Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

A More Simple Life in Africa; Sue Chapman Finds Northern Tanzania Offers a Way of Life Lost to Western Cultures

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

A More Simple Life in Africa; Sue Chapman Finds Northern Tanzania Offers a Way of Life Lost to Western Cultures

Article excerpt

Byline: Brittany Cook

IT'S a real wake-up call each time she gets on the plane.

Travelling 14,000km transports Hervey Bay woman Sue Chapman to a different world.

It's a place where pencils and paper are strange objects for grown men, where conversation is the only way to hear local news and the furniture has all been built under the shade of a tree.

Each few months, Mrs Chapman travels to Moita Bwawani in Northern Tanzania where she helps with a Catholic priest in his rural mission work to provide mobile health clinics for pregnant women and new mothers.

The work involves helping the Maasai women of Moita Bwawani through pregnancy and post natal checks.

Mrs Chapman said she found the community really inspiring.

"It's a reality check - just to remember how lucky you are," she said.

"Life is so simple when you get back to the basics.

"I've always found the Maasai people to be more family-oriented than us.

"I love how all the families come together in the evenings and how excited conversations share all the stories of the day."

They live for today and that is how she would like to be too.

"The countryside of Moita is not unlike Central Queensland," Mrs Chapman said.

"For eight months of the year, the rich fertile land lies dry and barren, and when the rains come, it becomes lush and green.

"Some grasses grow to 2m in height."

Mrs Chapman said the tall grasses became home to thousands of little finches and snakes.

"The Maasai use the land as pasture country for their herds of cattle, nanny goats and for growing maize."

"They cook up the maize, their staple diet, into a porridge known as ugali.

"It tastes terrible!"

The traditional Maasai people eat little in the way of greens and meat.

"Meat is reserved for special occasions like weddings, and then only the men are allowed to eat it," Mrs Chapman said.

Mrs Chapman said she was amazed at how entertained the local children were by uncomplicated games.

"Finger painting, blowing bubbles, playing with play dough or just playing simple ball games brought huge smiles to the children's faces."

In Tanzania, early mornings and late afternoons were Mrs Chapman's favourite time of day.

"To be up as the sun was coming up was so peaceful," she said.

"If you were lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro before it disappeared under a blanket of cloud.

"You could hear the tinkering of the bells around the necks of cattle and goats as they were being taken down to the lake for their daily drink.

She said the voices of children, men and women would drift across the fields in the mornings, as they went about their daily chores. …

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