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December 2014

Mit første blog opslag!   (published in Tanzania)

December 30, 2014 by   Comments(0)


Hej alle jer, som har lyst til at følge med

D. 9. marts 2015 tager jeg 8 uger til Tanzania, Afrika, for at arbejde frivilligt på et hopital i Dar es Salaam. Dette vil være min blog inden og imens, jeg er afsted, hvor jeg så ofte, som jeg kan, vil fortælle om, hvad jeg oplever.

I er velkomne til at invitere alle dem I har lyst til, eller som I tror har interesse i min rejse til min facebook side, hvor jeg vil lægge et link op, hver gang der er et nyt blogindlæg. Det er kun på facebook-siden, der vil komme links hertil. 

Lige nu er status, at hele min rejse er betalt og alle vaccinationerne er klaret. Nu er jeg bare klar til at skulle fejre nytår.

Rigtig godt nytår!

Knus Signe  

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Mit første blog opslag!
Mit første blog opslag!


December 23, 2014 by   Comments(0)


People enjoy travelling and exploring the world, travelling outside the city, outside the country and outside the Continent in order to experience new things.  Some travel to different places just to do tourist activities; but others, like Julie Wind Larsen,  want to make a difference. It is not just about seeing new things not found back home, but also about leaving an impact in the places she has traveled.

Julie travelled all the way from Denmark to Tanzania to volunteer with Project Abroad. She volunteered with two projects, Care and Journalism. She is planning to start Journalism studies in January 2015 but she decided to also volunteer at an orphanage so as to satisfy her soul through helping those in need. She volunteered at an orphanage with more than 50 Children called CHAKUWAMA Orphanage in Dar es Salaam.

Julie spent her days with children playing various games and teaching them some new things like numbers and simple English words. She enjoyed being at the orphanage since the children are so lovely and the best thing is that Julie adapted quickly to their way of life.

 Julie says ‘‘Be open minded, the country the people and working place are very different from back home, but that’s  just the way it is, It is a part of your whole experience.’’

From working with children at the orphanage Julie shifted to another working place which is exactly her future career. She is planning to start Journalism school, it was a better idea for her to volunteer in a media house. She worked at a media house called OnSpot Magazine in Dar es Salaam. Though Julie is not a professional journalist she says she enjoyed worked with the staff at OnSpot Magazine since they treated her as other workers. She was involved in all daily activities at the Onspot Magazine.

‘‘At Onspot Magazine they wanted me to do almost the same as other staff did, that was really nice, they didn’t treat me like an intern but as a part of the staff.’’ Julie says.

Julie got a really useful experience from this placement since the staff were so cooperative and they worked with her in a step by step form so as to make her well exposed to the professional. She was introduced to the general idea of how any magazine works and then they specifically introduced her to the OnSpot magazine’s targeted audience which includes University students and other youths. Through knowing the targeted audience for Onspot magazine Julie found herself in a better position to be able to provide useful ideas during morning newspaper meetings.

She also got involved in marketing the newspaper through dealing with clients in the offices and attending the events organized by Onspot magazine. Out of this journalism project, Julie got a really positive experience in terms of the profession itself and other related things like improving her English since she comes from Denmark where English is not a first language.

‘‘My English has improved,  I got a lot of experience related to Journalism from OnSpot Magazine  and now I know  how the magazine is built up.’’ She adds.

Apart from enjoying her placements, Julie got time to enjoy life in Tanzania with Tanzanians and volunteers from different countries around the world. She enjoyed seeing new things like visiting the Zanzibar islands, a safari expedition and seeing other small cities within Tanzania.

She appreciated the good team at Projects Abroad who were willing to help whenever a volunteer needed anything. She was also impressed with the nature of the people in Tanzania, she says they are so welcoming and positive to strangers.




Julie at Onspot magazine offices

Happy moment  with a fellow worker at Onspot Magazine

Julie working  in the Onspot magazine offices

Outside Onspot magazine her working place


Julie with a child at the Orphanage she worked

Julie and other volunteers playing with children at the orphanage

Playing various games with children was one of the favourite things to Julie

Julie and other volunteers during the Care workshop listerning to a  specialist on how to care the children at the orphanages.

Julie and other volunteers when they visisted one of the tourists' site in Dar es Salaam

Julie and other volunteers listerning to a tour guide

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Volunteering: The Holiday Season That Never Ends   (published in Tanzania)

December 23, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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The holiday season is upon us, a time when our attention shifts to connection. Connection fueled by generosity. A time when our focus shifts to some of humanity’s most innate core values.

Knowing the importance of both connection and generosity it is hard not to wonder why this is a once a year event? Why only once a year must we once again become cognizant of some of life’s most essential ingredients? Surely these are things that we should be practicing at all times! Clearly these are values that should guide us not just come December.

We are designed to crave connection; feeling seen, understanding and listening with empathetic ears, creating a dialogue that is genuine and beneficial to all involved is one of our most basic human needs.

The holiday’s are a wonderful opportunity to return to this realization, but how can we remember to connect on a more daily basis? Volunteering can help us take these values and once again infuse them into our daily lives. Instead of separating them and placing them into a category marked by holiday cheer and presents, we can embrace the ways in which mutual connection can actually fuel our souls.

Every time we listen to someone else’s story, every time we help a child understand a new concept, every time we give a family the correct medication for their children, every time we lay a new block for the construction of a school we are employing the power of connection. We are generous not because it is Christmas but because it fills us up to the tippy top with happiness. We reach out to others not to deliver presents but to create connection.

As volunteers we take the cheer of the holidays and employ it in our daily lives, practicing both generosity and connection until we understand the true gifts that we receive.

And ultimately when we leave our respective placements we take the lessons that we have learned and we bring them home. We act as though it is always December, because we realize how good December feels. We lose the tradition of gift giving, we lose the decorations, and the excessive music and we simply bask in the natural gifts that are the foundation for the holidays. We are more generous, we reach out without expectation, we listen with patience and understanding. Regardless of the date we act with generosity and we strive for genuine connection, because we understand how detrimental to humanity it is if we forget to. 

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Volunteering: The Holiday Season That Never Ends
Volunteering: The Holiday Season That Never Ends

Wonders of Zanzibar   (published in Tanzania)

December 21, 2014 by   Comments(0)

Hi everyone J I’m please to know that a lot of you enjoy reading my blog. I really appreciate your interest.


Well, as you can see I’ve decided to write in English instead of Danish this time, just to give the Aussies a chance to hear what’s going on.. This means I’ve given up one of the only places now a days I get to use my Danish, which is quite a sacrifice, so they better read it religiously (…!)


I realize it’s been a while since I posted something the last time.. I’ve been really busy so there’s heaps I want to tell you about! This is going to be a looooong blog post..! You better get comfortable wherever you’re sitting real quick J


However, I have some thoughts I would like to share before I begin going through my week..

It is a topic I wrote about last time; foreigners having a hard time becoming a part of Tanzania.

The thing is that I’ve realized that there is another dimension to why it seems to be so difficult for foreigners to become an accepted citizen, equal to everyone else in the streets.

I still believe you don’t get to be a part of them because of your foreignness, but the reason why you don’t get to blend in might also have something to do with the fact that you’re trying to blend with the ‘wrong’ part of Africa.

Let me explain.

People who travel places to volunteer are usually all a part of the middle class (in Tanzania we’re probably all a part of the wealthier part of the middle class) but we’re trying to become a part of or blend in with the poor people / lower middle class. Unlike the wealthy Tanzanians, a group volunteers might fit better into since they too ‘have money ’ too, volunteers walk around in the streets, take the dala dala and spend time amongst poor, orphaned children.

 Because you’re so much wealthier than the people you’re surrounded by they treat you as an ATM and want to talk to you, because they hope your wealth will somehow affect them in a positive way

If you walk into the wealthy areas or somehow cross paths with a wealthy local, they most likely won’t care about your presence at all. They wouldn’t talk to you, for obvious reasons they wouldn’t ask for money. Most likely, they wouldn’t pay any attention to you at all.

