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kipepeo

I am Kume, a nigerian. In 2015 I took a trip to Tanzania, for a volunteer experience. I had next to no expectations, I just wanted to have an experience.

Right from the airport, I was greeted with probably the friendliest people I’ve encountered. They all seemed happy I was visiting. It was 3:25am, and somehow they still managed to be that welcoming. These smiles couldn’t be fake.

My first culture shock however, was when I discovered that Swahili was the official language. I went from confused to proud. Language is a big part of culture, and these Tanzanians were going in the right direction.

I’d heard of right hand drives before, and seen a few while growing up. But I’d never seen so many before. During my departure from the airport, I had this funny episode where I tried to get in the driver’s seat, thinking it was the passengers.

Contrary to popular belief, not everywhere outside Nigeria is cold. I went with two jackets just in case, and quickly realized how much of a waste of space that was. Tanzania was hotter than Nigeria. And the sun rose earlier than I was used to. It was already clear by 6am.

nigerian traveller
At the beach

I spent that weekend getting used to Dar Es Salaam. Visited the university and made some new friends. In so many ways, I realized we weren’t so different. But the one thing I loved about this people, apart from their being accommodating, was their love for fresh food. These Tanzanians eat very healthy. Every restaurant served fresh juice, and you could see the man squeezing the juice on a machine just beside you. It was amazing. I tried my first that Saturday. Ugali. Made from corn and very similar to Semo. To say I liked it was an understatement.

nigerian traveller
My tanzanian friends

The Monday after, I was introduced to the schools where I’d be working for the next 6 weeks. Dar es Salaam Baptist School was an organized church owned institution. The computer lab was a small room packed with desktops. There were already scheduled classes for the different class levels each week. Each class had access to the lab once a week. Not the best of situations, but the children were always excited to learn something new.

The Monday after, I was introduced to the schools where I’d be working for the next 6 weeks. Dar es Salaam Baptist School was an organized church owned institution. The computer lab was a small room packed with desktops. There were already scheduled classes for the different class levels each week. Each class had access to the lab once a week. Not the best of situations, but the children were always excited to learn something new.

In contrast, Jangwani Girls School was government owned. They had a bigger lab, and from what I could see, had access to more funds, hence more modern computer systems. It was exciting to see that they had systems running on Linux.

The children in both schools gave me the best of experience. Their open mindedness and curiosity encouraged me to want to do more for them. I spent a lot of time trying to prepare notes for each class, adding new information from other online materials I could get. I wanted to give them the best for 6 weeks. It was totally worth it.

Now to the other side of fun.

Tanzania is a very beautiful, albeit mismanaged place. They have the most beautiful beaches and Safari’s I have ever seen. I managed to visit about three of those.

Kipepeo beach was on the other side of town. It was beautiful and gave you no hint of the city you left behind. The serene, quiet atmosphere bore no resemblance to the bustling life in central Dar.

kipepeo beach
Kipepeo Beach

Koko Beach was a much smaller beach. Closer to main Dar and easy to locate. One moment you were in a residential area, looking at old buildings from the fifties, next thing you’re trying to shake sand off your shoes.

koko beach
Koko Beach

From any reclining chair on the beach, you could see a vibrant blue ocean and a silhouette of ships floating by.

The tall wraiths of buildings masked in mild fog throughout the day lent a picturesque view to the other part of the view.

These first two were breathtaking.

Mbalamwezi was miles ahead of these two. Its beauty was surely envied by the rest. Everything about it said paradise.

Mbalamwezi tanzania
Mbalamwezi

You know those beautiful pictures on postcards, I’m sure pictures of this place would easily make it there.

This place had an almost ethereal aura, from the sound of waves gently crashing into rocks, sculpting them over time, to the birds chirping in what could only be a conversation.

Tanzania was the dream, and I’d gladly go back again. I still have a few places to cross off my list of places to visit in that beautiful country.

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