REL 675: Experience Tanzania: Religion, Society and Culture
January 17-19, 2020
Tembo (Elephant) hotel was breathtakingly beautiful, situated right on the beach. The room we (Olivia, Alyssa, and I) slept in was actually across the street from the main hotel and was in the apartments. The beds seemed to be Queen or King sized which was quite different than the twin we’d become accustomed.
After a stint of play at the beach and lunch, we toured sections of Zanzibar’s Stone Town including the Central Market and the Slave Market. The Stone Town was built long ago so there was no room for cars, just donkeys of that time period and just walking or bikes (both types).
The tour was great but, I’ve learned on this trip, Tanzanians seem to speak pretty quietly in English so to get any information from the guide, you have to be right next to him. We went through Stone Town and walked through the spice market. The slave trade part was very disconcerting.
The Slave trade was of the Central and East Africans to India, Asias, other African countries, and the Middle East. It went on for YEARS after the rest of the world got rid of the horrid practice. Livingstone was the guy who helped stop this.
Along this historical slave market area, we visited an Anglican church and went to service in Swahili. We all had no idea what was going on but I think it was good to see an actual service in Swahili.
We went past Freddie Mercury’s house. I was surprised at the little amount of Queen was played… I only heard Bohemian Rhapsody three times!
Another fun activity we did was going to Prison/Changu/Tortoise Island. The oldest tortoise was over 100 years old! The guide said you could massage the neck and upper arm areas to get the tortoise to stand up.
I think my favourite part of Zanzibar was going to the Interfaith University. We split into groups and got to talk with the students about interfaith between Muslims and Christians in America and in Tanzania. The mainland is pretty Christian while Zanzibar is almost fully Muslim. I think this would be good to explore more deeply when I actually have time to find and read books not directly related to a class.
We went to a Spice Farm a couple hours drive from the Tembo Hotel. It was in Bububu. They grew and sold many spices and products like cumin, vanilla, cinnamon, lemongrass and banana coffee, teas, soaps, and perfume.
At the next hotel, we just chilled for the evening and it was great to just be able to relax! I got lost heading back to my room so a concierge named Trump helped me back. He didn’t speak very good English but he asked about our president. It was quite amusing.
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.