I am more and more getting in sync with the tide and becoming aware of the highs and lows.  Today, the morning high tide was at 05:48.  I have set the alarm but wake up earlier.  The cooler morning air is refreshing, even though the thermometer at the receptions says 28.6 C

The tide is still coming in when I arrive at the little beach by Saidi’s workshop, the Nautic.  The current is moving slowly, slowly from the sea, so the tide is still on its way in.

Sunrise behind the clouds.  A sense of stillness, with birdsong when you open your ears.   The water is welcoming, and the pool is wide and still.  Everywhere water.  I try to find different positions to take some good picture, but the feeling is difficult to capture in images.  The experience is so much greater.

“Come in.  Welcome, Karibu” says the water.  I enter and am greeted by the cool and gentle salt water.  The gentle current takes me drifting slowly inland.  Slowly, slowly the current come to a stop.  I discover that the “stop” is only a few minutes.  Almost unnoticeable and yet immediately the direction switches and water is starting to flow out towards the ocean.

The Metafari program for the day of the tide is taking shape.  The low tide will be a walk heading out towards the ocean and the sandbanks.  We will start about half an hour before low tide and walk in silence.  It will be muddy and hot and some kinds of shoes are required.  The landscape will shift as we walk through mangrove bushes and trees, crossing small water pools and then reach the ocean where the sandbanks stretch out past the mangrove.

Some 5,5 hours later in high tide this is a water landscape, so we will explore it by boat.  We will start our high tide journey by walking through the tidal landscape between the Centre and the fishing village, which is covered with water only on an hour or so at the highest level of the tide. At other times this is just a sand plain where thousands of small crabs are filling it with life.  At the fishing village we will embark on a boat and slowly move with the tide as it flows in and enter the most inner parts of the tidal landscape before coming to a still, and then gently returning with the tide back to where we started our journey

This is a day of exploration of the high and low.  We will use silent reflection, journal writing, story sharing and dialogue to make sense out of the experiences from the tidal landscape.  The imprints in our minds will stay long after this journey has come to an end, and the photographic images of this day will be useful tools for us when we need a reminder that after low tide there is always a high tide coming again.

I find myself in Athens (how this happened is a long story).  I connect with Ann Shacklady Smith at breakfast and we decide to go out in Athens to do a Metasaga and see what the city wants to say to us.

Ann picks the first Metasaga spots.  The house that is enclosed in the bougainville.  The church that is enclosed in scaffolding hiding the transformation to become renewed to what it once was.  The statue of the priest, and the open arms of welcoming, but is this someone who can be trusted?

We set out with a new idea.  Lets walk in silence and see where the path leads us.   And it leads us to the Church of Metamorphosis up in Plaka.  We are watching in silence as an old man rises up from a stone bench, picks up a key ring, open the doors and invite us to the church.  As we enter he goes through the routine of lighting the candles and preparing the small chapel for visitors. We say nothing, just being there in silence.

– Let’s go downwards to continue our exploration

As we start to walk, suddenly this black dog appears and will follow us all the way back to our hotel.  We pass a sign saying Sissifos which gives us the sentence  “Metamorphosis of Sisyphos”.  Maybe that one day it is possible to find a way to push that stone up to the top and find rest.

Coming back into commercial Athens our road is blocked by another old church.  We stop to reflect and enjoy the orange tree with all the fruits hanging there to be picked.  Our guide, the black dog, wants to be in the picture before we move on towards the future.  Ann will go to New Zealand on Saturday, and I will go back to Tanzania on Sunday.

And the morning exploration becomes a wonderful metaphor for how life is there for us to discover, and that guidance and support is there for us when we need it.

Please join our Metasaga walk in the image story below.

When God created the Baobab tree he created something of such exquisite beauty that when the devil passed shortly afterward he lost his temper and became absolutely furious.  The Devil could not stand to see such beauty.  It was unbearable to him.

So he took a firm grip around the Baobab trunk, pulled it up from the earth and put it down with the roots up.  Then he walked away with a grim smile.  Maybe this is also why the Baobab is not really a  tree, because the trunk and branches are not wood, they consist of fibre. Maybe the devil crushed to wood and made it to fibre in that vicious act.  After that, the Baobab is one of the most remarkable beings in Africa.

Zawadi Jakobo is one of the watchmen here atTICC – Tanga International Competence Centre.  As the other Maasai watchmen here he comes from the village of Nanyogie.  In parallell to his job here he has also studied to be a tour guide.  I asked him to write a story, and he chose to write the story of how he became a warrior.

