Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 7:01 AM
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 4:45 AM
Monday, March 28, 2011
14 Februari 2011
Itakumbukwa kwamba wananchi wengi wanaoishi Mkoa wa Arusha (Mashariki mwa Serengeti) na Mkoa wa Mara (Magharibi mwa Serengeti) waliondolewa kimabavu miaka ya 1950 ili kupisha uanzishwaji wa Hifadhi ya Taifa ya Serengeti bila ridhaa yao.
Loliondo ni makao makuu ya Wilaya ya Ngorongoro. Ni karibu kilomita 400 hivi kutoka mjini Arusha. Kwa kuwa hakuna barabara msafiri hupoteza zaidi ya muda unaopotezwa na msafari anayetoka Arusha kwenda Dar es Salaam karibu kilomita 800. Endapo barabara hii ingejengwa bila shaka huduma ingewasogelea wananchi hawa.
Sasa hivi magari zaidi ya 400 yanayobeba watalii kutoka nchi wanakotoka wahafidhina hawa wanaopinga ujenzi wa barabara hupita kwenye Hifadhi ya Taifa ya Serengeti kwa siku (Daily News [Dar es Salaam] February 24, 2010). Kulinganisha, kuna basi moja to kwa siku linatoka Musoma kwenda Arusha na moja kutoka Arusha kwenda Musoma. Kuna wakati wanamazingira alilazimisha kusimamishwa uzalishaji wa umeme kwa ajili ya vyura wa Kihansi na sasa wanapinga mkakati wa kujenga bwawa la kuzalisha umeme kwenye Bonde la Stiegler katiaka Pori Tengefu la Selous. Madai ya wahafidhina wa uhifadhi wa wanyamapori ni kuwa ujenzi wa barabara kupitia Hifadhi ya Taifa ya Serengeti wanyama kama nyumbu na wengine wataangamia. Hoja nyingine inayotumika kuwanyima wananchi waishio pembezoni mwa Serengeti kwamba Serengeti ni Eneo la Urithi la Dunia. Kwamba Tanzania haina kauli ya mwisho kuhusu Serengeti na maeneo mengine ya urithi wa dunia. Wahafidhina wa mazingira wanapendekeza barabara kupita Kusini mwa Hifadhi ya Tafa ya Serengeti (Arusha-Babati-Singida-Shinyanga-Mwanza-Musoma).
Barabara hii kwanza tayari inajengwa na hivyo hawawezi kuiambia Serikali kujenga barabara ambayo inaendelea kujengwa. Pili, barabara hii inapita katika kundi kubwa la pili la wanyamapori wanao hama hama waliobaki katika uso wa dunia hii kule Tarangire-Manyara. Tatu, barabara kupitia Mto-wa-Mbu na Engaruka ni maamuzi ya kisiasa ya Edward Lowassa.
Barabara Mbadala ya Afrika Mashariki
Mbunge Mwanzilishi wa Ngorongoro, Moringe Parkipuny, anapendekeza barabara ya Afrika ya Mashariki. Barabara hii itaanzia Lengijape kwenda Ngaresero na hatimaye Naan Mashariki mwa Loliondo. Kutoka pale itavuka mpaka na kuigia nchini Kenya kuelekea Narok na mbuga za Ngano kule Lemek. Itaendelea hadi Lolgorien na kuvuka tena mpaka pale Sirari na kuendelea kwenda hadi mjini Musoma. Barabara hii inaepuka kukatisha katikati ya wanyama wanao hama hama Tarangire-Manyara na Serengeti-Maasai Mara bila kuathiri haki ya wananchi waishio pembezoni mwa Hifadhi ya Taifa ya Serengeti kupata barabara kama wananchi wengine. Vile vile inaifanya Kenya iwajibike kwa kubeba mzigo wake wa wanyamapori badala ya kuiachia Tanzania pekee. Hii pia inaiweka majaribuni roho ya muungano wa Afrika na juhudi zinazoendelea kuunganisha Afrika Mashariki.
