IHP Rethinking Food Security Spring 2017 – Tanzania

Greetings from Tanzania! As our time here comes to a close, we’d like to share a bit of what we’ve been up to in this beautiful country.

IMG-20170214-WA0016The People We are a group of 18 students coming from a variety of academic backgrounds, such as economics, sociology, environmental studies, agriculture, and international relations.  We are lucky to be accompanied by two amazing faculty members: Katie, who teaches our Economics and Political Science classes, and Jessie, our Trustees Fellow, who does everything from providing emotional support to facilitating community building sessions. As we eat, travel, and learn together, our group of 20 quickly became a close-knit community.

IMG_1842The Places After completing our two-week launch in Berkeley, California, we arrived in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Here we began building off themes we explored in Berkeley, some of which included the influences of climate change, government policy, and the recurring connections to and between colonialism and capitalism. These themes were especially apparent when we visited a small fishing village and a large fish market in Dar es Salaam. After about a week, we moved inland to the small city of Morogoro, where we stayed for a few days before heading up to the Uluguru Mountains, where we spent two nights in Mgeta. Mgeta is a unique community comprised of smallholder farmers who grow a diverse range of crops on steep hillside terraces and raise animals such as dairy goats, pigs, and chickens. After experiencing breathtaking views on our way back down to Morogoro, we were welcomed by our first homestay families. We spent ten days with our new hosts (our longest stay in one place), which allowed us to become quite familiar with the city. While in Morogoro we studied at Sokoine University of Agriculture, an influential and well-known university in Tanzania. After packing our bags and saying goodbye to our homestay families, we embarked on a 15-hour bus ride up to Arusha, our final destination. After spending a night in a hotel in town, we traveled north to the Ngorogoro Crater, where we went on a safari and spent two nights camping at a Maasai boma. We then returned to Arusha, where we met our second homestay families and visited a number of NGO’s that provide services for farmers.

IMG_1846The “Classroom” Throughout our stay in Tanzania, our classrooms have been unconventional. Beachside in Dar es Salaam, we learned about how coastal livelihoods have been effecting and effected by climate change. As monkeys jumped through trees above our heads, we learned Swahili words and phrases from one of our country coordinators. Under the shade of few trees at the Maasai boma, we learned about controversial conservation efforts that have displaced many indigenous groups, including the Maasai, who used to be able to graze their cattle in the Ngorogoro Crater. A number of lectures were also held at Sokoine University. Within these classes, we dove into a range of topics that span all aspects of food security, including both large and small-scale agricultural practices, government policies and programs, Tanzanian food culture, and the lasting impacts of British and German colonial rule. These classes were taught by individuals representing a variety of different perspectives, which challenged both our own views and the views of people around us.

IMG-20170207-WA0029Beyond the Classroom The beauty of an experiential based learning program is that learning really never stops. When we parted ways at the end of the day, our welcoming homestay families gave us in-depth and personal perspectives on concepts we were learning in the classroom. In Morogoro, we spent two free days with our families, learning how to cook traditional Tanzanian dishes, going to markets, and swimming at nearby hotels. In Arusha, although our time was short, our families were equally as kind, sharing meaningful conversations over delicious meals.

With temperatures in the 90’s, you can be sure that we never missed an opportunity to swim in the Indian Ocean or sit around together in the shade, enjoying the best mangos we’ve ever tasted. We’ve also loved exploring local landmarks. For example, on a free afternoon in Morogoro, we wandered around Saba Saba—a busy outdoor market held on Sundays.

IMG-20170214-WA0008The Future Throughout our stay in Tanzania, we were fortunate to have a team of extremely knowledgeable and caring country coordinators, who organized our lecturers, guest speakers, site visits, and homestays, making this special program run smoothly. While we will miss them dearly, we are excited to meet our new country coordinator, Sonal, in India. Now we’re off to Kilimanjaro Airport, where we’ll begin our journey to Gujarat. Kwaheri! (Goodbye in Swahili)


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