Visit to the National Museum of Dar-es-Salaam

As projects take place Monday-Friday, interns and volunteers have the weekends for trips and other activities; such as visiting the National Museum of Dar es Salaam!

Last Saturday, myself and two other interns took a trip to Dar city centre. Starting in Tegeta, the journey lasted about two hours due to connecting buses in Mbusho and typical weekend traffic! Once there, before heading to the Museum, we stopped at the local fish market located near the ferry port for some lunch where we were able to have some  delicious fresh fish. En route to the museum we passed some notable buildings such as the offices belonging to parliamentary members and the official office of the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa.

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Working with Art in Tanzania, the Dar es Salaam National Museum has partnered with our organisation in which creating the program: Arts and Music Against Corruption in Africa. This program sees how we can use the arts; such as music and dance, to promote anti-corruption in an interesting and creative way.

Opened to the public on the 7th December 1940, the National Museum is located along Shaban Robert Street at the junction of Sokoine Drive near the Botanical Gardens. It is one of the 5 museums in the country that form the National Museum of Tanzania. Known as the King George V Memorial on its first opening as a dedication to the head of state at the time, the museum began its expansion when Taganyika gained its independence between 1962 and 1964. With the expansion leading to five branches being made, the King George V Memorial transformed into the National Museum displaying a range of exhibits from historical and contemporary art to ethnographic collections on Tanzanian cultures.

One of the most famous exhibits in the museum is named ‘The Cradle of Human Kind’ which displays fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge, a 50km long canyon in northern
Tanzania and one of the most important paleoanthropological sites. One of the most famous artefacts in the museum is located in this exhibit. In 1959 British Archaeologist, Mary Leakey, discovered the of skull of the Paranthropus boisei, an (extinct) hominid. Some of the fossils in ‘The Cradle of Human Kind’ exhibition date back 2 million years and have formed the basis of our understanding of the human evolution!

Being able to travel to the city and other places around Dar-es-Salaam is the best way to explore the culture of Tanzania, and the National Museum taught us a lot about the countries history and its people. If you would like to learn more about the National Museum of Dar-es-Salaam or any of the other 5 museums that are part of the National Museum of Tanzania then head over to their Facebook page, give it a like and have a browse!

Tumaini Nursery School

With Art in Tanzania supporting over 100 community schools and education centres, there are many different location opportunities for teaching projects for volunteers/interns. Academic centres benefit from the work of interns and volunteers  as innovative methods of teaching are introduced helping not only the students but the staff also.

Earlier this week I was given the opportunity to visit the local pre-school in Madale IMG_2735 (1)
Village; Tumaini Nursery School. Although there is no current project at this particular time, I was able to visit to experience a typical lesson and document the work of previous volunteers.

At this school, ages range from two to six and here are three separate classes for different age groups. The aim of Tumaini nursery is to prepare the young students before their transition to primary school; ensuring that they are at the appropriate academic level. Not only have Art in Tanzania volunteers been involved in teaching and education projects at Tumaini, but also projects involving construction to help enhance the quality of the nursery school. The renovation of classrooms to improve the teaching environment as well as the construction of basic facilities such as toilets (as pictured below) are some examples projects that have taken place in previous years.

On my particular visit to the school, the children were taking mathematics exams to monitor their progress so far and test whether they are ready to move on to the next level. For the oldest age group (5-6 yrs old) the exam consisted of addition and subtraction of numbers and different ways of writing these sums. However, for the IMG_2733younger years (2-3 yrs old) they will be called to the teacher individually or in small groups and asked questions about what they have been learning. This acts as a more relaxed approach for the younger ones. Once the exam is over, after about an hour, it is break time for the students and they are able to run outside and play. There is a large open space just in front of the classrooms where the children are able to run about safely and they are provided with a swing set that is indeed very popular! Like all nursery school children, they enjoy playing different games and this particular break time they formed a circle by holding hands and began to sing what sounded like a traditional nursery rhyme or song.