Je, Tanzania ni nchi huru yenye haki ya kutumia maliasili zake kwa ajili ya maendeleo ya watu wake? Kati ya wananchi na wanyamapori nani ana haki zaidi? Wote wako sawa? Tanzania ina uhuru bado wa kujiamulia mambo yake yenyewe kama nchi huru? Rais Kikwete ataweza kuhimili mapambano dhidi ya vyombo vya habari vya Magharibi? Kwa nini UNESCO wanaweza kuipelekesha Serikali ya Tanzania kuhusu maendeleo ya wananchi wake lakini UNESCO hiyo hiyo inaziogopa Serikali kama za Ujerumani? Tanzania bado ni nchi huru?
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 7:37 AM
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 5:56 AM
Saturday, March 26, 2011
"Let me ask one question to begin with: who is the self in what we know as self-determination? In 1956, when Sudan became independent, that self was the people of Sudan. Today, in 2011, when South Sudan will become independent, that self is the people of South Sudan.That self, in both cases, is a political self. It is a historical self, not a metaphysical self as nationalists are prone to think. When nationalists write a history, they give the past a present. In doing so, they tend to make the present eternal. As the present changes, so does the past. This is why we are always rewriting the past" - Mahmood Mamdani on Implications of South Sudan's Referendum
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 6:32 PM
Friday, March 25, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 5:06 AM
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 4:26 PM
"Shughulikeni kwani bado kuna vitu vingi ambavyo dunia haijui lakini sisi tumevifanya kama mazoea tu. Kina Prof mahuna na zile dawa zetu nk ni vitu ambavyo havijulikani ... kwani kitu kama massage ya tumbo (kutufiwa) wakati linauma .. Tiba ya Mburathi (kimeta?) na Kirie (Cancer) wapare walikua navyo ni vile tu miti na majani yamepotea au wajuzi wamekufa nao.." - Yassin Mshana, 4 Oktoba 2010
"M., Magingo, F.S., Minja, A.N., Bitanyi, H.F. & Mahuna, R.L. Plant Genetic Resources and Biotechnology. Proceedings of the first national workshop held at Arusha, Tanzania, January 16 - 20, 1990" - Literature and References
"...Vuguvugu la tiba asilia lilianza kuibuka tena mwaka 2002 wakati Bunge la Jamhuri ya Muungano liliporidhia na kupitisha sheria Na.23 ya Tiba Asilia Mbadala ambapo Rais wa Awamu ya Tatu, Benjamin Mkapa alimteua Profesa Rogasia Mahuna kuwa Mwenyekiti wa Baraza la Tiba Asilia Tanzania...mbali na kuwa mwenyekiti wa Baraza hilo, Profesa Mahuna pia yumo katika kundi la wataalam wanaowashauri marais wa nchi 12 za Afrika juu ya matumizi ya Tiba Asilia na pia ni Makamu Mwenyekiti wa Baraza la Tiba Asilia barani Afrika" - Maishani
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 9:48 AM
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 5:56 PM
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 7:44 AM
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Ours is an ailing nation. It is sick socially, politically and even spiritually. That is our Loliondo.
In ‘What Makes Loliondo Treatment Tick?’ (The Citizen 15/03/2011) I curiously concluded that I can hardly wait to see what is happening there. Well, I went. Yes, I saw. But, I did not conquer.
We took off from Arusha at dawn. The bus was fully packed. Nay, it was seemingly fully packed as we kept picking more passengers, if not patients, along the way. Unsurprisingly my ticket was doubly booked. Yes, yet another symptom of a very sick nation that can barely regulate anything.
Of course there are those who opted for relatively more comfortable cars – some hired others privately owned. But as you can tell our society is not only classed but also gendered. No wonder the composition of the fifty plus passengers in the bus reflected health statistics that are frequently splashed in national demographic reports – a lot of women, children and old people.
