn the Netherlands I have come a long way in returning to my essence and increasing clarity about the distinction between essence and mind, between real and unreal, between that which is free and that which is programmed. From that process, Mindful Adventure emerged. Allthough I realised that I had to look into my cultural conditionings more deeply, I never could have imagined that I would end up in Tanzania to learn the total surrender to existence, to the whole. Read more

facing your fear - covid

Facing your fear and letting go of it

When I arrive after three months at Mwanza airport I am picked up by Rama who looks as fit and relaxed as ever. Driving to my house, I marvel at the busy street life. Everything is as lively as it was before I left. The Tanzanians have largely stopped all additional measures. According to the government, there are only 66 active Covid 19 patients left. But even more so, the people didn’t see much Covid 19 disasters around them all this time. So they continue the small measures but take it more and more easy. The Tanzanian died as always more from known diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malnutrition than Covid 19. But in fact they die mostly of poverty (no money for medication).

President Magufuli is more and more likely to become the hero of Africa. Where neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Uganda are extremely into lock downs, he refused to damage the economy, which would mean the death of many people who depend on the daily “hand to mouth” economy. Interesting enough this decision hasn’t led to the death of great numbers of people. Read more

Abuse in general

You have to fulfill my needs!

This video shows a common reality in Congo. But in Tanzania, it is the same. The abuse of women is based on the belief a woman is the possession of her husband. Please watch it. It is worthwhile to see.

Watching this video you probably will feel sad, bewildered and maybe angry because you are confronted with beliefs that you recognize as crazy. You probably will feel a distance also, because this is not about you and this is not about your culture. And you are happy you don’t live in such a situation. So you and your culture are much better.

Are we truly better?

When you are ready to look inside yourself and reflect on your own behavior in your marriage but also in your relationships with other people, you will find a shocking truth. Consciously or unconsciously we expect other people to fulfill our needs. Many of our emotions are related to these expectations because we strongly believe that we depend on others to have our needs fulfilled.

We are far from the experience that we are adults and can take care of our own needs. Therefore we developed many strategies to get what we want. We can cry hysterically, we shout or we use a fist. We talk smoothly or we show our arguments for hours or we refuse to talk to that other person for days. The moment somebody is saying no or tries to please us but is not successful enough, trouble starts. How many times did we lose respect and behaved manipulative or even (verbal) violent towards other people that were for some reason not able to meet our expectations? How many hours we have worked very hard to change that (special) person in the remake that can fulfill our wishes better? Read more

ZIN met Maria Goos en Marcel Musters op mindfulness safari

Maria Goos on mindfulness safari

(Maria Goos is a well known writer in the Netherlands. Her travelstory can be read in the magazine ZIN (March 8-April 4, 2018 – in dutch)

Maria Goos in Tanzania

Maria Goos in Tanzania

Surrender versus sane criticism
“Marcel tells me again “to start to surrender to what may come”, and not to be so critical. He emphasizes that we are experiencing things that people in touring cars would only dream of! That is true, and I also like that. But I also think: how for heaven’s sake are we going to solve this?”

In the summer of 2017 Maria Goos (wellknown scriptwriter of a.o. Old Money and Cloaca) and Marcel Musters (wellknown actor and one of the founders of Theatregroup Mosquitowiththegoldentooth) are coming with us on a mindful road trip in North West Tanzania.

Even though at the end of the article Maria wholeheartedly says she had an amazing trip, and would choose again for the “chaos” instead of choosing for a streamlined safari in a touringcar, she also struggled. Many things went different then she had expected.
During the trip I sometimes had to smile. My whole life went different then I had expected. To be followed immediately by “thankgod”. But also: “what did it hurt for such a long time!”.

