Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tanzania First impressions the second time round

I have now found myself in Tanzania for a little over a week and it has been an intense 10 days. Last time I came here I was blessed to come with my professor and 6 other students and I didn’t realize till now just how wonderful it was to have them around. It is quite ironic that on my Europe trip I longed for time alone and now I long for someone to talk to who can understand what it is like to be here as a Mzungu (white person). It has taken me a good week to get a handle on the language again and be comfortable with venturing out to new places on my own. It feels a little like a test on my abilities to survive and to trust while being careful. Most days I meet men as they are the ones out and about working and usually they are the best educated, though yesterday I met my friend Abdallah’s brother who is in his third year of high school and studies everything in English and was unable to speak to me in English. Most of these men are usually only attracted to my white skin and the thought that I have money. Ninakupenda baby (I love you baby) is a phrase I often hear. Though some genuinely want to share ideas and learn about different cultures and people. It is hard to trust in this situation as most people here I would say who are my friends constantly warn me to avoid these people.

Education is greatly lacking here and many people only finish grade 7, some don’t even get that far. There is also an incredible amount of unemployment here, I am not sure of the percent but about a third of the people I meet are unemployed and another third are surviving off of petty business ventures like selling underwear or fruit or anything they can afford to buy. I find it amazing that people always try to survive here, they don’t give up and family and neighbours help each other out. Though sometimes that means they will steal your stuff or give you company in order to get food and drinks.

I did meet some very cool young ladies who were here from Kenya for the East African Handball competition. They spoke English which was a nice change of pace and they were all in university or high school. I went to watch the finals that they lost to Tanzania and the Men’s semi finals. This is quite an interesting game. It is super fast, very aggressive and oh how the people in the crowd get worked up. It was hilarious like a hockey game times if everyone in the crowd was yelling at the players, coach or refs. We also went out to possibly the most hilarious bar I have ever been to. Not knowing where to go we want to go their driver took us to a random bar and we walked into to this place with a circular stage in the middle and people all seated around. It was some sort of a strange talent show or karaoke event, people would get on stage and dance, lip sync or impersonate the singer and people would get up and give small change to the people on stage if they liked it. There was some amazing ass shaking and impressive gymnastics from the men, there even was a midget who got up and danced several times. During breaks from the performances we all got on stage and danced and the ladies taught me all sorts of amusing dance moves. I wish I had of had my video camera.

This week my days will be expanding from doing yoga, studying Swahili and going to town. I finally got my professors kitchen goodies so I can start cooking for myself. Today I went to the market and got two bags of produce for $5, yum yum. I will also be going to a school in a village near by to teach some English and tutoring math at an orphanage in town. I am also in contact with a developing NGO who I want to help in implementing an environmental awareness course in schools using English, art, music and gardening. 

No comments: