19 May 2010

If I decide to become an ex-pat, you can find me in Zanzibar

So I realized I haven't really given any descriptions about the group I'm with. I'm in Tanzania with the African Studies Institute at UGA. I applied in December much to my mom & dad's initial hesitations because I mean really, Africa isn't the number one place a parent hopes their little girl will go running off to. Good thing I flew, and I promise, I'll be home in less than 2 weeks. Weird that much time has gone by already. There are students in the Maymester program. I'm the only rising sophomore, 3 boys and 6 girls. There are 3 other girls that are in Tanzania with UGA and they're meeting up with us in about a week to go to the parks but they're primarily working in an orphanage in Moshi. We have 2 professors here plus Dr. Moshi, the program coordinator. She's kinda a big deal around here. She's also a professor and used to be Head of the African Studies Institute, has 2 Ph.D's, used to teach at Stanford, and has been bringing UGA Students to her home since 1998.

Sunday morning we went to this outdoor museum in Dar that celebrates all the different tribes that make up Tanzania. We basically looked at 22 different recreations of huts and villages, real size. Really interesting seeing how people used the materials they had available to create their homes. It was blistering hot, as is every day on the Indian Ocean near the Equator. Duh.

After we were all hot and sweaty and gross we got to go to the Ambassadors House. Like the United States Ambassador to Tanzania's house. It was AWESOMEEEEE. I drank tea and ate cookies on china with the seal of America gold-plated. We talked to the Ambassadors Wife and his Chief Deputy for about an hour. It felt like home, just with soldiers with guns at the end of the driveway. No big.

Went to take a walk on the beach about 3 miles from the main port. Ew, bad idea. There was trash everywhere and it smelled like sewage, because basically, it is. Not a place to build sandcastles, but there are incredibly nice beaches in Tanzania. Just google it.

Yesterday we drove to Bagamoyo. Its a town about 2 hours north of Dar es Salaam but it feels like a world away. A majority of slaves that were sold to Middle East came through the port so we saw the ruins of the old fort that belonged to the Arabs and then the Germans. We also went to the ruins of a town from the 13th century. Pretty spectacular. There was a mosque, a few houses and a bunch of graves. There's also a well right outside the mosque that people come from far away to drink from or bottle because it never changes volume. You can take a gallon from it, but it never increases or decreases, even in the rain. Scientists came in and tried to find the source but had no luck. All the water around it is salty, which makes sense because the well is about 200 meters from the ocean.

For lunch, we went to the Bagamoyo Beach Resort . It was just really incredible. I felt like I was in the Caribbean, but the palm trees were better. Then we headed back to Dar, packed up because we left this morning for Zanzibar. I called Mom Dad & Nat (MISS YOU!) and woke up at 5.30 ughhhhh.

We caught the ferry to Zanzibar at 7 AM. There were so many people at the port, all asking to help us with our bags, but then they ask for $5 when you get to the ship. Everyone's trying to make a buck. We got to see the sun rise, which is always nice. A nice encouragement for those that have to start the day so early. The ferry ride was about a hour and a half. Our group sat upstairs in the open air. Less likely to get nauseous that way.

THEN we dock in Zanzibar and oh man, this place is sweet. I feel like I stepped into Ancient Arabia, or some exotic bazaar. The Arabs and Africans have lived here without (almost) any conflict for centuries. It's about 95% Muslim, but Christians are here too, no issues. I'll write more about this place later because we'll be here for a few days but I'm basically in love.

Other things:

My roommate had malaria. She got medicine and is fine now, after about 4 days. It's not contagious but I didn't want to say anything until after she was 100% better. In Africa, malaria is so deadly because people can't afford the medication (about $70). So people use preventative measures, like nets, to lower their chances. If you can afford medicine and you get diagnosed early, not a huge problem.

LOST. My favorite show of my older teenage years is ending on Sunday. For those that just rolled their eyes in disdain, just stop reading. But for the REST of you that understand how great this show is, understand my pain. All the internet cafes don't have flash, so I haven't watched the last 2 episodes, nor will I be able to watch the 2.5 hour season finale until June. If I were home, I would be having a huge party for whoever wanted to come. Maybe serve Lost-themed food. Probably not. Then the show would end , not all questions would be answered, but I like the idea of watching it at the same time as everyone else in America. So, consider yourselves invited to my post-finale party in June, when I finally figure out how that polar bear got on the island. And if you spoil it for me, consider yourself dead. Only half kidding.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMMAW!!!!! I'm sorry I didn't get to call you today. I hope you have a great day. I love you very much.

I'll write more about the intrigue of Zanzibar tomorrow.



  1. I LOVE LOST so i am right there with you girl!
    come home safe and please dont get malaria. i am so glad that your roommate is okay and that you werent infected. stay safe and come home in one piece, pretty girl!

  2. Hey, Sweetie,
    Mom and I just got back from Baccalaurate at JFBC at 11 PM. A hard day, but so worth it. I think yours was better. Mom was in charge of the food, but had lots of help.
    Your adventure sounds so exciting. Such memories to have forever. We love your accounts and your take on that part of our world. We will send more tomorrow when Mom can get on her "Little Laptop" and let the words fly.
    Zanzibar has always seemed so exotic and distant. Only thru your eyes, it
    seems more real and closer. Love to hear of the world thru your eyes.

    All our love, Dad, Mom, and Nat
    night night

  3. Hi my darlin, well if you leave Marietta for Zanzibar, you will have a following, mainly your Mother!!!! I would love to see what you are seeing and yet am so glad you can tell ME about some places. WE finished Baccalaureate tonite, a feeding frenzy unlike anything I have seen in a while. Austin was amazing!!!! Shannon MAyne and Aylisha sang "FOR GOOD" Bittersweeet Symphony was great and, they ended it with the Roller Coaster!!!! I was in the kitchen, shock!! Wheat was stellar as usual, and Ravenscroft very cool. I am tired now it is 1237 am and have been at it for a long time. Gonna see if we can store your DIRTY suitcase at the airport in AMS while we visit the city so that we dont have to lug it around. Ms. Bonstein and Mr Stillwell came tonight and ask about you and Mrs. Angert wants you to come visit. I am jumping aroung but oh well, that is your Mother, who loves you to pieces, love your blogs!!!!! mommy

  4. Clare~I ran into your mom and dad today at school. They were telling me about this incredible experience you are having in Africa! Your writing is very descriptive and allows me to ecperience your adventure as if I am almost there with you! YOu are amazing and I can not wait to read more about your journey! Love you-Mrs.Donald <3