Sunday, May 8, 2011

Re-cap of my final week in Tanzania

On Monday I went to visit the Mamas! It was so great to see them again and working harder than ever! I spent the majority of the morning helping them prepare chapattis for the Mtoni secondary school children and then visited them in the kitchen for part of the afternoon.
I was also finally able to meet Esther! Esther is the Western Heads East liaison here in Tanzania. When I arrived in January she was off on maternity leave so I didn’t get a chance to see her. I have heard so many positive things about her, so it was great to finally get a chance to talk to her. She updated me with where things are at with all of the women’s groups in Mwanza and I provided her with some additional information from when I was here from January to March.

Making Chapattis
Me and Mama Elizabeth

On Tuesday I went to St. Augustine University to meet up with a friend I met when I was in Mwanza from January to March. It was really nice to be in the university atmosphere and of course to visit Lina again! The students are just finishing up their last month of classes before exams begin in June. Lina is in her final year and about to graduate with her bachelor’s in Sociology. I attended a Human Rights lecture with her, and she also brought me to her home, which is conveniently located right beside the university! We had a really nice day together, and I am really going miss Lina when I go back to Canada! On Saturday she aIso invited me to “Shafiq” beach located just a short distance from SAUT and located right on Lake Victoria. Her and a group of her classmates had arranged a gathering to discuss various topics including; graduation, comprehensive exams, defending their research, and opportunities in today’s job market. It was a wonderful afternoon and the view was gorgeous! I just want to say thank-you to Lina (who I know frequently reads my blog), I am so happy I met you, I have learned so much from you, and have enjoyed experiencing what University is like in Tanzania. I wish you all the best in the future, you are a very smart girl and I know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to! I hope to see you in Canada one day!

Lina and I at SAUT (ready for lecture!)

Lake Victoria

Shafiq beach

Me with the SAUT students!

Wednesday I made my final visit to the ChemChem program with Mama Lau. This is a program that I attended multiple times during my first 2 months in Mwanza and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is a NGO that focuses on health and nutrition issues for mothers and their malnourished children specifically those under 5 years of age. They visit different regions in Mwanza and provide nutrition education and demonstrations on how to prepare Uji (thin porridge made of a mixture of millet, rice, soy, and maize flours). Although it is very difficult to understand what is being said because it is completely in Swahili, I am still happy to go and see such a positive program being delivered to the community free of charge.

Mmmmm Uji!

Visit to Bugando!
This week I also had the wonderful opportunity to visit Bugando hospital. My teacher friend from Mtoni secondary school, Perpetua, has a husband who is a working as a nurse in the adult intensive care unit there. I was talking to him the other day and mentioned the possibility of me coming to work with him one day just to observe and get a sense of what it is like working in a hospital in Tanzania. In addition, I am interested in nursing as a possible career so I thought it would be neat to see how things operate. He ran things by the matron, and of course it was fine, so I spent that day shadowing him and touring the hospital. It’s definitely very very different here, not near as advanced in terms of facilities, equipment, food etc, etc. In fact, the food preparation that day was taking place outside at the back of the hospital because the stoves weren’t working and there was water leaking all over the kitchen. They were cooking massive amounts of ugali, rice, beans, and meat in huge pots using fire wood! It looked like such intense work! But, I guess you have to do what you have to do, they have 800 people they have to serve, and they won’t let broken equipment get in the way!
 There is also a fee required to be treated which is a huge burden and limits many people for being able to receive the appropriate medical care. Overall, it was a really great experience, and made me feel even more fortunate for the health care system I have access to in Canada.

On Friday I went back to Buswelu primary school to pick up some cards/question sheets that I had left with the headmaster back in March for the students. I was pleasantly surprised to find them all completed wonderfully by the class 5 and 6 students with pictures included and everything! I am looking forward to bringing them back to show the children at Tecumseh school in London Ontario.
Note: The Western Heads East project has facilitated a twinning program between the Tecumseh School in London, Ontario and the Buswelu Elementary School in Mwanza, Tanzania. Since 2005, the Tecumseh Public School has contributed to the building of desks and has raised funds to support other needed supplies.

The questions that I had them complete were:
1.       What is your favourite thing about Tanzania?
2.       What is your favourite food?
3.       What is one question you have about Canada?

I really enjoyed looking through their answers and the pictures they drew!

