Did you know that the ability to pepper conversation with appropriate proverbs (methali) is much admired in Tanzania? Here’s one of our favorites translated from Swahili:
Kila ndege huruka na mbawa zake: Every bird flies with its own wings
16 high school students from Notre Dame Academy flew today from Boston to Amsterdam to Tanzania, where they will stay for 10 days on an immersive international experience. For most of them, it will be their first time in Africa.
Their plane touches down in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania at 8:40pm local time (12:30pm EST on Saturday). The highlights of the trip include a safari, village homestay, and a service learning project.
We’ll be keeping you posted on the adventures about to unfold over the next 10 days as we receive photos and highlights from the students on the ground!
Tanzanian trip leader, Mary Heinemann, has spent significant time in Tanzania and paints a beautiful picture of this east African country
A Diverse Ecosystem
Tanzania, home to more than 120 unique tribes, claimed its independence in 1962. Many of the quintessential ideas of Africa lie within Tanzania, including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Maasai tribe, Zanzibar, Tanzanite, and yet there is so much more to this special country, culture, landscape, and people.
Everywhere you look you can see green, rich landscapes, red dirt, white sand, and blue skies. When you look at the people of Tanzania you see bright, brilliant colors. In Tanzanian culture, both men and women dress sharp and love creating fresh outfits with local seamstresses and the African cloth Kitenge and Kanga. These are long sheets of fabric that have endless styles of design but are always extremely colorful. Women use this to wrap around their waist to dress more modestly, to carry babies on their backs, to mop the floor, and to roll into a ball to protect their head when they carry buckets of water. Fashion, style, and a clean appearance is very important to Tanzanians and they know how to pull it off.
Technological Growth & Innovation
Tanzania has been ahead of the technology game with innovative ideas like Mpesa, Tuende, and Kimya Kimya. We may be familiar with Venmo but you may be surprised to now that Mpesa, a phone based money transfer, financing, and micro-financing service was started in 2007 through Vodacom. Uber has taken the world by storm, including in Tanzania. Additionally, a Tanzania man has created an easy, cheap transportation business similar to Uber called Tuende, meaning Let’s Go. Tuende is operated through cell phone and works strictly with tuk-tuks/ bajajis, no taxis. Kimya Kimya is a new initiative that will work with local clinics to offer anonymous delivery of family planning options through a cell phone order. Tanzania is full of brilliant, creative, innovative leaders that are surely going to have a positive impact on their continent and the world.
The People of Tanzania
If there is one theme that sticks out more than anything, it is the gratitude and welcoming attitude of Tanzanians. They truly love hosting guests and sharing their culture with others. There is so much richness to the people and lessons to learn here. The average villager not only knows exactly where their food comes from, but more than likely they farmed it themselves. They always want you to feel full and satisfied, and will keep adding more to your plate to make sure.
This is truly a culture of gratitude and community. Walking around a village, you will be greeted by every person you pass. Being one of the safest countries in Africa, making friends through greeting each other, expressing your gratitude, and taking it polepole (slow) truly makes the joy here palpable.
Written by Mary Heinemann
Trip Leader, Tanzania 2019