Upon arriving in Tanzania in early January 2013, all WorldTeach volunteers stayed together at Maui Rest House in Kunduchi Beach for a week long English intensive training.
While staying at Maui Rest House for our week of training, at 6:30am the sun rose just beyond my balcony which overlooked an incredibly gorgeous Christmas tree (no, not an American Christmas tree – a vibrantly gigantic tree with intricate red flowers) and a fishing village in Kunduchi Beach, which is a small village in Dar es Salaam.
The mystical beauty of this “paradise” included intense smells of fish, children smiling brightly,
dala dala’s (buses) racing about on the roads, women walking with all sorts of buckets on their heads
and fabrics brighter than imagined.
Frogs chirped loudly at night and in the early mornings,
I was woken with the rising sun and a plethora of roosters crowing and birds chirping.
Just beyond our parameters, men, women and children walked about getting their water for the day, preparing for fishing and adventuring to whatever their task at hand may be.
The weather was HOT and sticky, oh so very sticky.
The first days staying in Kunduchi Beach, I had trouble finding words to express the reality I was witnessing.
As it was something never before seen by my eyes – a combination of absolutely beauty and sadness.
Tanzanians are so community oriented, so friendly, so welcoming.
We walked about the streets and little children jumped up and down saying,
“Jambo” or “Hi” or “Karibu” (welcome) and an occasional “Mambo Vipi?” (What’s up).
A simple pause, looking at their face and responding with “Poa” (cool) brought about a huge smile on their faces. Greetings are extremely important in Tanzania as you typically hear three to four when meeting a person.
While training, English lessons began at 8:30am and continued through dinnertime, typically around 7:30.
Our training included anything from Swahili lessons to cultural training to afternoon siesta’s where we had group swimming sessions in the pool and lots and lots of “Genki English” lessons.
Towards the end of my training, we all found out our teaching placements.
Seven of us went to Mafia Island (off the coast of Tanzania)
and the remaining volunteers went to Kilwa (on mainland Tanzania, south of Dar es Salaam).
Although we spent most of the first week in the parameters of our training center, we did venture out several times.
The first outing was up to Bagamoyo, which was about an hour away from Maui Rest House.
I spent the hour standing up in a very crowded dala dala talking to a local Tanzanian who volunteered to guide us around for the day about her American interest. Once we got into Bagamoyo, we visited an old slave dwelling where slaves were held before getting sent to Zanzibar – a combination of absolute depression from seeing where slaves were hung to absolutely joy when hearing the pride in Raymond’s (our tour guide, a local Tanzanian) voice as he expressed his countries history.
The dala dala ride home was spent in silence staring out the window as we passed through town after town – a sense of melancholy overcame my body as I am living a dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember, yet am seeing the struggle of the people that live this reality every day.
The second outing was with the group of us whom were placed on Mafia Island.
We left Kunduchi Beach after breakfast and ventured to Mwenge to shop at local cultural shops and into an air conditioned Tanzanian mall called Mlimani City and yes it was air-conditioned with cappuccino and ice cream shops!We then ventured on several other dala dala's in Posta and Kivukoni where we took a five-minute ferry across the ocean to Kigamboni and ate lunch at a street vendor.
Below are photos from my week long adventure on mainland Tanzania in Dar es Salaam!
Many blessings and enjoy!
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I am in love with life and all those in it.