Friday, February 3, 2012

Zulu Belly!!

Let's Speak Frankly

I happen to have a very sensitive stomach.  Even when I travel from state to state, I get 'issues'.
Zulu Belly, dude?

So I have to be extra careful when I travel abroad.  Here are some tried and true methods that I use for Tanzania:

  • Pack Pepto bismol  or your favorite stomach remedy.  The minute I get the rumbles, I start chugging it like water.
  • Pack a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide.  This is useful when you need to rinse an irresistible piece of tropical fruit you just have to have (this is actually Dr. Oyengo's tip)
  • Stay away from any foods that are not cooked. Unfortunately,  you might have to do without fresh fruits and veggies during this trip.  The food in the hotel restaurants were we stay in Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar should be ok.  However, when ordering food away from there, try to stay with cooked food
  • Carry hand sanitizer (I pack several travel size bottles) and use it before you put anything in your mouth.  You will find hand sanitizer in spray form, gel, and even wet wipes.
  • Drink only bottled water.  Please do not plan to drink any of the local water or anything washed in the local water.
  • Do not over eat.  Especially foods that you have never eaten matter how delicious.  One never knows how your stomach will react.
  • Do not sample any street food unless you are tired of living.  You seriously do not want to spend the few days that we are in TZ, camped in the bathroom or a typical TZ squatter!!
Squat Toilet (Squatters).  Clean...but...uhm complicated.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet Our Host in Dar Es Salaam

This is a very exciting trip! The object of which is three fold. First, to survey a few of Tanzania's many investment possibilities.  Second is to visit the Flood Garden program in Tanzania to see if and how you might want to help and third, is to experience the exotic beauty of Africa and African people.

In regard to poverty, many ask why many African countries remain under developed considering that Africa has some of the most lucrative natural resources world wide.  "Why don't the African people just take matters in their own hands and get out of poverty?"  These are questions that I hope will be answered for you in your visit to Tanzania.

However, there is a new wave of Africans working toward creating better opportunities for their people.  On this trip, we will meet people who are excited about working to help Africans become more prosperous.  I would love for you to meet our Tanzania connection and your new friends:

In Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar

Dr. David Oyengo M.D
At over 7 feet tall, Dr. Oyengo received is secondary education in Germany and Russia.  He studied pre-med in Manchester and acquired his medical degree in Orthopedic Medicine in Russia.  He practiced there and in Berlin and also did free lance work with Doctors Without Borders.

He then worked as a medical consultant for the government of Niger, practiced medicine in Congo and Kenya and was an embedded medic in Rwanda during the war.

In the business world, Dr. Oyengo represented Compact Computers, a technology company from Singapore in Eastern Europe.  He also co-founded Swan Development LLC with Mr. Myles Pennington JD to do water projects and charity medicine in Equatorial Guinea.

Currently in Tanzania, as well as medical charity, he is the Vice President of Royal Mining, a company specializing in the exploration of gold and copper mining. His position as a business man has earned him high connections in the Tanzanian government officials.  He is gracious enough to give us access to his influential network and knowledge of doing business in Tanzania

He will be meeting us at the airport in Dar es Salaam and act our host, translator and guide until we leave for Arusha.

For more information, contact Dr. David Oyengo at

I will tell you more about David Gido, our host in Arusha and the rest of the team in another post

Friday, January 27, 2012

Swahili Flash Card

Want to learn a few works of Swahili before we travel?  Here is a quick way of learning enough to at least greet and thank people.


I love to use the website  It is simply a flash card website but it is pretty amazing.  I created a short flash card set with elementary Swahili.

You can advance the cards by using the left and right arrows.
You can have quizlet read the cards for you.
Then go to the Study: section where you can use the Speller, Learn and Test tabs to check your knowledge.
The best part is that you can find an entire Chapters of Swahili vocab flash cards by doing a quick search in quizlet.
An even better part is that you can create your own flash cards for whatever you are studying, share your flash card sets with you classmates and interested parties world wide, and discuss your cards with them....Great stuff!!!


