Once upon a time, there was a traveller named Mzungu who visited Karagwe, Tanzania. Mzungu did not speak any Kiswahili, but he was full of questions about the area and was curious to explore. Upon arrival, he decided to take a day and tour the town and the surrounding mountains and villages. The landscape was amazing, nothing like he’d ever seen. The hillside sloped down into a river that snaked through the valley. Past the river, the green mountains rolled on into the horizon.
All throughout intermediate and high school, I considered myself a concert rat. At least once a month my friends and I would head down to Mr. Smalls or Club Diesel, usually being the youngest people in the crowd, to see one of the many bands we were infatuated with. These venues usually consisted of shoving crowds, mosh-pits, and crowd surfers. I’ve had my fair share of crazy adventures to faraway shows and completely ridiculous happenings, but none of these memories compare to our recent quest for Tanzania Bongo-Flavor Pop-Sensation: Diamond!
My resume now includes: milking cows, hoeing weeds, fetching water and carrying it on my head, peeling green bananas, stiring ugali, cutting grass with a scythe, sewing with a foot pedal, cooking chai, hand washing clothes, blowing a blacksmith’s fire
Honesty and “Productivity” Didn’t Fit In My Backpack: The screams of the crows outside my window woke me up; I was a bit disoriented and my head felt as light as an air balloon. It was a Sunday morning and I was feeling the punishment from having too much fun the night before. My room was a warzone; a combination of clothes, readings and books covered the floor all the way from my bed to the door.
Have you ever wondered where your food comes from? Do you know the farmers who grow it or the chef who cooks it? When going to a restaurant in the United States, one rarely has the chance to meet the chef or see the kitchen. Knowing the farmer who sweat over the crops which make up that meal has also become increasingly difficult in our complicated consumer economy. I do not know if I will ever have a relationship with a chef or farmer at home and as clearly see where my food is coming from, like I do here.
This story begins with a woman sitting on a long, plain, wooden bench in an ordinary room in Kayanga town. The room was once painted a yellow-tan color but has since been decorated in scuffs, scratches, and dirt. The paint is rubbed off in places, and the ceiling is home to handfuls of wasps, migrating from their main colony to smaller ones nearby. The woman sits with her feet firmly on the concrete floor, her back to a wooden door latched with a silver and gold padlock.
March 18th was a beautiful morning with sun and a cool breeze. Seven students and two teachers climbed into a boat heading to an island off the Bukoban coast to visit the burial site of ancient kings. What they were not aware of however, was how this boat ride would be like nothing they would be prepared for. As the long, wooden fishing boat set off from the coast a line of swirling black clouds approached at high speed.
“The cloths are brightly printed and worn together in jangling mixtures that ring in my ears: pink gingham with orange plaid, for example. Loose-joint breaking-point colors, and whether you find them beautiful or find them appalling, they do make the women seem more festive, and less exhausted.” -The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
This blog entry is part of an ongoing series from Amizade’s semester Service-Learning course in Tanzania. Today’s entry comes from Katie Wozniak, a sophomore biochemistry student at Duquesne University. Since coming to Tanzania, death has slapped me in the face three times
Be it funeral, wedding, or Sunday service, every time I enter a church, a silence sweeps the crowd as all eyes turn to stare. More than a few “mzungu ” (white person) are uttered under breaths as the ushers scramble to make sure I get a real chair and not a bench off to the side but in the front so that I’m visible to all.