Being a foreigner in Tanzania
Heyoooo! What’s pumping here?? I am Jean Gildas Tapsoba but you can call me G, Gil, Taps, Jean, or whatever. I have had many nicknames in these past two years, so yeah why not? I moved in Tanzania in January 2018 and since then I have become a foreigner in this wonderful country. Being stranger in this country can be really challenging. There are advantages and disadvantages. But well, let’s talk about the advantages. The country is very diverse and there are many things to learn: The people, their languages and their culture. The country is blessed by Mother Nature with incredible natural resources.
In West Africa, the perception of Tanzania is not glamorous. Many people think that the country is just a jungle filled with wild animals such as lions and reptiles. I never understood why they think so but yes, it’s real. Another misconception is that people think that English is the official language. Some people even think Tanzania is a Muslim country, maybe because of the name of the former capital city Dar es Salaam which is in Arabic. Also for so long, TV channels have presented several documentaries about albinos’ discrimination in Tanzania, which makes it very likely that Tanzania is a dangerous country with ancestral and inhuman practices on people suffering from albinism.
Things to know about the country
Let’s not focus on these beliefs. This can be explained by the distance between the West and the East but also by misinformation. As mentioned before, Tanzania is a wonderful country with limitless wonders to explore. First of all Tanzanians are mostly very welcoming and warm. More than one hundred and twenty communities are present in the country (95% Bantu). The most numerous are the Sukuma (15.5% of the population), followed by the Gogo (4.1%), the Haya (3.7%), the Tumbuka (3.1%) and the Nyamwezi (2.8%). %)… In small numbers, Indians, Europeans, Arabs (in Zanzibar). People mind their own business and don’t really bother foreigners because they are used to them. It’s a peaceful country, and politically stable compared to other countries in the Central and Western part of Africa.
The official language of the country is the Kiswahili, for those who didn’t know and 45% of Tanzanians are Christian, 35% Muslim (majority in Zanzibar) and 20% are related to animist beliefs, Hinduism, Sikhism… The Kiswahili is the most spoken language in Africa with more than 100 millions of speakers. Once in Tanzania, you will have to learn the language if you want to survive. It’s a very beautiful and simple language, easy to learn for English native speakers. Some popular words in the daily jargon of Tanzania are Karibu, Asante, Habari, Rafiki, etc. which respectively mean Welcome, Thank you, Hi, Friend, etc.
For those who still ignores, Tanzania has the same profile as many other African countries. You can find big and developed cities like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, with the same level of modernity you may find in other big cities like Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, etc. The country has fancy places where you can have fun, numerous national parks and reserves, and many other touristic places to visit. Places to visit in Tanzania are:
- For people in love with wildlife and safari, a limitless number of natural reserves and national parks such Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tarangire, Gombe, Mahale, and Lake Manyara national parks can be some options.
- To learn about history, and visit fancy and luxurious places, Zanzibar Island is the perfect place. There, you could learn about the history of slave trade, the old town (Stone Town), have a rest in peaceful places nearby beautiful beaches, etc.
- For hiking lovers, Tanzania has the highest peak in Africa (5895 m), the Mount Kilimanjaro. If ever you want to touch the sky, Karibu (Welcome to) Kilimanjaro.
Tanzania is a nice country, with a lot of economic, natural and social potentials. Don’t be afraid to move from your comfort zone. Here, you can easily make new friends who will become like family. To be honest, I can’t talk about all the wonders you may see in Tanzania. Therefore, I invite you to put Tanzania in your Bucket List as a place to visit. Why not organizing a safari with your friends, or plan your honeymoon in Zanzibar? The choice is yours. Karibu (Welcome)!
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