A Travellerspoint blog

Our trip to Dar es Salaam

Taking 2 of the former students to get their inventory for the NGO's womes co-op

all seasons in one day 32 °C
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

The NGO opened a womes co-operative six months ago to allow former students to start new businesses selling their inventory to the public.

Through donations from very generous members of the public the charity selects 2-3 students a year who have an interest in starting their own shop, buys their starting inventory and pays their rent for 12 months in the shop. All the revenue from the sales goes back into their business for more inventory so that after a year they should be self sufficient. There are 3 students in the co-op at the mo one selling women’s fashion shoes, one make clothes - we have all had a few dresses made! The other is selling toiletries and wigs.

The two new lucky students are:

Grace who is mid 30's married with 2 children, her English isn't great but she tries and she always has a big smile on her face. Her husband is in the police - which is a very tough job here in TZ and they really have very little. Grace was selected as she put the most amount of effort into school and over the 6 months developed a huge amount of confidence. Grace is going to sell fashion for the fashionable 20 something here in Moshi.

Grace and her fashion

Grace and her fashion

The other student selected was Serapia she is a single mum also in her mid 30’s with 2 children, one that lives with her and one that lives with her family in the village she grew up in. Serapia is a lovely woman so warm and friendly, she also tried exceptionally hard at school and truly deserves our help. Serapia has been selling used sports shoes for 3 years around town and will now finally be able to sell new shoes and have a location to sell them in.

Serapia and her shoes

Serapia and her shoes

We took the bus to Dar, the journey is about 9 hours door to door. The journey was very long and very hot.. I was sandwiched at the back between Serapia and a college student Margaret – doing a masters degree in procurement – we had a lot to talk about – her English was excellent. About 8 hours in to the journey I started getting stomach cramps blah it got loads worse and developed into flu we arrived and all I wanted to do was go and die in my bed! After a good nights sleep some TLC from Monika and some pain killers I felt much better.

I slept well but there was a wedding in the hotel next door and the noise was incredible, thankfully I had earplugs.. without it felt like your bed was in the middle of a club with a MC screaming in your ear and boom boom music! the music stopped abrubtly just before midnight, I found out the next day the wedding was stopped because some random security worker at the hotel had stolen all the wedding presents..

Breakfast was Chai tea and chapatti – a basic staple here kind of like a cross between a un sweet pancake and pitta bread. We then headed to the shopping district karikoo on the local bus the streets are hectic, there is so much traffic all racing to different destinations. The shops are all like covered market stalls selling everything you can imagine! There are streets and streets of shops and it is very easy to get lost in this place. There are no real major landmarks as all the shops in the area sell exactly the same products.
Dar

Dar

Karikoo

Karikoo

=We started out with a day of research, checking the prices of all of the products here to decide where best to buy the clothes and shoes and what’s was on offer. Moshi were we live is more expensive than Dar with limited options so there is massive opportunity to make money for both the ladies marking this product up.. as long as they choose the right inventory! The market is set up for buying in bulk and the prices for retail (1 piece) and wholesale (multiple pieces) are totally different although both are so much cheaper than the western world… Nice skinny jeans for 12,000 shillings! (£4/ $7) Nice Nike football boots for 35,000 shillings (£14/$23) and great Puma running trainers for 28,000 (£11/$18).

Some of the local housing in Karikoo

Some of the local housing in Karikoo

View from a seat in a store

View from a seat in a store

Serapia started shopping on the first day by buying 28 new pairs of football boots, there is no where in Moshi or neighbouring Arusha where you can buy new sports shoes and everyone loves football here. She will be pricing the football boots at 50,000 tsh so making a good profit on all sold!

At the end of the trip we went into a few of the air conditioned posh shops to look at their merchandising and displays to give the students ideas.. while in one of the shops monika spied a TV and we watch the end of the Royal wedding!

After a busy day shopping we jumped back on the bus before rush hour and headed back home for a quick shower (cold and welcomed), Dar is so much hotter the Moshi before we headed to the mall to get Monika some ear plugs and us some food. Monika and I spied the cinema at the mall and so after dinner we went and watched the Kings Speech (which was excellent) while the others headed to the bar for some relaxation and beer.

