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Country #15: Tanzania

May 21, 2011

Meet Erin and Laura – two fantastic people that we now call friends after our trip to Tanzania.

Our AMAZING hosts Erin and Laura

As was said in a previous post, we were introduced to Erin through one of Steven’s old co-workers.  We did not know her at all but before we arrived, she gave us recommendations on places to stay and invited us to Young Life club our first day there.  Once we got in town and were hanging out, she introduced us to her roommate, Laura.  They were fantastic – they taught us the Swahili words we needed to know, gave us suggestions of things to do while we were in Tanzania, and even let us stay with them when we came back from Zanzibar!  They are awesome girls who love God and love Africa and were so fun to hang out with.  Thank you Erin and Laura!!!!

Riding in a bajaji - our main mode of tranportation

Steven already told you about Young Life club in Dar but I also just wanted to say how amazing it was to see club here and to see these awesome leaders pouring into kids. 

On Sunday, Erin invited us to go to church with her while we were in the city.  The service was in the outdoor gym at the school where Erin and Laura teach and the congregation consisted of a mix of locals and expats.  It was extremely hot and sweaty but Erin pointed out a guy in front of us that was wearing a scarf because it was “cool season” in Tanzania.  It was so good to be in an actual church and worshipping with other people.  Normally we just watch Frontline DC online, and usually it is absurdly late at night/really early in the morning and I tend to fall asleep.    

Masai on the beach in Zanzibar

Swahili was such a fun language to learn a few words in!  Plus, it was funny to hear words that sounded familiar because they were from the Lion King, such as “rafiki” which means friend.  Yes, we also had Lion King songs in our head constantly while we were in Tanzania.  One of my favorite words we learned was “mzungu” which basically means white person.  I know that is a weird thing for me to like but somehow it was cute when all the little kids would run up to you yelling mzungu!  Also, it was always easy to tell when someone was talking about you because they would use the word and there were very few other mzungus around.

Tanzanians waiting for the dalla dalla

You know food is always my favorite part of everywhere we go, so I have to share some of the restaurants we went to with you.  After Young Life club, Erin and Laura took us to a restaurant called Mediterraneo.  It is this awesome restaurant that is part of a hotel right on the water.  We all had pizza which was really good, the beer was so cold it had frozen chunks, and the restaraunt had a great atmosphere – including crabs fighting on the beach which Steven was constantly distracted by.  Another place we went was called T Square which was completely local Tanzanian food.  We had beef mishkaki (basically a kebap) and ugali which is a cornmeal ball that you dip into sauce.  It was all so delicious!  We craved mishkaki from that point on.  After coming back from Zanzibar, Erin and Laura took us to another one of their favorite restaurants – Addis in Dar.  They serve Ethiopian food which Steven and I had never had but we both really liked it!  Then, our last night before heading to the airport we went to dinner with Erin and Laura and their friends Ben and Mary who we had previously met at YoungLife.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was nice and secluded and a good last Tanzanian meal.  A perfect chance to hang out with all of them one last time!

Bajaji passing by

While in Dar es Salaam, our main mode of transportation was a Bajaj – another thing Erin and Laura taught how to effectively use.  Bajaj’s are basically three wheel golf carts that go much faster.  You definitely have to barter for the price of the ride however that was part of the fun.  Half of the time they would break down or Steven would have to get out and help push up a steep hill.  Even still, we loved riding around in bajajis!

We spent a lot of our time in Zanzibar which you can read more about here.  And I’ll just share another picture with you so you can see how pretty it was!

The beach in Zanzibar

On our last day, our flight was not until 2:00 AM.  So, while Erin and Laura were at school, we decided to take a day trip to Bagamoyo which is about an hour north of Dar.  We hopped into a dalla dalla, which is a semi-organized bus system in which they pack out small vans with as many people as they can fit.  The dalla dalla took us the entire way to the town where Steven and I got off and just started walking around.  We definitely stuck out as the only mzungus in town and had a ton of kids run up to us.  Eventually we had a good lunch and made our way, via Bajaji, to  the Holy Ghost Catholic Mission Museum.

Cross on the beach in Bagamoyo

The museum, although not the best, was filled with artifacts and background regarding the history of the town.  We did find some errors here and there, and a few places where information presented on one side of the room did not correlate with something we would find on the other side.  Regardless, it was still interesting but just taken with a grain of salt.

Anyway, to give you a little background about the town of Bagamoyo, it has a long history dealing with the ivory and slave trades out of Africa. The city’s location made it a great jumping off point for Zanzibar and for transporting slaves all throughout Southeast Asia, India, and up into the Middle East.  It was the original capital of German East Africa and one of the most important trading ports in East Africa.  After David Livingstone, the famous explorer that wrote many articles on the atrocities of slavery, died in Rhodesia, he was brought through Bagamoyo and laid in the tower of an old church.  Today that tower is called Livingstone Tower in his honor and his body now rests in Westminister Abbey.  Obviously the town and its’ history were very impactful on the both of us.  For good reason, the city is now being considered to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Like most other countries, we loved our time in Tanzania and want to go back some day.  Maybe to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, go on a safari in the Serengeti, or on a mission trip – but definitely to go back to Zanzibar!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jim Traner permalink
    June 13, 2011 10:23

    the beach in Zanzibar is BEAUTIFUL!!
    You should get the opportunity to ride more Bajaj in SE Asia.
    Young Life lives – around the world!!
    Jamie is at Frontier Ranch this week in Colorado.

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