Category Archives: Tanzania2014

Back in Stone Town

We have moved from our resort to Stone Town. We are staying in a beautiful hotel that is not to far from the city center. Every morning we woke up and explored the town. We were frequent visitors of the shops as we tried to find precious gifts for our family and friends.  In addition to shopping, three people got a few dreads. It was very interesting because there were many white people in the town visiting. As a result we were not stared at as much and Mzungu was not yelled at us to grab our attention. It was very interesting and fun.

Spice tour, Slave Market, and Walking Tour

After a few relaxing few days we went to stone town to explore and learn. First we went to Jambo Farm to learn about the different spices of Zanzibar. Some of the¬†highlights include seeing and smelling a¬†yang yang tree, which is what Chanel no. 5 is made out of. Also, Cinnamon is considered ¬†the queen of the spice because every single part of it can be used. We also tried the different fruits and watch a “butterfly man” climb, dance, and sing up the tree. It was amazing. It was a phenomenal sight to see. After the spice tour we went to a church that was originally a slave market. We sat in the basement where slaves were kept¬†right before being sold. After being in the small cramped space we moved to the sanctuary where people were sold. It was interesting that the alter is now built on the spot that many people were auctioned off. We then had a walking tour and saw the beautiful doors and the historic buildings. Stone town is an amazing place and we loved learning about everything.

Zanzibar!

We arrived at Zanzibar and was delighted to see a change of scenery. The plane ride was short and it was cool to see the Indian Ocean out of the window. We arrived at our hotel which was beautiful. The pathways were lined with trees and there was always a view of the beautiful ocean. There was also a pool and a delicious restaurant. The restaurant and the pool is where we spent most of our time. There were many funny jokes and beautiful moments shared sitting at our large table in the restaurant/lobby area.IMG_7392 IMG_7393 IMG_7394 IMG_7400 IMG_7387

Visiting The US Embassy

The US embassy is an interesting place. We first went through security before taking a short walk to the embassy. There were small fountains and beautiful brick buildings lining the walkway. Once in the building we saw a soldier standing guard and another metal detector. The building has a library along with the offices for the many foreign service workers working in Tanzania. We went to the library first and indulged our minds with books, reliable internet, free printing, and wifi. We were overwhelmed by the novels and other various books. The librarian also informed us that we could get library cards and borrow the books. Most of us plan to get library cards soon. Soon after we explored the library we were able to move into a question answer room with 3 few foreign service workers from the US and a Tanzanian. We came prepared with our questions and were able to get all of them answered. We learned about President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, becoming a foreign service worker,¬†Young African Leaders Initiative and much more. Some fun facts is that US Foreign Service workers receive black passports covers and people who travel internationally for the white house receives red passport covers. Also, a term for a foreign service worker is 2 years in Tanzania and their families can come with them. We learned a lot and a few of us is considering the foreign service as a career choice. We were glad to visit the embassy and learn about what the US is doing for Tanzanians and US citizens in Tanzania.

A Beautiful Day at Mbudya beach

We had a wonderful time on the beach and was amazed at its beauty. Mbudya beach is on a small island off of the coast of Dar es Salaam so we had to take a boat. The boat was long and wooden with a small motor to push us along. While we were on the boat it began to rain. We were getting sad because we thought our beach day was going to be cold and wet. As we arrived on the beach were observed the pine trees, foliage and white sands. It was amazing to see the diversity of greenery on the island. Since it was raining we found a small hut and huddled under it. We stacked our bags on a small table and pulled chairs in to sit. While we were sitting it began to storm. We had little hope that the rain would clear but Professor Quaye thought that it would clear soon. After 30 or so minutes all of the rain cleared up and the sun came out. It was beautiful. We all swam around or sat on the shore enjoying the sun. Soon after the sun came out it was lunch time; we ate fresh fish that still had the head attached, it was delicious. After lunch, we explored and saw crabs, coral, and other great things. We collected a few sea shells and had a few sodas. To end our beach day was over we took the boat back to shore and had an ice cream cone. It was awesomeJQnHj

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First Week full week in Dar es Salaam

The last few days have been filled with introductions, school work, and internships. The beginning of the week began with meeting our host parents. We all sat  anxiously waiting on Sunday to meet our host parents. We met them one by one and they are all amazing people! The fathers are all professors at the University of Dar Es Salaam and the mothers work. They are also all friends and live very close to each other. We love the food, it is delicious! There hospitality is excellent too. We have been enjoying their cooking and conversations the entire week.

Monday was our first official day of class but we only went to East African Culture before we had orientation and a tour of the University of Dar Es Salaam. Several people talked to us including a person from international relations, the campus police, the health center and a culture specialist.. The people were very informative and told us a lot of good information especially the person who talked about culture. We all know useful information about relationships, dating, washing, and much more. After a brief lunch , we had a campus tour that allowed us to see all of the various buildings. The campus is large and beautiful. We enjoyed asking questions and gaining a better understanding of the campus and the resources they offer.

We all went to our internships and experienced working in a foreign country. We all are placed in¬†internships that match our interest. Some of the internship locations are “The House of Culture”, ” The Tanzanian Youth Alliance”, ” The Tanzanian Women Lawyer Association”. We are still getting acquainted with the various places and learning what we will do. It has been exciting thus far.

Our first full day of classes were on wednesday. After we walked 45 minutes to get to class we sat down a few minutes before class started. Class starts at 8:30 every morning. We sat through East African Culture,   Women and the Environment, Swahili, and African Medical Systems. We were done around 5 and walked back home.

It has been a great first week and we can not wait to explore. Tomorrow we will go to beach on a small island. We are very excited.

First Days in Dar Es Salaam

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.

Camping Among The Lions

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.

A Little Performance

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.

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Second Elevation of Mr. Kilimonjaro

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.