The next day Grace started spending her money.. not as fast as we all expected but this is understandable she had never seen anywhere near the 2m shillings we had given her so the whole thing was pretty daunting for her. She bought 240 pieces of womens underwear and then started on the hunt for skinny jeans, dresses and party tops. Serapia decided to purchase the Puma trainers we saw yesterday what a steal and their great quality.. interestingly enough although I was looking I did not spot womens running shoes anywhere – I guess the average Tanzanian women doesn’t work out.. The inequality in this country is shocking!

It is rainy season in TZ at the moment so during our shopping we stopped many times for rain breaks - usually just a short sharp shower for 5 minutes and then everything is back to normal..

The rain in karikoo

The rain in karikoo

At 4pm Grace still had 600,000 shillings left to spend so we were split up with the task of spending the money in 1 hour.. I went with Monika to buy bra’s what an experience we bought a lot – the average bra is 1800 shillings that’s (60p or $1.2!) and the quality is good. We re-grouped at 5pm successfully spending the 600shillings on 25 party tops, 10 pairs of jeans and a whole heap of bras!

We were now in rush hour trying to leave with a huge amount of inventory, we packed half the team in a taxi and the rest of us went to wait for the bus.. there was a lot of people waiting and Monika warned me that it’s a fight to get on! Well I was well prepared for it and I still ended up with someones elbow wacking my nose but I got on 4th in one piece!! Monika and Lusajo quickly followed and we all got a seat for the hour trip back. We went to visit Lusajo’s cousin that evening he is a supervisor for a lovely hotel in Dar the rooms are 60,000 shillings a night (we were paying 20,000 at our basic hotel) and they are lovely very westernised, there is even a night club in the basement!

The next day we met at 7:30 and Monika told us all that the bus drivers were on strike and no one would be leaving Dar any time soon..! OMG! we sent Herman the business teacher and Lusajo to the bus station to check out the situation while we went for breakfast.. they called us 30 mins later to tell us they would be running in 20 mins and to come over.. We had a palaver checking out as Herman had the money for the rooms at the bus station  we finally got sorted and all left for the bus station. It was total chaos there all the buses were jam packed into the station parked at different angles (no one was getting out of there quickly.. ) The bus drivers where no were to be seen.. we sat on the bus for a while and then got bored and went to see what was happening.

The bus chaos

The bus chaos

Trucks of armed police officers were patrolling all of the people waiting for the bus.. We went to where people where gathered demanding resolution to the situation or their money back there was loads of people shouting and others just standing around watching.. suddenly out of nowhere armed police ran into the crowd, batons raised.. it was unbelievable how quickly the crowd scattered! I was pretty scared at this point they were throwing those batons around and clobbering people pretty hard..

The riot

The riot

Photos of what the police looked like - not my photo

Photos of what the police looked like - not my photo

We hurried back to the bus and sat for another hour before finally at 2pm (we had been there for 5 hours) we finally left… The bus journey back was again very long and hot! at one point the windscreen wipers stopped working.. the driver couldn’t see anything.. he finally pulled over to fix them! thank goodness!!

The bus drivers window.. um should you be driving 8 hrs with a window like that??

The bus drivers window.. um should you be driving 8 hrs with a window like that??

We got back at 10:30 safe and sound but exhausted. Both Grace and Serapia are so excited about becoming business women and in a week they will join the other women in the co-op and start their respective businesses!

If you want to find out more or donate to the NGO the website is www.giveahearttoafrica.org

Posted by angcoleman 06:39 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Safari!!!!! Seeing Giraffes in the wild for the first time!

Dreams really do come true :-)

sunny 28 °C
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

So for those who have known me for a long time know that I have always dreamed of going on safari in Africa and seeing giraffes in the wild and guess what the Easter it happened!

On a very rainy morning in Moshi Katia, Katia's friend James, Michelle and I left for a trip of a lifetime - 4 days in the serengeti and Ngorongoro crater.. The driver arrived a bit early which got us all sorted and out the door quickly we all piled in a van excited for our trip and then suddenly realised we were in the wrong van! Wow that was a near escape from missing the whole trip!

Me and Michelle in the right car and so excited for what were about to see!!

Me and Michelle in the right car and so excited for what were about to see!!

We then headed off in the right van to pick up the guide Kevin and the safari driver Caleb - we also picked up two randoms David and Alison from USA which were another group that joined us to make 6.

The drive to Serengeti was long made much longer and more painful by me spilling hot black coffee all over my stomach eeeeeeeeeeeek that hurt and has left a massive hopefully not permanent reminder of the trip!

