Today, our travel plans were delayed by President Barack Obama, who’s been visiting Tanzania – including the Serengeti – for the past few days. We were held in Zanzibar until he departed Dar es Salaam.
It is possible to take a 1.5-hour ferry from Zanzibar to Dar. However, these ferries are often overloaded, and in fact, there’s been a number of deadly ferry accidents. The waters also can be rough, causing passengers to suffer sea sickness.
The Tanzanian government really rolled out the red carpet for President Obama. The road from the airport was plastered with welcome banners, flags, and billboards. And interestingly, the roads along his route were actually clean. Just a week ago, these same roads were littered with piles of trash (see more below). And apparently, the government even installed street signs for the occasion! All this for Obama; shame that they couldn’t do it for their own people.
Now that we’re leaving Africa, some observations:
- People don’t seem to have as many jobs as other countries. Africa has a lot of people going down the street trying to sell you stuff.
- I like that Tanzania has a lot of water and beaches. I liked going swimming.
- There’s a lot of wildlife and tribes in Africa.
- Tanzania is all nice with its beaches and tourist areas, but that’s not really Africa. There is poverty, uneducated children, and unemployed adults.
- I truly consider myself lucky. I have a big room to myself. Some families have to share a space the size of my room. Most don’t have television, food, beds, and many other things that we take for granted everyday.
- The national parks in Tanzania are pristine. I wish that I could say the same for the rest of the country. Wherever you go – city or small village – there’s trash everywhere. It’s in the streets, the rivers… every place. As best as I can discern, there’s no real sanitation collection, or if there is, it’s unreliable. It’s such a shame.
- In the more urban areas, it’s clear that there’s still a very strained relationship between white Africans and black Africans.
We’ve been truly blessed to visit Africa. Now off to the Middle East.