Here is a little taste of some of the answers provided:
Question 1 Answers
Question 2 Answers
Question 3 Answers
Traditional Dances
Rice and Beans
When are you coming to Tanzania?
Tanzania’s National Parks (i.e. Serengeti, Ngorogoro)
Ugali and Tilapia
Do you learn Kiswahili at school in Canada?
Tanzania’s National Flag
Fried Sardines (dagaa)
How is the weather in Canada this month? Is it warm or cold?
Lake Victoria
How is life in Canada in 2011?
Mount Kilimanjaro
Rice and Meat
How do you get to school? By foot or bus?
Mineral Resources
Are there many children at schools in Canada?

Buswelu Primary School

Wonderful work of Buswelu Students!

A few things I’ve learned from being in Tanzania for 4 months:
-    Always carry toilet paper with you! It’s a luxury when toilet paper is provided in the bathroom, or let alone having a bathroom to access (isn’t that what bushes are for?)
-     If you’re lucky enough to experience a bus ride in Africa, girls wear a skirt!!
-     Having power is somewhat of a luxury. When the power is on, charge ALL your electronics!
-     Just because you are walking on the sidewalk does not mean that you won’t be hit by a daladala, car, or motorbike!
-     "Muzungu's" (aka non-African people, usually white skinned) are a hot item to be stared at, waved at, pointed at, and frantically yelled at with a Muzungu!!"
-     There are no fenced in fields of grazing animals. Single cows and goats are literally tied up in the ditches at the side of the road
-    There are many signs in the town of Arusha that say: Street Kids + Glue = Drugs
this is very true, the street kids very openly do drugs. There are organizations set up to help these children but they are choosing the streets and the drugs. I have seen them throw food to the ground when it was given to them, and then ask for money
-    There are more than a 120 different tribes in Tanzania. Every person in Tanzania knows which tribe that they are from. People in the city may live and work the same no matter which tribe they originated from. The only difference that I have noticed in the city is that some people from different tribes may like different foods. If you ever come to Tanzania you will soon see how the children make their way into your heart. It is interesting to see how they make unique homemade toys to keep themselves entertained. They may use an old suitcase, scrap metal, a stick, or old wire formed into a little car. When watching them you quickly learn that they have nothing, yet they are so content. They find joy in everything that they do. They are most always smiling and laughing and are so friendly to visitors
-    The longer I live in Tanzania the more I learn that people are just people. We all have a lot of the same struggles, same personalities, same feelings. The poverty is what has the greatest impact on the people of Tanzania. It affects every aspect of life in Tanzania. It truly determines the culture and why people do what they do.The thing I like the least about this is the corruption and theft among the people especially among those who are in charge or has any sort of authority. But my favorite thing about the people in Tanzania is their hospitality and family togetherness.
-    No matter who you are or where you are it is completely socially acceptable to pick your nose, and I mean really pick your nose. It can be quite awkward when a superior starts doing this in the midst of a conversation
-    People also burp all the time here and never say excuse me – it’s just a normal thing that everyone does any and everywhere. Sometimes I forget that this is acceptable and sometimes pause after someone burps, waiting for them to say “excuse me” but they just look at me funny
-          Something very surprising is that virtually everyone has cellphones! Even people who are extremely poor with no running water or electricity have cellphones and will answer them in any situation!

“Did you know….”
-    The writings around the edges of Kangas (wrap around skirts) range from armorous outpourings to pointed humor. For a sampling of what’s being said, see
-    Tanzania has one of the lowest rates of secondary school enrolment in the world, with less than 7% of suitably aged youth enrolled
-     It’s common for a woman to drop her own name, and become known as Mama followed by the name of her oldest son (or daughter if she has no sons)
-     About 6% (59,000 sq km) of mainland Tanzania is covered by vast inland lakes
-     In addition to boasting Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro (5896m), Tanzania also has the continents lowest point – the floor of lake Tanganyika, at 358m below sea level

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Enjoying my last couple weeks in Tanzania


Last Friday (Good Friday) my wonderful holiday to Zanzibar began! I successfully survived my first flight on my own to Zanzibar, where I would later meet Chris and Kendra. Everything went very smoothly. When I got off the plane I basically just walked into the airport, and then kept on walking…nobody bothered to even check my passport or yellow fever card. Not much security to say the least! From there, I met our guide from GAPAdventures who would be assisting us for the four days we would spend in Zanzibar. He escorted me to the Dhow Palace Hotel in Stone Town where we would spend two days. The hotel was fabulous! Compared to the conditions I have been living in for the past 3 ½ months, I definitely felt like I was living in luxury! I had my own bed, bathroom, and T.V (I don’t even have this at home!). I must admit that having a T.V was a pretty awesome addition! I haven’t watched T.V in over 3 months so I was pretty mesmerized…and there were over 60 channels!
Zanzibar Airport

Room #14 (My room at the Dhow)

Later in the evening we met up with some friends and had a delicious Indian meal! The service was incredible, like nothing I have ever encountered in Tanzania!
Chakula Kizuri

First night out!

