I created a page- Observations-NEW, 2 weeks ago. It tries to capture everyday things here.
Location: Moshi, Tanzania at the Backpackers (closest thing to a hostel, i’ve encountered so far!)
Well, I’m still in Moshi and loving it and have decided I will stay till Christmas. I love the staff and they all make me feel so at home. I’ve been here a week and half and have spent most of my time with them. I’ve interacted with a few other backpackers briefly but they come and go. I also got a little cold so spent most of last week resting lots. I think I got sick because I was thinking too much about all possibilites. It’s so nice to just stay in one place for a while! I know I’ll spend christmas at the backpackers. I had wondered where I’d be for the holidays but it feels so right and am happy to have good company to celebrate the holidays! The best part is, I only came to Moshi to see Kilimanjaro, and it’s become more than just seeing the mountain. This happened to me when I went to Liverpool in England- I went for the Beatles but the expereince was so much more than that and same for a seaside town, Hermanus, known for the whales in South Africa.
You never know where life will lead
I recently met an American guy, Neil, who found my blog and happened to be 2 hrs away. we considered doing a safari together but I thought we should meet first and I couldn’t be bothered to leave Moshi and pack up all my stuff so he came over and loves it too. He’s thinking of staying a while… see where the wind will take him.
Moshi is a small, laidback African town that has lots of Westerners coming and going. Tourists use Moshi as a base to climb Kilimanjaro and then there are two volunteer placement companies: i to i and Cross Cultural Solutions, who bring volunteers here. It’s great. There are also a few ‘western’ restaurants, including two coffee shops, which are nice places to hang out sometimes.
I’m also happy to have a bit of variety of food options. I love traditional Tanzanian fare but eating it twice a day can get boring as there isn’t much variation. It’s either : rice or ugali (white stiff mush meal, eaten with the hands), mchuzi (tomato type sauce), mchicha (type of spinach), and beans. Or you can get kuku or nyama and chips (chicken or beef and chips). I’ve been having some food cravings and realize how many choices we have at home. On any given day, i can choose about 100 different foods from a variety of different ethnicities: Mexican, Italian, American, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Greek, salads, sandwiches etc. The list could go on! Am I making you hungry? Sometimes at home, I feel overwhelmed and didn’t know what I wanted to eat… here my options are smaller though in Moshi I have quite the selection. I just can’t get a Caesar salad or chips and salsa here like I can in the states. hmmm. But I have plenty of time to eat these foods in my lifetime.
Speaking of food, I often go into the local restaurants for standard Tanzanian food. Not only will I be the only muzungo in the place (sometimes the only woman too) but I have to use the little Swahili I know to order because often the people don’t speakEnglish. It can be challenging sometimes but it makes it all the more worthwhile! I’m learning a great deal of patience!
I went out to a cool outdoor bar on Friday with Evans (works at backpackers), and Neil that had random wooden swings and a platform in tree to hang out in. It was cool. Then we headed for the local nightclub. It was cool, a little hip hop- Timbaland and justin Timberlake but mostly Tanzanian music. Good fun. I’m surprised to see that mostly men are the ones on the dance floor, not women. Apparently, non-city women don’t really go out to nightclubs and there’s also a handful or prostitutes that go dancing. Makes sense. Trying to get a guy for the evening. Interesting.
I’m starting to meet some other Muzungos who are here for a year volunteering for working. It’s nice. I’m going to check out some orphanges this week and depending on what feels right, volunteer. Josephine said, she could take me to a few places and a guy doing volunteer work said, he’ll take Neil and I to the orphange he’s at- 30 minutes away from Moshi in the shantytown. I’m excited!
I had been learning Swahili, until I went to Kenya, where most speak English so knowing swahili isn’t necessary. I’m going to start opening my phrasebook again and see if I can find a few books so I can teach myself. Knowing some of the language makes my expereince all the more incredible!
Hope everyone is well… Stay in touch!