We spent 1 month in Tanzania. We left Tanzania the head full of great memories and the heart full of new colors. Not that much for panoramas but rather for people we met. This way of taking the life much easier than we do in Europe, being always happy, always ready to help or serve was a gift for us. Another surprising thing is that despite many were very poor people were always wearing very clean clothes.
In Europe a lot of prejudice are commonly said about people of Africa. I will detail a few commonly used and comment them:
1 – In France but as well in other european countries people justify a kind of racism by the fact that in Africa people would be even more racists against white people.
This is fully wrong. Actually exactly the other way around. In most of the places we went, people were not only happy to greet us but many times they gave us the priority as a sign to welcome us. Furthermore I never had even once the feeling of any prejudice in opposite of black people leaving in Europe and needing to face unpleasant looks of some white people.
2 – We hear as well that it is unnecessary to help people of Africa because anyway they are just lazy.
Again this is wrong. Some people are doing jobs where I could not imagine any Mzungu (white people) doing. Like pulling heavy materials for transportation. I was amazed to see even old men or children doing such jobs.
The point is that compared to Europe things are not going so fast. People are communicating much more slowly we do in Europe. They have so much more feelings and emotions in their talk than I had so far ever experienced. Hence again a mistake of our culture to consider differences as mistakes instead of trying to understand their meaning.
Another point that Tanzania should be taken as reference is its ability to live in harmony with different religions but mainly christians and muslims. Our main hotel was hold by a person being muslim but christian were working too. The opposite is also fully normal. Anyone can believe in what he wants and wear any kind of religious sign he likes. It is anyone’s freedom.
The last but not the least is that we have a huge debit against Africa. All slaves we treated as inferior people, families we brake, people we murdered. All these people working for nothing made us rich. How can it be that after all this we even not gave a chance to these people to integrate. Furthermore, not even a trace of revenge could be felt.
There is however as well a darker side. Local people considering white men so rich that they can give money without ending. Taxis mainly consider normal to double or triple the prices. This can really be annoying. However, once one got a wrong experience it is easy to get out of it: there is a huge concurrence.
Linked to this there are sometimes children saying: Mzungu give money. Again we found this a pity. We would have liked to help them finding their way, exchanging ideas instead of seeing some of them expecting money from us which anyway would have changed nothing on the long term. This is however not generalized. Mainly in Arusha or Zanzibar where many tourists are. In Dar es Salaam however, people are quite rarely asking for money.
To conclude our experience was extremely positive. I had not expected so much feeling of life and happiness. Tanzania gave me another look on the life.
On the 29th of September we spent some time in Stone Town. Somehow Nino was very tired and slept a part of the afternoon. I took the opportunity to further develop the program of acupuncture I am working on.
We arrived on the 30th september in Dar es Salaam. The ocean was quite angry and we felt not very good on the boat. It was interesting to see that most of people were not that impacted and we belonged to the very few feeling sick. After looking long enough far away we felt better. As we arrived in Dar es Salaam we were still somehow not feeling very good and that could be the reason why we are unsure if we forgot our camera on the boat or if it was later stolen.
We arrived at the hotel and after doing some Internet went to sleep.
On the 1st of October, we stood up and after breakfast went for the last time to the sisters to say good bye. The children were very happy to see us again. There we met a sister starting the process to become a missionary of charity. She will care of the disabled children we were in charge. Itr was good. This was her first day and we talked a little our experience that we had with them during our stay.
We then left and after having shipped a few items to Germany went to the company of Ferry to check whether they would have found the camera … they had not.
Then we went for our last dinner in Africa. Next day we must leave early to go to the airport.
On the 26th, again we went to the north: in Nungwi. Again we took the Dalla Dalla. The roof was overloaded. Many things had to be braught on the way to Nungwi. Inside, we could even see, on the top of the truck that some parts were slowly breaking. We were unsure whether it was safe but local people did not seem to care. It was even more laid on the roof until we arrived …
We like the beach of Nungwi. Very clean and people around do not insist much when we are not interested in any tour. They ask gently and when we thank them, they simply ask the next tourist.
