Ask the Attorneys … About Your Bad Haircut

From Monday’s “Q&A with the FB Attorneys”:

I went to my barber and asked him to slightly trim my hair and moustache. He trimmed my hair too short and ended up cutting half of my moustache. I had no choice but to get the other half removed. When I threatened him with legal action he said I had no contract with him. I tried reporting it to the police who surprisingly refused to even record my statement. I am getting married soon and not sure if I should proceed with the ceremony. What should I do? – TP, Dar

Whilst we sympathise with you, we do not understand why you are unsure about getting married after this mishap at the barbershop; surely both your hair and moustache will grow back. We are also unclear as to what the connection is between your marriage and the haircut and cannot comment on whether you should or should not proceed with your marriage.

As for the police complaint, our opinion is that this is not a criminal matter … we believe that you can sue your barber under the law of contract … We did not find any local precedents on this and are unsure how far the Courts in Tanzania will entertain this matter.


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Reblogging an awesome post. Never knew that Tanzania was one of the districts of Panem. perstephsanscouronne: If the pageant thing doesn’t work out, Miss Tanzania seems prepared to fight in the Hunger Games.  May the odds be ever in her … Continue reading

Kangaroos: They Eat Ants

Kangaroo and Hippo

Photo from

I loved this quote from a recent Daily News article, “Tanzania, Australia strengthen ties” about Australia opening a consulate in Dar es Salaam and naming a resident consul.

“Don’t just go to Australia to see Kangaroos, look for something to sell. You can even try to sell ants because I am told Kangaroo eat a lot of ants and we have plenty here.”

– Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Membe

We sure do.


Safari Ants when swarming present a dangerous situation to the player … When such a situation is encountered the player may, without penalty, drop his ball on the nearest spot not dangerous.

Windsor Golf Club Local Rules, Nairobi Kenya

A Year of Living Tanzaneously

Today is the anniversary of my arrival in Tanzany with kids and cat in tow. Many people have told us that it takes a full year to adjust to living here. That seems about right to me – things are certainly easier a year in than they were even after 8 or 9 months. 

It has been a year of ups and downs; it has not been easy. But we have had some really great experiences in Tanzania and met some fantastic people. I think the second year will be better than the first, especially if I get a job. (Which my “dependent spouse” visa explicitly prohibits, but more to come on that later.)

I’m beginning to adjust to the zaniness. For example, I wasn’t really surprised this morning when the police offer directing traffic at a major intersection simply wandered off the job leaving the cars to sort it out themselves. Annoyed yes, but not surprised. I gunned the engine and plowed a right hand turn through the intersection … just like all the other cars were doing.

But just when I think I’ve adjusted to life here, I see someone doing something that restores my “childlike sense of wonder” about the ‘zany. Like this HCTAHBP:


So I’ll promise to keep blogging if you will keep reading. It’s always a great motivation to hear from people reading the blog so please keep sending me your feedback.

Lots more to come in year 2.


Life in a PC Country: Cows, Girls’ Education and Climate Change

Photo from Hyscience

One down side that comes with getting around a third of your budget from foreign donors, is that you have to kiss a lot of ass. At least rhetorically.

As a result, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that, on paper, Tanzania is one of the most politically correct places that I’ve ever lived. And, coming from a guy who was at Stanford University in the late 80s, that is saying something.

Here in Tanzany, you see a lot of NGOs, government agencies, politicians, journalists and others toeing the politically correct party line. Often when it doesn’t even make any sense.

Take for example the beginning of an article that ran in The Daily News on Monday, “Tamwa challenges herders on value of girl education.” (As always, I am typing this verbatim, including typos.)

The Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) has challenged the Maasai and other pastoral communities countrywide to abandon the culture of marrying-off their school going girls.

A statement issued by TAMWA yesterday and signed by its Executive Director, Ms Ananilea Nkya, said the pastoral communities should also education their young ones on the global challenges such as climate change …

‘It is against this reality that pastoralists in the country need to know that their future in the context of climate change, depends on their willingness to unpack their mindset and drop the culture of marrying off school girls for cow wealth and instead focus on education for their children.

Now, I don’t know anything about the challenges Maasai girls have in getting an education. And like all reasonably informed, non-Republicans, I definitely agree that climate change is a big potential problem.

However, I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here when I assert that climate change is pretty far down the list of the things preventing the education of school-aged girls in pastoral communities. (Further down, the article points to lack of social value of education, poverty, and a broken education system.) 

What interests me more, is the whole economic sub-context. There are a gazillion groups here from the UN to The Human Fund, promoting a huge range of causes and issues. And all of them are clamoring to be noticed and competing to advance their pet issues. 

So maybe I’m overly cynical, but I think it’s far more likely that someone, somewhere in the process that created this article, stood to gain financially from showing concern about climate change. Maybe an NGO needed a donation, or a media firm needed to show another PR success, or a journalist needed some extra money to pay for their kids school tuition. Who knows?

However it happened, it shouldn’t cloud our appreciate of the resulting zaniness. So I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for these little gems and post them from time to time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.