There is no doubt that one of the highlights from my time in Tanzania so far has been getting to meet all the amazing people here. Coming from a summer spent in Boston, MA, where everyone either seems to be in a rush, talking on the phone, or stressed about something, the people here live a very different lifestyle. For starters, you say hello, or “mambo” to everyone you pass. Life here is much slower, and people definitely embrace the “pole pole” lifestyle. The lifestyle and culture creates a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Helping prepare vegetables with our host family
One unforgettable experience was the opportunity we had to do a homestay in our local village of Rhotia. During our homestays, we got to participate in the culture and in a way become a member of a local family here. My host family was so welcoming and immediately made me feel like a member of the family. We drank tea together, prepared and ate food, and played card games. After just a few hours, I felt perfectly comfortable with my new family and had such an amazing day. I am welcome to return at any time, and know I will always be welcomed for a cup of tea or game of cards.
My host family and I
As a part of our culture class, we have spent days with various different tribes in Tanzania, including the Maasai and Hadzabe. During our time with the Maasai, we helped build mud homes, collect firewood, practice spear throwing, and other various everyday activities in the Maasai culture. These days spent learning about other cultures have been eye-opening. Seeing people live off the land without an abundance of material items has forced my to reflect on my life back in the U.S. I have realized how many things I distract myself with everyday, and how many of the things I “need” I don’t actually need at all.
After collecting dung, before adding it to a hut, with the Maasai
Overall, getting to experience the culture in Tanzania has been both such an incredible aspect of our time in Tanzania so far. In returning to the U.S., I hope to carry some of the culture here with me. I want to live a little slower and say hello to more strangers. The people here in Tanzania have made the past two months here a truly extraordinary experience.