Day 1

Today has kicked off to an AMAZING start. I always enjoy the people that DAT attracts. They are often pretty different from the people I’ve experienced anywhere else. They are often kind, open, down to earth, funny people who give you no reason to be nervous and give you all the reason to just be yourself. Last year, when I did DAT: Heart of Europe, I was with mainly a group of all white people. This year, there is a good amount of Latinos, a few black people, along with people of other diverse backgrounds, and I am loving it! The road managers in our group from Tanzania are very welcoming and have big warm personalities. I love learning Swahili. The food so far is delicious, and my room here in Dar Es Salaam isn’t bad at all! I have a full-sized bed with mosquito netting which actually looks like a canopy. Even the ride to this compound, through the city, with all the traffic and the community, it was so beautiful. There were women literally carrying loads of potatoes on their head like it was nothing, all the while dressed from head to toe in conservative yet vibrant bursts of color. Its winter here, but 88 degrees Fahrenheit, yet I occasionally find a man wearing a winter coat. I see fresh fish being sold on the streets. Traffic was pretty terrible but I still see so much being sold on or literally in the street: nuts, scarves, tree bark, dresses, water…men of the Massai tribe sit on the curb in their traditional red checkered garb. “Mambo!” “Poa!” “Lala salama” or “Ushiki mwuema?” I think the language is as beautiful as the people. I’m so glad I did previous research because I was able to hold a conversation with my new Tanzanian friends about various subjects including their government and pop culture. And later on that night, I had a different conversation with the Latino Americans on my trip. I listened more than anything as the proud Latino Americans speak their language, their truth, and their take on their own African roots. We talked about international prejudice, colorism, classism, nationalism, all of the above! Swiss vs. Romani, Dominican vs. Haitian, Italy vs. US, rich schools vs. poor schools, Native American vs. Black Americans with Native American ancestry, Orlando mass shooting vs. terrorism, and the list goes on. I’m with smart, passionate, people who are ready for conversation! To change a nation! without hesitation! Can’t wait to leave a mark with these extraordinary beings.

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