I guess I haven’t really given a very comprehensive description of daily life here. Here’s a typical day:
This morning, after waking up several times in the night to bush babies, frogs, and the security guard’s music (Lady Gaga and other American hits), I got up and did yoga outside in the dorm yard under an acacia tree that is one of many excellent climbing trees on campus. Walked to breakfast with some program-mates at a cafe on campus, had chapati, kitumbua (one of the several shapes of fried dough that people here eat for breakfast), and instant coffee in warm, fresh whole milk.
Had Swahili class for 4 hours (whew), then walked to the cafeteria for lunch. Since it’s school vacation time at UDSM, the students here are a mixture of nationalities. Tanzanian students working or doing research on campus, Mozambiquens studying agriculture, a couple other US study abroad programs…Lunch (same as dinner) is very predictable. Rice, chicken, beans, beef, potatoes, sometimes cooked bananas, chips (french fries), chips mayai (chips omelet–brilliant). Very yummy. In the cafeteria, I test out new slang I learn on the funny guys selling fruit and soda, and they think we are hilarious.
Afternoon brings one class or another–Ecology, Human Evolution, or Research Methods, we never know which one until a few minutes before when our program director texts us. Then time to chill, almost always with other students on the program (who are all really cool!), and sometimes with our Tanzanian host students, Hamida and Emmanuel, or other locals we befriend. Often we hang out on campus, chatting, playing frisbee, meeting other students, doing homework. Sometimes we take a daladala into town, to a market or a restaurant for dinner (we’ve eaten Lebanese, Ethiopian, and Indian-Chinese!).
Nighttime, we don’t go out much since everyone tells us it is dangerous. More chill time. This place is good for that.
Other commonplace things: I sweat a lot. It rains sometimes, intensely but for a short amount of time. You always have to watch your step because sidewalks are pretty broken up, if they exist at all. Monkeys (vervets) hang out on campus like squirrels do in the midwest. Baby monkeys are funny looking, and the one here likes the solo baboon. Students wear button up shirts and dress pants to class, and sit by the big “Degree Tree” to study and use internet. Bathrooms are squatting toilets and usually don’t have running water or toilet paper. In the dorms, we have western toilets and usually running water, which is stored in big black tanks to get heated by the sun during the day for a nice, tepid shower at night. There are really cool, huge insects here, and I’m fairly certain I’ve already talked about the trees.
So, life’s not so different here in the city. Engaging, challenging, not luxurious but not uncomfortable. People seem quite happy here, and I am too!