A few days ago, Elena and I went to Mzungu Minimarket. After we’d bought some sweets (our let’s-be-healthy-and-not-get-fat plan is going very well…), we walked out of the shop and noticed a red sports car standing in front of it. Around the car stood about 10 children admiring it closely. A few moments later a Tanzanian guy, who sort of looked like a famous rapper from the States, appeared and drove off in the sports car.

This little episode shows how it’s not just your foreignness, that makes ordinary Tanzanian people treat you like something that doesn’t belong. If you have money, you’re just as much a part of a foreign world to the average Tanzanian as someone from another country would be.


So… Maybe a foreigner can become a part of Tanzania, as long as they try to join the right part they wealth wise fit into. I’ve several times heard people talk about ‘two Africa’s’; one for the small, wealthy group of people and one for the poor group. These two Arica’s are completely different worlds, and they rarely cross paths. Wealthy people don’t walk around in the streets or buy groceries in the local mini market. They usually make their local house maids do the shopping and drive to friends’ houses, placed in areas which reminds you of an American suburb, or to restaurants and bars secured behind big fences, protection their little world from the chaotic reality outside.


But then again, the fact that it’s difficult for wealthy people to become a natural and accepted part of a much poorer group of people is not special to Africa.. If a rich dane went to Gellerup or something like that and wanted to be accepted by the people there as one of their own I’m sure they’d have a hard time too, and I’m sure the rich person’s wealth would affect the relationships he’d try to create and he’d experience similar issues as the ones I’m experiencing here…


Now to the high points of my week!

Wednesday to Thursday week 50 I visited a family in Moshi, which is related to one of my mum’s good friends and colleagues. They definitely belong to the wealthier part of Tanzania, and live in a huge house with a swimming pool in a beautiful area with wide alleys and blossoming trees.

I had a great time there just talking to the family members about Tanzania, volunteering ect, hanging out with their kids and going for a walk in the area and in the city. I really prefer this city to Arusha because it’s so much more relaxed, there seems to be more space and it’s so much more clean. Arusha is so jaded, noisy and stressful – especially in comparison (no wonder people stay away from it if they can afford to…).

The first day I went for a walk in the area of Moshi Club with one of the family members, and even though there where quite a few people there, neither the black ones nor the white ones seemed to care about my presence. When I went to a local school that has many kids originating from different parts of the world, black Tanzanians as well of course, they barely noticed me either. This seems to sort of confirm my theory; there is a part of Tanzania you can easily become a part of, but this part has to include people similar to you in wealth, education and background… But perhaps that’s how it is everywhere?


Anyways, just because people are wealthy in this area certainly doesn’t mean that they’re all taking advantage of their fortunate situation, not caring about the society around them (as it may seem like based on Jacob Ejersbo’s novels taking place in the Moshi/Arusha area). Well, there are bad people out there for sure (during our walk we saw an 80 year old guy who apparently married a 14 years old local girl and recently had a baby with her. He was a Dane. I’m proud), but the family I met did a lot of fundraising and volunteer work, and generally really cared about the surrounding society and the people in it; they paid for the education of the staff’s children and took care of them and helped them out as much as they could. They were sort of seen as family members.

I am really impressed with this family, I must say. I felt right at home. They are amazing people and they all seemed to care, love, accept and respect each other. The grandparents lived just across the street and just came over whenever it seemed fit, and the different parts of the family would all spend time together during the week and in the weekends. It’s amazing how such a big family can be so close across generations and despite being scattered across different continents and parts of the world.

What really amazed me was how foreign the concept of ‘divorce’ seemed to be to them. Two family members actually asked me individually why so many people got divorced in Scandinavia. It was like they really had a hard time understanding the demand for it, why it was necessary. Imagine living in a world where everyone is so happy with each other that they don’t understand why people want to get a divorce…

They’re lucky; no divorces, no hurt feelings, no complicated and bad relations.


I returned from Moshi Thursday afternoon, and Friday morning at 11 o’clock I drove to the Projects Abroad office with Frederik who also lives in Usa. We had to sign some papers and get his passport before we were to meet the two Australian girls Chantelle and Gen and the Dutch girl Jante at New Safari Hotel in order to catch a shuttle to Kilimanjaro Airport, where we’d flew to Zanzibar at 4 pm. When we arrived at the office, it turned out I had forgotten my vaccine card which ment I had to hurry back to Usa in the dala to get it, because you need to be able to prove that you have the yellow fewer vaccine to get onto Zanzibar. Being in a hurry in Tanzania sucks…! Of course the dala dala was stopped by the police and had to wait a while (seriously, how long can it take to bribe an officer!?). On the way back from usa, the taxi drove really slowly too because it was stuck behind a truck… Damn it.. Anyways, I made it in time and we arrived safely on Zanzibar around 6 pm! A taxi then took us to the East Coast, to an area called Jambiani, about an hour away from the airport and Stone Town. The hotel was called Pakachi and was almost placed on the white beach  amazing!

We did so much stuff there, so even though we only spend 2,5 days there, it really feels like I did everything you could possibly do there. The first day, Saturday, we got up at 6 am to see the sun rise above the crystal blue water. So beautiful. We then slept a bit more, had breakfast and drove vest to do a spice tour. On a spice tour a guide show you around a spice plantation and tell you about the different spices grown on Zanzibar, let you smell and taste different things ect. It was very touristy but a lot of fun!

The guide told us that some of the plants were used by witchdoctors and wizards on the island to remove evil spells that’s been cast on you and such. Many people are quite superstitious here it seems. Even Muslims use the witchdoctors and wizards, even though they’re supposed to use the power of the Quran to remove spells.

We also talked about other things. For example, we ended up discussion homosexuality, which is illegal in Tanzania and Zanzibar. If a man is caught with another man he’s jailed for 16 years…! Our guide, like many other Tanzanians, thought that this was acceptable. He thought homosexuality was wrong, and didn’t understand why we supported it. ‘Why?’ we asked him, and he told us that he believed God made two different bodies that fit together, and the man/woman relation was therefore his will. Also he said that God had given us life, and as a thank you for this life it was our purpose to reproduce and ‘give something back’ in a way.

Our guide lived in a village like many others, and he told us that the village had their own football team. However, the trainer of this football time was asked to leave the village because he’d been trying to seduce some of the young men on the team..


Quite interesting how different some people’s way of thinking is from your own…


After the spice tour, we went to Stone Town and had lunch. After lunch we just wandered around in the city for a while, admiring the narrow streets and alleys, which almost felt like walking around in Italy. An Arabic sultan once ruled Stone Town, and you can definitely see the influence of this era. First of all 95% of the population on Zanzibar is muslim, so the men all wear a certain hat and the women all different kinds of headscarf’s; some wear a colorful, patterned scarf which looks very African, others wear black burkas. The Arabic influence is also visible in the architecture as some of the buildings have bright colors and round buede windows. Another thing that’s special to Stone Town are the handmade wooden doors with beautiful patterns carved into them.

After just walking around for a while we started looking for the old slave market. Zanzibar was the most important place for slavetrading. We got a little lost and ended up in the middle of this chaotic market filled with people trying to get your attention, cars blocking roads and honking as they were trying to pass by and little shops selling clothes, footwear, vegetables, fish and grilled corns (local fastfood). This market, like all other markets in Tanzania, are extremely intense, but I just can’t help adoring the energy, smells and people of these places.

After asking for directions a couple of times we finally found the old church placed where the former slave market used to be.

At the alter the place where the slaves used to get wipped during actions was marked with a circle. We also saw a basement where the slaves were once stored. Being in those basements where really uncomfortable since the whole deal with the slaves suddenly seemed so real. You could feel how hot it must have been and how little air they must have had. Awful, really. In memory of the slaves a statue was put up next to the church, showing a couple of slaves with chains around their necks.

After we’d finished sightseeing we went down to the ocean and had a few cocktails while watching the sun go down behind the fishing boats (happy hour is the best!). We then went to the Forodhani Gardens where lots of local people put up tables with seafood, meat, vegetables on grill sticks. You just pick the food you want, they heat it for you and give it to you when it’s done. It was quite expensive, considering it’s Tanzania of course, but really delicious and authentic!


