Six things I learned about Tanzania:
- Swahili sounds amazing. It’s one of the happiest sounding languages I’ve ever heard. Here’s a sneak peek:
Karibu – Welcome
Habari gani – How are you?
Jambo – Hello
Kwaheri – Goodbye
Sarafi njema – Have a good trip!
Asante sana – Thank you very much
- Speaking of Swahili, the Lion King names are actually Swahili words! Remember Pumba, the warthog? Pumba means slow-witted/thoughtless in Swahili! Simba means lion. Rafiki means friend. Cool, huh?
- Beads are everywhere. Everything is beaded. Bracelets, earrings, bags, shoes, everything.
- Tsetse flies actually exist, and they’re the devil incarnate. They’re worse than horseflies, leaving giant welts that itch for days. They even carry a terrifying disease called Sleeping Sickness; if you’re bitten by an infected fly you slowly become more and more drowsy, drifting off into sleep, and then remain in a coma for the rest of your life. Thankfully it’s very rare and a nonissue for anyone considering a trip.
- The name “Tanzania” exists because it’s the land between Lake Tanganyika and Zanzibar island. (Put it together, Tan + Zan = Tanzania!)
- They take the phrase “rice and beans” to a whole new level.
One of the great things about going with a school group was that I was able to learn about Tanzania from a more educational perspective. Normally my vacations consist of pure adventure seeking, a bit of relaxation, and a cultural day thrown in here and there. With a school group you’re always assessing the educational merit of your activities. Enter the most impacting activity we participated in: The goat shed.
Service projects comprised much of what we did in Tanzania. The students fundraised beforehand in order to pay for the materials to build a goat shed for a local villager. The activity was facilitated by the non-profit Seeway Tanzania.
The students had a blast and learned how to manually build a wooden structure using only a set of directions and a hammer and nails. Another important fact: The fundraising didn’t just pay for the shed itself, but for the goat that would live there. It’s a great long-term service project because the goat continues to provide for the villager’s livelihood.
It took two grueling days to build the goat shed, but I can’t wait to return again this February and see how big Hillda has grown!
Check back soon for the final installment on Tanzania, the safari!