THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
WHAT TO DO IN TANZANIA
We explore some of the cool things to do in Tanzania that should be included in your travel guide. Boat trips, herbal infused baths and tasting the local cuisine – this is the cultural mishmash that Tanzania has to offer
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Vaibhavi Damania, Tina Vanhove
16 March 2020
Whether you decide to put Tanzania down on your bucket list because of the wildness of the nature, the complex culture of the locals or the intriguing one-of-a-kind atmosphere, you will have made the right choice. The authenticity of the country will stay with you long after you leave. There is much to see in Tanzania, even when you are not trying to do the things that are on all tourists’ lists. Walking down the streets of any town and paying attention to the ease in the way locals complete their day-to-day tasks has no price. An incredible destination, Tanzania is the place to get your adrenaline pumping, to explore the outdoors or simply find a sweet salvation in doing absolutely nothing but appreciate sunbathing at the beach.
If you are visiting Tanzania, surely you will want to do all the cool stuff to tick off your bucket list, but here we’ve made a mixture of some suggestions that will allow you to explore the country in its full cultural capacity. From diving to going for boat trips and learning how to play traditional board games, here’s the top ten things you should do whilst in Tanzania.
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA
I. Experience the local cuisine.
Eat like a local when in Tanzania. From freshly caught fish to carefully cooked dishes, the palette of the locals is diverse. We recommend not eating the same thing twice so you can taste as much as possible during your visit. The food varies from rice to porridge, vegetables and cooked meat. Some of the most well-known dishes include pilau (rice mixed with a variety of spices), mshikaki (marinated beef) and samaki (fish).
II. Book a boat trip.
The boat trips in Tanzania are a must. It is inspirational even to only watch boatmen and fishermen practice their craft. Their tailor-made lifestyle is a creative expression of their whole lives. It is why stepping on a boat to explore the Indian Ocean is such a privilege. You get to step in their world and see it through their point of view.
III. Learn how to play bao.
This Swahili board game is popular among the locals. It is a means to pass the time, but it will also probably get you hooked pretty quickly. You can sometimes see people playing it in cafe shops when you pass by on the streets. Once you learn the rules, you can dive into in headfirst.
IV. Go swimming.
You simply can’t visit the country and not go swimming, at least once. It is a relaxing way to spend a day enjoying the slow pace of life. You can swim in the coral reefs to reconnect with nature.
V. Visit the National Parks.
Tanzania is known for its National Parks. Out in the wild you can even see the Big Five roam peacefully in their natural habitat. The National Park are a great way to get in touch with nature. You can learn more about the wildlife and its diversity and one day will definitely not be enough. We recommend checking out Serengeti National Park.
VI. Go hiking.
Hiking has its perks – it leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and the views on the way to the top are definitely worth it. The land massif is generous and presents tons of opportunities to explore the wild side of Tanzania. Mouth Kilimanjaro is the pearl in the country and is worth checking out.
VII. Enjoy the beaches.
If you are visiting the country for relaxation purposes, the seaside will leave you in awe. The beaches are sandy and truly beautiful. You will be able to recharge when you go sunbathing. Pick out a good book and feel the gentle breeze from the movements of the palm trees on the shore.
VIII. Walk the food markets.
Locals sell everything – from fruits and vegetable to spices and herbs. Tanzania is famous worldwide for their spices and herbs. Included in almost every locally cooked dish, the variety of spices will keep your tasting buds on the edge and will have you craving more authentically prepared food. Buy ingredients fresh to support the local production and enjoy the goodness of fresh food.
IX. Dine in the restaurants.
Try the local restaurants. Regardless of whether you want to try meat, fresh fish or veggie meals, they’ll have you covered. Typically, you can experience the local cuisine in a more authentic way if you choose smaller restaurant to the bigger ones that are part of villa resorts for example.
X. Experience the therapeutic bathing in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is the place to go bathing. Just outside of the town, heading to Maruhubi, you can see preserved 19th century hammam at the Kidichi Persian baths. If you are after the Swahili spa, check out Mrembo Spa as they offer traditional Kiswahili treatment with soaps and products that are infused with locally grown herbs. Talk about exploring the culture of a place while relaxing!