We were back at Pakachi at around 12 at night. Steve, the Irish guy who ran the hotel, told us earlier that there would be a party at a nearby hotel called New Teddy’s Place, and Chantelle and I decided to go check it out (the others were too tired). So we made the taxi take us there. We wanted to just walk home at the beach later, but since the taxi driver told us it wouldn’t be safe he offered to stay and wait.

It was really an experience. At the bar, placed outside of course, and on the dance floor where about 10 – 12 white women in hotpants and around them where lots of black men. Many of them had dreadlocks, rastafaris, and they were all very fit and attractive. There were like two white men there as well, just standing awkwardly at the corner of the dance floor (as if they had chance).

As soon as we walked up to the bar, the men noticed us and many tried to make eye contact and such. We ordered drinks and went to this balcony thing across from the bar. Quickly a guy started talking to us, in a very flirtatious way of course. 



To me this whole scenario was very very confusing.

First of all, I have a hard time believing that these local men actually find white women attractive… In Tanzania, fat women with big boobs, thighs, belly and ass are considered sexy. White women are usually quite skinny and our buts are not at all as big as the ones of most African women. So basically, we’re the opposite of what they like. Being a skinny, white woman in Africa must therefore be equivalent to being a chubby girl in the West, if you translate the scale of attractiveness on the meat market.

Soo…  Why are these men being so flirtatious? I was told that people here aren’t really supposed to have sex before they get married (or at least the women aren’t supposed to), so I assume one reason why the local men are so interested in us is that they think white women are easier to get into bed, especially if it’s not supposed to become a big serious thing, than the local black women. An assumption, which I’m pretty sure is true.

Another part of it could be money (tourists are wealthier than a lot of people here), and perhabs some men want to start up with a white woman so that she’ll bring him to Europe (I heard about this one Rastafari guy who kept getting white women from abroad pregnant so she’d bring him to Europe in order for him to help taking care of the baby. Eventually he’d get bored with the situation and she’d get tired of him not working or helping out, so he’d move back to Zanzibar and do the same thing all over again. Getting foreign women pregnant is apparently a goal for some men here).

However, since some men might be with white women because of the whole money / Europe thing I don’t think that’s why the men at Teddy’s where interested… They all spoke excellent English (compared to other Tanzanians), had good jobs as hotel managers and travelled. One guy even studied abroad at a part of an Australian university placed in Malaysia.


Anyways, I still have a very hard time figuring out why these men were interested in the white women. It didn’t really make a lot of sense to me, but nevertheless it resulted in the fact that I had a very hard time trusting them. I had heard so many bad stories about these guy taking advantage in one way or another..


It was like I didn’t trust them, but then again I felt really bad not trusting them because it seems kind of racist in a way. Usually it takes a while for you to gain trust in the guys flirting with you at home while going out. You’re a bit suspicious in a way and always try to figure out what they want and why. But that tendency gets even worse here when a black guy is hitting on you. So basically, I trust him even less because he’s black…

Then I realize that that’s the case, feel bad and decide that I shouldn’t be so judgmental and instead always expect the best of people. So for a while you do that, but then this little voice in you head once again tells you not to be too naïve, and you go back to being suspicious, then nonjudgmental and so on….


Well, even though the men might (or might not) have different motives for being with white women, and perhaps just find them easy yet not as attractive, I sensed that the white women did quite often end up with one of them for just one night, or maybe had a short fling with one of them.

What I find really interesting is how it seems like people look down on this a lot. It seems like people think it’s wrong and the women doing this are behaving inappropriately, and that the whole thing is kind of gross or… I don’t know, dirty perhabs…


Why is it that white women having one night stands at home isn’t really considered a big deal, people can do what they want and have fun as they please, but white women having a one night stand with a local, black Tanzanian guy is seen in such a different light?

It makes no sense, but honestly, I too instantly think it’s bad in a way… Why?


My guess is that this attitude comes from the fact that we may still, without being aware of it, have this idea in our heads about ‘the poor black people and rich whites’. So, we instantly find it wrong because we think the power balance is of in a way, and the white women having sex with the black men are therefore taking advantage of their less fortunate situation, and the fact that the men are doing it for ‘the wrong reasons’.

I realize that does happen too, but the local guys I spoke to at Teddy’s honestly didn’t seem ‘less fortunate’ at all… so I guess it shouldn’t be a problem for one of those guys to hook up with a white tourist…


However, the woman having a one night stand with a local guy who was just as fortunate as herself would still be judged I’m sure. Why?

I guess because people would think that she too did it for the ‘wrong reasons’ – the wrong reason here being that she just wants to have sex with a black dude because it’s a fantasy of hers or something, and don’t really care about the person she’s doing it with. If she wouldn’t do it with this man she’d just be doing it with someone else, it doesn’t matter. In other words, she’d be seen as a sex tourist.


But honestly, I think that the term ‘sex tourist’ includes a double standard…

I mean, it’s considered wrong for a person to go to a country and have sex with local people there because you find them attractive. You just want to be with them for superficial reasons. But going to a specific bar because you’ve heard a lot of cute women/men come there and have superficial sex with someone you meet there, just because you think their body and face is attractive is completely fine?

What on earth is the difference? Maybe again it’s all about the reason why you end up together… It’s okay if the only reason for it is that you find each other attractive, but if people are doing it for other reasons like nationality, color, wealth, whatever, all of a sudden it’s not. But come on, it happens all the time that people end up together (at home aswell) for other reasons than attractiveness. Sure you obviously have to be attracted to one another too, but often other factors like what a person is studying or how old they are has an influence aswell, and may also contribute to why you find them attractive, in the same way as color, nationality or even ‘easiness’ has an influence here.

It’s like we still need a romantic illusion when it comes to one night stands and flings. We need to tell ourselves that it was just the moment, you and me, the chemistry, but the truth is that it isn’t that simply. Lot’s of other elements are involved as well.

I guess it’s perhaps just easier to create this romantic illusion and story around flings in Denmark, because the superficial reasons why people end up together aren’t as obvious. In Tanzania, these reasons are much harder to hide because the other reasons are right there in the colors and in the accents. This makes it more difficult to create this romantic illusion, and without the whole thing just gets a bad taste to it..

It’s really strange how colour seems to still make such a difference… Because if we removed the colour – issue, which seems to exist, there wouldn’t be an issue at all…


I don’t know… Nevertheless I just still find it really strange that there’s such a big difference between ‘I want to have sex with you because I think you’re hot’ and ‘I want to have sex with you because you’re black and I think that is hot’.

I really have no final answer to the mystery, and I’m starting to confuse myself so I better stop writing about this topic before I turn into Carrie Bradshaw…


So let’s get back to my vacation.

Chantelle and I came home from Teddy’s at around 3 pm, slept and got up at 7 (neither one of us could sleep). After breakfast the taxi driver took us all to another beach where we got some snorkeling gear, jumped onto a little motorboat and sailed out on the ocean to an area where a group of dolphins liked to hang out. Here we chased the dolphins and jumped in the water to swim with them when they were close. It was amazing seeing wild dolphins so close and hear them talk and swim around. One of the dolphins even had a baby swimming under her!  I did swallow way too much sea water though, but it was worth it. Also I’m really proud that I did it, because I usually think the sea is quite scary. Luckily I was too busy chasing dolphins to notice how big and dark the ocean really is:p


After we returned to the shore, we went to a forest nearby. Here a guide showed us two different spicies of wild monkeys – I think one of them was called a redback or something and was native to Zanzibar. I don’t know if the other species was native too…

They were adorable, especially the redbacks because they seemed to really enjoy posing for the camera:p

Afterwards the guide showed us a swamp era filled with a certain kind of trees that could live in salt water. It really looked like something from Harry Potter with all the dark soil, the many, many roots sticking up from it and the slim tress raising above the ground with their roots in big ovals. After the swamp we saw a little part of the forest, filled with marble trees and the sound of chikader singing, and then went to lunch at a local restaurant.