Perhaps no one knows better than the drivers/conductors of Toyota Land Cruisers which for the time being have forfeited their usual business of tourism in Arusha and Manyara. As they tried to convince me to join them a woman came by. One of them told the other not to even bother to ask her if she could take the remaining two seats in their Toyota. Why? Because he could tell who is a bus passenger’. How? I still don’t know but he kept insisting that ‘you can just tell by looking’.
But we all came – from Arusha, Mwanza, Dar es Salaam, and beyond. Along the way we even saw a bus from Nairobi, Kenya and another from Kampala, Uganda. They all braved the rough and contentious road which, as I would argue in my forthcoming article on ‘All Roads Lead to Loliondo’, has found a new impetus for construction thanks to the sensational ‘cure’ of Loliondo.
It took us about 12 hours to reach our destination. By twilight passengers in our bus had yet drunk from the cup of what is now regarded in Biblical terms as the ‘water of life’. For a moment the treatment had to be suspended because there was no enough water. They went to fetch more.
We thus used that window of opportunity to talk with Ambilikile Mwasapile, famously known as ‘Babu’ (Grandfather) and ‘Mchungaji’ (Pastor), about the treatment. There is no time to waste so I go straight to the point and ask about the nature, origin and strength of that ‘dawa (medicine)’.
From a Biblical vantage point Jesus is presented as the “Word of God”. Therein faith revolves around Him as highlighted by the famous phrase “Thus Saith the Lord”. Moreover, the Bible defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” or, as another version puts it, it “is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”.
It should not come as a surprise then when we see people from all walks of life full of ‘confidence’, ‘hope’ or even on what they consider ‘evidence’ go to Loliondo in search a ‘miracle cure’. What is happening in Loliondo has its own internal logic and can hardly be explained by conspiracy theories on the quest to boost tourism in the Northern circuit. Rather it is driven by what we hear and see in the context of a country with pathetic basic social services.
In this regard mass media and religion, two out of five institutions that matters a lot to people according to Twaweza’s study, play a major role. After all Babu did not start his treatment today. When I asked him why such publicity now? He simply said it is because of what patients testify. What is my testimony? I heard and saw a people in pain and in need of a better society that caters for their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. They clung to any sign of miracle they had heard of or claim to have seen. Unfortunately I did not see any instant miracle. I missed the much talked about helicopter that is said to have brought a critical patient from Kenya who managed to wave on the way back after s/he was helped to drink the dawa. I kept missing such phenomena.
All I could see is a number of my fellow passengers who looked sick and weak even when we arrived back in Arusha after spending a whole night in Loliondo. While there class emerged again. Some of us slept in a tent for Tsh 20,000, others on the bus and yet others on the ground.
A nurse at a nearby village dispensary is cautious enough. She admits their ARV patients who took the dawa still have HIV after testing them. But she also affirms that they are doing very well to the extent that one of them can now walk and work. The nurse, so she claims, has also been healed of ulcers and has stopped taking tablets. But Babu is quoted over and over again as saying it takes time for AIDS viruses to go away while the dawa works on disempowering them.
But those who seemed so ill still have a glimmer of hope though the psychologist in me keeps insisting that there is an element of disillusionment and denial. No wonder a few days ago upon hearing unconfirmed reports of someone who died despite being treated in Loliondo, a close relative who has also been there for medication exclaimed: ‘The dawa is not for stopping death!’
So here I am in Arusha getting ready to go back to Dar es Salaam. But another coincidence is in store for me. One of the women who volunteered to help Babu provide medicine to those in the queue is lodging next door in route to her home. She remembers me as I was begging her to give me her side of the story while in Loliondo. Her story is not any different from the many I hear: ‘I have been healed of ulcers, I even ate chips yesterday’. Her verdict: ‘Babu is from God – that is not Witchcraft’. Who am I to dispute her testimony? After all I am neither a doctor nor a prophet.
