Bongo Flava

5 06 2011

So it’s Sunday evening here, and I’m finally back at the orphanage. This weekend was filled with laughter, wonderment, tears (sort of), and a whole lot of WTF moments.

Update on the children:

  • They’re still continuing to eat popped balloons 😦 and have now moved on to eating bits of styrofoam (YIKES)
  • One of the orphan girls was playing with a toothpaste box (SADNESS) in lieu of any real toys
  • They wash all of their own clothes BY HAND with just a bucket of water and a bar of soap
  • We ran around in circles holding hands for about 15 minutes until I got dizzy and almost vomited lol… they thought it was hilarious

So anyway, more info about Tanzania… the public bus is called the Dala Dala and is basically a large run-down van that is supposed to seat around 16, but gets filled with about 34 people (that’s the highest I’ve counted). People are literally out of the door holding on to the ceiling trying with all their might to hold on. Saturday we went to the waterfalls in Marangu which is about 3 1/2 hours away. We took 2 DD’s each way, and at one point my head was hanging out of a window because it didn’t fit in the van. YAY for African traffic safety laws!

The waterfall we went to was probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. We had to climb over rocks and trek through woods (and stop by grandmother’s house on the way) for about 4 miles to get there. Then to get to the actual waterfall area you basically have to rock climb down the side of this mountain with only flimsy bamboo railings to keep you from plunging to a muddy rocky death. Then once you get to the waterfall, to actually be in the nicer areas you have to swim across the river while 80 mph freezing rapids are trying to tear you apart. This entire time the stones on the river floor and bank are puncturing and bruising your bare feet. Then after basically being on the brink of death for about 3 hours, you have to climb back UP the muddy mountain and go all the way back to the city.


If I could live there forever I would. It’s literally paradise on earth. I would have Cabana Boys bring me food and drinks, and just sit by the waterfall and look at the 32894712918429 rainbows (and by which I mean 2). It literally almost killed me getting there (I was pulled under the current at one point), but WOW it was worth it.

But okay, enough about scenery and landmarks blahblahblah. What I’m sure you all (the 3 people that read this… thanks Ben!) actually want to hear about is the nightlife… which has inspired the title of this post. Bongo Flava is what they call Tanzanian music. It’s a bit tribal, and a whole lot of R&B. Another little anecdote about Africa: everybody here can dance as if they were doing it since they came out of the womb… which is exactly what happens. The kids in school since songs all day long and play games, and all of them include hardcore booty shakin’.

So once again I was the only asian girl there (I saw 2 azn men WTF?!). And once again I must reiterate that African men are incredibly friendly. I won’t go into details (for obvious reasons… mom&dad), but it was SO much fun. Even though people do grind on the dance floor, it’s not as nastydirty as a Thursday night at Feve or a Friday night at Finny’s. Everybody just wants to dance and move their bodies. It’s pure fun and I absolutely love it! You can just let go and have a good time. And the music is ridic good. You can’t help but love it.

But okay the power is slated to go off in about 5 minutes (BOOOOOO) so I have to cut this short. New posts sometime this week soon.

Miss all of you!!



2 06 2011

Sijambo friends!

Finally in Tanzania. I arrived 2 days ago without any complications, and have been getting a crash course on life in Africa.

Yesterday we walked around the city for like 4 hours. We got phones, bought WATER (omg need so much water), and little things for the kids. People here are incredibly friendly… especially the men (O_O). I’m pretty sure I’m the first Azn most of the people here have ever seen or talked to. The following dialogue will explain why I feel this way.

Scene: walking down the road at around noon-ish with another girl here from the States (Sabrina), and a person who works for my organization (Tanzanian – Idi). A HUGE (what I presume to be) trash truck is stopped by the side of the road that we’re walking along.

A man in the truck starts speaking rapid fire Swahili as we pass by. By this time I had already learned to ignore it mainly because it literally happened like 18903712894713094 times already that day because of course they need to comment on the foreigners walking around. Idi starts laughing and turns around to me and says that someone wants to talk/meet me. Obviously I’m down to meet anyone so I turn around.

The guy jumps probably 15 ft down onto the sidewalk from the truck. He comes up to me and I shake his hand… which he precedes to hold for the next 15 minutes as this conversation is going on.

Truck Man: kasdhf kasdlfhsdkafghfweiophfewugw hairsg h aw riogwebgsdaiogbsioabgiobvo radiofh aosdkg sadg

Me: O_o?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

Truck Man: sdiohasd gjwraghweiogwbhgioasbgs ogbaiog brgawirog bioabg oiar g


Idi: *laughs histerically*

Truck Man: (to Idi in Swahili, which I understand) Help me!

Idi: He says that he wanted to meet you because he loves yellow people (I taught him that little gem earlier in the day).


Truck Man: iodkfsadklhfsdaklfhsdkl hsadklfh skld hsdal hsadk hsklahfkdh skladhasldkh alskdh klasdhfaskdl

Idi: He says that he is very excited to meet you because every time he follows yellow people to try and talk to them, they run away screaming because they think he’s going to ROB THEM!


Truck Man: kosafhsdjkfhsdkfhd sdiksj osdj aj osdj ospaj ksdjfksdlfjsdklfjskl

Idi: He says he loves you and wants to marry you.

Me: ……………………………………lolz?

Idi: (to Truck Man in Swahili) Bye…

Me: BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. (pulls me hand out of his and runs away as if he is robbing me)


So… that’s what walking around downtown Arusha is like. This happened… a lot.

But anyway, last night went to the orphanage area . WOOOO! It’s a little ways off the beaten path, and is basically situated in the jungle. Sabrina and I took a nap, and when we woke up around 7pm or so, the lights were all out. Apparently blackouts happen literally every day at some point. Night is the worst though because you’re in the jungle and it is madddd PITCH BLACK. So we ate dinner by candle light, and got ready by the light on our phones. It’s… interesting.

This morning we walked up the mountain (quick 10 minute jaunt) and stayed in class with the kids. THEY ARE SO FREAKING ADORABLE OMFGWTFBBQ. They call me “Teacher AnJEYla”. It might just be about the cutest thing in the world. The are so fascinated by my hair. They played with it all morning and kept stroking it and braiding it (<3). I gave them some balloons I had bought here as well as a bunch of little plastic racing cars. LOVED THEM SO MUCH. The littlest things go a long way. Too bad some of them started eating the popped balloons… it was weird. We taught them how to write the numbers 21-40 (obviously I am enriching young minds).

Tonight apparently, all the foreigners (as well as a good amount of locals) are hitting up a club called Via Via. I’m excited to try Tanzanian gin (Unyagi… or something like that). We have to travel in packs here though because you CANNOT walk by yourself here at night, no matter where it is.

But in any case, I HAVE A CELL PHONE HERE. You can call me anytime during the day (7 hours ahead of EST) by dialing 011255766916892. Hope to hear from some of you!