Gender Studies in Tanzania


Wednesday the group came to our house again for unit house.  Each week we ask what the students would like on the menu. We consistently get the same answer – fresh fruit! The pineapple, mango, passion fruit, and bananas are tamu sana! (Very sweet).  We indulged in a vigorous debate about whether indigenous communities are … Keep reading »

WAMATA: Addressing the challenges of HIV AIDS


In order to further explore the challenges and opportunities Tanzania faces related to education, poverty, and health care we visited WAMATA, a non-profit agency in Dar es Salaam which works to address issues related to HIV AIDS.  WAMATA is an acronym for the Swahili phrase “Walio katika mapambano na AIDS Tanzania,” which means “People in … Keep reading »

Ujamaa & Nyerere’s legacy


This morning we all made it to Swahili class without a hitch, this after getting home Sunday evening after a full weekend.  An impressive group.  Tom Meyers, the SST Director, arrived for a 3-day visit to Tanzania to check in on the program, meet with the Tanzania SST local coordinators, and to meet with the … Keep reading »

We ‘laid down our hearts’ at Bagamoyo…


We spent the weekend in a small town about an hour north of Dar es Salaam called Bagamoyo.  Loosely translated it means “where I lay my heart down.”  There are many reasons to visit Bagamoyo, and we tried to take advantage of all of them: we enjoyed the beach, visited several interesting historical sites, and … Keep reading »

Colonialism & the ‘Library Project’


Yesterday afternoon Dr. Masebu, a historian from the University of Dar es Salaam, gave us a sweeping overview of the colonial period in Africa, with specific references to Tanzania.  He helped us understand the various political, social, and economic causes of colonialism, in addition to emphasizing that the African response to colonialism was varied, determined, … Keep reading »

Swahili Culture & Unit House

Isaac - "proud as a peacock"

Last evening we were without electricity (an increasingly frequent challenge for residents of Dar es Salaam) and therefore we could not post to the blog. So here are two days worth of updates for the price of one! Yesterday the group attended a lecture at the University entitled “Indian Ocean Trade & Swahili Culture,” by … Keep reading »

Historical Analysis of Natural Resource Management


William Cronon suggests, “the instability of human relations with the environment can be used to explain both cultural and ecological transformations.”  Building on this theme, today we began a week and 1/2 exploration of the history of Tanzania, paying particular attention to connections between history and human/nature relationships.  We’ll explore these themes through three lectures … Keep reading »

Kigamboni Beach Weekend

Photo by Josh Miller

This weekends’ pictures speak for themselves.  After a busy first week and a half, the students deserved some genuine respite and play.  We traveled by ferry to Kigamboni, a short distance across the Dar es Salaam harbor.  We slept, swam, caught up on reading, and took walks.  It was a refueling day.   Most students went … Keep reading »

Makumbusho Cultural Centre & Village Museum

Swahili class: acting out the culturally "correct" ways to behave...

Swahili class today included some wonderful singing of Tanzanian songs, both gospel and secular.  in return, the students offered a hymn or two from the Mennonite hymnal.  Also as part of Swahili class, in small groups the students were asked to act out both inappropriate and appropriate cultural behaviors.   Remember to offer and receive … Keep reading »

University of Dar es Salaam

University campus

As you have begun to gather from previous posts, the daily schedule for students goes something like this.  Anywhere between 7-8:30 a.m. students arrive at Upanga Church and we have time to connect, compare notes, and make sure everyone is healthy and doing well.  Ryan, Donna, Mara, and Isaac all come to the church to … Keep reading »