You Know You Are In Tanzania When… (Vol IV)

By Jennifer Gong, KF9 Tanzania

As my fellowship draws to a close, I would like to contribute my last post to a tradition set by past Tanzanian Kiva Fellows.  There is something unique about the country that fellows have been compelled to share.  Alec Lovett (a KF4 and my interviewer!) first started the series “You know you are in Tanzania when…” back in 2008 and later added a Vol 2.  Jara Small (KF5) brilliantly added her observations and wrote Vol 3.   In my 90 days here, I’ve been privy to witness some of the unique characteristics of Tanzania and its inhabitants. So here goes Vol 4… Enjoy!

You know you are in Tanzania when…

  1. If you are Asian, you’ll either get called “mchina mchina!” or “hua hee hor” + flying kick because everyone assumes you know kung fu.
  2. You feel so good finding a bajaji (a motor rickshaw) because it’s about a few dollars cheaper than a taxi.
  3. A normal dish includes 3 pieces of meat, a sprinkle of veggies and rice, bananas, potatoes, ugali (maize flour) and possibly three other types of carbs.
  4. You get this great pickup line pretty often: “Do you have a guy? Are you married? Want to marry me?”
  5. No matter how much weight you’ve gained eating fried chicken and fries, you will be told to eat more.
  6. You will get stuck with a lot of sweaty money because they were just fished out of someone’s undergarments
  7. You learn to pop a bottle cap using the edge of a table and a swish of your fist
  8. You know it’s futile to fight your way into a dalla dalla (local bus) and should just wait for the 50 hands in the crowd behind you to push you in
  9. You start obsessing over good bed nets.
  10. You realize how fast 90 days can go by and within those 90 days, how many friends you can make, how many wonders you can see and how you can make a lasting connection with a place you once only dreamed about.

p.s. Happy 2010!


About the author

Jennifer Gong