We found an accommodation close to the beach for the same price as the hotel we are stying in Stown Town: 30$. The hotel is very simple but for this price we even have bath in the room and Internet that we do not have here… However we could only reserve from next day on: our hotel in Stone Town was already paid until the 27th.
When we came back we had the chance to get a very comfortable Dalla-Dalla. Not the one in form of a U but a kind of normal bus. In Europe it may not have even a star but we felt like in a 5 stars bus 🙂
The bus became overcrowded and a woman older than me was standing. I proposed her to take my sit. I noticed all people starring at me and starting to talk around. Looks like Mzungu (white people) usually do not leave their sits for older women …
As we arrived we directly bought our ticket to go back to Dar es Salaam with the Ferry. We will go on sunday.
27th of September, we just arrived in our new hotel. The way was quite fast (1 hour compared to more than 2 hours it was really good). The hotel is lovely, many colors around and people staying here seem friendly. A hospital is located close to our hotel. I asked whether I could volunteer but they were not interested. It is a pity we may have had a chance to learn from each other. We spent the rest of the day on the beach. In the evening we went for dinner in a local restaurant. Good and very cheap. We ate only cooked vegetables and rice.
Next day: 28th of September was raining. After some Internet rain stopped and we decided to visit an Aquarium. It was 15 minutes away walking from our hotel. We went through some places of Nungwi and discovered the reality of this village: most of people are living in a kind of slum. Children playing in garbage. Houses made of almost nothing. The difference between local people living here and tourists is incredibly huge. However no child seems to suffer of malnutrition. I was wondering the rest of day whether something could be done there. Maybe some kind of specialized school in fields where it is easier to find work: tourism. new technology, finance. However I do not have enough competence in this area or even enough money to do anything.
Another interesting difference are that people do not say hello as easily as they do in the touristic part of the village or the way they do in Mburahati which was a very poor area too but people seemed to always be happy to see us. Maybe these poor people in Nungwi are somehow pissed off of tourists.
Tomorrow we are leaving back to Stone town. Spend another night there and then take the Ferry to Dar es Salaam where we will spend 2 nights and fly to Calcutta where we will spend again a night and flight to Bangkok. We will stay there for 3 weeks.
We spent the two days (the 23rd and 24th of September) in Zanzibar visiting beaches. We are staying in a hotel in Stone Town. The first day we took the local bus (Dalla Dalla) to go to the north of the island. The way was quite hard. Dalla-Dalla is a cheap way to travel over the roads but it is not as comfortable as the Dalla Dalla of Dar es Salam. Here a bus consists of a small truck. Passengers sit in the back side of the truck where a kind of big sit has a shape of a U. A guy drives and another one cares for saying who sits where and cares for getting paid (2000 Tsh from Stone Town to Nungwi). We got fully compressed between people and the things they need to carry from one place to another. The guy taking care for payment, cares as well to carry things on the roof of the bus. They use such bus to transport heavy things from Stone Town to other places. It is also amazing to see this guy going on the roof to clean up things while the bus is driving 70km per hour or more. I can understand that here James Bond has no success … they would find him very annoying 🙂
The beaches we visited needed at least a 2 hours way. The sits were extremely uncomfortable, and one feels his ass getting jam … however it is really nice to discover local people and their way of life. Like in Dar es Salaam, people here are very friendly and like to hear we know a few words of Swahili.
As the places for passengers is very small, women coming with children leave often their child to a person closer to the exit. This happened to Nino, she cared about a child for the whole travel. He even fell asleep in her arms. Such behavior are very typical. As soon as she can, any woman takes a child in her arm until the mother arrives to her destination. This increases even more the feeling of safety and respect from people.