The Citizen 17/03/2011
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 12:10 PM
Hatimaye nimefika kijijini Samunge huko Loliondo wilayani Ngorongoro. Nimekutana na Ambilikile Mwasapile maarufu kama ‘Babu’. Pia nimeonana na kuzungumza na wazee wengine.
Mababu hawa watano ni sehemu ya wazee nane wanaojulikana kama ‘Wazee wa Mji’ hapo kijijini. Kwa mujibu wa mmoja wao, huchaguliwa na wazee wa rika lao kushikilia uongozi wa kimila wa jamii yao ijulikanayo sasa kama Wasonjo japo kwa asili kabisa wanaitwa Wabatemi.
Kilichotuleta hapo Samunge ni kitu kimoja tu: Kujua asili na nguvu ya dawa inayotolewa na Babu Mchungaji kwa maelfu ya watu wanaozidi kufurika kijijini hapo kutoka katika kila kona ya nchi na hata nchi za mbali. Babu tulipoonana naye kabla yao jibu lake lilikuwa ni fupi tu: “Asili ya dawa ni Mungu mwenyewe, mti ni wa kawaida; ni mti wa kawaida kama miti mingine ila Mungu ameweka Neno lake ndani ya mti hivyo Neno ndilo linaloponya.” Na tena akasisitiza kuwa Mungu akitoa Neno lake ndani ya mti huo basi mti hautakuwa na nguvu hiyo ya uponyaji.
Tulipomdadisi Babu kuhusu matumizi ya zamani ya mti huo alisema kuwa wenyeji walikuwa wanautumia kama supu/mchuzi ila hajui la zaidi. Jibu la ziada ndilo tulilolipata kutoka kwa wazee wa mji na bado tunatafakari jibu lao katika muktadha wa imani za asili za tiba za Kiafrika katika kipindi hichi ambapo vuguvuvugu la uasilia linazidi kupamba moto sehemu mbali mbali.
Mti hii, wazee hawa wa Samunge wanadai, una majina mawili: Mgamryaga na Mbaghayo. Lakini hawajui kwa nini una majina mawili. Ila wanasema unapatikana kwa wingi katika Mlima Mwegaro hapo kijijini. Eneo hilo la mlima ndilo Babu Mchungaji alituonesha kwa kidole alipokuwa anaeleza kuwa ameoneshwa na Mungu kuwa huko ndipo huduma yake itakapohamishiwa kwa ajili ya kutibu watu wengi zaidi ambao wataendelea kuja kutoka mbali.
Kwa mujibu wa wazee hao, dawa hiyo ilikuwa inatumika kama “kinga ya kansa”. “Inapokuwa katika mnyama ni kimeta ila inapokuwa katika mwanadamu ni kansa”, anasisitiza mzee mmoja anapokuwa anajaribu kutuelezea huo ugonjwa ambao walikuwa wanaamini unapatiwa kinga pale wanapokunywa supu iliyochemshwa kutokana na mti huo. Mzee mwingine ananichorea kwenye udongo kabisa jinsi gani hicho kidonda cha ‘kansa’ kinavyojitokeza mwilini mwa mwanadamu.
Walikuwa wanaamini na inaonesha bado wanaaamini kuwa mnyama akifa kwa ugonjwa huo basi nyama yake ikichemshwa pamoja na mizizi ya mti huo na kuliwa ama kunywewa basi wanapata kinga ya kansa. Lakini mlijuaje, nawadadisi? Tulikuwa tunagundua kibahati bahati anajibu mmoja ila kabla hajamaliza mwingine anadakia: ‘Sisi tulirithi kutoka kwa mababu zetu.”
Pia kulikuwa na tiba ya ugonjwa huo, wanasisitiza wazee hao, ambayo ilitokana na kuchoma mti mwingine na kutumia masizi ya moshi wake yanayoganda kwenye dari la nyumba. Wanasisitiza kuwa kinga na tiba hizi bado zinafanya kazi. Lakini inapokuja kwenye suala la dawa ya babu wote wanakiri kuwa ni suala la kiroho/kiimani. Tena wanakiri kuwa na wao wameshainywa na wanaelezea sehemu ambazo imeshawaponya – mmoja mgongo, mwingine mguu na kadhalika.