When I became a warrior, I was 18 years old, at the age when a Maasai  normally become warrior and get circumcision.  During the ritual of initiation there are things that we must undergo, according to the Maasai rules.  We have month to announce that there are boys who are going to become warriors the next month. This is announced for warriors, elders and young women to know what is going to happen. So they have to join that celebration.

And after the month of announcement, there would be four days for celebrating and those four days each day has its rules.

The first day

Some warriors and girls are chosen by the elders to go to the forest to find long special straight sticks to bring home in order to put outside the houses of the mothers whose boys are going to be circumcised, and by every door of the houses two stick to be put to besides it, outside of the doors.  After finishing putting sticks to each house the young women should come to dance and sing very loudly.  The dance is done outside of the door of every house.  The real main meaning to put these long special sticks outside the doors is to be signs showing that these are houses where the boys are located.  Because of this, the houses will be free from disturbance.

That is what is done on the first day of the four days

The second day

This day has its rules as well and now every boy of those becoming a warrior will have a calf slaughtered for him for the case of eating much meat for those who come to celebrate.  The calf is slaughtered by women, not men. A Maasai warrior does not eat meat of any animal killed by a woman.  Those who are already warriors helps in roasting the meat but is not allowed to eat it.  If a warrior won’t come to help in roasting the meat, he will be punished by the elders.

After the meal is finished, the dance starts at 3PM up to 6PM.  After finishing the dancing everyone should go back to their homes until the day after when they meeting again for the tasks of the third day.  The name of the second day is called “Loondomon” which means “a day of slaughtering calves”

That is the end of the second day activities

The third day

In the third day, there are some rules as well, similar to the second day but with a little difference.  In the third day no calves are slaughtered.  Instead sheep are to be slaughtered that day.  These sheep will be slaughtered inside the houses of the mothers of those boys that are to become warriors.This day the boys have to go out of the  Boma to learn how to properly shoot with bow and arrow, and to aim at things which are as far away as possible.  Late this afternoon all boys will be shaved and given black clothes to put on, with shoes made of cow skin.  The shaved head, the black clothes and the cow skin shoes makes these boys easy to recognize, and for all to know that they are not yet warriors but will become so in the next day.

This is the end of the third day which Maasai call “Engolong orkitupukeneta” which means “A day to slaughter sheep”

The fourth day

This is the last day to celebrate and the day of circumcision.  We wake up early, around 5 in the morning to get a shower from very cold water prepared for us, then after the shower we stand out to get some wind to cool our bodies and to wait for the time of circumscision which normally is done by 7:30.  The cirumcision is performed in the middle of the cows palce, sometimes outside the entrance, in the right side.

The place for circumcision is built by warriors and elders by putting cow skin on the ground and shade it with some branches. After the circumcision the new warrior is supposed to not to drink water or take a shower for the next three months.  Instead they use an oil bath to keep clean and to drink oil instead of water.  This oil is produced for animal fat from goat, sheep and cows.  Another thing is that the new warriors are now commanded not to eat anything else than a mixture of milk and blood, and also meat.

On the day of circumcision there is a great celebration.  The warriors now apply a certain white color on their faces and putting ostrich plumes to their heads.  This makes the warrior look really different from all other people. When the boys walk, with their painted faces and the plumes, they raise the plumes and looks almost like an American Indian head dress.

This is the end of the maasai story of becoming a warrior.

In my odyssey around Tanga to explore Hotels and Lodges that are friends with TICC I came to stay at Panori Hotel in Tanga yesterday.  The visit became so rich in stories that I remained an extra night.  This is the story of the Labrosse family and Panori Hotel as told by Julita McNeese.  It is a story of longing and waiting across years and thousands of miles.  And over a family now spread over the world, with a common connection here in Tanga

Jean Godfrey Labrosse was born in Seychelles 1923 and left for Tanzania in 1950 looking for a better future. He was one of 14 children, the son of a fisherman who had become blind and no longer could provide for the family. The children were sent to other family members or had to work to support the family. Godfrey eventually wanted more of life and set out for Tanzania on a ship at the age of 27. In Tanga he met an Irish priest who helped him get started and took Godfrey to Pangani.

There he found work as a driver delivering goods to the inland. In a year he saved enough money to build a small house and he then wrote to his sister to ask her to find him a wife. His sister choose a good wife, Therese Lafortune . Godfrey went home to the Seychelles and married her in 1952 and they moved to Pangani, Tanzania. The oldest son Patrick was born in 1953, Julita in 1955, Georgette in 1956, Nancy in 1957, Norman in 1959, Marie-Helen in 1961 and Richard 1963.

Around 1955 Godfrey opened the first bar in Pangani. The Lucky Bar, bought a truck and started a fishery packaging and delivery business.

