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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Tanzanian Delight

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

I have been in and out of Tanzania since the 3rd of December...

WOW... that's a really long time.

I have loved it... and there are things I may not necessarily 'miss,' but I will definitely remember fondly...

PS - I will be adding to this list... a LOT, I imagine.

The Dala Dala - It is still shocking to me that they can cram up to 30 people in these decrepit little vans... and still want to get more inside! There were times they would pull over to pick me up on the side of the road, open the door for me... and the guy would be flabbergasted that I refused to get in.

It's full!

NO! ... I'll wait for the next one..

I think my highest count was 28... but that's probably nothin'...

Fly Catchers - These are the guys on the buses (dala dalas) who's job it is to run out and try to get people onboard. They make a commission for each person they convince... hence their name and the amount of people in each van.

Body Odor - I have mentioned this before. The stench of body odor becomes like an old friend. It's everywhere. Get used to it.

Sandwich Crusts - Ok... this needs to be mentioned!

Restaurants have a tendancy to CUT the crusts off the sandwiches. This is cool for high tea and kids lunches... but honestly... leave the crusts ON!

I want to scream it from the Arushan rooftops!

You have absolutely no idea how much the crust contributes to the togetherness of the entire sandwich. There is also some kind of thing about putting three pieces of bread together, like every sandwich is a clubhouse. So imagine, if you will, three pieces of bread without crusts, with slipperly things like tomato, cucumber and avacado crammed in between each layer!

It's messy.

It's annoying.

It falls apart... and you're left with a sandwich salad all over the table... and your shirt.

Directions - No one EVER knows where they’re going when you need to go to a particular place.

You can even show them Google Maps... nothing...

Often, even if you're willing to guide them, they will pull over to the side of the road and ask random passer-byers.

Currency - The ATM will only allow you to withdraw a total of 400,000 shillings. This is the equivalant of about $233 Canadian. The highest denomination is 10,000... about $5... Tanzania is the perfect location if you're looking to do a 'makin' it rain' video...

Harassment - What are some of my favourite sayings?

Look is free today. Look is only cheap.

You PROMISE me you buy. You PROMISE!

Why you no support?

Garbage - There are NO garbage cans. No garbage and No recyclling.


I've actually been sitting in a dala dala... driving down the road and someone next to me will just lean across and toss a plastic bottle or a wrapper out the window.

My expressions are priceless... I'm positive.

You know what they say? "This is Africa."

Boda Bodas - Otherwise knows as motas or motorcycles. I think I've mentioned before about the 2-10 people on one bike, no helmet rule, complete lack of concern for any rules of the road... and if you're not careful, they might drive right into you while you're walking along!

Winter Attire - Seriously.

This is a thing no one can fully comphrehend.

While we're absolutely dying of heat in our linens and cottons, people are strolling around in toques, winter sweaters, heavy pants... etc.

I have NO idea how they do it... but all the power to them.

Carrying stuff on your Head - In East Africa, get this... women can carry loads of up to 70% of their own body weight balanced on top of their heads.

It's mind-boggling. I did try it once.

It didn't work.

Toilets - I've definitely mentioned this before.

Wherever you go...

It could be a regular toilet... or it could be just a simple hole in the ground. You never really know what you're going to get until you're inside and busting.

Bring your own toilet paper!

Toilet Paper - Ok... odd thing to bring up... but I really feel that I must. The toilet paper here is double ply... albeit cheap, double ply... but nonetheless... double ply.

But there are no perforated lines to rip off pieces! Seriously... you end up just tearing it apart, which often doesn't end well.

Filling up with Gas - Yes, gas is expensive everywhere.

Even here.

I have never seen anyone actually FILL up with gas though. They pull in, get the equivalant of maybe a dollar or two, and they're off down the road again.

Just enough to get them where they're going...

Avacado - At home, we all pay BIG bucks for avacado. A few slices of this on toast has the capability to break the bank.

Not in East Africa. No way!

They will cut up an entire avacoda and serve it on the side of the plate as garnish. There is avacado in and on everything!

Dust - Don't even get me started on the dust! It's everywhere.

Everything I own is brown.

I can't even count how many times I've cleaned my shoes.

Hotels - NOT actually hotels all the time. Usually just shops without accommodation.

Things that I probably ate too much of;




African food I wasn't a big fan of;


Chips Mayai

Things I will make when I get home;

Ginger Tea

Things I need a serious break from;








I have to admit, there were moments I got frustrated with the daily battle.

The battle of buying.

The battle of looking.

The battle of transportation costs.

The battle of Visas.

Everything is always a battle.

But then you consider the poverty of these people, and how they are just trying to survive and feed their family... it all starts to make sense. It can be frustrating though.


I will never forget the kindness of the people.

Their kindness was almost as brilliant as the colours of the country.

Everywhere you looked was brightness. The Kitenga material dresses and tops... the trucks... the dala dalas, the buildings... so bright and colourful.

I will never forget how helpful Tanzanians can be. And so relaxed!

Thank you for everything, Tanzania.


I will be back!

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