Binti Blog #2: Tanzania vs. Canada

Having been in Tanzania for three weeks, we’ve come to realized many differences between here and Canada.  There are a couple of similarities, but the differences are much more numerous.  We love it both here and in Canada but there are things that could be better about each country.  The following points are the biggest differences between Tanzania and Canada that we’ve seen.
In our opinion the people here dress much more uniquely than in Canada.  The men dress more like westerners but the women are the ones with the very striking clothing.  There’s a huge variety of Kitenges and Kangas which are two different types of big beautifully patterned fabric that women wrap around themselves in many different ways. A Kanga is a cheaper, plainer fabric that they use to travel in and to use as a simple wrap.  A Kitenge on the other hand, is a more expensive fabric that is multi-coloured, has more original patterns and is what they make clothes out of. Many women also use it to wrap around themselves as a skirt or dress. The things they can do with an unstructured piece of cloth are amazing.  One of the things we like about the clothing here is that you can go out, choose a Kitenge that you like, and have especially tailored outfit made the way you want it that no one else can have.  You don’t often see people showing a lot of skin here.  People here usually wear clothes that cover their shoulders and knees because a large number of Tanzanians are Muslims.
            From our experience, transportation here is unpredictable, uncomfortable and most of the time unorganized. The main form of transportation that we’ve used is called dalla dallas that are minivan type things used in the more rural areas. They are the African equivalent of buses.  You can normally count on them crammed with way over 25 people  when there are actually only 20 seats.  The best dalla dalla to get onto is one with a  people inside because you know it’s leaving soon, but you get the luxury of having a seat.  If you ever have to stand in a dalla dalla,you’re squished in between sweaty bodies; reaching over heads to find a handhold so you won’t fall over and completely crouched over so you don’t hit the ceiling.  But it’s really not that bad and you get used to it after awhile. It becomes rather enjoyable watching the commotion of the bus and the scenery passes you by.  By the end of the ride you often can’t find your own feet, but you’ll have met a new person and will have a new story to share.
            In Canada,education is taken for granted.  It’s just a part of your life and for the most part you don’t have to go through much trouble to get it.  In Tanzania, along with many other countries in the world, it’s a completely different story. .  An education here is one of the most valuable things you can have.  With an education comes a good job hopefully, a better source of income and a more comfortable way of life. The main reason we come here is to support kids and orphans with families that don’t have enough money to pay for tuition. Only a small portion of kids here have the luxury of going to school. It starts with primary school where there’s no real tuition but you have to pay for lunch, school supplies and uniforms which can be a lot for many families. After seven years of Primary,Secondary comes along with tuition ranging from 100,000 to over 1,000,000 shillings.  How is it expected that 89%of the population that lives on 2$ a day will pay that much for their children to go to school? We found that the kids are so much more eager to go to schoo land learn here, than in Canada.  They want to learn and do well in school because they know if they don’t their life will be more difficult.  After seeing the reality of how important education is, we think that we’ll go back to school a bit more grateful.
            The differences between Tanzania and Canada are vast, but over all people are just people and like everyone else around the world; they just want a better life for themselves for themselves and their kids.  We hope that in the near future,the government will take control of the situation and will pay for school so every child will have an opportunity to get an education.

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