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Vrouwen rechten Tanzania

Maasai women right’s in Tanzania

International women’s day
Masaï vrouw met kindThe emancipation of Maasai women in Tanzania still has a long way to go. In the cities is some movement. Especially young women are becoming aware of the sex differences because of the internet and sometimes in their contact with Western people.
In modern Tanzania having one woman and monogamy has become the standard under the influence of Christianity. Although men regularly reveal to me that the first African man who does not “cheat” on his wife more then once, still has to be born. The women seem to tolerate that and keep silent. More important in this third world country is that they have his children. Those children give her a certain guarantee to be first in his life and this way they ensure a house and enough to eat. The modern women work outdoors but are generallyexpected at home.  For example, it is allways a man who will join me on a trip. If I ask a woman to come, many times she refuses.

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Jacaranda tree in Tanzania

The tree and the prudish flowers

An ode to my best and wise friend in Tanzania

When I finish a phonecall with Rama, we useually end with a time-consuming goodbye ritual, which I complete with joy out of respect for him. I see it as a Tanzanian tradition, but to my surprise I catch Rama more then once not even saying goodbye to people after ending a phonecall. So it occurs to my mind lately, it is very possible he thinks also it is a dutch ritual to perform.
Most of the time the ritual is like this:

R: Lala salama (goodnight) Alina
A: Lala salama pia (goodnight to you too) Rama
R: Asante (thanks) Alina
A: Asante pia (jij ook bedankt) Rama
R: Don’t think too much any longer okay?
A: I will try Rama, Thank you.
R: Bye, byebye, byeeeee, bye Alina, bye
A: Bye, byeeee Rama, take care, bye, byebye. Oh don’t forget to call D tomorrow okay?
R: I can do that. Bye
And so on……Sometimes when we allready finished the ritual, something spontaneously comes up. Yesterday it went like this:
R: Njozi njema (sweet dreams)
A: Njozi Njema……… ehh Rama do you ever have nice dreams?
R: Yes Alina sometimes I have, very nice dreams. But when I have malaria ohh then they are very bad.
A: I never have nice dreams. I wonder therefore about the dreams of other people.
R: Yes Alina I think it will get better when you say sorry to your father.

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manipuleren

Manipulation in relationships

To paste your story on the other person is the beginning of manipulation and disrespectful violence. The story you paste on others is directly connected to your own desires and wishes. You desire something, the other must fulfill it and if this happens in an insufficient way, you will set your reproachful story on the other and start your manipulation of him. If someone is acting in line with your wishes, you probably will paste a positive story on the other. But both stories are about you and not about the other. Looking at both stories you will see your own desires are central.
The misery and worries of our mind are coming from a sense of dependency on other people we carry around. We believe we need the other to be happy. And we tell ourselves happiness depends on the ability of that person to make us happy.  Romantic love is in essence nothing else but the idea that the person we fell in love with can make us more happy than others. When he or she fails, deeply inside we panic and start manipulating the other to force him or her to fulfill our needs better. Read more

Ngorongoro Tanzania - foto Servan Ott

As the day unfolds….

I’m already for two weeks in Tanzania now, this time without travellers, but for business. What a beautiful experience! When I’m leaving the house in the morning, I don’t know where I will end up at night. Sometimes it makes me literally dizzy of everything that is happening. Yesterday night we arrived unscheduled and in total darkness at Wag Hill Lodge, outside Mwanza. The winding road took us to a remote area. The headlights of the car were shining their light on the bush. Always exciting, this kind of venture. After half an hour, we are arrive at a wooden gate. Rama hits the claxon and a young security man in striking outfit opens the door. A red baret? A dark blue army sweater? Perfect English? This is not an ordinary guard. A second man with red baret and striking red coat, joins him, his face has a tight expression, like the marechausee. His tone to Rama sounds like an interrrogation. I start to feel uncomfortable.