Villages on route

Villages on route

We stopped off for a very scenic lunch overlooking the crater, the crater is the largest in the world that is not fully immersed in water, the crater contains many different wild animals, which seem to live harmoniously together! I now feel that we must be getting close to the giraffes... im sitting on the edge of my seat trying to be patient!

Overlooking the crater!!

Overlooking the crater!!

Crater

Crater

Our drive was another 4 hours to the Serengeti from lunch, we went past many villages and then things started to get more rural, the only people we saw were maasai with their cattle – the views were spectacular – Tanzania has such a spectacular landscapes – so many mountains. Then we turned a corner and 7 giraffes were there just munching the trees and looking out over the pains... what an amazing sight! and yes there were a few tears!!

My first view of giraffes!

My first view of giraffes!

We arrived at the Serengeti at 5:30 – too late for a game drive as the park shuts at 6. We did see a few animals on arrival, the hippos were hanging out in the pool, no activity there except the swishing of their tails. We helped put up the tents and then headed to dinner which started off with popcorn – the food was fantastic the whole trip! We drank wine and sat round talking about what we were going to see over the next few days! The facilities were very basic at best – we were staying on the public campsite... there didn’t appear to be a working shower but we figured lets just worry about that in the morning...

beers on safari <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />)

beers on safari :))

After a great sleep we woke up at 6 ish for sunrise – wow it was pretty spectacular even from the campsite. We spoke to our neighbour about the shower situation and was told there is no working shower in the women’s you have to use the mens... um no! After some detective work down at the shower we realized that the tap to turn it on was 6ft in the air!!

Sunrise at our camping spot!

Sunrise at our camping spot!

After breakfast at 7am we started our first game drive! The roof of the car raises up so you can stand up and look out, we were all also given a pair of binoculars for viewing the animals that weren’t so close to the car. Our first top spot was a leopard, just hanging out in the tree – there was 7-8 cars crowded round a tree so we figured something pretty good must be hanging out there! The second amazing view was elephants on both sides of the car, the herd was about 20 in total but there was at least 5 babies some of them very young! The babies were all playing in the water with a couple of adults, such an amazing sight to see they seemed so happy and oblivious to us watching them from 2 meters away! They then decided to leave the pool and join the rest on the other side of the road.. wow they were so close, one of the adults got pretty upset with us watching and at one point I thought she might charge at us!! I have included the video below!! Enjoy.

Elephants playing in the water!

Elephants playing in the water!

Saying hello!!

Saying hello!!

After a stop for lunch we got back on the game safari for a drive around dusk, we swung by the hippo pool to see them yawning wow those teeth are crazy!

Hippo pool wow look at those teeth!

Hippo pool wow look at those teeth!

We saw troops of baboons including some babies and lots of elephants. Another amazing spot was the leopard stuck up a tree with 20 baboons heckling it from the bottom – it was a total stand off! Hopefully the baboons got bored and the leopard escaped!

Giraffe!!!

Giraffe!!!

<img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

:)

Me and Michelle getting windswept listening to music and enjoying the animals

Me and Michelle getting windswept listening to music and enjoying the animals

We spent the evening around the camp fire looking up at the stars and drinking wine! mmm bliss it was so peaceful there and the stars were so clear!

Serengeti sunset

Serengeti sunset

Sun set at the Serengeti!

Sun set at the Serengeti!

The second day of game drive was Easter Sunday we had stopped at the shop on route to the Serengeti and bought some hot cross buns so we toasted them on the fire and munched them quickly before we jumped in the car to go find the migration.. Wow what an amazing sight wilder beast and zebra for as far as the eye could see! The facts on migration are amazing the wilderbeast and zebra move around the Serengeti constantly in a clockwise direction to ensure they have plenty to eat throughout the year.

baby wilderbeast not sure which way to go.. Wilderbeast in the headlights perhaps!

baby wilderbeast not sure which way to go.. Wilderbeast in the headlights perhaps!

Migration!

Migration!

After a late brunch and packing up the car we left for the crater.. so excited, we still hadn’t seen lions or rhinos, so they were on our plan for Monday inside the crater! On route we stopped at a maasai village, this place was a little gold mine, catching all the tourists on route to and from their safaris! It was so much more commercialized than the village we went to a few weeks ago but good to see, we had a little boogie with the maasai ladies

Me and Michelle dancing with the maasai ladies!

Me and Michelle dancing with the maasai ladies!

We slept overlooking the crater, we were at a much higher elevation than when we were in the Serengeti and we could tell it was flipping freezing! The facilities were better here but still only cold showers which is fine when it is a hot day!

