”Mambo!”, ”Habari!”, ”Mzima!”, ”Salama dada!”, ”Karibu Tanzania!”
Almost everywhere I go in Dar es Salaam (not least in Mikocheni, where I am staying for the moment) people are greeting me with friendly words. “Hi, how’re you?”, “Peace, sister”, and “Welcome to Tanzania”. It’s hard to pass anywhere in the streets without getting attention. Even though there are numerous white people here, I get the feeling that some locals are getting curious when they see a white person, a mzungu, and especially the kids. People salute you, and when you respond, many of them get surprised, but excited, and they continue talking in Swahili.
They welcome you to Tanzania, and want to get to know you. However, far from all Tanzanians speak English. Therefore, to be able to interact more with the locals, I have signed up for two weeks of Swahili classes here in Dar es Salaam. And so far, I have really enjoyed learning Swahili! As soon as I picked up a few words, the Tanzanians have been extra friendly and helpful!
These first days in Dar have been great fun, but also very intense. Tanzania is extraordinary, and very different from Sweden. The weather here is hot, sunny, and humid. The rain can come all of a sudden, and can be very strong. The people look different, and they’re all wearing beautiful and colorful clothes. The roads are crowded with people, cars, Dala dala’s (busses), bajajis, and motorcycles – and people drive like crazy! Here, you better look twice before you cross the street (and you better be fast)! For the good and the bad, Dar is definitely vibrating!
Overall, Dar es Salaam isn’t what I expected it to be – it’s much better! I’ve already met new people, got several new rafiki (friends), and seen different parts of this huge city. I arrived a bit more than a week ago, but I already feel like I have found another place to call home. Tanzania is beautiful, and I’m certain that this stay will be a mind-blowing experience!
In addition, last weekend, another MFS-student and I got invited to an Easter celebration with our new Tanzanian friend. We got picked up at our hostel, and drove to her family’s place in a village outside of Dar. In the village, we had a delicious traditional Easter dinner. Our friend’s family was lovely, and they treated us as part of their family. It was interesting to see how Easter is celebrated in a middle-class family here in Tanzania, and we really enjoyed the company and the barbeque.
Now I have to continue with my studies – time travels very fast!
Take care! Kwe heri. 🙂