As our trip comes to a close we are working hard to end strong. We have been presenting at the 31st Annual Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting for the Tanzanian Public Health Association. Today 4 of us presented papers and accomplished something great by doing it. After the conferences we all went out for dinner. We are close like a family so we said jokes about each other, bonded and said what we were thankful for. We all are thankful that Professor Quaye is with us and showed us so much love and enlightened us with so much knowledge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 awesome
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.
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 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.
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.