We got home at around 3 – 4 o’clock and went straight to the beach. Some of us were pretty exhausted from the night before, so we just slept for an hour in the shade to the sound of the rolling waves. After an relaxing afternoon at the beach we had dinner at the hotel, drank some beers and Konyagi and played cards before the taxi picked Frederik, Gen, Chantelle and I up at the hotel at 11pm. He then took us to a local outdoor club thing called Vuvuzela, where a guy we met at Teddy’s named Simba (which means lion.. Seriously?) told us we could go. We were a bit scared when we walked in because there were only local people there, and we weren’t really sure what or if it would mean anything that we would be the only white people there. But, to our surprise, people barely noticed us and really didn’t seem to care much about or presence, which was actually kinda nice. But that is a general tendency in Zanzibar; compared to the mainland, people don’t really notice you much. No one greats you in the street, unless they want to sell you stuff ofcourse.

After we bought the first round of drinks we just stood in the corner for a while, observing and getting used to the situation as we gradually became more and more relaxed.

The music was really great, and lots of men were dancing in a circular area in the middle of the club. The reason why only men were dancing was that there were almost only guys at the club. I think I saw 3 – 4 women there, and I think that if not all of them, some of them were prostitutes. One woman was really nice though, when I went back to the bar to get more drinks she helped me out and ordered for me, because she knew that the lady behind the bar would charge more if I did it myself (Mzungu prize). She just did it to be nice, because as she said; ‘you and me are the same’. However the lady behind the bar was not pleased and started yelling at her… Oh well…

The men dancing seemed to have a great time though. In Denmark a group of men would rarely just fill up the dance floor by themselves. Back home it seems like they think that if there’re no women to dance with, there’s no reason to dance at all.

After a little while some guys did talk to us, and I learned from one of them that almost every single one at the club were Muslims, even the women, like the rest of Zanzibar. Quite surprising since everyone was drinking… But I guess there’re different versions of how to practice religion here as in demark. Some Christians and Muslims drink, some don’t.

When Simba and his friends arrived we went dancing (quite scary because the women here dance sooo well, so we all felt like robots in comparison) and just talked and stuff til 4 in the morning where we went back home. The next day, Monday, we would just hang at the beach (I wasn’t feeling too well…) and then go back to Stone Town for lunch before we had to go to the airport. 5 pm we flew to Dar, got on a new plane and continued our travel towards Arusha. 9pm I was finally back in Usa, and the next day I was back with the kids at Aston Vision.


At the moment I’m teaching in the baby baby class with 2 -3 other volunteers (no local teacher). It’s really difficult because the baby baby class had all the kids that don’t know anything and don’t want to know anything, the new kids and the kids who keep disturbing everyone else. So basically, half the class doesn’t do the work you tell them to do and just run around like crazy… God.. it’s really frustrating when it’s every day, one no one seems to get anywhere..

Except for this new girl, Sahili, I really just want to bring with me home.! She’s about 4 years old, and she just started coming to the school 1 – 2 weeks ago. I always go sit with her and help her out, because she’s new. From the way she tries to write and hold the pen I don’t think she’s ever hold a pen before. Anyways, she’s so adorable and so so shy. She’s like I was when I was little, I’m sure. She rarely talks and is too shy to go play. She just stands there, playing nervously with a coin in her hand. The only words I’ve heard her say is ‘A, B, C…’. Because when it comes to school, she acctually wants to learn and does what you tell hear to (yay). She now knows how to count to 10, even though she doesn’t get the point with it, amounts make no sense to her, and knows the names of B,C and D (a for some reason won’t stuck).


After class she never plays because she’s too shy, she just stares at the other kids and look both curious and frightened at the same time. If you ask her to come, she will grab your hand though, and just stand silently next to you, not answering you if you talk to her. Yesterday I threw a ball to her and she just let it fall to the ground… Later I played ball with some other little girls, and I actually got her to join the game. Interaction = me very proud!


So yeah, school is exhausting but moments like that makes it all worth it. Also I love cuddling with the kids after class, some of the girls (especially Sharon and Lightness) love to just sit on you lab, hug, get tickled or give kisses. Sometimes the girls also braid your hair for fun. I let them do it, even though it hurts and is a lot of trouble to get out again:p


Saturday the 20th of December Elena, Victoria and I went to a local wedding!

We were supposed to meet up with Gladnis at her house at 1.30 pm. Lunch was served a little late, so we arrived late too and felt really bad about it. As it turned out, it wasn’t a big deal at all (African time).

We were invited inside, and then just sat at the couch for a while watching the groom and his brother as they sat silently on the couch dressed in black suits with yellow shirts underneath and purple ties. The little boys wore similar clothes, while Gladnis wore a long, red dress with wide, yellow straps and a yellow piece of cloth tied around her waits. Her hair was divided into several, big braids that all met on the right side of her head, creating a kind of ponytail. She looked gorgeous.

After a while we got into a car that had purple, yellow and red ribbon wrapped around it, and drove to Armani School where the party was supposed to be held after the wedding ceremony at the church. As the driver went back to the house to pick up the groom we looked inside the big room, where the party would be. There were lots of plastic chairs, some with colored ribbon on,  facing a stage of some sort that had a table and 4 throne – like, white chairs on it. Behind it was an ornament filled with flowers, there were flowers on the table too, and colored cloth was put on the ceiling while strings with light covered the back wall (I will show you a picture). It was quite nice.

We waited at the school for a while, and then walked down to the church. Here we waited for another hour or so inside the church while really loud African music was playing, until the cars came with the bride and groom plus a band consisting of loud trumpets and drums. Then the ceremony started.

First 2 rows consisting of 5 men with white shirts and 5 women in black dresses danced in with the groom. Then they danced back and brought in the bride. The they joined them while dancing, and took them to their seats (still dancing, of course). Then the preist talked for like an hour in kiswahili (nearly fell asleep) and then the couple said out loud their vows and exchanged rings. After the preist had talked for a while again, the dancers came and brought them back out to the car while the band was playing. Everyone else followed them while dancing as well. After the couple drove off, we waited for a while again and then walked back to the school. Here we had to wait inside for about an hour again (loud music playing again) until the married couple finally arrived. After everyone was seated we took turns to go outside and get some soup + a stick with two pieces of spiced meat, a piece of grilled banana and two pieces of carrot on it. It was quite nice, especially because we were very hungry since we only had very little lunch because we (thought) we were in a hurry. In the soup there were these big lumps of fat or whatever I didn’t eat though, it was gross, but the Tanzanians don’t seem to mind. They always eat big lumps of fat on meat, too… Strange..

After we finished eating, the party started. The couple entered, again followed to the throne – like chairs by dancing people. They then introduced their family, sitting on two different sides of the room; the groom’s family sat to the left and the brides’ to the right. Then the couple cut the cake and family members came dancing and got one. Then the so called ‘African cake’, a grilled goat with vegetables and leaves on it as jewelry, was brought in, and cut too, the couple feeding each other a piece in the same way as they did with the cake.  Later the non alcoholic champagne was blessed, shaken and popped.  Then everyone brought their gifts to the couple by dancing towards them in a row, carrying it with them. This means that people where dancing around with pots and chairs above their heads, quite funny. After the gifts the party was sort of over, and everyone went outside to get food; pilau, bananas, chicken, beans, potatos.


I’m really glad I went, it was a great experience, but oh my gosh how everything takes forever..! Even a toast takes at least half an hour, because the couple first toast with each other, then go around very slowly and toast with each family member, and then other people come dancing up to them with a glass to toast them too. It’s like that with everything. It especially takes so long because they’re always dancing, and if they people who’re doing something are special to the couple they have to dance up to the couple individually instead of in a group…

There was a really great atmosphere though, everyone was happy, smiling, clapping, doing the yiyiyiyiyi sound and dancing around. Happy times indeed. Everyone was joyful (yet sometimes very bored), except for, it seemed, the couple. They both looked really serious all the time, almost as if they were incredibly bored and their minds had wondered of to somewhere else.. Also they barely looked or spoke to each other the whole day. They just sat next to one another and watched the ceremony with a stone face. Only when they had to kiss once or when they had to eat a piece of cake from eachothers mouths they interacted… Except for that not really… Hmmm


Anyways, I’m soooo tired now (just finished writing this after I got home from the wedding), so I’ll just finish up and go to sleep!


