Planes, no trains, and automobiles

Habari! (our Swahili hello!)

We wrote this blog while sitting at our hotel in the beautiful city of Morogoro (we specify because where and when we write and where and when we are able to post may be different).  Morogoro is situated approximately 193km southwest of Dar es Salaam (Dar) where we began our Tanzanian adventure.  Perhaps we’ll start our story from the beginning for you…

We (Jodi, Adam and Kellie) arrived in Dar after approximately 17 hours total in the air.  We encountered numerous interesting situations along the way. These included: Ethiopian Air’s “get your own drink policy” and Addis Ababa airport (such an unusual airport experience!). After landing in Dar it was refreshing to have our feet on solid ground. It was here we met Dr. Angaza Gimbi, our chaperone for the next two weeks. Gimbi (as we call him) is a veterinarian who works with the Open University of Tanzania and has been involved with the Tanzanian Poultry Project since its inception.

Over the last five days we have visited the Open University of Tanzania, Muhimbili University School of Public Health and Social Sciences, Muhimbili National Hospital, and Sokoine University of Agriculture (which includes the veterinary school of Tanzania) and spoke with many individuals who have lent ideas to the project and added some perspective for the future.  Being in Tanzania and speaking with locals about the project has made us all very excited to arrive in Ilima and get to work on the project.

A taste of what we’ve experienced so far

Food and Drink

We’ve been incredibly spoiled in Dar and Morogoro with delicious hotel and restaurant food. Morogoro has been especially wonderful with an awesome selection of Indian food. Other than bottled water, which we drink a lot of, we’ve got to try four of the countries selection of beer. We’re divided on the best with Jodi choosing Kilimanjaro, Adam backing Safari, and Kellie liking Serengeti.

Weather

Hot, hot, hot!  Although it is the rainy season, the pouring rain happens once every few days and last for maybe 20 minutes. The rest of the time we experience bright, beautiful sunshine and approximately 29 degree heat.

Daily Life

The sun rises at 7am and sets at 7pm – pretty much on the dot! The pace here is much slower than Canada; appointment times are flexible and it appears that only motorcycle drivers and tour buses are in a rush to go anywhere.

People

Everyone we’ve met in the last five days has been extremely welcoming and patient with our broken, poorly pronounced Swahili. We’ve had the honour of being invited into Gimbi’s home to share lunch with his family, as well join in dinner with them at the nearby Arc Hotel. One afternoon, we travelled to the Rock Garden in Morogoro and got to play cards and learn our Swahili numbers with Gimbi’s daughters – they won each game but we came out with 1-10 down pat!

Project

So far the project is more ears-on than hands-on because we’re still making the journey to Ilima and Lubanda villages in Rungwe district. The discussions with everyone about the project has made us very excited to finish our journey and start our work!

Transportation

We have already touched on our 17 hours in flight – the ‘planes’ in our title, but we should explain the rest of it.  There are no trains in Tanzania.  There are tracks, but nothing more than that…and they need them! We wish we knew all the details but we’re not experts. Apparently, they had trains and they frequently break down so now everything and everyone is moved by car on the main roads to the cities. This many trucks and cars on the roads (which are often two lanes only) can lead to some scary situations (which we’ve seen first hand…unfortunately).  However, despite the other scary drivers, we’ve been very lucky to have Gimbi offer to drive us. With two day long road trips, it’s nice to have Gimbi leading the way!

Swahili word of the day

We thought it would be interesting to share a word with everyone – you can learn along with us!  This blog’s word choice is: Karibu.  Karibu translates to welcome.  It is said both at your arrival (“you are warmly welcome here”) and upon your departure (“you are more than welcome back again”) from the places you visit.

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