The beaches we visited are wonderful. Almost free of tourists. Sometimes a few people are walking around. Beaches belong to villages which are extremely typical and very nice. Here we can imagine how was south Italy 200 or 300 years ago. There some people try to propose any kind of tours for quite expensive prices promising we are their best friends and they are making us a good price. We anyway just use very cheap transports and are not interested in any tour.
On the way back we stopped at the market which is located at the end bus station and bought some vegetables. We have the chance our hotel has a small kitchen. Hence we prepare ourselves something to eat.
On the second way back as we arrived, a guy cheated us explaining the police made the transport slower because we had no permit … what kind of permit ? Hence he said we would pay 1500Tsh each and it would be OK. We proposed we go altogether to the police and then he got afraid and left us in peace …
Another interesting point to mention is that Freddy Mercury (the singer of the Queen) was born in Stone Town.
On the 25th we decided to rest a little. First try to see if a beach was accessible to Stone Town but as we did not find any, we simply stayed in the city doing some shopping and visiting some areas.
Many people are proposing tours or whatever, hence no way to stay looking at anything for too long or a guy comes trying to be out next day guide … this is a little annoying but not as bad as in Arusha. They insist very few and after one or two trials leave us in peace.
This evening we are having a pizza in a wood oven restaurant.
We left yesterday Arusha and drove in a Bus another 12 hours. The bus was however really good and we did not suffer that much as when going to Arusha … It was furthermore cheaper and the service was even nicer.
Unfortunately we sit on the wrong side in the bus and missed the opportunity to make great photos …
We arrived in Dar es Salaam very tired and by chance the hotel still had an available room. We slept one night and went to the next morning (on the 22 of september) went to the desk to buy tickets for Zanzibar. Many companies are offering different prices. We however chose the one where the greatest number of tourists were … it seemed much safer … was however almost double the price of others …
The travel was good and we reserved a hotel quickly before leaving the harbor. We spent 2 hours and arrived in Zanzibar. I had heard a lot of this island however I expected like many places that will be very sponsored not very much more than what we can find in other islands … I was wrong.
This place is really wonderful. We are staying in the middle of Stone Town the biggest village on the island. Here everything is still typical. Tourism did not succeeded yet to transform this place removing all atmosphere of the corners we may meet. Here local people are still living like many years ago (except for handys 🙂 ). They are like in Dar es Salaam very nice, and like to answer Jumbo (Hello) to tourists that are smiling. This reminds me Poggio, a small village where some of my relatives are living. I spent many holiday there and people were as well so nice … however, Zanzibar is much bigger and local people have this very cool and sweet way to talk to each other and to foreigners.
Compared to Dar es Salaam, the place is full of tourists. The hotel we are staying is very clean. The best we had so far. Only the bath is common.
Tomorrow after the breakfast, we plan to take a bus to some beach. Still no idea how to go there we will ask and see.
We stood up at 7.15AM. Time to take a breakfast and our guide John arrived at 8.30. We took local transport to some place where landscape was beautiful. There was a small shop selling a few drinks. Since the beginning John explained us a lot of detailed about the live of the Massai. He grew himself in a village where tradition is moving to our standards.
From the place we arrived, we followed John in wonderful and very typical African landscapes. After a 30 minutes walk we arrived in a place where a small court was surrounded by a few very small houses. John explained us that in the Massai tradition, men can have several women. Usually 3 to 4 women having each around 6 children.
Families can be huge. Each woman has its own small house where she usually lives with a few cows and the children. The man has a separated house. In these landscape everything is incredibly dry. Very few water is available at quite some long ways. People seem however happy. They talk a local language (and not Swahili like in the town in Tanzania).
Every children is supposed to go to primary school. The secondary school is reserved for the best of them.
Another interesting point are the houses, they are made of several local materials I cannot really remember all of them. Entering in such a house, one feels always a pleasant temperature. Much better than our air conditioned 🙂
Children are wearing very simple clothes and have quite some dust all over the body. Thanks to that climate looks like Malaria or other bad diseases are very few developed.