 

With the help and support of our volunteers, schools such as Tumaini Nursery School and local organisations are able to benefit from the various projects run by Art in Tanzania! To find out more about how to get involved or to get extra info about the various projects, don’t hesitate to visit our website!

Asante sana,

Lily 

Teaching at the Glory of Africa Orphanage

Hi!

I’m Lily and am a Social Media and Marketing intern at Art in Tanzania!

I accompanied one of my fellow interns, Michiel – a volunteer from Holland, to the Glory of Africa Orphanage located about 30 minutes from the Dar es Salaam compound. As part of his project, Michiel is teaching English to children of various ages ranging from 4 to 14 years old and I was able to go along to document what happens on a typical day.

First things first, let me give you a bit of an insight into what the Glory of Africa Orphanage is all about. Founded in 2012, Glory of Africa currently houses 8 children with many more in the neighbourhood coming every day for education and food which is made available through donations. Art in Tanzania’s interns and volunteers have been working with Glory of Africa since 2013 by creating different projects as a means of support. ‘The Glory Water Pipeline’ is an example of a clean water and sanitation project that was created in 2013 whereby volunteers raised money and donated a water tank to the orphanage. There is a classroom within the compound where you can find a blackboard, chalk, rows of desks and a cupboard filled with pencils and paper. All this is to ensure that the children have equipment for the lessons that take place and to provide a classroom environment.

Michiel usually visits the orphanage in the afternoon around 4pm after the children have finished their daily school routines, therefore lessons are a sort of after school activity for the children typically lasting between one and two hours. In previous weeks, the children have been learning the basics of English with one particular lesson focusing on various animals and the translation of these animals from Kiswahili to English. By the end of the lesson the children were able to successfully communicate in English what their favourite animal is and why! I went along with Michiel on his 4th visit to the orphanage. The lesson started off with a recap of the previous days teachings, which consisted of verbs, and then moved on to focus on different grammatical terms. This lesson had particular focus on nouns and identifying the nouns within in a sentence. Different sentences were written in English on the blackboard and the children were asked to come up to the front and underline the noun in each sentence, all correctly identifying the noun. From starting with simple English words to teaching various grammatical terms, their knowledge and understanding of English is coming along swimmingly as Michiel moves on to teaching more advanced topics aiming to introduce Human Rights perhaps to some of the older children.

IMG_2591With everything learned and the lesson over, it was time for some games! Football seems to be a loved sport in Tanzania, and the orphanage was no different…

Two footballs were given to the children and, joined my Michiel, they rushed out the door to have a kick about outside.The orphanage has a big open space where the children can play and run about between and after lessons. Everyone got involved in the game and the children looked extremely happy and full of energy; it was a great chance for them to get out and be active after learning. We ended up staying for around an hour and a half after the lesson playing and talking to the children which was a great way to get to know more about them outside of the classroom!

Taking the opportunity to volunteer by teaching English is a fantastic opportunity and what better way than to volunteer with Art in Tanzania and support local organisations such as the Glory of Africa Orphanage. With their desire to learn, teaching and getting to know these children seems so rewarding; being able to play games with them is a bonus too!

If you would like to take part in a project like this or for other volunteering opportunities, visit our website for more details!

 

Uzi Island needs environmental interns and volunteers

Road to Uzi

Road to Uzi

Uzi is a small island in the south of Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja. The road to Uzi is called Nyeker road; manmade using rocks and stones with at least four types of mangroves on either side. The road to Uzi resembles the partition of the River Nile in the story of Moses; simply mesmerising. The road has been built slowly over 50 years. It started off as a small lane for walking; this was then made wider for the use of bicycles, then for cows and finally it was made even wider for the use of motor vehicles.

