Jambo means “hello” in Swahili and I hear it all day long in Tanzania because Tanzania is such a friendly place. Part of East Africa, Tanzania is famous for its animal parks, Mount Kilimanjaro (“Kili”) and the Olduvai Gorge. It was called “Tanganyika” until after the English colonists pulled out in 1961, and is home to more than 100 tribes that live peacefully in part because of deliberate government policies. Swahili is the national language and, fortunately for me, English is commonly spoken. The people I have met here are full of joy and warmth in spite of the difficult lives most of them lead.
I came to Tanzania to join a safari. Mine, like most, began and ended in the city of Arusha. Arusha has a population of more than 400,000 but feels small and easy. My driver yells “asante Baba!” (thanks daddy!) to a driver who lets him pass. The children giggle and wave when they walk by. When I walk through town with my hotel manager, a dozen young men greet him like a brother.
The Masai, one of Tanzania’s biggest tribes, live throughout the countryside in villages called “boma.” The Masai measure their wealth by the number of cattle they own and live on a diet of mostly meat, raw blood and milk. They are polygamous. We visited one of the Masai communities and learned a little about how they live.
When we arrived, the warriors and women lined up opposite each other and sang a song in perfect harmony.
Tanzania is a place where “karibu” — you are welcome.