We arrived in Dar Es Salaam on Friday after a quick 30 minute plane ride. When we arrived we immediately could tell we were in a big city and we noticed 3 things: more people, modernized, and hotter. Dar Es Salaam has over 2.5 million people packed into 1,393 sq Km. As a result, there are more people walking around and driving. The city is modernized meaning they have more electronics, stop lights, fashionable clothing, and stores; there is less animals too, in Arusha goats, cows, chickens, and roosters would often walk along the dirt roads eating the grass and grazing but here we have only seen a couple of cows and goats. In Arusha we felt like we needed a winter parka, it was freezing and we were unprepared; here in Dar Es Salaam it is extremely hot, the near opposite of Arusha.
Although we have not been in Dar Es Salaam long we have had a short tour of the city where we saw KFC, Subway, the US Embassy, the presidents house, the indian ocean and surrounding beaches. We are excited that there are american fast food restaurants because we know when we are homesick greasy food will help ease the pain.
Today we watched a performance at a cultural museum that entailed dancers and musicians grooving to the rhythmic music. The music was exciting and fast with a maraca and marimba and various drums. There was also a vocal component with a call and respond. The dancers responded with their voice and dance moves to the call of the drums and person plating the drums. At the end of the performance we all got up and danced with the performers. They attempted to teaches us hip and butt isolation, we all failed miserably.
Overall, It was an awesome experience and we can not wait to meet our host parents tomorrow!
P.S. Make sure to check out the reflections; they are personal feelings about the trip and activities that we are doing.
We began our adventure early on monday morning. We drove to Tarangire National Park and began our Safari camping trip. While at Tarengire we saw lions, warthogs, giraffes, elephants, impala, zebras and much more. It was extremely exciting and invigorating. We drove for hours on a bumpy road searching for lions. It was a hot day and the foliage was composed of dry, dead trees and grass but Tarengire is famous for their Baobab trees, which were very alive and well. Birds flew around surveying the area and many zebras, warthogs, impala, wildebeest and monkeys grazing for food. The monkeys also were in search of human food as well. The picnic area where we ate lunch was infested with Black Faced Monkeys. As we ate the monkeys sneakishly strolled to the tables and stole their food. Luckily none of our food was stolen but a women’s sandwich was stolen at a neighboring table. That afternoon we found a pride of lions meticulously eating a zebra. There were many lioness perched as the devoured their food. It was amazing. It was time to begin our campout. We watched the sunset as we sipped soup and ate cookies. Later that night as we all talk we all sat up talking we heard a noise. We ran as fast as possible, while throwing chairs, to a tent and piled inside. We some of us left the tent we saw a park ranger with a very large gun looking for what we ran from. It was an impala and the guard laughed at our fear. Later that night we continued to hear noises and it was hard to sleep.
The next day we explored Lake Manyara, which is the home of the tree climbing lions. We did not see any tree climbing lions but we saw lots of hippos. The landscape was more moist and full of green life. Here there were lots of opportunities to see more beautiful animals and plants.
The last day we went to the world famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is the one of the most visited Safaris after the Serengeti. It was absolutely breathtaking. Each moment was precious as we saw rhinos, gazelles, and buffalo. We saw the other animals like giraffes and elephants but buffalo, gazelles and rhinos were the new animals we saw. Also, we were able to get closer to all of the animals. We were just feet away from elephants and giraffes. The scenery was the best part of the safari and it was absolutely amazing.
We performed a skit, dance, and song for the African Alliance Community Center and all of their friends. People from the community performed for us also. There were many shared laughs and applauds through the audience as we watched each other. The Community performed several dances, they were looked like they took a lot of practice and skill because they moved with grace and condition. It was exciting. The community also sung many songs for us including “We Are The World”. The community did various skits that all talked about the value of education and what it has done for people. Our performance was not as good but we demonstrated our dance skills and we created a song called “We are Jamaii” to the music of “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. We also did a short skit about buying sugar. We had a lot of fun and the community welcomed us with open arms.
We climbed one of the seven wonders of Africa today. We only climbed to the second elevation but every moment was amazing. We began a slow ascend at 10:00 and there was a slight mist that surrounded us. We saw Chaaga people gathering leaves and working as we climbed. As we got further away from the bottom the trail became steeper and it was harder to climb. Our endurance, perseverance, and stretch was tasted as we hiked. Some had muscle soreness and others had elevation sickness but we all pushed through and was able to say we did it. We climbed for over 9 miles and 6 hours. This is an amazing experience that none of us will forget.
Arusha National Park is amazing. Arusha national park is approximately 212 sq miles and is located right outside of Arusha. It was an overcast day but the sights were still beautiful. We rode our Safari Jeep through the park and as soon as we entered the park we immediately saw zebras! The zebras were eating grass and enjoying the overcast day. After driving for a little while we began to see giraffes, wilder beast, monkeys, baboons, flamingos, warthog, antelope and various birds. There was a lake filled with flamingos, they flapped their wings, flew around and enjoyed the water. We drove to the top of the creator and had a picnic. After our picnic we were saw a giraffe crossing. The giraffes were walking across the road and we had to wait until they were done to continue. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The day began with another class. We had our first African Medical Systems Class at 11:00 this morning. Our class was shorter today but we learned a lot of information about Functionalist Perspective, Symbolic Interactionalism, Conflict Perspectives and how they impact health systems in Tanzania. The class was very informative and enjoyable. After class a few of us went to the market. We walked an hour and a half to get there and rode the Dala Dala back. A Dala Dala is a small 12 passenger van that rides from the city to the suburbs and surrounding villages. It usually cost less than a dollar to ride and they fit over 20 people in it. It was exciting and cramped.
Our first class, East African Culture, was held today for 5 hours. We learned about diversity, poverty, size and the effects of colonization. We also discussed the novel The River Between by Nguigi, which is about colonization in Kenya and its effects on religion. It was very informative and we are all excited to learn more. To put the size of Africa in perspective to the United States please view this map http://static02.mediaite.com/geekosystem/uploads/2010/10/true-size-of-africa.jpg
We explored the primary and secondary School of St. Jude and was amazed at what we saw. The campus was beautiful and the students are brilliant and amazing. We partook in home visits as well and we saw extreme poverty. It was an interesting experience.
Today we were enlightened and inspired by many people while we visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was established by the United Nations in 1994. The Tribunal was made in Arusha to keep the distance, witnesses safe and to keep things separated. We talked to many people, most are lawyers but there was also a social scientist. The people included Douglas Hansen, a Legal Officer, Thembile Segoete from the Appeals Counsel, Samuel Akorimo the Officer in Charge of Registry and Sera Attika the Head of the Witness Support and Protection Unit. We learned a lot and was ecstatic to be sitting in the seats of important people. We also had our first experience at a Masai market.
We walked though the village outside of the UAACC and visited another snake farm. We saw the University of Arusha but there were no students because they are on break. We also made beautiful pieces of art out of dye and wax today. Everything has been exciting and beautiful.