Stone Town
On Saturday morning, our guide Salum picked us up from our hotel for a wonderful walking tour of Stone Town! Stone Town is the oldest living historic city in East Africa and the cultural heart of Zanzibar. Due to its heritage, Stone Town is also a major visitor attraction in Tanzania, and a large part of the economy depends on tourism – related activities. It is extremely difficult to navigate your way through the narrow maze-like streets, which are more like what we consider alleys than streets that even cars cannot pass through, but it is a very unique place. It is pretty much a given that you will, at some point, get lost wondering through Stone Town (or at least I know I would!) The good news is that Stone Town is very small so eventually you will find yourself at the ocean or one of the main roads. It was recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000! Some of the sites we visited included the house of wonders, fish market, and slave market. It was really eye opening to see the slave chamber where the slaves were kept, the conditions were absolutely treacherous!

Street in Stone Town

Walking through Stone Town

Slave Chamber

The height of slavery was in the mid 19th century; It is estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 Africans per year were sold into slavery or were killed by the Swahili Arabs and dominant local tribes. Most were taken from Zambia and Malawi and taken to the shores of Lake Malawi and sold to wholesalers and then taken across the lake. They were then marched across Mozambique usually chained or tied and carrying elephant tusks for export. Any slaves too ill to make the journey were simply abandoned. Most died of dehydration or were killed by wild animals. At the coast they were loaded into dhows and shipped to Zanzibar. They would be packed tightly together with no food and water and lying in their own excrement. The bodies of those who perished were left lying amongst the living. Those who survived where auctioned in Zanzibar and then shipped to places such as Arabia or India.
Chris by the Slave Statue

Stone Town has many tourist shops that I thoroughly enjoyed looking at! Especially the earrings…which I have a bit of a fetish for J
So many choices!

Me with all the Jewellery

Night Fish Market!
The night fish market was definitely a highlight in Stone Town! If you go to Zanzibar, you will quickly see that seafood is a pretty big deal. The fishing contributes to a large percentage of the whole Tanzanian GDP and the market for fish is especially enhanced with the tourism and tourists expecting seafood.
                Stone Town has an amazing night food market every evening from 7:00pm until around 1:00am, that sells mainly seafood which is cooked right in front of you. I got to experiment with tasting many types of fish such as king fish, octopus, calamari, and lobster! They were all absolutely delicious, but Kendra , who has eaten these same kinds of fish before, said they taste nothing like this in Canada! Another specialty at the market is the famous Zanzibar Pizzas! I tried a dessert pizza which consisted of mango, banana, and nutella (kind of like a casadia) it was fabulous!

Feast your eyes!

Spice Tour
On Easter Sunday we made our way to Nungwi, which is located at the north tip of the island. On our way we stopped for a spice tour in a beautiful spice plantation filled with countless spice and fruit trees! Zanzibar is often referred to as the Spice Island because back in the day it was a major spice grower and exporter. Apparently, the sultans and emperors found the climate in Zanzibar to be perfect for growing almost anything. I learned so much about so many varieties of spices including turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, vanilla, etc, etc, etc! We were told about the many medicinal properties of the spices such as turmeric being anti-cancerous, and cloves beneficial to chew on if you have a toothache! We also saw the trees where countless fruits such as bananas, papaya, passion, mango, avocado, custard apple, etc grow!
Following the tour we were provided with a scrumptious feast of all the fruits we had just learned about. It was the best tasting fruit I have ever had!  Then we got to witness one of the men from the spice farm climb a coconut tree which was amazing! I have no idea how he did it! Chris and Kendra also gave it a try, and I’d say they gave an excellent effort!

the girls with our leaf "baskets" to collect our spices

Lovin the Passion Fruit

No idea how he does this??

Solid effort by Chris!

