Today was our first full day in Arusha. We began today with a Swahili lesson about greetings and introductions followed by a lecture on the culture and history of Tanzania. Steven Ndosi, our teacher, explained the education system in Tanzania and how, since the end President Nyerere's term, the quality of education in Tanzania has drastically decreased. The poor quality of education has resulted in an increased amount of unemployment as well as alcoholism. The corrupt government has perpetuated poverty by failing to identify and establish markets within Tanzania for raw materials that are harvested within the country. Farmers are made poor by large taxes and low profits from sold goods. Additionally, Steven explained that individuals employees by the government are paid significantly less than privately employed employees. Our lesson ended with a discussion of Tanzania's history beginning under German colonization and ending with a discussion about the newly elected fifth president.
After lunch, we traveled into Arusha and visited two markets. The first was a tourist market lined with stalls of intricate bead work, wood carvings, and brightly colored fabrics. The vendors were extremely persistent on getting our sales, Steven told us earlier in the day that Tanzanians associate Americans with wealth and thus charge them higher prices. The second was a local market with vendors selling clothes, shoes, notebooks, fruits, and vegetables. The traffic within the market was crazy, people and cars were every where. At this market, all of the girls purchased brightly colored fabric, called kangas, to wear as skirts throughout the trip. The busyness of the market was a bit overwhelming but also extremely interesting to observe and a great place to practice the Swahili we had learned.
We are off to bed for another busy day awaits us tomorrow.