Posted by: thebluemusicblog | May 2, 2012


We were flying from Nairobi to Moshi in Tanzania, Ingunn, Carlos and I.  Moshi is around 600 kms from Dar es Salaam, the capitol of the country. Moshi was the centre of missionary activities from many years back, and is also the headquarter of the YMCA in Tanzania. The headquarter is very impressive, a big inviting swimming pool, a hostel, a school for hotel workers and rooms for many activities.

Tanzania YMCA has impressive schools for vocational training. We visited several of them, one is a big boarding school for young girls included a farm with animals and big fields of agricultural land.

When Tanzania won its independence, President Julius  Nyerere decided that Non Governmental Organizations were important for the future of the country, and he also decided that NGOs could not develop sustainability if they were left without land and property.

Therefore many NGOs, and among them the YMCA, were given land and properties which they could develop. It has made the YMCA in Tanzania strong and self-sustainable. I was impressed with the good programmes  and all the positive activities for young people to enable them to find work and a good future in Tanzania. Stewart, the National  General Secretary, is leading a very strong and successful YMCA and is surrounded by good leaders, both among staff and volunteers.

It was interesting to learn that the predecessor of Stewart as National General Secretary of the YMCA had lived at the same YMCA hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland, as had the coming President of the country, Julius Nyerere, at the time both of them were studying in Edinburgh. The President of the country was the Honorary President of the YMCA until his death.

The flight from Nairobi to Moshi included one great highlight, all of a sudden the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, stood in front of us, and it felt like we were flying around it, not over it! Close to 6000 metres high it is very often surrounded by clouds, and not easy to photograph!

As the photo on top here shows, I struggled several days until the mountain smiled to us the last evening of our visit, and further below you can see my photographic encounter with Kilimanjaro!

Stewart and his friends took us to church on Easter Sunday. The church was at the foot of Kilimanjaro, and after the service we drove up to the gate of the National Park Kilimanjaro and met some of the professionals working with hikers and climbers and the 50 000 tourists coming to the mountain every year.

A hike to the top of Kilimanjaro takes 7 days. You have to get acclimatized to the extreme heights every day and take it step by step. The climb to the top takes place during the night so that you will arrive at the top at the same time as sunrise is bathing the mountain in shining light and for a few minutes you will be on the rooftop of Africa before you have to descend again.

This is from the beginning of the climb.

You will have to pay professionals to carry your luggage; they are extremely strong and used to the altitudes of the mountain. Without them a climb to the top is not possible for ordinary tourists like us.

The few days in Tanzania gave us a fantastic experience of another beautiful African country and another strong, independent national YMCA in Africa.

Tanzania YMCA is another example on how highly respected and appreciated the YMCA movement is on national level, the government and the churches are all assisting the YMCA in reaching its goals, and it is widely recognized that the YMCA is a major deliverer of vocational training in the country.

The hospitality is outstanding. When we arrive at the headquarter of the YMCA, a big banner welcomes us. Even if it is in the middle of Easter and all the employees  in principle are free and at home, key staff people at the medical clinic and at the childcare centre have met up just to demonstrate for us what they normally were doing at the headquarter.

The medical clinic is another highlight for me, to see how quality health care is delivered to those in need of it for a very affordable fee. I feel very proud that it is the YMCA which is delivering the health service.

Stewart and his staff waves goodbye to us as we enter the airport in Moshi, the evening sun reveals Mount Kilimanjaro in all its majesty.

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