REL 675: Experience Tanzania: Religion, Society and Culture
January 12, 2020
We woke up at 6:30 to finish packing and to be ready for 7 am breakfast. We were told the night before to eat a lot because it would be a late lunch. 2 pm late lunch. There was a good spread of food full of variety: fluffy melt in your mouth rice, soft baked potatoes, small fist-sized pancakes, sausage, toast with jams of mango, orange marmalade, tropical and peanut butter. Everything was delicious! I had coffee and that wasn’t bad. I got a kick out of how small the bananas were, basically the size of my phone.
After we were done eating, we separated into the vans to drive to the waterfalls. It was a good time to talk. An hour later, we arrived. We had to climb down many steep slippery stairs made of mud. The waterfall was quite a distance away but I managed to snag a picture of the waterfall with the main guide, Mufasa, photobombing.
The walk up was very challenging and I had to stop a few times to catch my breath. The foot holds were vastly easier going up but going up is going up which seems to always be more difficult than going down a hill/mountain. Then we drove a short 10 minutes to the Chagga caves.
According to the guide, the Chagga were a tribe of the highlands of this region. Highlands are cooler and are full of vegetation, even in the dry seasons and years. Thus, the Chaggas were often attacked during the pre-colonial era. One group, the Maasai, would steal and plunder their food supplies. The Chagga dug and created their own cave city for their 700ish people. They set many traps for their foes. After entering the cave, when the walls extend longer than just beside you, you would have to say the password. If you got it wrong or could not answer the tricky questions the guards asked about your family history, you would be clubbed, breaking the skull. Many Maasai were killed in this manner. The bodies were separated and thrown in the river to disappear into the ocean. The caves themselves had ventilation and a bit of room. Families would live with their livestock inside and this was even the case in Chagga pre-cave times when they lived in huts.
After the caves, we were late to lunch. It ended up being closer to 4 pm by the time we got to eat. The Vocational school we went to had masonry, electrical, tailoring, welding, cooking, and woodworking.
I know little to nothing about some of these but I could tell the school was run well and produced good results. After our tour, we headed to Arusha. Everyone fell asleep on the bus. We got to our hotel, put our stuff in our rooms, and went to dinner at 8:30. We were exhausted!
About the Tanzania Study Tour
THE TRAVEL DATES
Jan. 11-27, 2020
Religion Prof. Andrea Ng’weshemi
This trip is set to accomplish many goals. There will be discussions from several speakers such as Tanzanian professors, religious leaders, and the local folk, along with plenty of opportunity to explore the diverse cultural and physical aspects of Tanzania by visiting contemporary sites and national parks. The learning focus will touch on topics such as religious tolerance and inter-faith cooperation.