Living with the locals

When leaving Zanzibar, we were followed by a porter/tout and made to pay for his service of following. It is such a shame that a person having an amazing time leaves with bitter aftertaste. He tainted our Zanzibar experience, but then again he made us so mad that we woke up from our holiday mode back to our traveler mode. So as soon as we stepped on mainland soil in Dar Es Salaam we were ready to brush touts off us. We don’t have a desire to stay in big cities; they are only our transport hubs as they are too intense. So we bought our tickets towards Arusha but asked to be dropped off few hours earlier in a village.

Somehow we managed to walk a few km away from the village, thinking that we will find the cheapest hostel, which is a Lutheran centre as well. We found some help to drive us to the right place and we ended up at the Lutheran church. They showed us around their project, which helps parents from extremely poor families, to raise their kids with consultation, enrolling them into schools, sorting health situations and more. They were extremely nice to us and children kept coming and touching our hands and being amazed that they see Mzungu from a close up. But when we got lost, we were not aware that an hour later we will be giving a speech in front of a classroom full of youth. We also were not expecting that they will feed us and just simply treating us as we were one of their US donors. We were expecting to be asked for a donation, but they did not want anything from us. They only directed us to our hostel, to which we were escorted by a bunch of barely teenage girls, who were trying to practicing their English whilst holding our hands. We were amazed that nobody expected anything from us. We were not a dollar sign on legs, like in all other parts we’ve been to. Next day we went to check their service for a big celebration as I was promised to hear some fun singing, and again we were not expecting giving ANOTHER speech in front of a full church. After that the whole village knew us and they were even warmer to us (if this is even possible). The experience here was so amazing that after our few days trip we returned to this village to stay few more days. During these days we witnessed another big event; a yearly singing competition where one of the choirs was a Massai choir singing whilst dancing. Dressed in their traditional celebratory outfits, but not because they have to put a show on for tourists, but because they want to show off the outfits-and they enjoy it. They surprised the local non-Massai villagers, as even for them this was a rare occasion to be part of Massai dancing culture.