Nungwi Beach
Located on the northern tip of Zanzibar, is nothing less than spectacular. With sugar-fine, soft white sand and unbelievably clear turquoise waters, this beach must rank as one of the world’s best. It is the perfect place to jolt you away from reality and put you in a restful state of mind. There are countless activities to enjoy including swimming with the dolphins, parasailing, sunset cruises, snorkeling and lots more! Chris, Kendra, and I decided on the snorkeling which was absolutely amazing! We had the perfect day for it which made It that much more enjoyable! We were taken out on a boat filled with about 20 other tourists to Mnemba Island (about a 1.5 hour boat ride). Once we reached our destination, Kendra and I jumped off the top of the boat and I made my first plunge into the Indian Ocean. Words cannot even describe how awesome this was! Snorkeling was also a very cool experience, and I was surprised with how comfortable I felt in the middle of the Ocean! After snorkeling we headed to the island for a delicious freshly prepared lunch of king fish, rice, vegetables, watermelon, and bananas! I felt like I was in paradise, and the beach was just like something you would see on a postcard!
Nungwi Beach


Chris and Kendra dive in!

Soakin up the sun ontop of the boat

We had such a wonderful time in Zanzibar; I just want to say Thank-you so much to Chris and Kendra for everything! They were awesome travelling companions and I will remember this vacation forever!

Back in Mwanza!
I left Arusha on Saturday and I am currently back in Mwanza for just over a week before I make the long trek back to Canada! Fortunately everything went very smoothly with my flight. I was very much over the luggage weight allowance, but I somehow worked some magic and was able to pay less than half that was required!
There was very little direction as to where I was supposed to go after I checked my bags, so I asked some “mzungus” if they were going to Mwanza. Luckily they were, and said I could wait with them in the lounge! They were a husband and wife from the U.K who are doctors volunteering in Sudan. They were engulfed in numerous newspapers about the Royal Wedding, so I was able to catch up on some much needed gossip! It was also great to talk to them a little bit about England, because on my way back to Canada I will stop there for a few days to visit my Aunt!

It’s nice to be back in Mwanza, the weather is much warmer than Arusha, which I obviously love! It is a dry heat so also much more tolerable than both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
In a way it feels like I am back “home.” On Sunday morning I went out for a short stroll around town just to familiarize myself with my surroundings again. There is such a different vibe here in Mwanza compared to Arusha. It feels so much quieter, and I don’t receive near as much harassment. I think I only got one “mzungu” comment all day, which is a record! I definitely feel 100x more comfortable in Mwanza this time compared to when I first arrived in January!
On Sunday afternoon I was invited to Perpetua’s home! She is a Teacher from Mtoni Secondary school whom I became very close with when I was teaching about the health benefits of probiotic yoghurt a couple months ago. She just had a baby boy on April 12th so I was super excited to see her and her new son Inocent. We had a wonderful afternoon!
Interesting fact: In Tanzania, maternity leave is only 84 days
Me and baby Inocent

Me with Perpetua and her two kids!

This week I will spend my time catching up with the Mamas and seeing some old friends before I leave Mama Africa on May 9th!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Last week we finally had the long awaited “launch” event of the delicious yoghurt!  On Wednesday, the mamas and I spent the day preparing signs, and organizing things for the event. Thursday was the big day, and overall I felt it was a huge success! Things were a little slow to get moving, but once we started things really took off! 
David (the owner of The New Sahara Café) agreed to allow us to distribute free samples of the yoghurt to customers. So, I spent the majority of my time at the café giving out samples in small cups and informing customers about the health benefits with a sign/information prepared in Swahili. We received rave reviews and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the yoghurt. Many people were asking me where they can buy more, so we directed them to the yoghurt kitchen which is only about 4-5 minutes from the café. I think David was also impressed with how much the customers enjoyed the yoghurt, so hopefully he will consider purchasing a few liters of yoghurt from the mamas each week to sell at his café!
David and I all set to promote the yoghurt!

