Environmental History Lectures at the University

Monday Jan 23, 2023

Swahili class continues each morning at the church in Upanga. Today started with singing then proceeded to focus on telling time in Swahili. Students practiced converting English time to Swahili time, as 7:00 a.m. in the morning is 1 in Swahili time!

The students had the weekend to spend with their host families. Some went to the beach, others visited their family farms, another helped a family member move, and many attended church with their families on Sunday.

In the afternoon Friday, we went the University of Dar es Salaam to begin our lecture series examining the history of Tanzania. We heard from Dr. Yusuf Lawi who explained the unfolding history of how Tanzanian communities have related to their changing environments from precolonial through the current context. Students were surprised to learn that today 40% of the Tanzania landscape has some sort of governmental protection.

Today we received a lecture by Dr. Ilyaya on precolonial history, with additional descriptions of human evolution and human cultural evolution. We had a vigorous discussion (that will have to continue this week!) regarding whether early hominids (and even other non-human species) exhibited “culture.”

Both visits to the university (which educates more than 30,000 students!) afforded the opportunity to have lunch on campus. Naomi lives on the university with her host parents and is our local expert as she is showing some of the students around!