Unit House, U.S. Embassy, & Tinga Tinga gallery
We are getting into our routine! The last three days students have arrived at the church for Swahili class without a hitch. Yesterday afternoon the students walked to Unit House for our weekly discussion and time of sharing and processing. Of course these events are always filled with wonderful fresh fruit and good food – we love the Tanzanian culture that puts such high value on eating together!
After Swahili class we took a daladala to the U.S. Embassy for a presentation by David Feldmann (Deputy Director & Public Affairs Officer) on U.S. policy development and implementation in Tanzania. We were first greeted by Charge d’Affaires Virginia M. Blaser, who is the acting Ambassador to Tanzania, while Obama’s nomination is processed back home in the U.S. We were graciously welcomed and enjoyed a lively discussion about several case studies, including the U.S. role in promoting women’s rights and democratic engagement by Tanzanian youth.
After our Embassy visit, we took a bus to the Tinga Tinga gallery in Msasani. This is a cooperative group of artists that paint images of Tanzanian culture, mainly for the tourist market. Tinga Tinga is a uniquely Tanzanian form of art that incorporates images of wildlife and Tanzanian culture with bright and vivid colors. We visited this COOP only briefly (30 minutes) so that the students know the location in order that they can return to do an investigative assignment later on their own.
What we had not prepared for was how incredibly congested the traffic would be upon our return trip to city center. Today was the first day of business after the two days of holiday on Monday and Tuesday celebrating Maulid Day – Mohammed’s Birthday. We later learned this leads to a major influx of people to the city as they resume their business, visit the bank, go to the doctor, etc. etc. We waited in traffic for several hours creeping ever so slowly toward city center. Eventually we decided to get off the bus and walk to our respective bus stands. Everyone is now safely at home – by 9:00 p.m.! It was a long day!