I met these lovely ladies when I was back on the mental health ward. They just welcomed me with open arms at Muhimbili. They’re second year nursing students about to go into their third year! The day I went to the methadone clinic they were there as well. We talked for hours and hours and they invited me over to their student hostel after placement.
They made me feel at home and introduced me to all of their friends. We had dance parties and they did my hair. They showed my their rooms and we talked about our family and just life in general. How Africa differs to America. The various tribes they’re in. Even though we come from two different parts of the world we’re still so similar. They made me dinner as well. They invited me back another time and waited for me to get off of work. They made me even more food like maandazi, pilau, and tambi na maharage. Different ladies would make me various things and bring everything together for me to eat. I really love trying Swahili feed and eating it like they do, with your hands. They even bought me sugar cane juice from their mini store downstairs that’s for students.
This dish in particular that Beatrice made was very interesting! It was sweet spaghetti noodles with beans.
I definitely have gone out of my comfort zone so many times here when it comes to food! Luckily, I haven’t gotten sick or anything from things yet!
During our various conversations I learned that they had never had a burger nor pizza. They explained to me that very few people in Tanzania have actually had “white people food.” They said that if you eat “white people food” then you’re doing very good in life and you have a happy life. I tried to explain to them that in America you can get burgers for very cheap. Like on the Dollar Menu. However, they asked how much is $1 USD compared to Tanzanian shillings. $1 USD equated to 3,000 Tanzanian shillings. They said that they could eat three meals with that much money in one day. This kind of took me back and really opened my eyes. I insisted that they let me take them out for burgers, my treat. I just had to introduce them to their first burger experience!
We met up on a Saturday at Salt which is this Western restaurant near Oyster Bay and Coco Beach. It’s the only Western restaurant around and one of the few places that sells burgers. They were in awe at the restaurant! I have never really been put in the position where I’ve had to explain what everyday typical things are. For instance, they’d ask me questions about the menu like what ketchup was or what macaroni and cheese was. It was kind of funny because typically they’re the ones telling me what all of the different things in Tanzania are but now I was able to share a little bit of home with them even though we weren’t in America.
There’s a lot of different and unique types of burgers on the menu. Of course your regular beef burger, chicken burger, salmon burger, etc. They would ask me to explain what each one was and what everything on the menu meant. I ended up asking each of them what they like in Swahili food like if they prefer spicy over sweet, etc. and made my assumptions that way and based that off of how I ordered for them. It was such a fun meal!
We made a toast for them almost being done with the semester. The school year is switched here. They’re about to have summer whereas in America summer is ending.
After lunch we went to Coco Beach and strolled along the shore and I took them to the cliffs. My friend there, who’s a lifeguard, walked with us to the cliffs. It was just so much fun relaxing with them. It was also nice having them there because they were able to translate what everyone was saying to me.
This is definitely an experience that made me very honored and humbled and a memory that I’ll always cherish.