Jordan / Timber Worker

This post is part of our series on Work In Mtwara, to accompany the sermons on The Other Six. Photos above and narrative below by our friend Daniel, from his interview with Jordan.  

Jordan is working in timber production. He is an expert but works part time. He is happy saying that here in Mtwara there are only a few people capable of producing timber with a chainsaw. He is not the owner of the chainsaw, but the boss who bought the tree rents the chainsaw to him. He carefully sharpens the saw to ensure clean cutting.

The challenge is that there are few trees for timber production. This leads them to find any trees they can, even if they are not hard enough for timber, such as mango tree or coconut tree.  They are forced to use these though they are not preferred. 
He mistook me for a government officer and asked me to please tell the government “we need to work. We need the government to bring varieties of trees for timber production.” He means, they need to hire an agriculture expert to research the best kind of trees to grow in Mtwara for use as timber.

Mzee Ahmad / Market Seller

This post is part of our series on Work In Mtwara, to accompany the sermons on "The Other Six." Video above and narrative below by our friend Daniel, from his interview with Mzee.  

Mzee Ahmad is an entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience. He is very happy and he is a charming trader who makes his neighbors happy.  I asked him why he is happy and he said to me, "My grandson, I like jokes, my business pays, I am running my life without being dependent on anyone.” Again he mentioned many positive contributions which emanate from his business: he has built a good house and owns five acres which are planted with cashew trees (korosho).

James / School Supplies


Daniel writes: 

This picture is of James. He is working as a machinga (street vendor.) He got his capital from his Uncle and started this business long ago. The business of selling books is very important during the beginning of the school year. Many schools open on Monday (January 8) and many students need exercise books, pencil, pen. This is a good month to sell things for school. He is trying to get more capital so can  expand and get a shop of his own. In other times of the year he sells clothes, mirrors, combs, handkerchiefs, dolls, watches and other commodities. 

The equator passes through Tanzania, but most of the country is in the southern hemisphere so our winter is their summer. For primary and secondary school, the new year beings in January. (For college, they follow the European model of school years starting in September.) 

In many of his interviews people share with Daniel 1) what they do, 2) where they got a little bit of money to get going, and 3) what they hope to do as soon as they can get a little more. In this economy, getting a job often requires starting a small business. 


Fish Market

Daniel writes:

I had a conversation with four women, dealing with fish selling. This is Halima,  Sophia, Mwanagulani, and Subira. They buy from the fishmongers and prepare by removing the hard  skin cover of the fish and roast in cooking oil. Then they put into basin ready for selling.

Mtwara is a coastal city, and boats arrive each day with freshly caught fish. A few miles from Mtwara's big fish market, these women are selling cooked fish near the main bus station. 

The row of sellers in such bright fabrics reminds of the salt sellers in the Kenyan movie Queen of Katwe. I love that this brief video provides a glimpse of the community among the sellers, as well as a couple customers shopping for fish. The shoe salesman that comes by represents yet another part of retail commerce in Mtwara. 

Part of our Work in Mtwara, series in conjunction with our Faith & Work study: The Other Six.

Hassan / Builder

As Missio kicks off "The Other Six" a sermon series on Faith & Work, we are sharing a series of profiles on Work in Mtwara. Daniel, one of our friends there, has gathered photos, videos, and interviews to help us better understand what life and work are like in Mtwara, Tanzania. 

Daniel narrates the video. A transcript follows:

Hi my friend. My name is Daniel. The person to whom I have sent you a picture, his name is Hassan and he is a builder. The owner of this guest house (hotel) is fixing it up. Hassan mixes the mortar out front, then he carries it in the bucket to the worksite. This toilet in the guest room drains here to the septic tank. He was hired to build the chamber for the toilets. Hassan is building to cover the pipes. This job will take him almost one week.