Posts from Tanzania
- Karibu! on June 15th, 2012
I cannot believe week three is already almost over in Tanzania. It has been a VERY busy couple of days since our arrival in Mto wa Mbu (Swahili for River of Mosquitos). On Tuesday, we went to a Maasai wedding which is traditionally a huge celebration. They sacrificed a cattle for the occassion which is quite significant because cattle are sacred to these people. After the rituals, there was singing and dancing for hours. I even participated in a dance that took place in the “sacred circle” where the cattle stay at night.
The next night, 8 of us were taken to a Maasai boma to spend the night. This is where a small community of Maasai people live. When we got there, we played frisbee with the children and took a so many pictures. After dark, we sat around a fire and played games with the Maasai. The stars were absolutely astonishing. I’ve literally never seen so many stars before in my entire life- I couldn’t stop looking up at the sky. After dinner, we slept in their huts, it honestly wasn’t very comfortable but the experience was well worth it. In the morning, they woke us up fairly early so we can see the sunrise over the mountains in the distance. The whole experience was amazing. I really will never be able to put into words exactly what it was like.
Mto wa Mbu is probably my favorite location we’ve visited so far. I really do love it here. If you’re thinking about studying abroad- TANZANIA IS THE PLACE TO GO!!
- A lesson from tonight on June 10th, 2012
Tonight at a club in Arusha I met people from all over the world- India, Spain, America, and Tanzania. I’ve learned something important. Indians are Indians, Americans are Americans, and Tanzanians are Tanzanians. However, we are all the same people. One love. I love Tanzania. Over and out.
- Arusha, Tanzania! on June 10th, 2012
Wow! Another great week in Tanzania. At the beginning of the week, we went on our first safari at Arusha National Park. The wildlife was truly amazing- there were giraffes, zebras, monkeys, water buck, and so much more. The next day we left UAACC and Maji ya Chai. I was actually pretty sad to leave but we are returning at the end of the month before we come back to the US.
After leaving UAACC, we made the trip to the Impala Hotel in Arusha. I’m loving the hotel and the experiences here are very different than what it was like in Maji ya Chai. Even though it is a city of almost 500,000 people, it is nothing like the cities I am used to in America. There is a marketplace not too far from the hotel that we have been going to regularly. It’s hard not to buy anything
Thursday, we went out as a group to an Italian restaurant where we had a family-style dinner. After dinner, we went to Via Via which is an outdoor club. It was SO much fun! There was a live band, multiple bars, and a couple fire rings. After a couple drinks, almost everyone was on the dance floor. I really like interacting with the local people- it’s a great opportunity to learn about the language and culture.
Yesterday we had a busy day as well. We went across the city to a Tourism Convention. It was almost like a fair with tents from many different tourism industries from wine tasting to camel rides. It was a beautiful day to be outside and enjoy the weather. After the fair, we went to the Cultural Heritage Museum. It is completely packed with beautiful African art and a large collection of Tanzanite.
I’m still very much enjoying my time in Tanzania. My experiences are invaluable and I’m growing to love the people, the culture, and everything else it has to offer.
- Greetings from Maji ya Chai! on June 3rd, 2012
What an amazing week it has been! We arrived at Kilimanjaro airport safe and sound last Sunday night and we have been busy ever since. When we arrived at the United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC), we were greeted with singing, dancing, and drum playing. It’s quite different around here but I felt right at home. Everyone is very friendly and generous here.
Monday, the group took a walk to a reptile/snake farm about an hour from where we are staying. It was pretty cool to see all the native snakes to the area. Also, we hung out at the orphanage at UAACC and played with the orphans. They are a lot of fun…they especially like taking pictures with our cameras and looking at them afterward.
Tuesday, we continued with our Swahili classes. I really like taking walks around the village in my spare time. I’m trying to interact with as many people as possible. The language barrier can sometimes be difficult but a fair amount of people speak English and I’m getting better with my Swahili.
Wednesday was VERY tiring. We left UAACC at 6 in the morning for Kilimanjaro. It was BEAUTIFUL but exhausting at the same time. We went 9000 ft up the mountain- in the clouds! About half way through the hike, we came across monkeys- they were awesome.
Throughout the rest of the week, we’ve just been going to class and hanging out around Maji ya Chai. The Swahili exam was on Saturday, I hope I did okay!
Today was probably the most exciting. This morning, we all learned a traditional African dance and around 2:30 we had a ngoma. Essentially, it’s a party! Again, there was singing, dancing, and drumming. People from this community all came and watched. We performed our African dance along with other American dances like the Cotton Eyed Joe. It was very cool to bring both our culture and the Tanzanian culture together in one performance.
Tomorrow, we are going to Arusha National Park for a safari. I’m sure it’s going to be just as amazing as everything else we’ve been doing so far
I’ve been having trouble uploading pictures on here, but I’ll keep trying. Hope all is well back in the US!
- Today is the day! on May 26th, 2012
After a long week of class, today is the day! Our flight is leaving JFK at 6pm and we will arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport tomorrow after a short layover in Amsterdam. So many emotions are running through my body today. I’m so excited to finally get to Tanzania but I’m nervous at the same time. It is going to be difficult to adjust and I’m going to be completely out of my comfort zone at first. I’ve never been outside of North America, and now I’m off to Tanzania :0. All of us that are going have become friends over the past week so I know we are going to have a blast.
I’m actually very surprised how much Swahili I’ve learned this past week and excited to start using it regularly. One of the classes we are taking is Immersion in Another Culture. We are basically being graded on how much we speak Swahili, interact with the people, and follow their culture. Mwalimu (teacher) Arens gave all of us our own Swahili names…jina langu qwa kiswahili mzima moto (my name in Swahili is fireman). The culture we are immersing in is quite different than what I’m used to. Still, I’m prepared to go with an open mind and take in as many new experiences as possible.
Anyway, I’m off to the airport. Tanzania, here I come
- Safari Inanza Leo!! (…Or Yesterday) on May 22nd, 2012
My name is Matthew and I just finished my sophomore year at Stony Brook. I am majoring in Sociology and have a minor in Africana Studies. I’m from a very small town in Connecticut called Higganum but after spending so much time at SBU, I really think Long Island is my new home.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in cultures, particularly in Africa. I would LOVE to eventually do sociological work or research in Africa for a living so when I looked into Stony Brook’s study abroad programs, I knew I had to do it.
On Saturday (5/26), 19 SBU students, including myself, are departing from JFK to Mt. Kilimanjaro Airport. That’s right, I’M GOING TO TANZANIA!! It’s a five week program, one week at SBU and four weeks in Africa. This first week is orientation. We are learning how to speak Swahili and about other important information regarding Tanzania. The language component is fairly intense and some students have already labeled this week as Swahili Boot Camp. It’s really not all that bad though and Dr. Arens (the program director) is a great instructor. The next three weeks we are traveling around Northern Tanzania staying in different locations such as Arusha and Maji ya Chai. The last week we are going to a few national parks on a safari!
Anyway, the first phrase Dr. Arens taught us yesterday is “Safari inanza leo” which translates to “the journey begins today.” After hearing paleoanthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey tell us yesterday about his work and life in Eastern Africa, I can tell this is going to be a life-changing experience. Hopefully, going to Tanzania will allow me to begin to understand what kind of work I will be getting into after college. I can’t wait to see what is going to come our way!! This is really an opportunity of a lifetime.
PS- 4 DAYS UNTIL TAKEOFF!