The First Week in Tanzania: Dar, Orientation, and Settling In!

Authored by:
Harry L.

Harry L.

It’s been a busy week for our students as they kicked off their first week in Tanzania! After arriving last Saturday, our students spent their first days in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. Dar is a city of about 5 million and can be quite overwhelming to a newcomer! However, our new students took the city in stride, as they experienced the Carving Market, went on a tour of the Fish Market, and toured the National Museum of Tanzania.

After all the hustle and bustle of Dar, the students got a quiet day of pumzika time (relaxation time) at the beach on Mbudya Island, located just off the coast. While they were there, Virginia and Jewell volunteered to be in Tanzanian music video! Everyone was able to enjoy a hearty lunch of fresh fish and chips.

The following day, the students loaded the Toyota Hiace (pronounced Heiss in Tanzania) and drove 300 miles (in 10 hours!) up to Iringa. Their journey took them from the suburbs of Dar, through the town of Morogoro, and up into the Mikumi National Park. The main highway between Dar es Salaam and Iringa runs right through the middle of the park! The students got to see giraffes, monkeys and elephants. Upon arrival, the students moved into their dorm rooms at Ruaha Catholic University, our partner school in Iringa. It didn’t take long for them to wrap their heads around bucket showers and cold running water!

They didn’t get much rest, though, because Thursday kicked off with the traditional Iringa Scavenger Hunt. The students were given maps and a list of locations to find. They managed to find most of them (but not the elusive Greek Club, which stumps students every semester!)

The final day of orientation was yesterday. Our students got their internet modems activated, continued working on their Swahili, and learned about the difference in culture between Tanzania and the United States. One of the biggest changes for most students is “Swahili Time,” where time is viewed as a more flexible standard than it is in the States!

Despite the busy orientation week here, everyone was able to relax at the weekly Friday movie night, hosted by the Greek Club. This weekend is a great chance for all the students to finish getting settled in and get ready for classes on Monday!

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