Upon arrival to Dar es Salaam, I hit the ground running. The past week has been packed with good times. I’m now isolating myself for a few hours so that I can process everything and write this blog. Forgive me for the lack of uniformity throughout my writings, but I’ll do my best to make this both informative and comprehensible.
The first few days were spent getting set up and familiar with the city. On Thursday, (June 13, 2013) all 6 of we American students met up at my host family’s home to meet each other and discuss program. details. We attempted to get phone service but were unsuccessful due to the provider’s network being down. On Friday we took at tour of Kariakoo Market and City Center. Kariakoo is an area of town with a huge market. Here you can purchase food, clothing (new and second-hand), household items, furniture…pretty much everything. While there I picked up some fabric for tailor-made outfit. We then walked through downtown before stopping at Break Point restaurant for lunch. And then began the official weekend.
“Wali na mbogo tafadali” This translates to ‘rice and veggies please’ a common meal for me. Meat is a huge part of the diet in Tanzania. But since meat is not atop my list of favorite foods, I avoid it where possible. The host family I am living with prepares breakfast and dinner for me. For lunch I visit one of the local restaurants or food vendors in the area. Breakfast usually consists of chai (tea), fresh fruit (banana, mango and/or papaya) and bread. Luckily, my host family also keeps a jar of peanut butter around, as well as a bag of granola. These two items have become a regular part of my breakfast. For lunch I will either have a plate of fresh fruit or rice, beans and vegetables. At dinnertime, meat is a given. Fish, chicken, or beef is guaranteed to be at the table each night. Yes, it is good, but I’m adjusting to eating so much meat.
When I visited Dar es Salaam in 2011, I enjoyed many nights dancing away at Dar’s classic night-life venue, Bilicanas. With such great memories, I insisted my new American classmates share in the excitement. The 2 male American students did their own things while the 4 of we ladies went out for a great time. While we were getting ready, the host brother of the other girls invited them to a friend’s birthday party. To make the most of the night, we joined the birthday party for some time and then went on to Bilicanas. Much like in the USA, dancing is a huge part of the night life, however here it is more comfortable to do so. Since the Tanzanian culture is more conservative than that of America, it is much less common to see ‘public displays of affection. As a result, women dance the night away on the same dance floor as men without being continuously bothered by aggressively-flirty guys. Even with the dance floor is packed, people still keep a healthy distance between one another. As a lady that likes to shake her booty, I find this to be very refreshing.