In Tanzania, visitors are often welcomed with music. Since you are visiting my blog here's some welcoming music.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Early September Update

Greeting from Dar es Salaam, Africa! 

Beginning of September 
It has been almost three months since my arrival to Africa.  It is
nothing like I had expected as many things are in our lives.  The top
five on my list are:
                    --How intense the sun is! There is a wonderful
breeze everyday, but the sun's intensity is astonishing.
                    --Being loved by some and thanked many times by
                    --The mosquitos in Africa fly really slow, so they
are easy to kill. However, the mosquitos are also stealth with their
                    --How it is very easy to buy everything one needs
for daily living on the bus (dala dala) while sitting in traffic in
                    --I thought their would be more of a variety in
the food choices in the city. I can't believe how many "pub like" food
establishments there are in Tanzania. 
While I have been in Dar es Salaam, I have had many opportunities to
learn about the culture of the Tanzanians.  Once a week we went on
culture outings:  to the Tanzanian national museum, a tribal museum,
and went shopping in a district called Kariokoo. I brought tennis
racket, cutting board, congas (wraps that have many uses), tupperware,
postal stamps, and internet usage cards.
One weekend I was able to talk with a Maasai man, who lives at the
Salvation Army (where we have our Swahili lessons), and asked him if
he could show us the famous "Maasai jumping dance” (Adumu).  So he set
it up and got some of his friends!  We squashed 5 people into a taxi
and headed off to a remote area with no paved roads.  Surprisingly Dar
es Salaam has mostly paved roads.  We bumped, screamed (mainly me),
and laughed our way to where the Maasai men were preparing to adumu
(dance).  Our group of wazugu (foreigners) for the first time we were
not the center of attention. What I and you may not realize is that
the Maasai people are just much as a spectacle as Americans/
foreigners.  So we (Maasai and wazugu) came together to celebrate
Maasai dancing, but unintentionally celebrated our likenesses.    We
watched and cheered for 3 hours until they needed a soda break.  I
found out later that many in the Maasai tribe are Christian (mainly
Catholic).  Warriors are the only members of the Maasai community to
wear long hair, and spend a great deal of time styling the hair. It is
dressed with animal fat and ocher, and parted across the top of the
head at ear level.
The next day we visited a different parish, instead of the Saint 
Paraskevi Cathedral, The Dormition of the Theotokos in the Mbezi beach 
region of Dar es Salaam.  The church was located on the top of a 
hill.  The nave was no bigger than two dinning room tables placed side 
by side.  The church was packed.  Not counting the five of us, the 
faithful (including children) numbered twenty.  The music we witnessed 
was from the angels.  Everyone joined in singing the hymns and the 
service reminded me of the churches my OCMC short-team visited in 
2002.  I was part of a team of fourteen.  We stayed in a small village 
Kazsikazi.  We joined the people of Kazsikazi in building All Saints 
Orthodox Church.  Everyone even the small children of the village 
helped with bring the empty bags of dirt to us to refill.  We were 
given the task of digging out the area for the narthex. All Saints 
Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, PA, sponsored the building of the 
church in the village of Kazsikazi.  We travelled with HE Jeryemos 
(then he His Grace) to multiple parishes around the Bukoba Archdiocese 
(now know as the Mwanza Archdiocese).  The singing of the little 
children, men, women: I could hear their gusto, passion, and love.  

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