The warmth of Tanzania

By Anna Ley

Tanzania, wrongly famed for its fantastic ‘big five’, famine and fiery temperatures, is a country with such a warming culture it radiates beyond its hot climate and with people so joyful they outshine the year-round beam of the strong sun. Spending six weeks in the country last summer and volunteering with the same rural community allowed me to feel the pulse of Tanzanian people, as I experienced the day to day lives of the beautiful community within the country.

Don’t go to Tanzania just for its wildlife

[Tanzania] is a country with such a warming culture it radiates beyond its hot climate and with people so joyful they outshine the year-round beam of the strong sun

The true tempo of Tanzanian life resounds from their singing, from the choral encouragement of the porters on Kilimanjaro to the humble harmonies of a school class singing heads, shoulders, knees and toes Tanzanian style, to the compelling drumming on a warm beach evening. The community had a contagious cadence that was impossible not to join in with, almost as infectious as the striking smiles stretched out upon the face of every member of the community — so incredibly grateful despite cramped learning conditions and dark, damp and compact housing.

The community had a contagious cadence that was impossible not to join in with

Giving up your time to volunteer here will not go unnoticed, never will you fall amid such appreciation for your efforts as you are invited into the community as one of their own. I was welcomed into a village mamma’s house. She was dressed wrapped in a traditional skirt and she taught how to make chapattis, whilst children and chickens ran wild around the house. We cooked with the mamma’s own ingredients using her own resources, a mere glimpse into just how giving this body of people are.

From the mountain-top stories of Kilimanjaro porters who have incredible tales of their families back in the foothills, to the mamma’s musical stories, Tanzanian culture is a kaleidoscope of experiences unified by music and rhythm. Beaming through the distressing injustice that is often paired with this nation, is a beautiful appreciation that radiates beyond all restriction. The beaming smile of the village mamma having a house door fitted for the first time or the child that finally gets to sit at their own desk in class, rather than fighting with eight other students just to be able to write, is a smile that stretches across the face of every Tanzanian. They are a people that radiate warmth and welcome and beam with a buoyancy that is impossible to pen the pulse of, so go out and feel the rhythm of Tanzania for yourself.

Photographs: Anna Ley

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