Arrival blog

I may have lost a jumper on the way to Bristol bus station, but I am safely arrived in Tanzania. I can confirm The Breakfast Club is a good film and rice is always appreciated at 4:30am. Thanks Qatar Airways.

tyb Qatar Airways
Landing at Kilimanjaro Airport

At Kilimanjaro Airport I met the Engineering World Health coordinator and some of my fellow Summer Institute students. From there we travelled to the Training Centre for Development Co-operation (TCDC) where we’re now based, known locally as Danish after the Danish NGO who founded the centre. It’s now 60% self-funded.

MS Training Centre for Development Co-operation
MS Training Centre for Development Co-operation

I am staying with a Danish student named Morten in a house in Usa River, about half an hour walk from TCDC. We’re staying with a family of four with two sons: Jonas (17) and Saimon (22) who were quick to teach us some Swahili slang and treat us to some Bongo Flava pop music, so we’re pretty down with the Watoto.

The house where I am staying from the road. The building in shot is a small shop the family run.
The house where I am staying from the road. The building in shot is a small shop the family run.

 The families we’re set up with are fairly well off, so we have a nice room and Jonas and Saimon attended local private schools so their English is better than most. It’s a pretty balmy 27°C most days, though we’re about 1000m above sea level so bucket showers in the mornings get pretty chilly.

Dala dala bills y'all
Me and Morten’s bedroom

Monday to Thursday for these first four weeks I’m at TCDC, with Swahili lessons in the mornings and technical labs and lectures in the afternoons. These are all punctuated by timely chai breaks where the international students, Tanzanian students and TCDC staff get together. It turns out that if you’re English and think tea is alright, you bloody love tea relative to pretty much everyone else. Wawingereza tunapenda chai.

Part of the walk to MSTCDC. Mt. Meru is obscured by clouds.
Part of the walk to MSTCDC. Mt. Meru is obscured by clouds.

The Swahili lessons are great fun, and I find I’m picking it up fast. It’s a pretty logical language, albeit with different logic to that underlying English. Also, being a relatively recently codified language, the spelling is entirely phonetic. The course is tailored to the Summer Institute, so I can say Unakaa Wingereza [I live in England] but also vyfaaa ya oksijeni [Oxygen machine]. As always with a new language there has been some confusion, with often hilarious results.

Q: Je, unatoka wapi? [Where are you from?]

A: Ninapenda parachichi. [I like avacados.]

I’m writing another entry about the technical work I’ve been doing and the first repairs I’ve completed on our Friday hospital visits, so I’ll leave off here with a poster hung in the library at TCDC.

A poster from hanging in the TCDC library.
A poster from hanging in the TCDC library.