Now it is there in Tabora Region that Alnashir, a father of four children, says he wants to die and be buried. This, he says, has always been his stance. When his parents and six siblings migrated to Canada and the United States of America in the 1970s, he opted to stay in Tanzania to start his family. He met his wife, Rose, in Dar es Salaam. She is the daughter of an indigenous woman from Nachingwea in Lindi Region, where she was born, and an Asian man, who had chosen to settle there.
Together they have three daughters and one son. To date Alnashir, a hotelier, has managed to spend a little time living and working in the Indian sub-continent, Europe, Canada and the USA, yet he opted to return to Tanzania and more specifically Tabora Region. “I’ve travelled far and wide and have had the opportunity to learn a lot of things but my calling is to be in Tabora. I want to make changes here for my people, town and the environment that we live in.
I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime but this is my commitment,” he told the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ in Tabora recently. According to Alnashir, Tabora is a “forgotten region in Tanzania in terms of development.” He intends to change this. It is in this respect that he is strongly pushing for it to be declared a free tax zone, so that financiers can come and invest, as was done in Dodoma Region many years past.
Although he is skilled in the hotel business he also studied Environmental Science at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in 1977, in which he took Statistics, Physics and Chemistry. He says he is amongst the first batch of students for this discipline from UDSM. According to him, they were not recognised as environmentalist at that time but this has been his passion from his earliest memories. “I’ve spent all my childhood in the forests of western Tanzania.
So somehow there is a calling for me to come back to Tabora. I was born here and I’ve spent all my life in the forest of Tanzania. I’ve spent 20 years teaching people on proper hunting methods, tree planting and beekeeping, which are my passion,” he explained. This helps to explain why it is that he talked so much about setting-up a beekeeping spread, where he can build a lodge and settle down when he retires.
Then the Golden Eagle Hotel that he runs in Tabora Town will be streamed lined to cater for this. His father, a businessman who ran transports, shops and hotels, had left for Canada when nationalisation took place in the country and places like Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada had opened their doors to foreigners. This presented economic opportunities for young people to migrate, which Alnashir’s eldest brother and sister took advantages of.
As their life prospered in their new homes, these siblings called their parents and younger brothers and sisters to join them. That is all except Alnashir, the fifth-born in the family, who chose to stay in Tanzania. To date, he says, he is satisfied making visits to the US and Canada from his base in Tabora, despite his reference to it as being “a place where time has stand still”.
“These days everywhere you go in Tanzania there are activities; roads are being constructed and something economical is happening. Tabora is the exception. It is the only place where there are no factories or industries. We had a textile mill but that has closed down. We used to make very fine cheese here but that is no more. There is a lot of tobacco but the factory is in Morogoro. Honey is produced in plenty in Tabora, but collected and taken outside the region,” he lamented.
Also gone, he continued to say, are the days when some of the finniest timber in the country came from Tabora. Yet they have one of the listed top ten hunting grounds in the world, surrounded by a river system and the highest concentration of animals than anywhere in the world. Instead of leaving these areas to foreigners to hunt as they wish, he feels it would be better to make these locations reserve centres.
Places like the Ugalla Game Reserve, he maintains, should be extended to Mpanda and left for conservation and eco-tourism. This would be beneficial for all concerned and something would be left for the next generation. As much as Alnashir may feel about staying in Tabora Region, there was a time in between 2000 and 2008, when he went to stay in Dar es Salaam.
This, he says, was his way of making sure his children got the best education possible in the country after there had been such rapid decline in what was available in Tabora. He then closed his businesses and moved to the “Dusty City” and looking back now, is pleased for having made that move then. His first and second children, both daughter,s are qualified practicing doctors today. His third child; a son has just completed his Masters Degree in International Law and has registered to do his PhD at UDSM.
The last, an eleven year-old daughter is studying at Westland Primary School in Tabora. Alnashir himself obtained his secondary education at Kazima Secondary School in Tabora Region, followed by his ‘A’ Levels at Mkwawa High School in Iringa Region in 1972. After his military stint at Makutupora National Service Camp in Dodoma Region, he had a year at UDSM, and then embarked on a working career that started at Kassu Hotel as the Director of the fast food restaurant, dinning bar, camping and photographic safaris.
Over his varied career he has gained experience from being self employed and an employee in Dar es Salaam and outside the country. It was after a spell of eleven months abroad in the UK, Canada and the US that he returned to Tabora region, where he owns and operates Golden Eagle Hotel.
Before moving to Dar es Salaam in 2000, he had held certain community posts, which included a founder member and secretary of the Hunter’s Association of Tanzania - Tabora Branch and chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Western Tanzania. Amongst the positions he hold today is being the chairman for the Uhindini area in Tabora Town, which is the first level of local government.