Hope everyone is good and looking forward to Christmas! I still can’t believe it’s on Wednesday..

Good night <3

Lots of love from Tanzania



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Wonders of Zanzibar
Wonders of Zanzibar

Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer   (published in Tanzania)

December 18, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Before embarking on an experience as monumental as volunteering in Tanzania it is hard not to play the ‘what will it be like game’. It is hard not to start concocting images of what kind of bed you will have at your homestay, what impact you will be able to make on the local community, and what kind of cultural connections you will form. It’s natural, it will happen, but expectations should be kept in check as a volunteer enters a large community and network that is already established. Here are four reasons why being open to whatever your experience may be will actually make you a better volunteer.

1. Being Ready to Help Out in Whatever Way is Most Needed

Walking in with expectations about what your role will be as a volunteer might hinder your ability to help out in the way that will most benefit the project. There are ways in which you may want to help, or ideas that you have about how your skills will be best used, yet at the end of the day your placement has a good sense of their needs and how you can make the biggest contribution.

2. Embracing the Culture, Not your Idea of the Culture

Expectations often times include imagining what the culture or community that you are living in will be like. By engaging with a culture through the lens that you have created you are likely to miss out on the essence of where you are actually living.

3. The Ability to Understand the Big Picture

Often times before leaving home it is easy to predict how your presence will have an impact on the project that you are joining. The reality is that one person, one volunteer, is only a part of the overall group. Each volunteer must strive to understand the goals of their placement, without overly projecting their own ideas of what success and progress mean.

4. Maintaining Realistic Goals

The role of each volunteer is incredibly important yet sometimes expectations can make you feel as though drastic changes are possible in short periods of time. The reality is not as simple, and while every little bit helps change still takes time. 

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Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer
Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer

Intro   (published in Tanzania)

December 16, 2014 by   Comments(2)

Hej med jer!

Dette bliver min blog, når jeg den 26. januar 2015 tager til Tanzania.

Jeg skal være frivillig arbejder og være i byen Arusha. Jeg skal være på et børnehjem med børn fra 0-3 år, der hedder Cradle of Love baby home.

I er derfor velkomne til at følge med, når jeg poster om mine oplevelser :-)

Knus fra Lise ;)

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December 12, 2014 by   Comments(1)

Citizens in one of the political campaigns listerning to contestants




Tanzania is a democratic country, by which, its leaders come into power through election. Each five years the country conducts elections. The elections in Tanzania are divided into General election and local government election. The elections take place in defferent times but in the interval of five years.

General Election in Tanzania involves Elections for President, Members of Parliament and Ward Councilors in the other side the Local Government elections involve chairpersons for local government (Streets or Villages), and other members for the local government.

This year the country is conducting Local Government election which also takes place  after each five years, the last was in 2009, and next years is the general election which was conducted last time five years ago in 2010.

The election processes for local government this year started through the citizens above 18 years to go and register themselves in local government offices so that they can be able to vote for the leaders they want during the Election Day on Sunday 14th December.

Right now the campaigns are on, contestants from different political parties are conducting meetings around the villages and streets to sell their policies to people so that they can be elected.  Cars with political parts’ flags and big speakers singing political parties songs are now all over the streets and in the villages just to make sure people understand them.

From these campaigns sometimes it happens some misunderstandings between different political parties’ members but the Tanzania Police Force says they are very well prepared with any problem and people should not be worried at all.

During the election on Sunday 14th December people are not allowed to wear any kind of clothes related to any political party, so nobody can wear clothes for CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), CUF(Civic United Front) CHADEMA (Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo) or any other existing political party.


        A poster in a street showing the contestants




A poster showing the Contestants in all the levels




One of the Local Government offices in Dar es Salaam

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December 8, 2014 by   Comments(0)

President of the United Republic of Tanzania Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in the 52 years of Tanganyika  Independence celebrations  last year 2013 (Source: globalpublishers media)

Tanzania is a name of an East African country which originated from the union of two independent states, Tanganyika (Tanzania Mainland) and Zanzibar (Tanzania islands).  Tanganyika got independence in 1961 and Zanzibar got her independence in 1963, then in 1964 the two independent states united to formulate one country named United Republic of Tanzania.

 Tanganyika was under Germany domination since 1886 up to 1919, by then it was called German Eat Africa. After German being defeated in the First World War (1914-1918), Britain took over all Germany colonies in 1919 right after the First World War. In January 1920 Britain decided to change the name German East Africa to Tanganyika territory. This name originated for the biggest lake located in Western part of the country.

After being under Britain, then Tanganyika got her independence in the 09th of December, 1961. From that time the country started to be run by the natives.

Each year Tanzania has been celebrating independence day on 09th  of December to remember this special day and remind themselves of what have been done and what to be done so far for the betterment of the community.

During this day all public offices are closed to let people celebrate and enjoy the fruits of being free.

The celebrations are always done in different places around the country but  always there must be a big one to generalize, and the high government leaders from outside and inside the country do attend.

During the celebrations various social activities take place, like traditional dances, races for example Uhuru Marathon which is an event that commemorates Tanganyika’s Independence while harping on the core national values of love, peace and unity.

This year the ceremony is going to be held in The Tanzania National stadium in Temeke area. The President of the United Republic of Tanzania Honorable Dr. Jakaya Marisho Kikwete is expected to be the guest of hunour. Apart from the President, also other government leaders from inside and outside Tanzania are expected to be part of the ceremony.



The Flag of Tanganyika during Britain domination (1919-1961)

The Flag of Independent  Tanganyika

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En anden verden   (published in Tanzania)

December 6, 2014 by   Comments(0)

Halli halløj og glædelig anden advent!

Håber i nyder mørket derhjemme. Her er der pt overskyet og regn, så på trods af de 25 grader har jeg i denne uge ofte haft en jumper på på arbjede :3 Det er hårdt at være så kuldskær…

Denne uge er ellers gået sindssygt stærkt! Det har nok noget at gøre med, at jeg har haft travlt - der er sket noget nyt hver dag :)


Som en del af min og Elena’s vi—vil-være-smækre-og-slanke-plan (vi ved vist alle hvordan de plejer at gå…) tog vi over på den lokale skole og spillede fodbold kl. 15. Den ene af de drenge vi mødte sidst, Aleks, dukkede selvfølgelig først op en halv time senere end aftalt (hvilket næsten er flot klaret, når man tænker på at han er tanzanianer, og de som regel kommer minimun 1 – 2 timer for sent), mens ham den anden slet ikke kom. Indtil Aleks dukkede op spillede vi med to brødre, den ene var nok 17 og hed et eller andet jeg ikke kan huske, mens hans super hurtige lillebror på omkring 14 og hed noget der lød som Yah (det navn kan jeg kun huske fordi det er så forvirrende; ”What’s the name of your little brother?”, ”Yah” (tænker han ikke har forstået spørgsmålet og spørger igen.. ) ”Nano, kaka?” ”Yah…” ”Yeah?” ”Yeah” ”Oh, Yah!”) Anyways…

Da Aleks dukkede op kom han og en anden pige med i kampen, og så fik vi ellers spillet en times tid. Det var vildt sjovt, specielt når de drillede os ved at lave tricks så vi ikke kunne få fat på bolden, overhalede os i en spurt eller grinede velmenende af os, når vi lavede en skæv aflevering (mine fodbold skills er ikke hvad de har været…). Der var en hyggelig, tryg og venskabelig stemning på banen. Da Elena og jeg så besluttede os for at tage hjem igen fordi vi var trætte, spurgte vi derfor om de havde lyst til at spille igen dagen efter. Det ville de gerne. Vi vinkede derfor farvel og begyndt at gå, og i det øjeblik vi vendte os om råbte en af drengene, jeg tror det var Yah, ’bring gift!’ efter os…


