by
on October 24, 2012 on 10/24/12 from ,

Dar es Salaam

First, I must say “poleni sana” for my lack of posting over the past nearly 3 weeks.  I have been very busy hustlin’ the streets of Stone Town, studying the hyraxes in Jozani, and thuggin’ in the streets of Dar.

My portfolio project went well, tits up. I had a guide who was not qualified (didn’t find out until after returning to Stone Town) and I didn’t hear or see any hyraxes.  My plots were over 7 km away and being a broke college kid who wishes to be environmentally friendly, I had to walk. My guide further caused this process to be a son-of-a-gun by making me walk with my light off on the road and jump into the weeds every time he thought he heard a vehicle. The research was further impacted by my acquiring an awful upper respiratory infection that made me feel like I had been run over by a Mack truck.  As Vonnegut says “so it goes”.  After leaving Jozani, I stayed in a rather grungy (but cheap) hotel/guest house in Stone Town.  While in Stone Town, the boredom of writing an 8 page paper was cut by the presence of riots.

The Stone Town riots take 2 (there were three days of rioting in May) were centered on the detainment of Sheikh Farid, leader of the Islamic organization UAMSHO.  The police/government held him for three days; meanwhile the youths involved in the organization took to the streets raising all sorts of Cain. Burning cars, setting road blocks, throwing rocks, etc etc etc was the theme of the days.  The police responded with tear gas bombs, real guns, and brute force.  The riots eventually quelled after we came to Dar es Salaam and the Shiekh was released.  In the meantime, the rumor that Americans were responsible for his capture (thanks dimwit who made the movie). In spite of this, one student thought it was funny to post a status that read “lions and tiger and riots. Oh my.” I nearly had a stroke. Are people really that dumb?!? Anyway.

The boat ride to the mainland was nice and rather calm. We shared the boat with a group of women who were going to vote in an election in Dodoma. I’m not exactly sure that it was legal, but nonetheless they were participating. After arving in Dar, we embarked on a “4 hour” journey to Mikumi National Park (4 hours means 6 and a half in Swahili). -_____-  The trip was worth it! We stayed in a rather posh place and saw a ton of animals. I even was within 20 yards of mating lions! We saw everything from bright blue beeeaters to elephants to giraffes to an owl! Yay.  While there, though, I had to bring to light the sexual harassment that was being committed toward me from one of the young women in the program. Sexual harassment should never take place under any circumstances and ignorance should never be played when confronted about it. End Rant.

The first night in Dar, our group went to UDASA for dinner and hung out in the dorm.  The second night, a small group of us made our way to Eaters Point (best pizza in Dar 24/7) by bajaj. The bajaj was quite entertaining for most of the crowd. The third night was one of the girls’ 21st birthday so we went to a Thai restaurant that was seven steps to classy for most of the group. And people proceeded to make a ruckus and drink from bottles in which concoctions had been made earlier in the evening. I was embarrassed for them. 

Now I am sitting in the library waiting for class and relaxing after finishing some grad school essays. Yay for growing up.

Also, it is absolutely no surprise that WVWC doesn’t have a higher rate of study abroad students. Getting ready to come was a nightmare and trying to get back is an even bigger nightmare. I can’t even register for classes because “readmit students have to wait until January 6th to register”. HELLO!? I am a senior I should get priority over the underclassmen just like every other senior. It’s not like I was kicked out due to academics, I am studying abroad. End rant.

Kwaherini!

Rashid