Staff at Sahara enjoying the yoghurt
Thursdays and Sundays are market days in Ngaramtoni so things are very busy! We took advantage of this by also distributing samples to people in the market.
I’m very pleased with how everything went and believe we generated a greater awareness regarding both the availability and health benefits of the yoghurt!
Busy Market day in Ngaramtoni!
On Friday I was ready for a relaxing day after a busy week. I was kindly invited to Mama Anna’s home for the afternoon which was a wonderful experience and will definitely be one of my favourite memories from Arusha. Her daughter Pendo met me in Ngaramtoni where she informed me we were going to take a piki piki (motorcycle) to their house because no dala dalas go up that way! After being in Tanzania for three months, I still had never taken a piki piki which is extremely rare as they are a very cheap/common form of transportation. Come to think of it, I’ve never been on a motorcycle, so Friday was a big day already! Their home was a lot further than I expected, but the ride was quite enjoyable. We went through forests, maize fields, a maasai village, etc!  
Once we arrived, Mama Anna greeted us with open arms and was so happy to show me around her home. I was so amazed, they live on a beautiful large piece of land with a farm where they have a cow and grow maize (corn), beans, and have a banana tree. Their house is made out of soil with an iron sheet for the roof. Following the lovely tour it was time to prepare lunch!
Mama Anna's house

Mama Anna Cooking

Cooking green leaves
Karibu Chakula
It would be hard to travel to Tanzania – a land renowned for its hospitality – without hearing the phrase karibu chakula (welcome – join us for some food) at least once. If you do hear it, you should try to accept this invitation to dine with Tanzanians as a treat not to be missed. The first step is hand washing. For this, the hostess will bring around a bowl and jug of water where you hold your hands over the bowl while the hostess pours water over them.
                Next comes the meal itself which frequently centers around ugali. To enjoy it Tanzanian style, you take come ugali with your right hand from the communal pot, roll it into a small bowl with your fingers, making an indentation with your thumb, and dip it into whatever sauce is served. Eating with your hands is a bit of an art I have yet to master. You are never to use your left hand to take or give food, as it’s destined for ablutions and is considered unclean, no matter how much you’ve washed it
                Except for fruit, desserts are rarely served; meals conclude with a second round of hand washing. Saying chakula kizuri or chakula kitamu are ways to let your host know that the food was appreciated.

                  The above description was followed almost exactly at Mama Anna’s. It was also really neat to be involved in the whole process of food preparation. She has a small hut behind her house that is used to cook/prepare food. We first began my preparing the mboga (vegetables). This consisted of shredding carrots and tomatoes, chopping onions, cabbage, and green leaves from the pumpkins they have growing in their backyard. Then, we had to fetch some fire wood to make the fire to cook the food.
                Once the fire was burning we put in the onions with oil until they browned slightly followed by the carrots and green leaves, then came more oil and salt (Tanzanians really love their salt!!) While the vegetables were simmering for a while we began heating the water for ugali which is relatively simple to prepare. Once the water boils, you add maize flour and stir and stir and stir until it becomes like a stiff porridge. Although it doesn’t have much taste I’ve really grown to love it and everyone tells me to eat lots and I will be strong! People in Tanzania love it when you eat a lot, the more you eat the happier they are! It is very different from N.A where, especially for young girls, there is a desire to be thin and more “lady like” to eat less. Here, it is the complete opposite; Mama Anna has already told me what to eat and how much in order to get big stomach, because this is “better!”  It’s actually quite refreshing how people here view food, and I’m quite confident that eating disorders are completely unknown to Africans!
                Later in the day, Mama Anna’s husband arrived, and we had a very nice conversation about Canada and Tanzania. He told me to come back soon with my whole family and we can stay at their home!
So, Friday I rode my first piki piki through tight bumpy forest type paths, was welcomed to a house made of soil, saw the farming of many different crops, cooked fresh food over fire, and enjoyed a delicious Tanzanian meal with some wonderful people. I really enjoyed myself, and I would say that it closely resembled a typical day of many Tanzanians! I definitely won’t forget this day!
Me and Mama Anna's Husband
On Saturday, Chris’s friend Kendra from Canada arrived! This was extremely exciting and it’s great to have a new face around Sakina Campsite! She will be here for two weeks, and Chris has lots of great things planned, so I’m confident she will love her time here. In fact, Friday we are going to Zanzibar for a little holiday to end off our time in Arusha. We will be in Stone Town for two days, and Kendwa for another two days. I’m really looking forward to some relaxation and beach time, and have only heard amazing things about Zanzibar from those who have visited.