The drive to Uzi Island is very beautiful, but very bumpy, if you suffer from motion sickness, be sure to sit at the front of the vehicle or make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Our informative and helpful guide, Isshaka, met us at a resting point, made with the help of volunteers for when the tide comes in. The water can rise up to two metres when there is a full moon. When the tide is high you can goDSC03795 fishing. The land in Zanzibar is so fertile we were able to plant four mangrove seeds each, Twenty (Edward) steps from the resting point, on the right, which fulfilled a personal ambition to plant trees that will definitely grow.

The town to Uzi and has been there for around 10 years along with three wells on the Island that provide drinking water. A Dala Dala, number 334, from Uzi to Stone town takes around one hour.

Uzi baskets made by women's group

Uzi baskets made by women’s group

The main sources of income for the Island are from fishing, farming and carpenter work. There are also woman groups on the island and the woman craft their own fruit baskets that Art in Tanzania export to Finland and also sell on EBay for around 25 Dollars.

Within the mangroves, women from the villages have placed plastic bottles across the water in order to collect two types of seaweed, they use plastic boats to collect these when the tide is high; 100 of these plastic boats were donated by a friend of Isshaka. The seaweed is then made into soaps and sold in order to provide income to the villagers.

helloIsshaka went to school in Uzi then to Ston etown to study further. Isshaka is very passionate about wanting to make a difference and help people live a better life in Uzi. Isshaka does 2 radio broadcasts throughout the week; one where he brings awareness of environmental issues on Uzi Island and what others can do to help, and another broadcast called Sunset Zanzibar, where he talks about tourism and the importance to the island and how tourism can help the island develop.

Uzi grows many fruits such as Mangoes, Oranges, Guava, Yams and Cassava. Alrge Baobab trees also grow in Uzi; the villages used to cut these down, however Isshaka has been campaigning to keep these trees in order to house bee boxes that provide honey to the locals; honey season is September to October. The Baobab fruit when mixed with water and sugar is a good source of Vitamin C.

Biogas from biowaste

Biogas from biowaste

The Island really needs creative interns and volunteers passionate about the environment and sustainable development. Also people that can help the women create innovative arts and crafts in order to sell and help provide an income for many households on Uzi Island.

For volunteering at Uzi  you can contact  Art in Tanzania info (at) artintanzania.org

Spice Tour

Spice is an essential ingredient of Zanzibarian culture therefore a visit to Zanzibar is not complete without a (half day) spice tour. With the abolition of the slave trade, spices became a source of income for Zanzibar and it remains to be so, with the island being the biggest exporter of cloves.

Our guide and spice farmer, Mr Abeid, who inherited the spice farm from his late father, took us on a fragrant and delightful journey of exploration along his show farm, which is around 800 acres; he has his larger farm close by. Mr Abid was very informative and charmingly engaging as well as entertaining with the help of his assistant ”Maria”.

I love my spices and was still pleasantly surprised by how the spices were grown, how they were used and their benefits in cooking and for general health.

We started with the Annato plant; a natural orange-red colouring that comes from the seeds and is used in food, lipstick and the vermillion that Hindu’s use on their forehead (modelled by ‘Maria’).

Did you know that cloves actually grow on trees, and need to be dried for five days in the sun to be black in colour? Same with peppercorns, they grow on trees. Also interestingly the island has cacoa trees, but they import their chocolate and make coco powder for hot chocolate. However they export Zanzibar coffee to Arab countries, it’s a strong flavour.

We had Ylang Ylang flowers crushed into our hands, used many well known perfumes like Channel No 5. They have a small stall selling some of their own produce which is a must see, including Ylangi Ylangi oil.

There is one fruit, you will either love or loathe like marmite – the Durian aka the stink fruit. You might not want to be near one should it drop to the floor!

Lunch was provided, cooked by local women…this was the best food I’d tasted at the time of writing. You really need to go and experience it for yourself. We asked for a recipe (measurements all to taste!)

Pilau rice

In a pan fry a bit of cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, then add crushed garlic and sliced onions – cook until brown.

