I was able to travel to Dar es Salaam last week for the first time. Dar is the capital of Tanzania and I was excited to be able to visit the obvious hub of much of what happens for the whole country of Tanzania (though for additional information there is also an administrative capital in Tanzania). Dar es Salaam means “Haven of Peace” and was named by some of the first Arabs to make it down this far into Africa. Now, I understand that Dar has developed a lot since the first Arabs came, but it was not what I would consider peaceful. It was on par with most big cities I have been to in that it was crowded and noisy. For Dar you have to add very, very hot because it is close to the equator, but also at sea level right next to the Indian Ocean so there was no relief from the heat due to altitude like there is in Tarime. Despite some discomforts I remained very excited about going to Dar.
My excitement lasted about 4 hours into an 18 hour bus ride that it takes to get there. This bus ride included Tanzanian gospel music videos, a Michael Jackson concert series, WWE wrestling, and Mike Tyson highlights. From there on out the task of simple transportation seemed to rule the trip with two 18 hour bus rides to get to Dar and back as well as several hours a day in city buses going from government office to government office. All that being said the trip was well worth it and fairly enlightening.
I was able to meet several government officials on the national level that will be able to continue to help our work here with Angel House and the soon to be opened school. Anna, our supervisor, went with me and we met with people in the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, Gender, and Children which over sees the Social Welfare Department, and people in the Ministry of Health about bringing doctors into Tanzania to help with free medical care. We were also able to meet with people from the Bishop’s Office of the United Methodist Church here in Tanzania. I am working on something like a local pastor’s certificate to be able to help with the church here in the Tarime area.
I enjoyed seeing a more developed part of Tanzanian closer to the center of what is happening in the country. It was a good glimpse of what is possible in Tanzania if we can only bring some of the best that Tanzania has to offer to the area of Tarime.
It was a productive trip which involved a lot of business. I hope to someday be able to return and experience a little more of the richness of the capital and less of government offices. Though some highlights of the trip included the ripest of oranges from street vendors and Mountain Dew something that has not made it to our side of the country yet.
I am thankful for safe travels and the deepening of relationships in a beautiful country.