MEMBERS of the Datooga nomadic tribe based in the northern volcanic highlands near Mount Hanang have got a shot in the arm as Chem Chem Association has offered them support in the form of a tourism centre.
The centre will be offering indigenous culture tourism services and hence become a huge attraction to tourists as well as promote revenue to the community villages in Babati District Council and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
Chem Chem Association works in the Burunge Wildlife Management Area (Juhibu) and the tourism centre will be located at Vilima Vitatu village.
It is specifically for women from the area who usually speak the eponymous dialect of the Datooga. The Barabaig are one of the Nilotic peoples who migrated from south to East Africa from the Nile Valley in North Africa more than 1,000 years ago.
They form the largest group among the Datoogaspeaking people. Chem Chem Social Development Officer, Mr Walter Pallangyo said, they decided to build the centre for the women so that they benefit more from the tourism sector.
It is situated in Burunge close to Manyara and Tarangire national parks, and thus enable them get some income from tourism instead of depending on herding only.
“We will continue supporting you (the barbaig women) here by channeling to this village, tourists who come to Che Chem for photography tourism.
You will in turn make business as you will be selling your goods and make money. But we are also urging other tourist companies to bring tourists to this area,” he said.
Speaking during the launch of the centre, Babati District Cultural Officer Ms Beatrice Maliseli called upon the women to take good care of the centre so that it earns them more income.
She said as the trend has changed, tourists will be able to tour the area, enjoy their traditional dances, learn about their culture and in turn the women will have better lives.
“We got information that before construction of the centre, you were facilitated to form a credit and savings groups and you have since raised 5m/- capital.
You should use the funds to make different types of cultural items to sell to tourists,” Ms Maliseli told the women.
She called upon barbaig women and youth to be more innovative in making the items and also go steps further by learning foreign languages so that they communicate better with the tourists.
A tourist from Holland, Mr Jan Neggers, said his visit was an eye-opener for him on the barbaig traditions and culture.
He toured the village along with his family, learning the ways of life of the indigenous communities, saying it was a great treasure in sustaining native culture in the world.
Barbaig traditional leader Garimi Mebati, said for many years, they had been embroiled in a conflict that made it impossible to generate tourism revenue.
Mebati said that was now history; they live in harmony after the government controlled the people who we inciting conflicts with investors.
Datoga Group Chairperson Mudilani Gichidabega thanked Chem Chem Association investors for creating for them a new way of doing business and making money.