Power Adapter (converter)

Yes you need to bring a power adapter!!

The Tanzania plug socket looks like the plug on the picture below:
Tanzania plug socket

Walmart carries an inexpensive Universal Power converter that looks like the one in the picture below.  You may want to bring a small power strip as well so that you can plug several things with one power converter.
Universal Power Adapter

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Books to Read Before You Travel

If you are an avid reader, here are some great reads (from the Lonely Planets coffers) and books that will put you in the know and in the mood for our trips to Tanzania.

A really good book with the power to start an intense debate is Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is a Pulitzer and reading it or even watching the documentary on Netflix or youtube, will have you looking at people in underdeveloped countries with a ton more sympathy.  It prompts you to debate questions like  why is the per capita income of Tanzania ($500/year) when people make 100 times more in the US?  or why did some countries develop faster than others?
If you do not have the time to read the book, consider watching the documentary with a friend because it will have you debating for hours.
I personally really liked this book because it totally redefined my preconceptions of poverty and poor nations. I have referenced it many time to my students in my World History and Global Studies classes.

If you are an avid reader, here are some great reads (from the Lonely Planets coffers) and books that will put you in the know and in the mood for our trips to Tanzania.

Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain
 by Mitsuaki Iwago, is a photographic documentary of the rhythms of nature on the Serengeti plains.

The Tree Where Men was Born
by Peter Matthiessen
This book offers a timeless portrayal of life on the East African plains.

The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior -- An Autobiography
by Tepilit Ole Saitoti is a fascinating glimpse into Maasai life and culture.

Zanzibari Abdulrazak Gurnah brings WWI-era East Africa to life in his evocative coming-of-age story

The Gunny Sack

Tanzanian-bred MG Vassanji explores Tanzania’s rich ethnic mix through several generations of an immigrant Indian family.

Into Africa -- The Epic Adventure of Stanley and Livingstone
by Martin Dugard is an adventurous and fast-reading account focused around the life and times of the renowned explorer and missionary.

Register your Travel Plans with the State Dept.

Enroll in the SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) to make sure 'big brother' knows where you are.  It only takes a few minutes to register to receive the latest travel updates and information before during and after our trip.
When you sign up, you will automatically receive the most current information they compile about Tanzania.  You will also receive updates, including Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts (where appropriate).  You only need to sign up once, and then you can add and delete trips from your account based on your current travel plans!

Stay Connected.

By connecting with us on the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, they will be able to assist you better in the case of an emergency, such as if you lose your passport or it is stolen while you are abroad.
They also assist U.S. citizens in other emergencies, such as in natural disasters.  
The travel and contact information you enter into the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program will make it easier for consular officers in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to contact you and your loved ones during an emergency —including situations where your family or friends in the U.S. are having problems trying to contact you with important news.

Follow the link below to enroll

Note: In Tanzania, the government there seems to do the least possible for many of its will see what I mean when you arrive.  So I am so geeked to live in a country where there is a service that helps me know that someone has my back no matter where in the world I go (with in reason...I am sure). 
 Ok, ok, I just became a citizen 3 years ago so I am still jazzed about things like this!!!

Visa to Tanzania

Tanzanian Visa
Yes we need a visa to enter Tanzania
Immediately after entering the Dar, we will need to purchase our visas.
The current fee for a visa is $100 for a 12-month multiple-entry tourist visa.  It is important that you pay in cash to expedite the process and cut down wait time for the group.

At the immigration window will be asked why you are entering Tanzania.  Please inform any who ask that you are there for BUSINESS purposes and not for volunteering.  For some reason, they have issues with volunteers and it is more difficult to enter the country under that premise. 

We will be there on business so the process should be pretty simple.

You can also opt to get your visa here in the USA.  You can simply send it to the Tanzanian Embassy and follow the instructions offered on their website.  There is a 3 day rush ($20) turn over but expect to wait as long as 7 to 10 days to get your passport back.  You will need to pay for the visa as well as the processing free and postage.