Buturi area is situated in Rorya District, in Mara region, off the shore of Lake Victoria, in the North-West of Tanzania. The population is 52,000+. Buturi community comprises 6 villages with a population of up to 9,000 in each. We are based in one of these – Makongoro. Makongoro is the ‘exemplar’ village The Buturi Project is focused upon, in partnership with Buturi School Academy. In time, we hope to reach out to the other 5 villages in the area.
The villagers are mainly Nilotic people (from the Nile region), who migrated from Egypt and Sudan some five hundred years ago. They have their own language; Luo, (also known as Luo-imbo) and also speak Swahili (Kiswahili), the only generic African language. English and Kiswahili are the national languages of Tanzania, but few speak English in the villages. They are fishermen and subsistence farmers, typically living in thatched mud huts, without electricity and water. There is no safety net provided by the State, only provided by the extended family, who are experiencing increasing pressure from poverty, drought and climate change. There has also been a significant loss of manpower.
Like many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Buturi has suffered from the twin disasters of AIDS and drought. Twenty-five years of AIDS has decimated the community, so that we tend to see the very young and old with the stronger, more capable generation missing. The older generation struggle to bring up their orphaned grandchildren. Buturi is an area typical of this situation. The overriding impression for visitors to the area is one of struggle, sacrifice and hopelessness.
Although Buturi is a remote area in North-West Tanzania, it is surprisingly accessible. There are scheduled flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport from most major cities. The airport is close to the towns of Arusha and Moshi and the snow-capped mountain of Kilimanjaro. There are scheduled flights by Air Tanzania from Kilimanjaro Airport to Musoma.
Musoma is a town on the shores of Lake Victoria, where there is a reasonable hotel. Buturi is about twenty minutes from Musoma by car. Alternatively, you can fly to Nairobi and travel by road, crossing the border into Tanzania at Isebanya.
Accommodation can be provided in the village for the intrepid traveler and you will be made very welcome, but it is very basic.
Buturi is 18 miles from Lake Victoria. (Named after Queen Victoria). The lake is half the size of England and teems with Nile perch – huge, fearsome looking fish. To the south of the area is the Serengeti – one of the largest wildlife parks in the world. The official entrance to the park is at Bunda which is about 40 miles from Buturi where one can witness the migration of various animal species. The Kenyan end of the Serengeti is tiny in comparison. The villages are surrounded by huge, strange-looking rocks: the home of baboons and monkeys. The rocks are glacial moraine. A great Geological site.
The whole Mara region is a fantastic geological site, and the Buturi Project invites university students, specialising in Environmental or Conservation-related subjects, to visit the area and complete a case study to help unravel the mysteries of this beautiful landscape. Don’t forget – beyond these rocks lies the Serengeti National Park, one of the biggest national parks in the world.