Wazee wa mji wanne kati ya watano tulioongea nao wana majina ya Kikristo. Tena wote wanakiri kuwa ni waumini wa dhehebu la Kikristo la Kilutheri. Lakini wanasema mila zao hazigongani na imani hiyo ndio maana wao kama wazee wa mji bado wanazisimamia na kuziongoza. Kwa mfano, wanasema Jumapili ya 13 Machi 2001 walifanya tambiko dogo linalojulikana kama Ghorou kwa lugha yao ambapo waliombea huduma ya Babu na masuala mengine ya Kijiji. Mmoja wao anasema mvua iliyonyesha Jumatatu ni matokeo ya tambiko hilo.
Je, walimjulisha babu kuhusu hilo tambiko? La hasha! Wanasisitiza kuwa lilikuwa ni tambiko la wao wazee tu ambalo watu wengine hawakuwa na haja ya kuambiwa kama yalivyo matambiko mengine. Matambiko hayo ni pamoja na lile la kupeleka utumbo wa kondoo na asali kwenye chanzo cha maji katika Mlima Mwegaro kwa ajili ya kuomba kupitia kwa mizimu ya mababu.
Lakini wanatoa angalizo kuwa hapo kwao hakuna “waganga wa kienyeji” pengine katika jitihada ya kusititiza kwamba yanatokea huko sio masuala ya ‘kichawi’ ama ‘kishirikina’. Wanaendelea kusisitiza kuwa ujuzi wa dawa wanao mababu. Hivyo, wagonjwa kijijini wanawaona wazee hao.
Kwao hakuna hili suala la uwili au upacha unaopingana katika kuendeleza imani yao ya kimila na imani yao kikristo. Wanachoona ni kuwa imani hizi hazipingani. Kwa mfano, huduma yao katika chanzo cha maji hayo imejikita katika kuhakikisha wanalinda chanzo hicho cha uhai wa jamii yao. Moja ya taratibu hizi inamkumbusha mwanafunzi wa Biblia kuhusu taratibu za wana wa Israeli walipokuwa wanatoka utumwani katika Nchi ya Misri na kukaa jangwani kwa muda.
Wakiwa huko jangwani walipewa maagizo mbalimbali ya kujitunza na kuitunza jamii ikiwa ni pamoja na kudhibiti hali ya mwanamke aliye katika hedhi isiathiri vitu vinavyotumiwa kwa pamoja katika jamii hizo. Wazee hawa wa Samunge nao wanadai kuwa si ruhusa kwa mwanamke aliye katika siku zake kugusa maji achilia mbali kuoga huko kwenye chanzo hicho.
Tena mwanamke akiwa katika hali hiyo hata akiteleza katika maji hayo basi inabidi alete faini ya kondoo na asali kwa ajili ya tambiko hapo katika chanzo cha maji. Msisitizo wa hili tuliushuhudia pale mzee mmoja alipoondoka na kwenda kuwaonesha wasafiri wenzetu waliokuja kupata dawa ya Babu mahali pa kuoga. Ni suala ambalo mwanaharakati yoyote wa usawa wa kijinsia anaweza kulivalia njuga. Ila kama navyosisitiza, ni muhimu kwanza kujua mantiki yake.
Mjadala huu mfupi na wazee hawa wa mji unaniacha na maswali mengi: Je, kuna uwezekano wowote kuwa hii dawa ina nguvu za kikemikali za tiba ndani yake ndio maana walikuwa wanaitumia kama kinga? Na kama ni kweli, je, suala la kiimani analolisisitiza babu na wazee hawa lina nafasi gani katika hili? Bado naendelea kutafakari hasa ukizingatia kuwa nimeambiwa eti maana ya neno mojawapo kati ya maneno hayo hapo juu ya asili linamaanisha ‘kutafakari.’
