RG's Sally has just embarked on a trip of epic proportions to Tanzania, and now she's back here's round two of her tale!
Throughout my week I was welcomed with the greetings “Jambo” and “Karibu” by friendly staff and locals. The wonderful bright colours and sounds of African life hit you immediately, so be prepared for a culture shock of the best kind as you pass random cow herds wondering along the road, women carrying all sorts of incredible things on their heads, the complete and utter chaos that is the traffic and roads of Dar es Salaam, incredibly beautiful scenery (I was lucky to visit in rainy season when everything was green and lush in Northern Tanzania), and just generally appreciate the simplicity of local life compared to what we are used to here in the UK. Simple things will astonish you - being a mum myself I remember marvelling at the ease and skill a young woman changed her baby’s cloth nappy next to me whilst on the ferry to Zanzibar, simply by tearing a piece of cloth from her bag and expertly wrapping it around her child – no pampers or sticky tape needed!
Do expect to attract attention whilst in Tanzania, especially from local taxi drivers at bus stops, the ferry port etc, haggling to get your trade. This is unavoidable but all part of the experience and the team and their drivers are there on hand if needed and will offer you expert tips to make sure you are not ripped off and stay safe, particularly in the capital. However, once you have found your feet and are settled on your programme, become one of the locals yourself and hop on the ‘dala dalas’ to get yourself around at a cheap price - but be prepared for the possibility of live goats hopping on top of the roof during the journey too - it is quite the experience!
In short, throw yourself into local life as much as possible which as a volunteer is easy to do. Eat the Tanzanian cuisine – some delicious meats, spicy curry dishes, and great fruit and vegetables are on offer (like avocadoes? – the biggest I have ever seen in my life!!). Drink some sugarcane juice, sample the local beers, haggle at the market in Stone Town, and you truly will get the most out of your African adventure! Wherever you choose to visit, be it Dar, Zanzibar or Moshi, or even better a combination of all three if you can, Tanzania is a country not to be missed!