A Gator in Dar Es Salaam

"Ex Africa semper aliquid novi - Out of Africa always something new" -Pliny the Elder

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Sorry the delay in posting. Cant seem to find an open computer on campus and the power has been off so its been closed for a few days. Im posting from Millenium Towers again, and am going to grab a great South African burger when I am done. Anyways here is what I have been up to in a country where nothing makes complete sense, or any sense for that matter...ahah.

Saturday morning left campus at about 9:30 to go to the Kariakoo Market, the cities biggest which has food, clothes, pretty much everything. I got a nice shirt from what amounts to a store here and then we came up the GoodWill jackpot. If you like to shop for hilariously random t-shirts at Goodwill then the Kariakoo market is like heaven, its basically Goodwill on steroids. For about 80 cents each, I was able to pick up a QVC Network take your child to work day t shirt, and a few other hilarious items. I got a Brazil soccer jersey for 3 bucks, really comfortable. We were with some Tanzanian friends, so they helped us get some better prices and I got a kanga, what the women where around there waists with the future President of Tanzania's face on it(Jakaya Kikwete). His face is plastered up everywhere in Dar, and it will haunt me the rest of my days, but just in case I would ever forget what he looks like, I know how have his Kanga. Im still trying to get a CCM campaign poster. They are the ruling party and will continue to be. I have never seen any campaign ads in Dar es Salaam for any other parties. In Zanzibar the CUF opposition party has a chance to win the Zanzibari presidency, but lately their supporters have been shot at with tear gas and live bullets by the CCM's police force. Its really a joke of an election process, and not really at all exciting to be here for like I was hoping. Kikwete will be president on July 30 and hopefully very few people will be killed in the process.

Saturday night we went to our T.A.'s house for home made dinner, it was great. Banana stew, Chapati, Pilau, great stuff and I also got to watch the England soccer game. Sunday I didnt do too much, had some homemade guacamole, which was very nice and ended up watching Italian Job.

Class all day Monday. I have the same professor for both of my history classes and I feel like I might know more than he does, which is not a good feeling. He seems to read information aloud that he admittedly has found online. I guess the internet only has truthful, reliable, and insightful ideas(just look at this site for examples of that)...haha. So thats not so great, my Swahili prof. didnt show up for class on Monday, but maybe this evening he will. Who knows, I have no idea how anyone graduates from UDSM but Im so impressed that they are able to deal with all the nonsense, but I guess they are more used to it.

I feel that common sense doesnt exist in many cases, and if you try to find out why something is occurring you might lose your mind. It is kind of annoying that people rush the classroom while you're still exiting, but I dont hope to change that trend anytime soon. I watched Mean Girls last night, which is actually pretty funny and has some Swahili words in it, check it out. At one point Lindsey Lohans character asks "Have you ever walked in to a room and felt that everyone was talking about you/or staring at you?" The answer is supposed to be no, and that was the case for me about 6 weeks ago. Not a day goes by that this does not occur a number of times. Just when I might forget that Im mzungu, some kind Tanzanian reminds me that I am a foreigner. It can get annoying, but again, it happens...all the time.

At Kariakoo market on Saturday, I did have 2 people try to reach in to my pockets, which is what that market is known for. I kept my hands close to my pockets, so I felt what they were trying to do, and kept my wallet and phone. A friend of mine, Kate from UF had here purse and phone stolen out of the car she was riding in. Basically a guy came by the car, opened the door and took her purse before anyone realized what happened. So that was kind of a bummer for her. If you shout Mweze which is thief, atKariakoo and other markets(atleast if you are a Tanzanian and you yell that you have been robbed) there is a pretty good chance that the person will be chased down, tires will be thrown around them along with gasoline and they will be set ablaze. Im hoping to avoid seeing this while I am here, but it does happen. The theory is that the thief will be out in 2 days from jail, and if you rob from someone in Tanzania, they probably dont have a lot, and it seriously hurts their economic prospects. Pretty wild stuff, but it is fairly well justified by people here I feel.

Lots of people have come down with malaria in the past few days, including a Tanzanian girl that I know, so the inevitable seems to be nearing. Everyday I wake up without malaria is a great day, haha. Its basically like the flu, and not really a huge deal, someone should tell the travel doctors in the US that.

So I guess thats it, stay in touch via the email and enjoy the approaching fall like weather. Its about 90 here most days, but when the power goes out, its not such a big deal, because Im not used to having AC so its no warmer than normal. Water went out last night, but was back this morning, and I have 2 big loads of laundry drying on the roof, Im the hand-washed laundry king...haha, never thought I would say that.



  • At 10/13/2005 3:16 AM, Anonymous Todd Stacy said…

    Thats crazy about burning the thiefs Joan of Arc Style. Do they hang criminals too or just burn them?

    P.S. If they ever need to know how to build a sweet fire I can help them out, Since we just won the rope burning at Bartram!


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