Ama kweli wazee hawa wa mji wanatafakari. Kisiasa hii pia ni fursa ya kuendeleza kijiji chao. Ndio maana wanasisitiza tuandike kuhusu umuhimu wa kutengeneza barabara inayokwenda kijijini kwao ili watu wafike kwa urahisi. Pia wanataka makampuni ya simu yalete huduma zao.
Nilichojifunza mpaka dakika hii ni kuwa ni kweli kwa kiasi kikubwa jamii za Kiafrika zinaangalia nini kinafanya kazi au kinaonekana kufanya kazi. Kama dawa ya ‘kiasili’ iko hivyo basi wataitumia. Na kama dawa ya ‘kisasa’ iko hivyo wataitumia. Pia kama dawa ya ‘kiroho’ iko hivyo nayo wataitumua. Ndio maana tulipokuwa tunarudi wasafiri wenzangu walinunua vipande vya magadi pembeni ya Ziwa Natron, wakaniambia navyo ni dawa na kuniuliza: “Kwani hujui?”
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 11:45 AM
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
By Ng'wanza Kamata
I am in the same confusion, but yet I won’t budget an inch to agree with the hundred testimonies I have heard so far. But for me, as a Materialist Africanist, the Loliondo is (to those who are going and those planning to go, and those who are still making up their minds) like a New Jerusalem! If New Jerusalem means emancipation, Loliondo is revealing before our eyes that people want freedom!
What a coincidence, while in Egypt and Tunisia they marched in protest against the regimes, and in Libya they are fighting (a bit confusing!) against Ghadaffi (!), and in Ngugi's Wizard of the Crow they are marching to Heaven (what a prophetic novel) in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, as we are told, are marching to Loliondo.
One point which attracts my curiosity about Loliondo is that they are all queuing, in one long queue. Rich and poor, big and small, powerful and weak, men and women, old and young (ajuza na vikongwe - I don't know the english words that expresses this age category!), you name them! They queue waiting for their turn to see the minister (Mzee, Babu Ambilikile). I find this interesting and would perhaps try to explain it, but after you tell me what you have witnessed.
In ‘the Marching to Heaven’ portrayed by Ngugi’s Wizard of the Crow, the rich and poor had different queue! In Loliondo, the arrogance of the Arab Rich Hunter is nothing, it is easily humbled by the free and crudely administered liquid in a plastic cup, not the expensive gold and silver glasses, like the Holy Grail most churches have.
There are so many questions, and perhaps you can help answer them after your sojourn. When it comes to bodily health, Loliondo is saying, we are all equal! But are we drawing any lessons from this? In life we live to show off, but in Loliondo there is no chance for that. Sick rich, or poor sick, will all want to show off. Which hospitals they went (India, America, South Africa) you name them! In Loliondo there is only one doctor and one medicine for all. There is no fast tracking, no first class. No classes! There is only Medicare for everyone. There is no emergency; there is no Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There is one doctor and one medicine for all, and the price is fixed – not more not less – it is 500. The Loliondo will pass, and the most important lessons would not have been learnt.
It does not matter whether it cures or it does not, but it reminds us of our humanity.
The freedom we want here, which makes all of us equal is the health of the body. On this the rich and poor, no matter how they became unhealthy (because the sources can be different) are united by one hope, cure of their bodily needs, which unfortunately in most of the testimonies are not revealed.
And you pay only Shs. 500. What a bluff, to the rich especially.
Posted by Chambi Chachage at 6:06 AM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A retired pastor-cum-healer is treating thousands of patients there. Various versions of what has been going on continue to grip the public imagination. The proverbial curiosity that killed a cat has not spared the sceptic in me. That is why I had packed my bags and started this journey to Loliondo.
