Uhuru na Umoja, Freedom and Unity
When Tanganyika united with the island of Zanzibar to form Tanzania in 1964, the new country adopted the motto of “Freedom and Unity” or Uhuru na Umoja in Swahili. In keeping with this motto, Tanzania has become a wellspring of diversity.
Tanzania is located in East Africa and is set between Kenya and Mozambique. On the east, Tanzania borders the Indian Ocean. Dar es Salaam is the administrative capital of Tanzania and its principal commercial city. The government offices in Dar es Salaam were moved to Dodoma in 1996 making it the country’s political capital.
Tanzania is the largest land area among the East African countries and encompasses several geographical landmarks, including Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak), Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (the world’s second deepest lake). Among the significant geographical and ecological areas are numerous wildlife parks, including Gombe National Park, the site of Dr. Jane Goodall’s behavioral studies of chimpanzees.
In fact, as you step onto the Serengeti Plains you become a part of one of the largest, wildest animal populations in the world. Expect to spot elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, ostriches, herds of impala, baboons, monkeys, lions, hippos, crocodiles, hyenas, zebras, dikdik, cheetahs and hundreds of others while perusing the Tanzanian landscape.
Despite the existence of snow, beaches, dry savannah, country and mountain landscapes, there are only two seasons in Tanzania: wet and dry. Although the Tanzanian climate is tropical, the central plateau is dry and arid and the northwest highlands are cool. June to September is viewed as the cooler season and long rains are typical from March to May. The hottest months of the year are between October and February. The coastal areas of Tanzania are hot and humid with the exception of sea breezes to cool the climate.
In Tanzania, you will live by Swahili time, which runs from dawn to dusk as opposed to midnight to midday.
Tanzania’s economy depends almost entirely on agriculture, which accounts for almost half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and uses 80 percent of the workforce. However, due to topography and climatic conditions, cultivated crops are limited to only 4 percent of the land. Agricultural products in Tanzania include coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, wheat, bananas, fruit, tobacco, cloves, cattle, sheep and goats (although most are used for their milk and not their meat). Industries also account for much of Tanzania’s production and include diamond, gold and iron mining, salt, oil refining and agricultural processing.
Once arriving in Tanzania, students will spend the first half of the term in Dar es Salaam, the capital situated on the east coast of Tanzania. With a history of peaceful coexistence and a deep ethos of unity, the students will be warmly received and adopted into their Tanzanian host families.
During these six weeks, students will attend lectures at the University of Dar es Salaam and study Tanzanian culture and the language of Swahili at the Swahili and Culture Institute in Dar es Salaam. Among the topics of study will be the history of Tanzania, including national building with a focus on unity and peace in their culture. Students will also study Tanzanian art and literature, especially concerning issues of nationalism and tourism, and natural science with a focus on Tanzania’s diverse wildlife population and issues of conservation and development.
Educational trips will be made to places like Serengeti National Park (where students will look at how communities around the park are affected by wildlife areas and eco-tourism), Bagamoyo (historically one of the most important slaving ports in East Africa) and Zanzibar (the Spice Islands off the east coast with significant trade expertise).
Students will travel to the northwest regions of Tanzania for their second half of the semester. The Mara region, one of 26 regions in Tanzania, is where students will be placed. The capital of the Mara region is Musoma where there is a strong Mennonite presence due to the existence of Tanzania’s Mennonite Church.
Many students will be placed with families and in service assignments in rural locations. The assignments include a combination of teaching at elementary and secondary schools, medical assistance, AIDS work, orphanages and agriculture or water development.
Map courtesy of the The World Factbook.