Our campsite overlooking the crater

Our campsite overlooking the crater

Descending into the crater is pretty fun the only road down is steep and windy, the visibility through the clouds was minimal – I don’t quite now how Caleb (our driver) managed to get us down in one piece!

Me on the way to the crater - so excited!

Me on the way to the crater - so excited!

We were all on the look out for lions, then suddenly Michelle spotted 2 lying down asleep, what a fantastic sight and unbelievably there was gazelles and wilderbeast within striking distance from them! I assume these lions do not go hungry! EVER! During our game drive we saw 2 other lions and then a whole load of lionesses! So lovely to see, all of them seemed so peaceful and chilled Debbie I wished you could have been there to see them!

Lions! just chilling in the morning <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Lions! just chilling in the morning :)

A rainbow inside the crater! Amazing

A rainbow inside the crater! Amazing

Flamingoes!

Flamingoes!

having a shake!

having a shake!

The gang on Safari!

The gang on Safari!

So 4 of the big 5 were now checked off just the black Rhino to see so we all had our eyes peeled! Then unbeknown to us we got a flat tire.. so the driver stopped by the rhino pool to change it.. mm Caleb do you know they are the most dangerous animals ever?? After our tire was changed we all piled back in the car and headed to hunt down the rhino!

There is hippos a few feet away and our tire is bust! shit!!!!

There is hippos a few feet away and our tire is bust! shit!!!!

After about 15 minutes we spotted 10 cars all crowded round with the occupants all looking through their binoculars.. could this be number 5?? Yes there in the distance were 2 rhinos, I couldn’t get a good photo but we saw them clearly through our binoculars.

With the big 5 all spotted we headed back to camp for our final fantastic meal and then started on the 6 hour journey home! What a fantastic trip 

The whole crew including our driver and guide

The whole crew including our driver and guide

Posted by angcoleman 22:01 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Teaching English!! Part 1

I am re-learning as much as my students are learning! :)

The school I volunteer for is an adult school for mainly women who are in need of a free education - the school teaches 40 students for six months. The students must have a primary education which they all do as it is mandatory for everyone in Tanzania to attend school from ages of 5-10. However class sizes can be up to 110 so learning is very very limited - I cannot imagine seeing a class that big let alone teaching them!

Our school teaches English, business and computers - 200 people interviewed this semester for 42 places - thats a lot of people turned away until next time but the 40 that are selected are very appreciative of the opportunity and try very hard in all thier classes.

Some of the group 2's in English

Some of the group 2's in English

The students are split into 2 groups based on there ability to speak English when they start.

The school day starts at 9am and runs until 12 noon then from 12:30-2:30 there is extra help for a smaller group of struggling students.

Group 2 English class with Anne

Group 2 English class with Anne

I was selected as the English teacher as I am here for 3 months and it is very important to have a consistent teacher for as long as possible.

Group 1 English with Anne

Group 1 English with Anne

I am loving teaching! the class works very hard and pays attention in class.

The content of the classes have been quite a challenge for me as I am re-learning english! I just speak it now I dont think about the rules of what i am saying or what words are verbs, nouns, pronouns etc.. so I have been learning to prepare for the lessons and working out how I am going to explain the rules to the students. There is a good syllabus but still how do I talk them through the nuiances of our language - "it just is like that" does not fly

Me teaching English

Me teaching English

Posted by angcoleman 11:28 Comments (0)

My new home town - Moshi

"Home is where I rest my hat"

sunny 31 °C
View Year off on angcoleman's travel map.

Moshi town is about 25 mins walk from my house where I live and teach English, Moshi has a population of 145 thousand.

The town is pretty hectic whenever you go - I seem to time it for the end of school ehich means there is a ton of school kids going in every direction to get home! The traffic is not too bad but the cars, motorbikes, dala dalhs and buses will run you down if you dont get out of their way which makes for a fun time to cross the road!

The bus station is an experiance, there is loads of people milling around selling everything from tickets to oranges! You can even have your toe nails painted while waiting for the bus. If a white person is there then a swarm of people follow you trying to convince you to get on their bus to some random destination!

Moshi Bus Station

Moshi Bus Station

The pavements are chocker everywhere with street sellers selling all kinds of items.. One thing that really shocked me when I arrived was that most of the locals are wearing used clothes from the Western world - there is all clothing items lined up on the street to sell it is a big business here.