For some strange reasons my ticket got mixed up. So I ended leaving Dar es Salaam earlier than planned. That is when a series of incidences, or rather coincidences, began to happen. At the airport I found a member of my extended family escorting her 83-year-old ailing dad to Loliondo.
In the parlance of miracles one would claim that it was not by chance that I ended up flying with them since he actually needed some extra escorting from a fellow male in the airport.
While waiting for our delayed flight a fellow passenger asked if our granddad was/is sick. I could not give a straight answer, as I was not sure how much I should disclose to a total stranger about his medical condition. “Send him to Loliondo,” he quipped, “I was one of the first people to be treated there for a high level of cholesterol.” As he testified he was, interestingly, munching crisps.
In our short ride from the Kilimanjaro International Airport to Arusha with a couple of friends the hot topic was the Loliondo treatment. One could sense that what has made people seek a miracle cure in Loliondo is not only what they have heard but also what they have seen. I have also heard. But, frankly, the “Biblical doubting Thomas” in me has not seen anything yet.
Yet Arusha is abuzz with testimonies. A taxi driver I met was thus categorical about Loliondo: “I drive medical doctors and they affirm that Loliondo’s healing works.” I ask: “But how do they know?” He responds: “They say they have cross-examined their patients who have gone to Loliondo.”
I wonder if that is indeed true why they have not come out in public. Then I remember, oh, ours is a very “political” bureaucracy of “well, I am not the official spokesperson”.
The intrigue continued when I met my three close relatives who have been to Loliondo. They all assert that they feel very well after being treated in Loliondo. One even admits that she has stopped using her daily medication for an ailing heart and blood pressure. Yet they are all honest enough to disclose that they have not yet gone for the “modern” medical check-up in any hospital.
They went to Loliondo after hearing that the treatment works from other relatives. So, I drop my bombshell: Have you ever seen anyone - with your own naked eyes - who was very sick and has recovered?
“Yes”, one of them affirms, “there was this person we travelled with from Arusha to Loliondo who could not walk because of paralysis but he started to walk five minutes after getting treated.”
My mind drifted to those preachers who demonstrate similar cases, albeit, on TV. She continued: “I also saw a lady from Singida who was too sick to eat and walk and had to be allowed to bypass the queue; she returned walking and rejoicing.” Well, my mind drifted, again.
How do we classify such a treatment as African traditional healing or/and spiritual Christian healing? None could really tell but the Christianity in them affirmed that they did not see anything related to witchcraft. They would have not even gone if it had a semblance of sorcery.
These are second, third and fourth generation Christians in Tanzania. They grew up in an area called “Misheni”, that is, “Mission” that was named so because of the German missionaries who introduced the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) brand of Christianity in Tanganyika. SDAs are well known for strict adherence to health principles with respect to what the Word i.e. the Bible, says.
To an SDA, any claim to miracle healing must be subjected to Biblical/Doctrinal tests of spirituality. However, by the very nature of SDA’s adherence to healing from natural remedies as captured in the acronym NEWSTART (Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust in God), these relatives of mine still use traditional Pare herbs which work well.
No wonder, from the SDAs have come out natural/herbal remedies’ experts such as Evangelist Ndodi, Doctor Mtango and the late Pastor Shuli of Mwanza. It is this context that seems to inform my relatives as they seek the treatment from Loliondo. To them there is no “duality” that is often used to explain why Africans subscribe to inconsistent or mutual exclusive sets of belief.
It is that quest for an explanation that is driving me to Loliondo. The Africanist in me is curious to know the place, if any, of African traditional/indigenous knowledge systems of healing in the treatment of Loliondo. Yet the Adventist in me is interested in knowing the role of SDA Biblical analysis in making sense of what is happening in Loliondo and beyond in the current global age.
So at dawn I board a bus to Loliondo. I can hardly wait to hear things. And to see what happens.
© Chambi Chachage - Published by The Citizen 15 March 2011
Posted by Caroline Chumo at 2:40 AM