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Lara Kroeker Interactive

Chapter 34: Juma

One morning in Kondoa town, Juma, a friend of Moshi’s, invited myself and his musician friend Hussein to play music at his house behind the hotel.

Hussein was from the Zigua tribe in the Tangua region of Tanzania and started playing guitar in 1968. Different villages hired him to play music during celebrations, and we sat all morning learning Hussein’s songs about traveling, marriage, and love on a guitar that has been broken and fixed many times over the years. And so, while the chickens in his yard sang harmony, I was trying to learn a part on my violin, and Juma was writing down the words so I could try to learn them properly later.

Juma had a lot of chickens that he was breeding to sell, but he was most proud of his prized sandawe chicken, which he claimed laid three times as many eggs as the others. He also has a tap in his yard and people come from the community to fill their buckets, so there are people walking in and out all the time. I sat listening to Juma talk about his dream of building a brick fence around the yard to keep his chickens safe. When he reaches his goal of 100 chickens, he will be a happy man.

Moshi’s dream is to move to Iyoli and grow an orchard of papaya, banana, and passion fruit trees. Then, he’d continue his tourism business and bring visitors to that orchard in Iyoli. He says that Juma can use a corner of his land to help grow his chicken business. He also wants to start an environmental group with the Iyoli community. He likes to say how he will be a rich man someday with so many trees. When things were tough, we just said the word papaya for motivation.

If we could all have such a beautiful dream, then there would be enough for all of us in this world.

My friendship with Juma and his wife grew, and he became a staple at the project site. He even helped me work through a few fights that I had with Moshi because of the stress of the project. He spoke English well and was liked by everyone in the village because he was also from the Irangi tribe.