Det lyder måske mærkeligt, men det var på en eller anden måde ret sårende. Måske fordi vi gik ud fra, at det med at vi var hvide piger fra Europa ikke betød noget på en fodboldbane. Vi havde nok tænkt, at det med at mødes på en fodboldbane og have fokus på spillet ville gøre, at man kunne mødes på et mere uskyldigt grundlag på en eller anden måde, og at ens indbyrdes relationer ville blomstre op i det her ’helle’ sted, hvor baggrund ikke havde nogen betydning. Det er lidt svært at forklare…

Jeg kan selvfølgelig godt se nu, at det var naivt at tro. Her er det som om rigtig mange har et skjult formål med at være venlige mod dig. Folk tror du er rig (hvilket du vel også er sammenlignet med rigtig mange af dem), og det er som om rigtig mange af de lokale primært er søde ved dig, fordi de tror du er rig, og at den rigdom vil smitte af på dem hvis de spiller deres kort rigtigt. I et kort øjeblik troede jeg godt nok, at jeg havde mødt nogle mennesker med en anden tilgang på fodboldbanen, men det viste sig, at det havde jeg åbenbart ikke…

Der er selvfølgelig også folk der gerne bare vil snakke fordi de synes du er spændende, vil byde dig velkommen til landet og øve deres engelsk. Der er mange børn der vinker og siger hej bare for at sige hej, mens de stirrer forundret på dig. Men rigtig tit sker det at børnene bagefter rækker en hånd frem, ”money!”, og ham der snakker til dig på gaden gør det fordi han håber på at få en rig ven, der kan hjælpe ham økonomisk.


I denne uge har jeg tænkt meget over hvilken betydning det har, at man hele tiden skal forholde sig til folks forud antagelser om hvem og hvad du er, og det faktum at man altid skeller sig ud fra mængden. Jeg har også diskuteret det med synligheden en del med andre frivillige.

Vi kom blandt andet ind på det i torsdags, hvor Sabine havde sin sidste arbejdsdag. Jeg spurgte, om hun troede hun ville komme tilbage for at bo her i en længere periode igen, og hun sagde, at det ville hun nok ikke, netop fordi hendes indtryk var, at du aldrig bliver en del af landet og dets befolkning, lige meget hvor hårdt du prøver. Det var også hvad en bekendt, en journalist der bor i Cape Town og ved alt om Africa, havde sagt; forvent aldrig at du kan blive en del af dem; du vil altid se Africa gennem en europæers øjne, og de vil altid se dig som europæer.. Om du så lærer kiswahili, bliver gift med en tanzanianer, bor der i 50 år; du vil altid være en mzungu.

At det er sådan lidt svært at acceptere.. Det er irriterende hele tiden at blive konfronteret med folks ideer om hvem du er, og man får på en eller anden måde lyst til at kæmpe imod, vise dem noget andet.

Ligegyldigt bliver du i hvert fald konstant behandlet som en fremmed, en folk tager notits af når man vandrer ned af gaden – på trods af, at jeg har bevæget mig rundt i det samme område i en måned nu. Venter stadig håbefuldt på at jeg bliver ’old news’, og får lov bare at blende ind i landskabet. Det sker nok aldrig…


I starten var det bare lidt sjovt og sødt, men i længden bliver det anstrengende og mærkeligt provokerende.. Men det er alligevel en oplevelse, man lærer meget af. Her i min femte uge har jeg fået en hel ny sympati og forståelse for, hvordan det er at stikke ud og være en fremmed i et andet land. Hvordan det er at blive mødt med folks fordomme og mærkelige ideer om, hvem du er, inden du har så meget som åbnet munden. Jeg ved hvor frustrerende det er, at du aldrig rigtigt får lov at føle dig hjemme, fordi folk insisterer på at behandle dig som en fremmed. Hvordan det er aldrig at få lov at gå ubemærket ned af gaden.

Ved at være hvid i et sort land, føler jeg nu jeg har en bedre forståelse for, hvordan det er at være sort eller mulat i et hvidt land, eller hvordan det er at bære tørklæde. På mange måder er det det samme, men så alligevel ikke helt. For her gør din fremmedhed, at folk behandler dig som om du er adelig eller en helgen. De slikker røv på dig for at få del af ’din rigdom’. Det gør, at den fremmedhed man udstråler i deres øjne måske alligevel er til at bære.

Men i Danmark bliver de fremmede modsat behandlet som om de er en belastning man helst ville slippe helt for, hvis ikke det var fordi vores dårlige samvittighed og politiske interesser stod i vejen. Hvis ikke de bliver undgået og ignoreret bliver de mødt med mistro eller frygt. Jeg kan levende forstille mig, hvordan det er. No wonder at der er en tendens til, at nogle indvandrere foretrækker hinandens selvskab. Det meste af tiden foretrækker jeg da også at være blandt folk der ser mig som den jeg er, frem for at være sammen med folk der ser mig som en mystisk del af en stor gruppe, der er opstået mytedannelse omkring.


Integration sker af to veje; en tilkommer skal ønske og kæmpe for at blive en del af det nye (ikke nødvendigvis ved at glemme alt det gamle), men dem der tager imod skal sandelig også ønske at inkludere den nye. Ellers ender man i en Holly – Ellen - situation, og den nye vil i frustration og mangel på accept søge andre steder hen. It’s simple human behaviour.


Oh well… Det var ikke meningen jeg skulle gå hen og blive helt politisk, men det kom jeg vidst lidt til alligevel :3 Ups.. Igen, jeg ved godt billedet ikke er så sort hvidt, og ikke alle danskere er onde mod eller bange for indvandrere. Men i ved hvad man siger, overdrivelse fremmer forståelsen (ikkås Nina? ;))


Denne uge har på mange møder været fyldt med forunderlige og kulturelle oplevelser, så jeg vil lige dele endnu en med jer, der på mange måder var rigtig overvældende.


I onsdags mødte jeg op hos Aston Vision kl. 9 som sædvanligt, og gik ind i klasselokalet. Efter at have været en del af undervisningen i et stykke tid kom Aston ind for at hente Vickey og hendes veninde, Shaylon tror jeg hun hedder, fordi han ville tage dem med på besøg i den lokale landsby, hvor rigtig mange af børnene bor. Da han fandt ud af, at jeg ikke havde været der, inviterede han også mig med, og jeg takkede selvfølgelig ja og fulgte efter de andre.

Vi gik derfor ud til hovedvejen, Nairobi – Moshi road mener jeg den hedder, og drejede ned af en tynd, mudret sti, der var halvt dækket af forskellige planter, og omgivet af palmer med tunge klaser af grønne banener hængende fra trækronerne. Efter at have gået i 3 – 5 minutter stødte vi på begyndelsen af landsbyen, hvor et par huse af forskellig kvalitet gemte sig blandt det grønne. Vi passerede de første par huse, der var forholdsvist store og bygget af gråt beton og blik ligesom klasselokalerne. Da vi stødte på en lille bitte ler – og træ hytte stoppede vi op, og Aston begyndte at snakke med en gammel kvinde, der højst sandsynligt så ældre ud end hun var. Hun sad sammenkrympet på en træ bænk uden for hytten, lænede sig op af en pind og stirrede tilsyneladende ud i luften med hendes store øjne, der var dækket af et hvidt slør der afslørede hendes dårlige syn. Rundt om hende rumsterede 4 børn i aldersgruppen 6 – 10, der kiggede genert og nysgerrigt ud på os fra deres oversize kjoler og trøjer. Børnene var vist bare naboens, men hun selv havde så vidt jeg forstod ansvaret for én af de mindre børn i vores baby baby class, fordi faderen vist var stukket af og moderen død af aids. En historie der er mere end normal i mange af Tanzania’s landsbyer.

Efter at Aston havde snakket lidt med hende rakte hun sine knudrede og knoglede hænder frem til hilsen, og vi greb skiftevis hendes hænder til hilsen. Så gik Aston ind bag det farverige stykke stof der hang i døråbningen, og råbte ’karibu (velkommen)’ inde fra mørket. Vi forstod strakt invitationen og fulgte efter ham ind i det snævre rum, der ikke indeholdt meget andet end en madras, doneret af en tidligere frivillig, og et par snore med vasketøj hængende i tunge buer ned fra loftet.

