Tag Archive : Humankind

/ Humankind

Church – Dar es Salaam

What I have realised during my journey is how much religion and, in most countries, also tribes influence everything. Which religion you belong to, which tribe you are a part of influences you everyday life, what school you go to, which job you get, who you can do business with, who you marry, who you vote for.

If you belong to the majority religion and/or tribe you will be better off in many countries. This means it is not the best qualified who gets the job og gets elected, it might not even be the best qualified within your tribe – it all depends on connections and where you belong.

It is also well known that corruption is widespread. Some are trying to fight it, but it is difficult to get rid of and changes are slow.

On top of this people are ready to give all their money to the churches instead of paying for their children’s education, they are ready to pray instead or in addition of relying on doctors to cure diseases. Many people are poor, but they are still willing to give their last dime to their priest.

Kigali, Rwanda

I’ve seen many beautiful buildings while travelling but it is churches, schools and public buildings not peoples houses. Many houses are old, worn down and especially rural areas huts. Think about the amount of money the churches receive from people who could be spending them on improving their own lives.

Especially Pentecostal churches (in Danish ‘Pinsebevægelsen’) is growing in numbers, receiving enormous amounts of money from their followers. So, the priests get rich. Some of them have private jets, big mansions, expensive cars – some of them are con artists and people still donate money to them. People are convinced that god will take care of them if they keep praying and believe enough.

Supported by christian missionaries some priests preach people should get many children – even though they cannot support them or pay their education (education is not free in most countries). The churches are also against contraception and family planning – supported by donator countries like the US, who has a policy of not supporting organisations where abortion is included as a possibility when they are advising families.

This means HIV infected and the population is growing in number in countries where contraception’s are not promoted. The infrastructure, educational system and the labour market cannot keep up with the growth of the population – many young people gets a college degree but there are no jobs for them.  Unemployment rates are high amongst the youth, so many would of cause want to travel abroad to find a proper job. And climate changes are not doing anything good either. It seems like being so religious work against solving a lot of the problems here. The African countries have not been christian for a long time – only a few hundred years. I’m wondering if that’s the reason they are so conservative and extremely religious. And maybe their belief will loosen in the coming generations, I don’t know. The question is whether or not it will be in time for them to be able to solve the challenges they face, and where their belief stands in the way of the best solutions.

With more than 120 tribes (& same number of languages) no tribe has majority in Tanzania, the melting pot of migrations. The last tribe migrated to this country less than 200 years ago. Tanzania is even more diverse and complex than the other countries in East Africa – migrations from all over Africa, from India, from Europe, from almost everywhere.

Like the rest of East Africa, Tanzanians are very religious, conservative. The population is equally divided between Christianity, Islam and traditional religions, which means no religion has majority. This makes Tanzania different from the other countries – they had to find a way to live together, co-exist, no matter tribe or religion. They have succeeded in many ways, even though there can be tensions (as an example Zanzibar which is predominantly Muslim would like to be independent). Tanzania is peaceful and you don’t have to worry about security.

Like in the other countries it is difficult to be a non-believer in Tanzania. Family and friends might consider you a devil-worshipper if you openly come out as a non-believer. Like in Kenya Tanzania has a secular constitution including the human rights declaration which protects non-believers even though they might face discrimination in every day life.

There are a small group of freethinkers who try to reach out and find likeminded people in order to build a community. The internet and social media have helped a lot, since almost everybody has access to information online these days. So besides being enthusiastic the freethinkers are optimistic and know things will change slowly, but they will change. Many more non-believers will come out – because they are out there, they just think they are alone. Through the social media they will discover they are not alone in the world, and they will find a place to belong, a community.

Tanzania is also the biggest country – it is 22 times the size of Denmark, 22 (!). It’s huge – with the speed limit being 80 km/hour (down to 50 km/ hour many places) you’ll never manage to visit the whole country. It takes forever to drive from a to b. The traffic police are everywhere, you would be ruined before managing to drive from Arusha to Dar es Salaam.

For a Dane it is difficult to comprehend why they haven’t built highways like in Denmark where the whole country is covered in highways. Our highways have a speed limit of 130 km/ hour which makes it easy to get from one end of our small country to the other in no time. In addition, there is no railways of importance in Tanzania (again in contradiction to Denmark), which means everything must be transported on the same roads – goods, containers, people, schoolkids, cows, goats etc.

Halfway through my journey I have almost adjusted to the African way – which means you must be patient, don’t rush, take you time greeting people in a proper way, a lot of handshakes and talking. It seems like I have adjusted to the hot African weather as well – just arrived in Malawi, it’s 23 degrees & I’m freezing (!).

Halfway through my journey I have visited 4 countries in East Africa – the other half will be spend visiting 4 countries in Southern Africa.

My visit to the cradle of humankind – the Serengeti – made an impact. I think it is an amazing place. I would like to go back some day, and spend at least one week in the Serengeti, sleeping in tents among the wild animals, spending hours looking for them, spending hours staring at them. It’s beautiful, overwhelming, majestic – pictures can never show how it feels to be there.

Goodbye Tanzania & East Africa – hopefully I’ll see you again on the Serengeti – Hakuna Matata

Some facts:

Tanzania (Denmark)

Population:   60 mio. (5.8 mio.)

Area:   945.000 km2 (43.000 km2)

Density: 64/km2 (133/km2)

Life expectancy: 63 years (80 years)

Cradle of humankind

2019-01-21 | Tanzania | No Comments

Ngorongoro Crater

I visited the Ngorongoro crater yesterday not far from the place where scientist have found evidence of continuous presence of human for the last 2 million years – 2 million years! Here where two tectonic plates met and formed the rift valley many millions of years ago is the cradle of humankind. This is where hominoids were born and later developed into homo sapiens.

Watching the huge number of elephants, wilder beasts, zebras, antelopes on the plain grassing while lions and hyenas are watching ready to hunt. The Masai are still living in this area, integrated with the wild life – risking the life of their cattle and themselves. It makes you wonder how life might looked here a million years ago, how did humans survive.

It is appealing to believe that life has been unchanged here for thousands and thousands of years. But this is not the case. The Masai migrated here from Sudan only a few hundred years ago. The plains and the savanna are not untouched by human hand – herders have been living on this land for a long time, their cattle have shaped the landscape, integrated with the wild life.

I live in a country with a history of humans being of only a few thousand years. As Danes we are normally proud of our height, light skin and blue eyes. In reality the first humans in the Nordics – the hunter-gatherers – were short, had dark skin and grey eyes.

The genes for the light skin and blue eyes (a genetic mistake) came from Spain some thousand years ago and migrated to the North. Then 5.000 years ago, the Yamnaya’s from the northern part of Caucasus migrated to the Nordics – they were tall and had light skin. The Scandinavian look then developed – due to migrants, even though we off course all are migrants from the rift valley.

Homo sapiens one of the most successful animals on earth, unless we succeed in destroying the planet making it impossible for us to live here. We have migrated to all corners of the planet where it is possible to live (and in some cases not possible to live).

Climate changes is also visible here – the wet and dry seasons are getting out of balance. It’s raining during the dry season, and not raining in the wet season.

This area – where we were born – will be one of the first area where it will be impossible for humans to live. Humans will be forced to migrate – again – to find a place to survive. Unfortunately, we would have destroyed all the magnificent animals living here… so beautiful to watch.