When I first arrived in Tanzania, life in Dar was new and exciting. It was life in a foreign country, complete with the thrill of living life on the edge. Back in August, I did a Q & A post on my life in Tanzania, but I’d like to take a second look at some of the basics of life in Tanzania ten months later.
Teaching at HOPAC is still nothing like teaching at Carroll High School. Teaching with technology is completely out of the picture. Internet is questionable at best, and certainly nothing capable of streaming YouTube videos or hosting a web-based classroom (i.e. Moodle). But for all that, its a great place to teach. Students are respectful and interested in learning, even if only motivated by a fear of the IGCSE and Cambridge exams. Classes are small, which fosters excellent discussions in the classroom, ranging from the adventures of living in Dar to the moral question of committing a crime “for the greater good,” from Shakespeare to Soyinka.
Over the last ten months, I’ve found small groups of people playing volleyball, softball, underwater hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, football (soccer), and running. I also enjoy cycling, paddleboarding, swimming, diving, chilling on the beach, watching movies, and hanging out with friends. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t allow for me to do all of those things in a given week. So I rotate. One week, I play Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and go for a bike ride. The next week, its volleyball, softball, paddleboarding, and diving. When I get the chance, I catch a movie or dinner with friends, but if not, I chill at home with my dog.
I started out the year attending an all-Swahili church near my house, but due to my very slow progress in learning Swahili, was finding it extremely difficult. Not to say that difficult is a bad thing, but in this case, I determined it was best to attend an English-speaking church. So for the last several months, I have been attending a recent church plant here in Dar, God’s Tribe. It has been a blessing to hear Biblical teaching that I can actually understand, and I am truly excited about the vision that the leadership of God’s Tribe has for the city of Dar es Salaam.
Life here has certainly settled into more of a routine over the last ten months. I no longer even blink when the power goes out, though I might moan in protest if my phone or laptop’s battery dies as a result. The insanity of most Dar drivers causes me to mutter in disgust, but no longer surprises me. When a guy walks up behind me and reads my tattoo in broken English: “liiive (pronounced like hive) beautiful…. oh, baby, you’re beautiful. I love you.” I just laugh. Whatever. Driving to every store in Dar just to find large breed puppy food, and still returning empty-handed….that’s expected. But getting up to a beautiful sunrise over the Indian Ocean, diving into crystal clear turquoise water, or sitting on the beach at sunset still takes my breath away. Hanging out with people from all over the world, playing softball with a bunch of Americans who come out of the woodwork for some “real American sports,” and teaching students who speak three or more languages fluently still amazes me. There’s just some things that I hope never become “routine,” because I don’t want to miss the beauty and glory of them.
I’m still willing to answer questions about life here in more details…or go out on a photo mission if there are things you want to see photos or videos of specifically.