Church in Tanzania!
Sunday I had my first church experience in Tanzania! The director of Home of Hope (school I volunteer at) is also a pastor so he invited me to come along. It was definitely a unique experience. I’ve heard some pretty crazy stories about church in Tanzania from some friends who have attended, so I had myself prepared for anything. Although the service was extremely long (over three hours) and entirely in Swahili, I did enjoy myself and luckily a nice man beside me helped translate some of the prayers. The whole service was extremely upbeat and had a very motivating, joyful vibe. The first hour or so was all singing and dancing. Everyone was smiling, laughing, clapping, it was very uplifting and I enjoyed watching the kids dance in the isle! For the remainder of the time, different people came up to the front to say prayers or announcement, and Pastor Herry gave his sermon. Although I had a very hard time understanding what he was saying, the passion and energy in his voice really said a lot. You can tell he really enjoys what he does!
                At the end of the service Herry introduced me to the church and asked me to say a few words. I tried my best to use the little Swahili that I do know, although there were a few smirks/chuckles, everyone seemed to understand and was extremely welcoming! 
Herry's church

Singing and dancing

Kids dancing

Herry delivering his sermon

“Babu Loliando has a miracle cure”
                A couple weeks after arriving in Arusha, Chris and I started hearing about this “Babu” guy who apparently can cure you of any chronic disease. An area called Loliondo has become very famous in Tanzania (and apparently in many other parts of the world) due to this miracle cure that is given by Babu which can apparently cure you of any chronic disease including cancer, HIV/AIDS, ulcers, etc. Babu (real name: Ambilikile Mwasapile) is a 76 year old retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania,
Anna’s husband was telling me all about him and said that over 7000 people per day from all over the world make the journey to visit Babu to take this “miracle medicine.” The curing plant that is used there is called Carissa edulis from the Apocynaceae family. The former pastor insists that for effective healing, one has to get to his home clinic and drink one cup of a concoction of that herbal medicine. Furthermore, he has to prepare the medicine himself and one has to pay 500Tsh, equivalent to 35 cents of American dollar. The acclaimed Babu’s healing power may fall into the category of superstitious beliefs aimed at cheating death through miracles. Human beings fear death more than anything else, and that is why healing always seems like a sacred profession.  In the modern world the mission of healing people is left to the practice of medicine, which is solely based on scientific treatment. With all the advanced medical technology we have, still human beings die at the hands of medical professionals, and that is where the opportunity for other forms of healing emerge. Therefore, apart from scientific medicine, we do have other forms of healing, including traditional healing like Chinese and African, which depends on herbal medicines and other therapies such as acupuncture; as well as spiritual healing.
 Apparently people with HIV have gone to Babu and claimed that they were cured! However, I’ve heard that the medicine can “mess” with the CD4 count in ones blood so it looks as if they don’t have HIV anymore, but they actually do.  Personally, I have a hard time believing these healing wonders of Babu, and witchcraft medicine that we have come across here in Tanzania, but some people believe very strongly in him, and many claim that they have cured them of many chronic ailments. But anyway, he is now offering hope to desperate people. Let us see how far the whole thing will go.

Here is something I found on the internet that Babu said:

"I am like the hand of God. He has instructed me to do this. It first came as a dream in 1991, later in 2009 when I first administered the healing drink to my first patient.
Wonder medicine
Thereafter, he was tested for his illness and found to have been cured. That is when other people started coming here. I officially started this work in July, last year."
He administers the ‘drug’ to the high and the mighty in Tanzania and the ordinary people at his Samunge village, Sale District in Loliondo.
The cleric claims he discovered the wonder ‘medicine’ two months ago.
And deep into the Ngorongoro National Park where the village is situated, Mwasalipe threatens to rival President Jakaya Kikwete’s popularity owing to the large crowds that gather in this tiny village.
According to media reports from Tanzania and by the BBC, Mwasalipe’s concoction consists of a poisonous plant in the area known as Elamuriak.
The ‘drug’ reportedly cures terminal diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, HIV and Aids and diabetes.
The drug is the reason thousands of people have braved the rugged park roads and spent chilly and dusty nights around his compound for the past two months to book an appointment with him.
According to the BBC, Mwasalipe, 76, a retired preacher with the Lutheran Church, is an instant hit in Tanzania.
And the news of this miracle cure is spreading like bushfire with reports in the local media and even blogs and facebook updates partly fuelling his popularity.
However, the ‘medicine’ is no ordinary drug — it is only Mwasalipe himself who can administer it. It ceases to be effective if administered by anybody else.
"It has to be administered by babu himself. I can tell you I have witnessed people who have been healed," adds a Tanzania in one of the social network sites.
The crowds have been growing by the day since the retired cleric began administering the ‘medicine’, which is in liquid form and given out in a cup.
And the Tanzanian Government has been forced to provide security to the cleric by deploying police to control the large crowds.