Transfer this to a pressure cooker and add washed rice and quartered potatoes with water to cover the rice. This should take up to 30 minutes. You could leave it in the original pan and cook it on the hob or put it in a Moroccan tagine clay dish to cook in the oven.

Serve rice with Kingfish dry cooked in a mix of spices. We had side dishes of mixed vegetables cooked in coconut milk and a pinch of turmeric. Also a spicy tomato sauce cooked in coconut oil plus cassava leaves mixed with coconut milk to make a spinach dish. Delicious. We were served water and lemon grass tea to accompany our meal.

Take a walk in Stone Town

We follow our tour guide, Elvis, through a maze of narrow alleyways of small businesses, hotels and residential spaces with locals, tourists (and vespas!) in what used to be the capital of Zanzibar. You’ll see how these African streets embrace cultures from the Arabs, Indians and Europeans through design. It is no surprise that Stone Town is an UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings, made from Zanzibar’s coral stone, are ornately decorated with beautiful carved timber doors. You’ll find two styles of doors, Arab (square tops) and Indian (arched tops), both a symbol of protection and security but also a door into Zanzibar’s history.

Arab and Indian merchants, through the spice and slave trade, constructed Stone Town in the 19th century. Before then the Portuguese came and built a fort to protect their settlements in the 16th century. During the tour you will see the slave chambers in the former slave market site – now a museum recording the slave trade with a poignant sculpture outside the building by the artist Clara Sornos titled ‘memory of the slave’.

The old fort is now a centre for arts and culture showcasing events and performances. Look for the post on the International Film Festival. Near the fort you’ll pass Forodhani Gardens, which holds an evening food market all year round – here you should try the Zanzibar pizza and see it made right in front of you. You will also pass the House of Wonders – wonders because it was the first building in Africa to have an elevator! It is now closed due to building repair. The building used to be taller but it got destroyed in the world’s shortest war that lasted less than an hour, between two brothers…you might want to ask your tour guide about that one.

Along the tour you’ll see local markets selling all sorts including fruits, vegetables, spices. Look for the post on the spice tour.

One little known fact of Zanzibar is that it’s the birthplace of Freddie Mercury; you can look for Mercury House to find out more.

The narrow streets of Stone Town fall dark come nightfall, so walk in groups if you decide to stay out late. Be carful and vigilant, it is a very busy environment, especially around sunset, if you are female, you may attract unwanted attention.

Stone Town is the perfect place to buy gifts for family and friends, eat lunch – try 6 degrees for a seaview (a sit down restaurant at tourist prices with one hour free wifi) or Lukmaans near the former slave market (a budget buffet at local prices) and ask for Salim for a great service. If you want to see the sun set go grab a juice at Sunset bar, be sure to go a little early before the best seats are taken, or go to the Floating Restaurant and watch it from the pier.

Weekend Safari trip organized by Art in Tanzania

Going on safari in Tanzania if you visit Africa is almost as compulsory required as a trip to Zanzibar. So a group of three already well settled in interns decided to go on a weekend safari provided by the organization. The preparation and arrangement of the trip was well organized. One week before we were registered by a Team leader for the journey. The payment was due to three days before we were leaving on Friday. The short briefing two day before we left hold by our actual safari guide was pretty informative and helpful in terms of what to pack or activity related questions. On Friday after the breakfast we left in our safari jeep to our first stop our accommodation for the first night. On the way to the place we passed the park entrance next to several animals and hers of impalas, monkeys, giraffes and elephants. After the first night we started early at half past seven to our game drive at the Mikumi National Park where we had the chance to spot buffaloes, zebras, hippos and a variety of many more species. In the evening we drove to the second station in the rainforest, to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. At this park we had the chance to see numerous primates and a big amount of other plants and animals during our hike to the waterfalls as the park has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its vast variety of endemic species. In the afternoon we went on the way back to Madale at Wazo hill. Summing up for all of us it was a quite pleasant weekend trip organized and conducted by Art in Tanzania.