I et øjeblik stod vi i stilhed og betragtede den gamle dames hjem, indtil hun selv med stort besvær fik mast sig ind bag os og sat sig på den bløde madras. Her trak hun op i hvad der mest mindede om en grålig natkjole, og viste os hendes højre knæ. Knæet var skævt og dobbelt så stort som det andet, og Aston forklarede på baggrund af hendes skrattende mumlen, at hendes knæ var blevet ødelagt i et piki piki (motercykel) uheld, hvor hun vist enten var faldet eller var blevet skubbet af køretøjet. Aston forklarede, at hun ikke havde råd til medicin. I Tanzania kan du gå til lægen gratis, men du skal selv betale din medicin og de tests du får foretaget. Så selvom det vist kun koster 1000 tzs, 3 dkk, at blive testet for malaria og medicinen koster noget alla det samme er der rigtig mange der ikke gør det, fordi de ikke har råd.

Efter at Vickey og Shayla havde taget nogle billeder af stedet gik vi videre gennem landsbyen og kom ud i et mark område, hvor der primært blev dyrket tomater, kål og spinat. Rigtig mange af landsbyens kvinder, og de få mænd der ikke var stukket af, arbejder i de her marker. Aston fortalte, at grunden og grøntsagerne bliver er ejet af staten, og dem der arbejdede i marken bliver betalt 200.000 tzs per person for 4 måneders arbejde. Det svarer til omkring 588 dkk eller omkring 100 USD. Én persons arbejdskraft giver altså 25 USD til rådighed om måneden. Det er under 1 usd om dagen. Tager man så højde for, at dem der arbejder på marken oftest er kvinder, der er ladt alene med minimum ét barn de også skal forsørger ryger man endnu længere under FN’s absolutte fattigdoms grænse. Indtægterne fra salget af grøntsagerne går selvfølgelig til staten. Nice stat de har sig der…


Efter vores lille stop i udkanten af markerne gik vi videre hen til endnu en lille jordhytte, der var endnu mindre end den første. Her boede en bedstemor og Karen, en pige på omkring 10 år der gør i den middle – class, jeg er med til at undervise. Bedstemoderen var ved at gå ud af sit gode skind af glæde over at se os, og blev ved med at løfte hænderne i vejret mens hun sagde ting på swahili, bød os velkommen og sagde tak tak tak et utal af gange. Hun var virkelig kær men samtidig var hendes magre og furede ansigt og lange, løse fortænder der var ved at falde ud af munden på hende lidt uhyggeligt. Efter at have sagt hej gik vi ind i hytten, som havde en doneret madras hun delte med Karen og et lille bålsted hvor hun lavede mad. Karens historie er vidst lidt det samme som tidligere; bedstefar og far stak af og mor døde, så bedstemor passer på hende, så lang tid som det nu kan lade sig gøre. Længe leve bedstemødre, hvad skulle Tanzania dog gøre uden dem!

Det med at det næsten er reglen frem for undtagelsen, at mændene stikker af efter de er blevet gift og har fået et barn, blot for at finde en ny kone et andet sted de gøre det samme ved, er godt nok lidt svært at forstå. Hvorfor bliver de unge piger ved med at gifte sig og få børn hvis de ved, at de højst sandsynligt kommer til at lide under samme skæbne som andre kvinder før dem? Hvorfor virker det som om, den opførsel er så accepteret? Er der ikke nogle der gennem opdragelse giver de her mænd en samvittighed og en ansvarsfornemmelse? Mange af de mænd der stikker af er sikkert selv vokset op hos en enlig mor eller bedstemor, fordi deres egne fædre er væk. De har set hvilken fattigdom fædrenes fravær skaber hos den resterende familie, de har selv lidt under det. Det burde da få dem til at tænke over, hvilket menneske de vil være og om de vil være årsag til samme håbløse situation hos en familie de selv skaber. Der er lidt noget ved mentaliteten hos de her mænd og de kvinder der gifter sig med dem, jeg på en eller anden måde må forsøge at lære mere om..


En af årsagerne hvorfor kvinderne bliver ved med at gifte sig og få børn, selvom de ved og på en eller anden måde accepterer at de højst sandsynligt stikker af, fandt jeg frem hos til den næste familie vi besøgte. Denne familie bestod af en ung kvinde på 19 år, der sad og ammede sin søn på 2 da vi kom ind. Hun var blevet gravid med sin kærestes barn som 16 årig, og som følge heraf var de blevet nødt til at gifte sig. Efter brylluppet da barnet kom til verden stak han så selvfølgelig af.. Men ja, rigtig tit bliver folk gift fordi de ved et uheld blev gravide. I den situation er det det der forventes af dem. I landsbyerne ved de ikke rigtigt noget om prævention, og jeg er bange for at de heller ikke ville bruge det, hvis de vidste det fandtes, fordi de ikke har råd. Men så igen, er ret overbevist om at en pakke kondomer alligevel er billigere end det er at give mad, tøj og måske skolegang for et barn i 18 år…. Men ja, hende den unge pige vi snakkede med havde i hvert fald lært sin lektie; hun skulle under ingen omstændigheder giftes igen! Det skulle hun ikke nyde noget af.. Men så alligevel, hun fortalte at hun har en kæreste. Han arbejder i de marker vi gik forbi, men ville virkelig gerne på secondary school og fortsætte sin uddannelse. Desværre havde han ikke råd, så nu arbejder han i marken (det er bestemt muligt at få lov til at sponsorere ham, så han kan komme tilbage på skolebænken! Hvis nogle er interesserede i at sponsorere ham, en af de små børn på børnehjemmet eller bare bidrage med nogle skolebøger, penge eller whatever siger i bare til! Det kan jeg snildt hjælpe med at få sat i gang !:))

Nå… Det var virkelige sært at side over for en jævnaldrene pige, hvis liv var så markant anderledes fra mit eget. Tænk, hvis jeg var blevet født i et andet land af andre forældre fra andre kår kunne hun have været mig…


På vejen tilbage mod børnehjemmet besøgte vi kort en anden familie, jeg ikke rigtigt ved så meget om. Huset var ret stort i forhold til hytterne, og bygget af beton ligesom skolen. Der var bare et par kvinder der hang vasketøj op, en ko, omkring 5 børn der legede i noget mudder ved siden af et stort huld, der bliver brugt som skraldespand, en baby i en hjemmelavet stol lavet af plastic affald og et barn på omkring 4, der sad i en klapvogn med et stykke stof over sig. Vi undrede os lidt over, hvorfor barnet havde stof over sig, og da vi spurgte fandt vi ud af, at det var fordi barnet var lamt i hele kroppen. Stoffet havde derfor det formål at holde fluerne væk fra barnets øjne og mund, fordi det ikke selv var i stand til at vifte dem væk. Det var virkelig hjerteskærende at se det barn sidde i den der stol, fuldstændig hjælpeløst og apatisk fordi det manglede stimulation. Det sad bare og stirrede ind i et stykke stof hele dagen, mens det om aftenen højst sandsynligt fik lov at stirre på sine søskende og mor foretage sig alt muligt inde i huset. Jeg er sikker på moderen til barnet ville ønske hun kunne gøre mere for det, men det er svært at opfylde et paralyseret barns behov, når du ikke har råd til at sende det i specialpleje/skole, ikke har råd til det rette udstyr og ikke har tid til at forsøge at underholde barnet selv…


Da vi forlod landsbyen og tog tilbage til børnehjemmet var jeg virkelig, virkelig trist. Oplevelsen ligger stadigvæk og rumstere i mig, og kommer op til overfladen i klare glimt. Men jeg er alligevel glad for at jeg tog med på besøget, fordi det giver en bedre forståelse for de børn jeg arbejder med dagligt. Jeg forstår bedre, hvorfor alle børnene uanset aldersgruppe elsker at lege ’baby’ (det går basically ud på, at vi skal løfte dem op eller have dem på skødet og kramme dem). De mangler alle minimum en forælder, og hvis de bliver passet af deres gamle, hjælpeløse bedstemor eller har mange søskende kan jeg forestille mig, at de selv har rigtig meget ansvar og skal spille en rolle der er mere voksen, end de i virkeligheden er…

