Friday, January 31, 2014

Bagamoyo and the Bustling Abode of Peace

Well, it's the last day of January and I can't believe we're leaving tomorrow for Iringa. It's been a whirlwind trip to Dar es Salaam, and although I've enjoyed all the excursions we've been on, I'm getting excited about classes beginning on Monday. 
Yesterday, Bw. Paulo took us to Bagamoyo, a historic town on the coast where we viewed some ancient buildings and some remnants from German East Africa.
The origins of the Kaole Ruins, including the mosque and graves shown in this picture, are somewhat disputed, with some scholars believing them to be a Persian settlement, while others suggest that they may have been built by a Swahili people-group. 

 Our tour guide, Noel, showed us a well which, despite being near the ocean, contains fresh water. For this reason, the water is believed to be holy, and some people still draw the water to wash themselves using the bucket and pitcher shown in the photo.

The Holy Ghost Mission was built in 1872 by the Holy Ghost Fathers. We were fortunate to have come during Mass, because, even though this meant we didn't enter the sanctuary to avoid disturbing those attending, we could hear the beautiful singing from inside. 

Tropical huts at the Bagamoyo Beach Resort
 Today, we returned to Dar es Salaam where we made sure our mobile internet modems were equipped with data plans, drove through city center, and went to the mall. The traffic in the city is congested, and the music from the Xanadu Club across the street from our hotel is usually driving a persistent beat into our room. Yes, Dar es Salaam is continually alive.
I will end this post after just a word of all there is to tell, and then I will give you a word or two about Iringa with its cooler climate, university courses, and surely countless other features that we have yet to catch wind of.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Geek in Dar es Salaam

            Hello, my friends, and hamjambo? from Tanzania.
Although I’m not in Mozambique these days, I decided to continue this blog rather than begin a new one. After all, I’m still as much of a geek as ever, so why complicate things? Anyway, this time I am in Tanzania for a semester-long study abroad program, which is located in Iringa and Mufindi.
This week, we are going through an orientation in Dar es Salaam, one of Tanzania’s most important economic centers. There are only a few students in the program—four, including myself, so we will probably become like a little family (or mortal enemies). This week we met our program director, Jenny, and we began our Kiswahili lessons with Bwana (Mr.) Paulo. Our activities have included a trip to the lovely Mbudya Island Marine Reserve, where we enjoyed some delicious fresh grilled blackfish and dazzling views.

Today, Bw. Paulo took us to the city, including a trip to the National Museum.

We also visited the village museum, which was set up like a village of traditional houses typical of several of the many different tribes living in Tanzania.
We were even graced with some traditional Makonde dances.

I’ll leave you with those images from my first few days in Tanzania for now. I hope you have a great week, and I'll "see" you soon!