Village Facts

Where the village is located and the nearest big city

Okaseni Village is located in Moshi Rural District, Kilimanjaro Region, northeastern Tanzania. The village is in Mawella Ward. The nearest big city to the Village is Moshi town, about 10 kilometres away.

Okaseni Village has access to Moshi through two roads. The first and direct one is a perennial road that has no tarmac. The second, which is a bit longer and not direct, also has no tarmac for the most part. Both the roads are passable for the most of the year with the exception of a few days during the rainy season.

Public transport from the village to Moshi runs from 6am to 7pm about every two hours. The transport service is privately owned, using old and worn-out mini buses. The buses are normally overcrowded and people have to scramble to get into the buses. The limitations of the system make it difficult for the people from Okaseni who want to use it for business activities or for taking kids to schools in Moshi.

The closest international airport

The closest International Airport to Moshi town is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), which is about 45 minutes from Moshi. The airport is one of the two biggest in Tanzania. The other big international airport is in the capital, Dar es Salaam, about a 7-hour drive from Moshi.

The political climate of Tanzania

Tanzania is known to be an island of peace in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region. Among other reasons, peace in Tanzania is attributed to the fact that the country does not have big dominant tribes as the case with the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda and the Luo and Kikuyu in Kenya. Tanzania has about 120 small tribes and, as a result, does not have a history of ethnic politics.

Tanzania has a low crime rate as compared to neighboring countries such as Kenya. The northern part of Tanzania – Moshi, Arusha and parts of Tanga – was historically preferred by early colonial settlers due to its beautiful scenery and nice weather; therefore, this part has a strong Christian presence.

The villagers

Okaseni Village has a total of four thousand two hundred and ninety nine (4, 299) villagers.

Out of the total number of people in Okaseni village, 610 are elderly people, 2,355 are adults and 1,334 are children.

The primary food source and crops

The traditional cash crop in Okaseni and most of the rural Moshi area is coffee. Villagers also grow banana, maize, beans, fruits and some vegetables both for food and selling. The type of coffee grown in the area is Arabica. Moshi has the highest production of coffee and banana in the country and grows varieties of banana suitable both for cooking and ripening. For fruits, the area produces a lot of avocados for which Moshi is famous throughout the country.

The area practices livestock keeping called “zero grazing”, in which the livestock is not let out to feed but is kept in a house and fed there. Okaseni village has about 3,100 “modern” brands of bred cows and 2,500 indigenous cows. The bred cows are the big ones that produce more milk while the indigenous ones are the traditional smaller ones that produce less milk. There are 5,600 goats and 2,100 sheep.

The school and access to medical care

Okaseni has one primary school with a total of 546 kids.  The village does not have a secondary school.  The village also does not have a health clinic or a hospital. For many villagers in Okaseni, the nearest hospital/health clinic is about 4 to 7 kilometers depending on where they live within the village.

The most pressing health problem

Malaria is the most common health problem but recently, the village has been experiencing a high increase of deaths caused by HIV / AIDS, which has created many orphans. There are also problems with maternal and child health, stomach problems such as diarrhea and amoeba caused either by lack of access to clean water or poor toilets (pit latrines). The poor nutrition of small children increases their vulnerability to many diseases. The use of an illicit liquor (a spirit called gongo) by youths and adults due to frustration, loss of hope, or simply addiction has led to the deterioration of their health, making them susceptible to different diseases.

The primary power source, electrical power, and technology

The primary power source in Okaseni and other neighboring villages is hydro electric power. Only a few people (about 10%) are able to pay the connection charges for electricity and the user fees. Many people with electricity have obtained it through support from their family and relatives living and working in towns.

Okaseni does not have computer facilities or access to the internet. With support, it would be possible to bring internet access points to the village and utilize the wireless network service of the national telecommunication company. The use of cell phones is expanding fast, and different wireless telephone networks can be accessed from the village. However, only a few people can afford to buy cell phones, but many have been given them by their relatives living in the towns to keep in touch with them. Also, the phones need electricity to recharge, so villagers without electricity at home don’t think of owning one. Those who do get a phone have to ask a neighbor with electricity to charge it for them.

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