Det var en interessant oplevelse, men kan ikke helt lade være med at væmmes lidt over mig selv og konceptet; ’rige’ mzungu’s tager hen til fattig Masaii landsby og stirrer lidt på deres fattigdom, for så at tage hjem senere på dagen til deres luksoriøse hjem med el og vand i hanerne, hvor der står mad klar på bordet og venter. Jeg har selvfølgelig noget med landsbyens børn at gøre, og vi kommer tilbage næste uge med ris og bønner til de familier vi besøgte, men alligevel…. I det mindste tog jeg ikke billeder af deres fattigdom, så jeg kunne tage hjem til mine ’rige’ venner og vise dem, hvor nedern andre mennesker har det. Det gjorde Vickey og Shaylon godt nok, og det virkede ikke til at det var noget problem, men altså.. At stå smilende og pose foran en lerhytte, sammen med en halvblind gammel dame og hendes skadede knæ hun ikke har råd til at fikse virker nu alligevel lidt for absurd til mig…


Det oplevelsesrige ved min onsdag var dog ikke færdigt endnu! Gennem en anden frivillig, der boede sammen med Elena tidligere på året, var hun kommet i kontakt med en ung kvinde ved navn Gladnis. Vi havde tidligere på ugen snakket med hende om muligheden for at komme med til et tanzaniansk bryllup, og i forbindelse med den samtale havde hun inviteret os begge på frokost i hendes hjem.

Så efter arbejde tog vi hjem til hende, som bor ca 15 minutters gang fra Usa River Plaza, men i den modsatte retning af os. Huset var middel stort, lavet af beton og havde vist 2 rum. Et var soveværelse, og et andet stue / køkken. Så snart vi dukkede op i døren bød hun os glad og energisk velkommen, og vi satte os om det lille bor og snakkede, mens vi ventede på at pilau’en (oliet ris med oksekødsstykker) blev færdig. Jeg må sige jeg er lidt betaget af hende. Hun er bare et af de der vildt karismatiske mennesker, man ikke kan lade være med at se op til. Hun var sød, glad, fjollet og sjov, men samtidig var man ikke i tvivl om at hun havde temperament og ben i næsen. Hun var tydeligvis vildt engageret og passioneret omkring Tanzania og dets fremtid, og fortalte glædeligt op og ned af stolperne om det forekommende distriktsvalg, fødselsprocedyrer, skoler, kvinders position, jul osv. (alt sammen ting jeg meget gerne vil snakke videre om, men det må blive en anden gang. Kan ikke overskue det:P) Selvom hun og hendes egen familie bestemt ikke har mange penge (hun er uddannet lærer, og snakker derfor rigtig godt engelsk, men har ikke noget arbejde pt. Hendes mand var tourguide indtil folks frygt for ebole satte en stopper for tourismen og dermed også hans levebrød. De har en 2 årig søn sammen, Allan, men fordi de ikke har mange penge i øjeblikket kan de ikke selv sende ham på en god skole, når den tid kommer. En tidligere frivillig pige fra Australien’s mor har derfor tilbudt at betale hans første år på en privat skole for dem, hvilket de selvfølgelig er meget taknemmelige for) er der en del fattige familier i området hun holder øje med, samler penge og mad ind til osv.  Denne her lørdag skulle hun faktisk ud til nogle familier med noget ris, bønner og olie, som hun havde købt for nogle penge Charlotte vist havde sendt hende.

Det var virkelig hyggeligt og interessant og besøge hende. Hun kan tydeligvis godt lide at hører om andre lande og fortælle engageret om sit eget, men tror nu også hun håber på at hendes venskabelige forhold til frivillige, vil resultere i lidt ekstra penge til de familier hun hjælper. Men det er der vel ikke noget galt med ;)


Uha. Jeg er virkelig begyndt at elske at skrive denne her blog, og det gør mig glad i læser den med iver! Men må nu alligevel indse, at jeg er ved at blive træt nu.. Sov kun 5 timer i nat, fordi Elena, Victoria og jeg tog med nogle andre frivillig hen til en eller anden lokal dudes hus for at feste efter en social dinner på Masaii café (der skuffende nok primært har pizza og pasta på menukortet..) Det var virkelig hyggeligt faktisk, fik drukket en masse Konyagi (tanzaniansk gin) og snakket med nogle nye mennesker (som desværre næsten alle sammen tager hjem inden for en uges tid). Det var sindssygt mærkelig at snakke dansk (tror der var 2 danskere til stede udover mig) igen, og kunne sku ikke rigtigt finde ud af det. Blev ved med at ligge trygget alle mulige sære steder, og ente så efter lidt forvirring på en københansk accent (i know, hvor sært er det ikke lige? Tror det er fordi jeg tidligere på aftenen havde snakket med det der par fra Norsjælland, og så har min hjerne åbenbart syntes at den accent var mere overskuelig end min egen.. I don’t know.. Thomas, jeg tror du har smittet mig…!). Tror vi var hjemme kl. 2.30 eller sådan, så det var lidt hårdt at arbejde næste dag – men endnu mere hårdt for Elena, der vist havde sit livs værste tømmermænd…


Så ja, jeg er træt! Selvom klokken i skrivende stund kun er 21.45 vil jeg derfor gå i seng! I morgen står den vist på pool og søndag hiking, hvis altså vejret er til det J Mere om det i næste uges blog!


Håber alt er godt derhjemme!

Knus og kram fra Tanzania 

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En anden verden
En anden verden


December 4, 2014 by   Comments(0)



Gerda Heldarskard travelled all the way from Faroe Islands in the Kingdom of Denmark to volunteer with Projects Abroad in Tanzania.  She spent her days in two different projects; she worked in an Orphanage and in the Hospital.

Though she is expecting to join a medical school in September 2015 she felt it could be definitely nice to also help Orphans in different ways.

‘‘I wanted to gain a different life experience while doing something good, I found that volunteering would make this possible’’ says Gerda

At the firstplace, before shifting to Hospital for medical project, Gerda volunteered at the Orphanage where she provided moral and material support to the children. Gerda accepts that there is big culture difference between Faroe Islands and Tanzania (Africa) but she was creative enough to adjust herself and able to enjoy her time in Tanzania. Being with nice people it wasn’t a problem to her since she felt welcomed all the places she was. Apart from meeting local people at the host family, in streets and in the working place she had good time also with fellow volunteers from different countries of the world.

She says, ‘‘My project has been very good and very rewarding. Also we are a lot of volunteers here so it's never boring.’’

In her last days at the orphanage Gerda realized that there were some things missing at the Orphanage Center which she  said it could be great if she helps. She decided to ask friends and family back home if they could give money to a good cause and they all agreed. She collected USD 1015. From this amount of money she bought different things like swings, poles for hanging clothes, she also bought toys, mosquito nets, and various playing stuffs for the orphans.

Children and the staff members at the orphanage are so happy with this kind of donation, it is so amazing that Gerda realized by herself that  they needed something like that without being asked by anyone.

Right now at the Orphanage the Children have good time with all the things donated by Gerda! Projects Abroad is immensely proud of these kinds of volunteers who find themselves being part of the children through providing love and special care, since the number of orphans is big compared to the number of staff members in most of the Orphanages in Tanzania




Children at Ijango Orphanage Center thanking Gerda for her donation



Gerda having fun with a child


Gerda in one of the Care outreach getting some knowledge on how to live with African children


Children after school hours liked to stay with Gerda

Gerda at the Orphanage center playing with a little child

Most of the time Gerda spent playing and teaching the children

Poles for hanging clothes was one of the things which Gerda Donated

Gerda in one of the Medical oureaches as a medical volunteer

Gerda getting some instructions from a proffessional local nurse in a village during medical outreach

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