Street sellers

Street sellers

Local shop with a local wheel barrow used to transport luggage or goods

Local shop with a local wheel barrow used to transport luggage or goods

Zantel building

Zantel building

A local hair dressers

A local hair dressers

There is a fruit and veggie market which is excellant, the avacodos, bananas and mangoes are fantastic and soooo cheap - a avocado costs 20 pence here! and a mango 30p!! :)) - photos to follow! There is a few small supermarkets in town, aleems is the fav - its the same size as a corner shop at home but stocks a lot of western food - chocolate, museli, plain yougurt :))) There is one bakers in town which is like a bakers at home it even does cakes and pastries - yet to try them! but the brown rolls are my fav. Not a great selection of food but I get cooked for every night by Margret a former student. So I just need to shop for breakfast and lunch.

There are a number of old disused buildings which look like they were lovely in there day but now not so good..

DSC01433.jpg

After a long hot hike around town - most days are in the 30's we sometimes stop off for a coffee, smoothie juice or food in one of the local coffee shops. the fav tourist hag out is Union cafe - a bit of luxury in Moshi and always filled with white people! The picture includes 3 of the previous volunteers -(L-R) Caroline a trainer from Germany aka English teacher, Katia a jewler from Germany living in London aka a computer teacher and Anne Coleman my roomie from USA she has written "matchless" a fantastic book about internet dating aka a english teacher.

Union Cafe - A fav for the tourists

Union Cafe - A fav for the tourists

Moshi is a popular starting place for the Kili climb and at most points around Moshi you can see the mountain although clouds cover the top most of the time so spotting the snow cap is quite a special sight!

The view of kili from the end of my road!

The view of kili from the end of my road!

Posted by angcoleman 09:41 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Visiting Two of the students at home

How welcoming someone can be when they have so little..

sunny 31 °C

Fridays are home visit day, we go and visit the students at their homes to understand more about who they are, where they come from and meet their family. It turns out it is quite a privelage to have "mzungo" white people in your home.

We met Flora one of my struggling English students at the disused railway station to be taken to her house, Flora tries so hard at school she smiles a lot and is one of the first ones to put up her hand in class.

Dis-used railway in Moshi

Dis-used railway in Moshi

Flora took us to her small room within a mud hut, it was pretty shocking turning the corner and seeing this mud hut with gaps in the walls and corregated sheet for a roof, I didn't get any pictures outside as it really didin't feel appropriate... The room inside was very cosy 2 double beds 3 chairs and a very small table, there was 6 of us and it was a tight squueze for us all to fit in. Flora told us that her 4 girls live there with her. Her husband died recently and her 3 boys live away with other relatives.

Flora and her family

Flora and her family

Flora served us lunch, which was pretty humbeling when she has nothing - kidney beans in a cocunut sauce and chapati - it was lovely! We talked but her English was very bad so most of it was through the inturpreter Herman. Flora told us she makes donuts and sells them at the local supermarkets. We told her she should bring some to school so it will be interesting to see if she is motivated to do it.

Inside Flora's house with some of the volunteers

Inside Flora's house with some of the volunteers

At Flora's house with Monika and Herman

At Flora's house with Monika and Herman

This was such a shocking sight for me..

This was such a shocking sight for me..

We bid out Asante sana's (goodbye and thank you very much in Swahili) and headed to our second students home - Hidijya - she picked us up with her one year old baby and took us to her house - slightly more upmarket area with more established houses than Flora's mud hut

On route to hidijya's

On route to hidijya's

Hadijya's street

Hadijya's street

Hidijia is 23 years old and in the top class for English and is very good in class - she is a keen student and always smiling. She lives with her mother and brother - there was no mention of a husband so we didn't ask - being a single mother is very common in Tanzania. She immediately went and bought us fizzy drinks - there is no diet options here. Coke Cola is all over Tanzania - however did there marketing did a very good job but its such a shame to see people wasting there money on these sugary drinks..

Hadijya a single mum of 23 years old hoping to be an accountant

Hadijya a single mum of 23 years old hoping to be an accountant

While talking to Hadijya the local children from all around gathered sitting at her front door - it felt like we were VIP's. They all loved there photos taken and there was smiles all round.

The children outside the house loving their photo being taken!

The children outside the house loving their photo being taken!

I am so looking forward to more home visits - it gives such a good feel for what challenges and issues our students face.

Posted by angcoleman 00:49 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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