Karibu! Welcome to my first blog post recounting my adventure here in Tanzania! As of now, we have been here exactly ten days, but we all agree it has felt more like a month. Our schedule has been jam-packed with a bunch of activities and excursions every single day, so I am just now finding the time to sit down and write, fingers crossed that my internet connection won’t fail me.
Ten days ago, I arrived at the Jangwani Sea Breeze resort in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I met our resident director, Justin, and everyone else in our group–there are only eleven of us total from all over the US. At Jangwani, we spent four days recovering from jet lag, learning some Swahili, and going on day trips to places like the National Museum and outdoor markets. My favorite day was when we took a boat ride to a nearby island, where we had a Swahili lesson with our teacher, Paulo, and spent the rest of our time swimming in the Indian Ocean and eating the most delicious fruits (mangoes, pineapple, watermelon…). Another memorable experience was visiting a village museum, where we toured huts and watched traditional dancers put on a show to some great drumming before joining in with them!
From Dar, we traveled to Iringa, where we will be staying the next few months. The eleven-hour bus ride went by pretty quickly, probably due to the awesome scenery along the way. On both sides of the road, we saw animals like giraffes, gazelles, baboons, and even an elephant off in the distance. It became more mountainous the closer we got to Iringa, so my eyes were glued to the bus window.
It’s been really fun exploring the town of Iringa! Wherever we go, people either yell out “Karibu!” (welcome) or “Mzungu!” (white person); I prefer the former. The driving here is literally crazy- the cars are constantly going around each other (by less than an inch) and will not hesitate to run you over. So many times I thought I was about to witness an accident, but it’s been lucky so far!
I’m now writing this post from the top bunk of a room I share with three others in the dorm “King of Kings 1” on the University of Iringa campus. We arrived at the campus four days ago, when we met our roommates and moved in. Since then, we have been getting acclimated to the campus, making new Tanzanian friends, and of course learning more Swahili. One of my roommates, Tunukiwa, is from Tanzania; the other, Agnes, is from Zambia. They’re both so sweet! I would write about every detail of every experience if I could, but I’ll stick to writing a new post each week (if my internet can keep up!)