Tanzania: From my eyes

I may have traveled to Africa to climb a mountain but what I saw before and after has left me wondering what role fate and karma play in our lives.  How might my life be different if...

~ Market Day ~

I'm left wondering how I can help, or if I'm honest... I'm really wondering 'can I help'. I wasn't expecting to see the poverty we did, slums, and squatter settlements.  My husband and I found a way to help during our visit but we need to focus this energy and continue help now that we have settled back into our daily routine.

Observations from my recent visit to Tanzania: This is important to share before my summit story, most was experienced from the time we landed, to the drive where our adventure would begin.... 

Dust: you can’t escape it! When visiting a country that’s mostly dirt and desert... dry season means windstorms and dust blowing ALL the time. Follow behind a car, not only can you NOT see… you can’t breathe.

~ dustbowls are everywhere ~
Climate: Tanzania is the coolest of all African countries. We never wore shorts, always in a light down vest or fleece at the ready.   

Roads: The roads are exactly as imagined but until you spend days traveling on them I’m not sure you can appreciate them.  I didn't.

You can’t take a nap or read, you can look out the window and take it all in.

~ road leading to the Serengeti ~

We never went faster than 25-30 MPH, bouncing from right to left, airborne at times.  Almost always holding onto the arm bar for stability. 

There are no signs to guide you, our driver just knew where to go. 

There are no gas stations or stores - I can only assume our driver filled his SUV at the lodges we stayed at.  

Dirt, wind, an occasion tree, giraffe, boys with herds of cattle, and farms.  That's Africa!

Tanzania population and demographics: 44 million live in Tanzania.  The annual income for a family is $300USD.  6.2 million live in slums (66% of the urban population). Click here for more information

We spent time in Arusha and the communities surrounding it (population: 1.3 million). There is a downtown with paved roads and a bustling economy.  BUT.. you can’t prepare yourself for the poverty and living conditions you will see.

~ village life ~

Have you heard of 'squatter settlements'?  This is a house with several rooms, for several families.  Each family lives in one room, with a shared cooking space every 6 or 7 rooms.  I'm left wondering if this is an improvement in quality of life... 

Recycling: There is no recycling in Tanzania.   

Religion: 15% follow animist beliefs, 40% Muslim, 45% Christian

There are 120 unique tribes in Tanzania.  All with their own language, the countries official language is Swahili (and English).

Memories: Tanzania is a clean and peaceful country - with little need for material possessions. I'm honored to have had the experience.

Next up: Mount Kilimanjaro