Friday, September 15, 2006

A traveller is an atheist. We have that saying in Africa. How much of that saying is true or not could be an endless debate.
There are thousands of perceived messages that could come out of this picture. What do you think when you see this one? Please leave your opinion(s).Don't just glance at it and say nothing.I would like to hear from you.

Picture courtesy of my good friend Yahya Charahani who blogs in swahili at


Anonymous said...

Those women must be very strong.From now they have my maximum respect! Jeff,is this picture real and is that car actually moving?

Amelopsis said...

Jeff I wonder what the containers hold (or will hold once the destinations' reached?) and I wonder which country this is (most places outside Europe & North America see over-packed vehicles as a matter of course, but which one is this?)

The Intolerant One said...

Travellers? I see harvestor's.

A traveller is an atheist.

The apostle Paul did nothing BUT travel and we know he was no atheist.

Scout said...

i clicked on the pic to enlarge it as wanted to see the expression on the man at the back's face. he seemed to be saying, 'here we go' in a light that is neither of excitement nor sadness. they seem to be a working crew....all women save for the guy and whatever sex the driver is. they are well fed, and must hold to some traditional ways judging by their clothes.

as well as the bottles there is what looks like bedding. the area they are in is served by electricity.

those who would adhere to the saying of a traveller is an atheist would have faith in Creator taking care of them with their family on the land where they belong. travelling is different from taking a trip. usually if someone travels or takes a trip in indigenous life, it is to see distant relatives or to help out where they are needed. one who is a constant traveller can be a lost soul, driven out by circumstance (their own ill actions and not wanting to make their ways righteous again, or there was war or natural distaster), or , well, as you say it could be endless debate.

in the pic this could be for some type of work like healing, ceremony, etc.. as it is mostly women my thoughts are they are off to help with healing or teaching.

the one bottle has a dark liquid in it and whatever is in them all certainly doesn't require refrigeration. i don't think they are going very far as how long could one sit on those metal bars for??? if it were a long journey they would sit atop the bedding.

so if they are not going far but staying for a bit i'm thinking some of the bottles will be used for drink along the way and the others are herbal medicinals.

either that or i'm totally off the mark and it's a delivery truck that picks up people en route and they are off to work somewhere or coming home from work :)

those are my impressions.

Jeff Msangi said...

First anonymous,yes the picture is more than real.

I am not sure what the containers hold but I would probably agree with suggestions that Scout has given below.The country is Tanzania,somewhere near mount Kilimanjaro.

Intolerant One,
You are safe to refer them as harvestors so as to "resque" Apostle Paul to be called an atheist.By calling the travellers atheist it only meant a traveller should be prepared for anything along the way.My understanding.

I had no idea that you are a perfect photo reader.You have given an amazing analysis,facial expressions,culture,electricity,environment,roads and all that.I am standing,applauding you sister.You are a genius of your own make.I have to learn this from you.I am sure your insight have given out a better room for understanding.

Scout said...

hey jeff! it's probably only because i couldn't sleep last night , the painkillers from the dentist seem to wire me instead of knocking me out, so i had PLENTY of time to really look at the photo. poor eyesight gets me to click to enlarge photos :)

i'd love to see more pics of your homeland (i went to your freind's siste and there's good ones there but i live in a rural area so love pics of other rural areas). and would be more then open to hearing 'expressions' and their meaning. thanks for the neat post!

Trio Kaka said...

Jeff, that is a nice photo right there. In the absense of "regular express buses" That is the kind of transport I used to take from rural Musoma to Musoma town, I also took those a couple of times from Shunyanga to Mwanza. It was quite an experience, at the end of our destinations we found ourselves full of dusts like miners and a little bit of cold - Mafua and itching eyes because of the wind.

I am not sure what those containers are for, but if I relate to my experience am sure they are not using them containers to carry water. The most likely use for those container could be kerosine, cooking oil, petrol and if it was where I come from I would say those container were used to transport milk from rural area to downtown, and if the lorry was heading to the village then most container would either be empty or have kerosine in them.

Some form of transport is better than no transport at all!

Jeff Msangi said...

Trio Kaka,
Thanks for stopping by.I appreciate.I agree with you some sort of transportation is better than nothing.

Do you think "mbege" could be what is inside those containers or even banana wine?

Trio Kaka said...

Jeff, Never lived in Moshi or Arusha but I won't be suprised if those containers are used to transport mbege or Banana wine.

Ooh somebody from Arusha just got in here, she is saying those containers are normally used to carry milk, mbege or pure - "Machozi ya simba" or gongo as it is famously known.

Jeff Msangi said...

Thanks Trio Kaka,
Now we have a clearer clue about what could be inside those containers.

I remember one day,somewhere between Morogoro and Dar we gave an old lady a ride not knowing that she was carrying "machozi ya simba"(lion's tears).The panic came when a cop waved to us,also asking for a ride.You can imagine the rest.

Scout said...

o.k. , i'm not letting you people off the hook till i know. what the heck is 'mbege or pure - "Machozi ya simba" or gongo', and what does banana wine taste like (besides bananas!!!)????????????

Jeff Msangi said...

All those are different names for different local brews.

Banana wine tastes like Morgan David red wine.

Trio Kaka said...

I feel you Jeff, Cops are no ones friend. Whenever they smell "something" they normally turn on the heat! If the cop is a really friend of yours, he won't let you off the hook he just goes around to ask a friend of his to apprehand you.

Scout the reason we brought up cops here is because most local brews are considered illegal and it is unregulated so you don't wanna give a cop a ride when you have illegal stuff in your car. its kinda like in the USA or Canada, you don't wanna give a cop a ride when you are drunk and behind the wheel! assuming cops don't have rides of their own.

Scout said...

thanks jeff and trio.
ah yes, home brew, aka moonshine, boatgas, swamp water, etc..

this is for the hard alcohol, not the beer or wine. besides wanting the uber tax money, the cops etc. just don't seem 'to get' home made. it's usually chemical free and much healthier then the stuff commercially made. the government likes to pretend they enact laws on it to prtect people but really come on ...its for the tax money and thats about it!!!

so gongo lovers and makers, know you are not alone in the world :) (or should that be gongo from the congo?)

Trio Kaka said...

Scout before you know it you will start speaking kiSwahili. I do not know why they nicknamed named this liquor gongo does not relate in any way with congo and we if am not mistaken we do not have a word kongo/congo in kiSwahili.

The real meaning of gongo ni swahili is literally a piece of wood.

You are completely right the governments likes to rip off its citizens I do not know for whose benefit - the few, the privilleged may be. Health reasons don make lots of sense coz we have been drinking those stuff for ages, coz of the purity of gongo till today back in my village we use it to treat cold or if you have persistent cough that do wanna go they just give you an oz or 2 of the first "pure" droped in the container the cough will be a thing of the past.

We give cows who suffer from ugonjwa kizunguzungu, one fanta of gongo does the trick on this cow desease.

Jeff is kizunguzungu on cows a mad cow desease????

Scout said...

hey trio!
well i was only doing a rhyme with the 'congo gongo' things , but interesting there's no word for congo in swahili. i wonder if 'congo' is a conqueror name???

gee, i'm going to have to order me up some gongo for coughing and other related things like 'mad scout disease'. :)

thanks for sharing and as always, look forward to learning from this site!!!!

Jeff Msangi said...

Yes Trio,
Kizunguzungu is what they call it here mad cow disease.It always threatens the relationship between these two north american countries plus soft wood lumber.May be we could order some gongo and try it out in couple of cows here..Who knows