When it was time for the older children to start school the only one was in Tanga, almost 40 km away. The family driver would drive the children in the truck every day back and forth to school, on really bad roads. This journey took 1,5 hours each ways.

Due to unrest in the country the first three children was sent away to school in Ireland for secondary education. For Julita it was 1969-1972. By then their mother had gone back to Seychelles with the younger children for their schooling so when Julita returned she went to stay in the Seychelles .

Godfrey in his turn had now moved to Tanga where he was in the fishery business and owned a small grocery store.

In 1973 Godfrey sold his business to and moved to the Seychelles but could not find himself the right work so he moved back to Tanzania. Now he found a managers job at Kibo Hotel in Kilimanjaro, and his wife could move to live with him again. Back in the Seychelles Julita met her American husband who was working for Philco Ford company as an electronic techician. They married in 1977 and moved to the US, Louisiana and Arkansas where they lived for 22 years, until 2000.

During Julitas time in the US, Godfrey continued to work at Kibo Hotel in Kilimanjaro where he was employed as a manager 1976-1989. The weather in Kilimanjaro was too cold for the mother, as she had arthritis. In Tanga they had a house, but as they decided to move back to Tanga they found the Azania Inn that was owned by an Indian family, at this time just a guest house with four rooms.

At the takeover the name was changed to Panori after the tree sons: Patrick, Norman & Richard. So from 1990 and until now the hotel has been in the family.

The beautiful restaurant is built around a big mango tree and was designed by Godfrey. The two wings with 18 rooms was added in the early 90:s and the main building was extended with conference facilities and office, and lounge. The beautiful garden has a great diversity of plants, of which many come from the Seychelles.

Julita came back to Tanzania together with her husband 2000 and became partner with her father. They took over the lease of Kibo Hotel and ran it as a branch of Panoli. Godfrey passed away in 2004 and but Julita continued operating both hotels until 2009, when she left the Kibo Hotel.

So now Julita is manager of Panori, and owns the estate together with her brothers and sister. Running this place was a promise to her father at the end of his life.

So welcome to Panori Hotel, Tanga, Tanzania. A hotel with a real story, and with family connections all over the world: Seychelles, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, US, England, Denmark and Germany


It was the last day yesterday, and not a very easy day to manage for many reasons.  But we managed to write a proposal to the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Ghent, Belgium in April 2012.  I felt quite satisfied with our attempt.  What do you think?

Metafari in Tanzania is a six day journey that starts in the chaos of Dar es Salaam. The following morning it moves the participants to the diversity of the waterhole in Mikumi. After two nights the journey continues into the dream of Tanga International Competence Center in Tanga, Tanzani, founded on the ideas of AI. It explores the highs and lows of the mangrove tidal swamp, before journeying to the Maasai village of Nanyogie for a village dialogue and an overnight stay where we in the morning gathers around the termite mound for a conversation around

The Metafari project started around a web site in Sweden and a conversation about how to present the web site to the target groups. What could it be like?

-Maybe it should be like a waterhole? This initiated a vivid discussion about the waterhole.
What is a waterhole? What happens around the waterhole? Who comes to the waterhole? What are the elements of a well functioning waterhole?

The questions created wonderful conversations, and ideas about other exciting metaphors. The coral reef. A termite mound. The tidal landscape.

-Would it be possible to arrange Metaphor Safari? The dream got real in the meeting between Ruth Nesje, founder of Tanga International Competence Centre in Tanzania, and Leif Josefsson. After a first Metafari, Ruth introduced Leif to the Maasai community motivator Rafael Ole Moono, and the Metafari in it’s current form took shape.
One foundation of the Metafari is a belief that we are going through a paradigm shift, driven by technology. It happens in society, organizations, social life. Everywhere. The paradox is that although this process is driven by machines, connected through Internet, it is transforming our lives enabling us to connect to each other’s in new ways – as living systems.

Metafari is an invitation to an Open Space, to a co-constructed journey of images and conversations, challenging our assumptions, guiding us to explore new language, new metaphors for leadership, and our lives. The environment becomes our teacher. The design of the journey helps us to connect within, opening up ourselves for unlearning, enabling for new learning. This is what the Meta-journey is about.

If our proposal is accepted, Rafael ole Moono and Leif Josefsson will guide the participants through a Metafari in the room, using video from the waterhole, the Mangrove tidal swamp and the Maasai boma. We will introduce the participants to our story about the Metafari, and we will then let them explore a partial Metafari in the room

The Metafari in Tanzania is about connecting within and between communities, but also self to others. It is about exploring generative dialogue. The diversity in the group, between the Metafari guides, and the places creates an open environment for reflection and for the creation of new images and metaphors.

