Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I'm in Tanzania!  As part of my Master's degree in International Environmental Studies, we have to do a field course in either India or Tanzania, 70 percent covered by our department.  The Norwegian nationals get it 100 percent covered, but who's counting...

Tanzania is a beautiful country with very friendly people, but like many African countries it is very poor.  The currency is the Tanzanian shilling, and the rate is about 1557 TZS to US $1.00.  I pay for my dinner usually with a 10,000 TZS bill, if I have some beer or wine with the meal.  We started in Dar es Salaam, where we learned about the history of the country and about the first president after independence, Julius Nyerere, whose photo is hanging in many places.  From outside our hotel:


Our group is very international, living up to the name.  We come from 12 different countries and 5 continents.  I'm the only U.S. citizen, with others form Iran, Japan, Norway (of course), Slovakia, Columbia, Canada, Greece, Lithuania, Uganda, Kenya and one Tanzanian.  We spend some days at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, and go on field visits to learn about Tanzanian politics, economics in terms of the environment and development.  Last week we went to Mikumi National Park and saw lots of wildlife, and visited the villages around the park to talk to the people there about living close to the park.  One was very poor and was waiting on compensations from the park, and the other was more well off but was still having problems with elephants coming out of the park eating their crops.

Here is me for scale by some sugar cane:

And rice fields and farmers on another field visit:

On days off I was able to go with a group to a nice little island, and another day we went on a long hike  up a mountain to see the views, a run-down German colonial building, and some villages where we bought fruit straight from the farmers.  So far it has been an amazing trip, and I still have months to go.

Island off the coast of Dar Es Salaam:


From the mountain hike:




and the German colonial building:


banana flowers turning into fruit on the way up:


In Morogoro, an awesome picture of Obama painted on the side of a barber shop:


I'll post my pictures of wildlife next time, hopefully, but I don't have one of those high-zoom cameras for that, so they're not great.  Until then!


  1. Nice photos. They give a flavor of the place you're living. It seems to have very picturesque hilly landscapes inhabited by people living close to the land.

    The Obama in the portrait seems a little too portly, but shows his popularity in that part of the world.

    I look forward to your hippo photos.

  2. I echo your Dad's comments. It is a very different landscape from home, but certainly not an alien looking place at all. The banana photo intrigues me. Very interesting stuff!

  3. I love the picture of the Island. Looks like one of those post cards from a dream vacation. Definitely different landscape from where I live. Very pretty. You are soooo lucky to experience all these beautiful places. Stay safe, your cousins miss you and can't wait to have you back at our beaches. I am soooo jealous! Maybe some day I can visit some more places outside the US. I feel lucky to have been able to go to Germany when I was young like you.