It truly is a whole new world here. It’s hard to even begin because after only a week it’s hard to imagine that I’ve lived another way. The first day and a half before I started orientation was overwhelming – I didn’t know my way around, cars seemed to be completely oblivious to pedestrians, there were people everywhere on streets wide and narrow, and many were calling out to me “Hi Mzungu”… It was all a little much. But by the time I finished my first day of orientation on Monday, Arusha was my exciting new home!
Within the first three days of orientation we went on a walking tour of downtown Arusha, learned about history, culture and gender issues, and talked with a local man about living HIV positive. Most importantly, for the first three days we had Swahili lessons. Now I know (without exaggeration) nineteen ways to say hello. Greetings are extremely important here, and unless there is something absolutely urgent that you need to get to, you always stop to catch up with a friend on the street.
All in all, I could not have had a better first week here. Every day I learn a few new Swahili words and know my way around town a little bit better. This world is opening up to me piece by piece. A world were people walk very slowly and drive very quickly, where food is simple, local and plentiful, where conversation is an art, and agriculture is a way of life for many…I’m excited to have three whole months to get to know Arusha!
Meredith B., after her first week in the Tanzania Sustainable Agriculture Program
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