Makete District

Makete District is situated just north of Lake Nyasa. The main town is also called Makete and is home to the District Council and a government District Hospital.

Much of the area is above 2000 metres and it is very hilly with steep valleys. It often rains so things are quite green much of the time.  Houses tend to be built along the ridge so there are splendid views to be had at every turn.  If the weather is clear you can just catch a glimpse of Lake Nyasa from a couple of viewpoints. But the roads are not tarmacked and, what with the weather and the gradients, they can be rather muddy and bumpy.

Many households grow food on a small scale and crops include potatoes, wheat, tomatoes, beans, maize and pumpkins.  Goats, chickens, pigs and cows are often kept. On a larger scale timber is exported to other parts of the country.

Bulongwa, about 30km south west of Makete town, is the place where TRR started working. Our activities are still largely based there and in the villages nearby.

Nkasi District

Nkasi District in western Tanzania lies to the north of the town of Sumbawanga and between Lakes Tanganyika and Rukwa.  The main town is Namanyere where the district council offices are and that is where TRR members stay on their visits.

Much of the area is a large plateau about 2,600 metres above sea level, with gentle mountains, open grasslands and many villages. It is quite harsh but also beautiful, especially as the sun goes down.

A few villages on Lake Tanganyika are accessible only by boat though most have unmade roads leading inland.  In recent years the road from Mbeya has been tarmacked all the way to Namanyere and beyond.  (This means travellers get there a lot quicker and more comfortably than on TRR’s first visit in 2007.)

As in other parts of Tanzania, the mobile phone has made a huge difference to communications and therefore family life, financial transactions and information sharing, not to mention being able to phone for help when the vehicle breaks down!

A variety of crops are grown, mainly on small ‘shamba’, including maize, beans, cassava, millet and groundnuts.  Cattle can be a prime source of income for families and chickens abound.  Nkasi exports its maize crop to the rest of the country in good years.  Vegetables and fruit are also grown.

Tanzanians love to eat their national dish ugali, which is a kind of stiffish porridge.  In Nkasi it is made with maize, though in other parts of the country it can be made of wheat. It is usually eaten with vegetables or meat in a sauce.