Kahama in Pictures

Posted July 28, 2010 in Tanzania

Kahama, in Western Tanzania, has about 100,000 residents and enough dust to cover the entire country.

It's the last town of note on the road west to Rwanda and the second-last on the way to Burundi. A new gold rush has attracted more businessmen (and businesswomen, and women of a certain business) than usual. Kahama has scores of guest houses, though it still awaits a tarmac road. This being election season, the government has started paving the highway; but while contractors did dump a kilometre's worth of gravel here three weeks ago, work seems to have stalled faster than an overstuffed dala-dala with a student driver.

School attendance is dismal, though the students I've seen are enthusiastic. This class, across from my guest house, is learning English outdoors.

Like all of Tanzania, Kahama is missing garbage collection. In the meantime, residents let garbage accumulate in public spaces like this one, the site of an abandoned construction project.

This attracts scavengers, before a fire is set to burn away the remains.

There is beauty beside the trash, though, as proud residents will tell you.

The richest people in town are the truckers and miners. The rest make their livings using motorcycles, bicycles, carts and feet.

Most men are thrilled to have their pictures taken, but most women flee the camera. This seamstress wouldn't show off her shy laugh, even after consenting to have her picture taken.

After a few more minutes of explaining what I was doing, her friends were slightly more willing.

Almost all men, such as this peanut vendor, were thrilled to be captured on camera. This man even offered me 200 shillings ($0.14 USD) for the honour.