The Expat Life: Mwanza Edition

 Okay, so I’m thinking that now Sunday will have to be my new “Blog Day,” as I never seem to be able to write a post for Thursday which was supposed to be my original posting day. Anyways this past week/weekend was very nice and also quite relaxing. At the beginning of the week, the whole city was celebrating and on break for Eid. On Wednesday, I went to Eid Namaz in the morning, followed by treating myself to some samosas and a cupcake that I got from a small shop across from the masjid (mosque). That day, I also learned that the best way to integrate myself into the crowd and not get noticed as a “Mzungu (foreigner)” is to wear what I usually wear to the mosque: a headscarf, and a full-length black-coloured maxi dress with sleeves. When I came home, Amber and Sara were both very intrigued by the headscarf and wanted to try it on for themselves, and I was happy to show them how to wear it, even though I am not the best at pinning it up. For dinner, I went out with Amber and Sara to Sizzler Point, followed by Salma Cone for ice cream. Side note: Stick to the Indian food at Sizzler Point. Do not try your luck with Chinese food (even though I was able to use my leftovers with added veggies, eggs and rice to make three extra meals that actually were quite tasty).

After another long week of completing translation needs and re-coordinating with Maimuna and Toby in order to get our ethics for our research project hopefully approved, I was very excited for the upcoming weekend. Nareesa and I had made many plans with other expats, while Sara and Amber went out on their Moshi/Mt. Kilimanjaro trip. On Friday night after work, we went to an Expat Trivia Night where I knew the answer to one and only one question. So interesting fact of the day: The real name of Lady Gaga is actually Stephanie Germanotta. Despite not knowing any of the other answers, it was still a fun time and I met some amazing people including Vanessa who has a bright, bubbly and hilarious personality and is someone I get along with quite well. On Saturday, Nareesa and I spent the day shopping in the central market where we both went a little crazy with our thrifting adventures (it’s so cheap, how could we not buy a ton of clothes). We also found a beautiful Hindu Temple, and got a private tour of the grounds by asking the security guards about the building. We also got caught in the rain and for the first time and together we experienced the crazy Mwanza showers which came out of nowhere and had us completely soaked.

Later that night we went on a fun boat cruise on Lake Victoria with some expats working at EQWIP-Hubs, a volunteer program for recent graduates and students that focuses on empowering youth and providing them with the entrepreneurial skills necessary for future career growth and work opportunities. This organization seems really cool and is something I may even consider after graduation, as they have many internships in different countries like Bolivia, Ghana, Indonesia, Senegal, Peru and of course Tanzania from anywhere for a period of a few months to over a year! The more experience I get working and travelling abroad, the more I realize that this is something that I love to do. There’s something exciting about living in a part of the world where everything is new and where you can experience brand new cultures, while also meeting like-minded people that makes living life on-the-go so attractive.

Sunday was another great day, where we and our new friends from EQWIP-Hubs all went to Malika Resort to have fun by the pool and to stuff ourselves with all-you-can-eat food. Looking forward to more adventures in the coming weeks. But right now, it’s time to focus on writing proposals, finding solutions to key challenges and working on other administrative tasks for Mikono Yetu and SAUT University while we continue to wait for ethics approval from NIMR. This week I also plan to finish training Kato and Dada Tekla on our research protocol and begin a separate trial run for another study at Foundation Karibu. Angalia Jumapili ijayo na shukrani kwa kusoma (See you next Sunday and thanks for reading!).

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