A motor stops at my side of the car. Three well dressed girls are leaving the gate, their faces notable made up. Wag Hill Lodge MwanzaI think, “aren’t they too young to go out?”, while I’m talking to them. In the meanwhile, Rama gets the message we are not allowed to come in. The guests are asleep, and they don’t want us to disturb them. Already asleep? At 8.30pm? I explain I don’t have time to come back, that I’m going back to the Netherlands, and that I just want to have an impression of the lodge, and that I never bring clients to a lodge that I haven’t seen with my own eyes. The guard leaves to talk to the manager. I hear Rama say: “I don’t like this Alina, something is wrong here”. The manager refuses to let us in, we can come back tomorrow morning. To my surprise Rama insists we want to get in tonight, but it doesn’t help. Through the phone, the manager shouts that no means no.

Without saying anything Rama turns the car. “Those were school children Alina”, he says. There are many boarding schools in this area. I get pale as I understand why he is upset. “Inside that lodge, some hotshot or government figure is throwing a party”, Rama says angrily. No lodge will ever refuse a tour operator that comes to inspect the place for his guests. Silent we drive the way back. Today a visit to the police.

Here, the days unfold by itself.

Of course they always do, but in Tanzania I experience this to the extreme. Surrendering to that brings the adventure alive.

So we ended up with a very old Sukuma Chief, Charles Kaphipa. Charles is a living history book, and during one and a half hour I was captivated by his stories. During the time of the English domination, before his night of initiation as Chief of the Bukumbi region, he was beaten up. His attackers had digged a grave and buried him. For a short time he was in there, almost suffocating, and then released. This ritual served as a symbol of letting go of his old identity and being newly born as a leader.

Charled turned out to be a Chief with vision with his heart in the right place. He was pleading for the position and the safety of older women in his tribe. The Sukuma tribe still has the primitive and superstitious habit to murder women with red eyes, because they think they are witches. Those red eyes are not strange when you realize those women are cooking on wooden fires in unvented huts. I have a clear memory of my own eyes and coughing attacks when I tried to protect my face behind a shuka during meals in a Masaï hut.

The old women found protection with chief Kaphipa. In the end the Sukuma took revenge by murdering his sister. The grandson of Charles is telling about this emotionally in this video.

Later he tells me the threatened women were sitting in a circle in front of the house, often couldn’t walk anymore, and defecating in that place. He cleaned their faeces and his grandfather learned him to show respect for old people.

While I’m listening to the stories, I feel connected and happy. So many people in this country know to touch me. How is that possible? And the answer that comes to me is authenticity. The people here live their lives as it presents itself to them. They are who they are. I don’t see a lot of ideal self. Everything is also unfolding in them. They are not working on eachother, they don’t try to improve eachother, no psychological analyses. They act in the moment to their best, and all consequences are accepted. The experiences are therefore pure and innocence is coulouring the heart. The faces of old people often are very powerfull, full of character and soft.

A bit later, I don’t believe it myself, I am in flamingo pose on the roof of the teachers house in Mwanza. I’m doing a tough yoga class with Nina and sweat is streaming over my face, while I am enjoying the beautiful view over a dusky Mwanza Rock and Lake Victoria. In the air I see the shapes of a dozen of black birds against the evening sky.

What a thrill to experience all of this.

Victoriameer Tanzania

Seven special places in Tanzania

Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria

For hours I sat here, just with a beer while Msafiri was staying in the hotel with malaria. I am drawn into this peaceful state inside, which sometimes happens to you on an empty summer day. The water made small wave sounds while a few young lads are sitting on a few stones in the Lake, while I’m opening up for the silence that hangs over the water. A little paradise on Earth. Read more

Extatic singing and dancing with Masaï

The first time I got acquainted with traditional ongs of Masaï, was during the descent of Olmoti Crater in Ngorongoro Tanzania. During a three day visit of the family of the Masaï warrior that i sponsored to become a teacher, I was climbing its steep, overgrown slope together with him and his friend. On the way back they started to chant a rhythmic beat. The low range immediatly led to a more firm step. Enjoyed by the unexpected support during walking, I did several attempts to produce the same sound from within my belly but I failed.
Still it touched me deeply to find myself walking in the middle of the pure, wild nature of Tanzania at the rhythm of their ancient vocals.
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