We saw a second house where a woman was creating local jewellery. John explained us in detail the process or marriage. In a few words, usually the parents take care to find the two young people matching. Then the parents of the guy have to offer several things but the first must be at least 6 kilograms of sugar. Interestingly, Massai have quite bad teeth compared to african people we could see …
Next step was to climb a little and saw a third place where we were offered something to eat: Rice with potatoes, corn, beans and spinach. Simple but good food. We met again several children always running to tourists saying hello all the time.
We then go to the healer. On the way we saw a school where students where doing an exam. They had a break and we could take the chance to greet them wishing a log of luck …
Once arrived to the healer, due to high demand he had to leave. We then took the bus back and visited a local market of Massai: one for food and one for vegetables. John proposed us as well a market where cows and other animals were sold but we felt a little tired and decided to go back.
Our experience was really good and we are really thankful to John. He was very experimented, pleasant and was always very honest. He never tried to cheat us … Such a guide is not that easy to find in Arusha. He proposes as well Safaris. We are not that much interested in Safaris, but if we were we would have done it definitely with him. I make a kind of advertising because we were really happy of of work. In case of interest he can be contacted at the following address:
This is our last day in Arusha. We would have liked to go outside for a last walk around but due to the high demand of people trying to sell whatever trip we prefer staying in the hotel and resting. Tomorrow we booked a bus for Dar es Salaam leaving at 8.00 AM. We hope the bus and the driver will be better than the ones bringing us to Arusha …
On the 18th of September we wanted to visit the village museum but we took the wrong destination and took the bus going to the main bus station for inter city, then we spontaneously decided to go to Arusha (the 2nd biggest city of the country), there we wanted to visit a village of Massai (people living in tribes).
We did not know really where we had to get off the bus. At some point, some people from outside called us and told us we had to take off if our goal was Arusha… We thought, OK let’s try … we followed these guys without really knowing where we were going to and ended in a small place where they proposed us places in a bus for Arusha for 35000 Tsh each. We accepted and took the bus at 11h00 AM.
The driver would has won the prize of the absolute worst driver I ever seen. We estimated the travel to 8 hours but it lasted 12 hours … Long and very uncomfortable hours. The bus was driving like crazy on mostly broken roads. We felt like an Orangina bottle for 12 hours 🙂
Even for local people the driver was really bad, however, it is interesting to see how these people react to such unpleasant trips: they laugh and take it easy. Furthermore, most of the people, like us ate only in the early morning. First stop was 10 minutes at 6:00 PM … however no one complained in the meantime … the other way around, speaking loud in a very friendly way to each other. Everyone is speaking and the shame feeling we sometimes have in our countries to take part to a conversation seems not to exist here.
The panoramas we could see from the bus were wonderful. Nicer than African landscapes one could imagine. Many villages, and approaching Arusha many mountains were to be seen. The city is close to the Kilimanjaro. It is also the place tourists have to come to if they want to go for safaris.
We arrived at 11:00 PM … we took a taxi for a hotel. No more double beds but twin beds were OK. We went to sleep immediately.
Next day, we had breakfast at the hotel and went to the tourism information. Here it is very different from Dar es Salaam. The city is much more rich. Roads are not so broken, shops look like much more like European ones. Many poor people as well but rather located behind the main roads.
Going around, it is not like in Dar es Salaam where one can say hello to anybody. Most of the people are nice but it is the same feeling like in Dar es Salaam where all seems so uncomplicated. This reminds me a previous travel in Argentina. In Buenos Aires people are so uncomplicated and friendly. The city is quite poor. Going to Commodoro (the richest city of the country) people are very cold.
Another unpleasant point of Arusha are the so many places to offer a trip to Kilimanjaro or Safaris. Many people proposing you their company which they said being the best. It is not possible to go 100m without meeting someone trying to make quickly friendship and sell you all possible travel one can imagine. While one is trying to convice many others come and try to take the conversation over …
On our side we went to the tourist information. People there are a little more friendly but do not expect a smile 🙂
There we decided to go tomorrow to visit a village of Masai.