How everything started
My first contact with Tanzania was in 1994, when a sub-program of the Carl Duisburg Society advertised a position for a female tree nursery gardener in Tanzania. I applied and got the job. After an intensive preparation by the CDG I departed for Tanzania together with 4 other committed people. First, I went to a 4-week language course in Zanzibar, then to Himo, at the foot of the Kilimanjaro.
In total I spent 5 very intensive months in Tanzania. At that time it was very difficult for me to say goodbye, nevertheless 22 years passed until I set foot on Tanzanian soil again.
As an agricultural specialist for arboriculture and tree restoration at the state capital of Kiel, I took part in a meeting with a Tanzanian delegation in 2016, which was about reforestation in the Moshi District (in the broadest sense). In March 2017 I became a member of a delegation from Kiel, which travelled to Moshi for 5 days to consolidate the town twinning and develop some project ideas. This first visit to Tanzania after such a long time completely blew me away. Only now did I realize how much I love this country. The nature is fantastic, the Tanzanians are really very hospitable, the colours and smells an oasis for the senses. And I just love this lively life on the streets.
When I also visited "my" former tree nursery in Himo as part of new project ideas, it was clear to me that the reconstruction/rehabilitation of this area is my life's dream.
Preparation of the project
In the following months after our return from the delegation's trip, we worked out a first project draft for the reconstruction of the tree nursery in Himo in a small group in Kiel. After our Tanzanian partners signalled their approval of the idea, concrete project contents had to be worked out in order to apply for funds from SKEW (Service Agency Communities in One World; works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). For this purpose there was another trip to Tanzania in March 2018, which I took part in. There, together with our local partners, we worked out the project goals and how to achieve them.
I was also able to do a 1-week internship at the Tanzanian Forest Service to broaden my knowledge of native tree species. I spent a very interesting weekend in the Amani Forest.
After this trip I had to wait for a long time. In October 2018 the time had finally come; the project was approved! 90% of the required funds should come from SKEW, 10% from LH Kiel.
In December 2018 the tree nursery project started with a kick-off Work Shop around tree biology and tree care, which I held in Himo for the new employees of the tree nursery.In order to accompany the start of this project in the best possible way, I was sent to Tanzania for 3 months from February 2019 by my employer at the request of the chairman of the district council of Moshi District. During this time I worked together with our Tanzanian friends on the setup of the tree nursery. It was a fantastic, instructive time in which we overcame many unexpected difficulties together and sweated a lot, but also had a lot of fun. During this time there were always things that were missing and for which no project funds were provided. We often had unforeseen things happen to which we had to quickly react to. Other things we had simply not thought of in advance. Mostly, it was about small things, for which I then paid out of my own pocket, because the success of the tree nursery is of great importance to me. When the expenses started to add up over time, I started a private appeal for donations. This made it possible to realize many new acquisitions for the nursery.
Here once again a big thank you to all donors!!
Thanks to the success of this campaign and the great positive feedback regarding my work in Tanzania, the idea of founding an association matured in me. It was a long, bureaucratic process, but with the support of friends and family in November 2019 the time had finally come; the non-profit association "Tanzanian Bees & Trees" was founded.
Tanzanian Bees and Trees e. V.
IBAN:DE66 83065408 0004 2072 03
I have been back in Tanzania since the beginning of December 2020. This time for 2 years, as I have been offered a position as a development worker with the GIZ. As a trained agronomist for tree care and tree renovation, the focus of my work is on the continued existence of the tree nursery in Himo. Furthermore, it is my task to strengthen the town twinning between Moshi DC and Kiel. I am very happy to be here again and to be able to lend a hand.
I have rented a beautiful house on the outskirts of Moshi with great neighbours, where I feel very comfortable.
Every morning I get to greet Kilimanjaro when I look out of my bedroom window.
And start the day with yoga in the garden, then I can take on all the difficulties here.