07 January 2017

The End

I recently got back to the States, and after unpacking my suitcases and organizing my life, I've finally had the chance to sit down, reflect, and write a final post about my experience in East Africa. At this point, it feels that I'm already truly reminiscing about an experience far behind me. The harsh weather and expensive prices have slapped me rudely awake into my native environment, intensifying the contrast and distance between Boston and Arusha. I forgot how many kinds of cheese are available to me here, as well as the limited kinds of fresh produce available. The two environments I've lived in are indeed dissimilar. With that reflection, I offer you the tale of my last week in Tanzania.

Family Arrival

A week before my departure from Kilimanjaro International Airport, I traveled an hour to said airport to pick up my mom and sister, who came to share some adventures and join me on the journey back to Boston. Here was our schedule.

12/19: family arrives late at night at KIA
12/20: explore Arusha
12/21: depart for Safari, arrive at Ngorongoro Crater
12/22: arrive at Serengeti National Park
12/24: fly from an airstrip in Serengeti to Zanzibar
12/26: return to Arusha
12/27: head back to KIA and depart for the US!

Now that the schedule is known, it seems pointless to waste space with words when I can simply share our journey in pictures.




And that was it! I spent one more day in Arusha saying final goodbyes and preparing myself for cold weather. My experience in Tanzania was life-changing and unforgettable, and I couldn't trade it for any other experience. I feel compelled to return one day, so we'll see what the future has in store.

10 December 2016

Tangazo, Karibu na Mwisho

It's the end of the semester, but I'm still in Tanzania!

The coming week is my last week of working at Sikubora. I have a lot to wrap up there! After that, my mom and sister are traveling to Arusha to visit. We're going on a short safari to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, and then we're spending Christmas in Zanzibar. After that, I'll have to say goodbye to this wonderful experience.

It's hard to accept that these are my last few weeks here. This month so far has been spent trying to cross items of my Arusha bucket list. I checked out a few restaurants and shops, I brought kitenge fabric to fundis to make custom clothing, I went to Nairobi for another ultimate frisbee tournament, and I joined on another Sikubora installation out in a Maasai village.

With a few more items still on my to-do list, and a set of adventures planned with my family, I plan to continue blogging until I've returned to America. Stay tuned for pictures of wild animals and beaches!

02 December 2016

Dar es Salaam

Last weekend I took the opportunity to go to Tanzania's largest city, Dar es Salaam. It's about a 12-hour bus ride from Arusha, but I'm entirely glad I sat through it.

I had no reason to go to Dar and no business to do there, but my wanderer's heart propelled me to pick a weekend, buy bus tickets, and explore a new place. Many of my friends and coworkers asked why I wanted to go to Dar. They said it was hot, dirty, smelly, and crowded, and they thought I wouldn't like it at all. To some extent, they were right. I sweat through all my clothes, encountered a lot of trash, covered my nostrils on occasion, and weaved through many oncoming pedestrians. Even so, they were wrong in that I loved it.

Dar is pretty cool from my perspective. I like to say it's "shwari kama bahari," a cute rhyme that translates to the non-rhyme "cool like the ocean." Aside from the fact that Dar is really hot, this phrase is especially appropriate since Dar is on the Indian Ocean. The huge yet flat city is basically built on a beach. Instead of dirt on the side of the roads, there's sand. There's an occasional refreshing breeze from off the coast. If you can see the ocean, you'll see at least three giant shipping boats at once. The name is especially refreshing--Dar es Salaam, from Arabic, means "abode of peace."

So what did I do in the Abode of Peace?

I walked around a lot and saw different neighborhoods, shopping centers, and parts of the coast.

I saw the biggest avocados I've ever seen in my life.

I saw the Tanzanian equivalent of the White House.

(You can't take pictures there, else you wish to leave your phone behind.)

I played ultimate, thanks to the invitation from a friend I hosted in Arusha earlier. (Note the sweat, a testament to the heat of Dar and also to my peculiar gene pool.)

Photo courtesy of Mwinyi

I checked out some cliffs.

I went to my friend's fabric fundi and had kitenge clothes made. (Fundi is a word for machinist, expert, technician, repairman, creator... they're in every field.)

Photo courtesy of Mwinyi

I rode a ferry-bridge!

I walked across a real bridge, Daraja la Nyerere.

I had a bunch of adventures I couldn't have anticipated. I'm thankful for the old friends I saw, the new friends I made, and all the experiences that surprised me. I'm also thankful that the people saying I'd hate it were a little off-target in their predictions--that I didn't hate Dar and instead, enjoyed it.