Generativity is the core of design, but not on an academic level. We are in a journey of new discovery and not knowing.

So what do you think?  Would you like to join our workshop?

When you are on a long journey where time allows you to take small steps, it is nice to sometimes be able to take bold steps out into the unknown.

That was all I wanted to say today!  Good Night, and Good Morning, wherever you are.



Peponi Beach Resort.  I am here to explore Pangani south of Tanga.  First visit is Peponi.  Only 25 km away it still is quite a busride, especially when the bus breaks down.  But there is another bus coming and we get picked up.  My mission is to talk with a couple of hotel owners how we could use Facebook to connect hotels and lodges to each other.  We have made a good start with www.facebook.com/meetingpointtanga and the idea of working for connecting places that like each other is growing.  I meet with the owner Dennis, and we agree to meet again now in the morning.

Low season.  Three couples and me (I?).  I get the Zebra banda. At dinner I start talking with a man who seem interesting but after his third whiskey I lose interest and return to my hut, after a brief visit to the moonlit beach.  It is full moon.

It is a strange experience to be a lone traveler in the perfect honeymoon place.  Huge romantic bed with the computer as my only companion.  But I get Internet to work and can connect with the one who should be here now.

Silent darkness.  Solitude.  I wake up by a nightmare, disoriented.  Heart pounding. Fall asleep again.

Roar of the tide. Sound of rain. Birds singing in the morning. Rising sun. I am up early for the sunrise.

It all helps me to become aware and alive.  What is happening now?



The last week has been intense and there is a lot to say that does not fit here.  But a theme could be about how being absent can be an act of leadership.  Letting go of control, and trust that what you have built will manage it self, or that it will move into a new phase in a positive way if you dare to stay away.

I was in Engaruka Valley during the 12th European Network meeting of “Begeistring Community – The European Network around Appreciative Inquiry and Strength Based Change”

In the Rift Valley there is no phone network so for four days I was cut off.  The network meeting in Manchester was the 12th European meeting since 2006 and the first one where I was not present.   And it seems that when I was not there, lots of things happened that I have been wishing for.  I was told by others that I had my own space at the meeting, and that I was missed.

I felt connected, and had a sense that I have been part of creating a community that will sustain itself over time.  During the meeting invitations was offered for the next four meetings; Croatia, Italy, France and Czech republic.  So we now know that the network will remain until 2013.  Great progress.

There were also presentations of methods, tools and concepts.  Two tools that I have been involved in creating was present in a successful way; Essay in Two Voices and Metasaga.

All this while I was walking the dust of the Engaruka Valley



Elisabet Wollsén joined us here in Arusha the other day.  This is the second time Elisabet is here in Tanzania, and she decided to join with her daughter Olivia to explore some ideas we have talked about for some time.  In 2008 we did a Narrative Metafari together in Dar es Salaam, Mikumi, Tanga and Nanyogie, and now we are exploring Arusha, the Engaruka Valley and a couple of National parks.

Elisabet is working out of narrative principles.  We are talking about her ideas.

Elisabet, what is it that you are doing…?

It is about a new language for which there is no common psychological  theory.  Where there is no way of looking outside yourself to find a solution.  The solution always come from the inside and is a relational knowledge.  Life cannot be translated, because there is always a context in time.

Everyone is as knowledgeable as anyone else, and it is impossible to do wrong.

And what does this mean?

As you have no forehand information, and no theory,  you need to look into yourself and the context for clues.  As there are no words and no external information you have to be informed by what happens inside yourself, and what is happening in the context, and then you will experience feelings and bodily sensations.  In some way you always know what you should do, and this is something that cannot be decided in the head.

Its knowledge in the making.   It cant be repeated, and it cannot be generalized.  It can only be.  And its in the hand of others what to do with it.  There is no control

So what are the consequences?

You get access to all gathered experience and knowledge

  • You cannot know
  • You can’t do wrong

Now we move over to the concept of constellations that you work with.  So what is a constellation.

Constellation or Life staging is a way to stage your life, questions, dilemmas, context etc and look at it without words .  This is another language that is not fit to answer in words.  So, in order to know, will have to try it.

Aha, how about trying it in Engaruka?  Rafael is not entirely convinced….

Well, we are a talking people.  So what is this about constellations?  Is it about drama?  Hmm, if we are to try it in Marias village I will have to find some connection to a Maasai tradition to do this.

Will we be be able to try constellations/life staging with a Maasai village group in Engaruka?  Follow us and you will know.   What do you think?


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