This morning I woke up to the sound of blaring bass. After my usual tea and chapatti breakfast, I decided to follow the music.
I walked down the scruffy dirt road until the music got louder and louder.
Along the road sat a bunch of dukas, little rickety shacks that pass as restaurants, each with its own hand-painted sign describing what they have to eat.
Everyone was shouting his or her sales pitch in Swahili. Women balanced buckets of exposed fish on their heads, baking under the intoxicating sun.
Finally I arrived down a winding path. I stumbled upon large group of locals, dressed in bright blues, yellows and reds dancing their hearts out.
Everyone was huddled between palm trees and mud houses, grinding and swaying to the rhythm of the music.
One thing I really admire about Tanzanians is their love for ‘kucheza’, dancing. Women were bumping and grinding so hard that they were loosing their traditional skirts.
Everyone was celebrating the circumcision of a local boy. This is a sacred tradition for rural people in the southeastern Mtwara region.
Finally, the locals pulled me into the circle. I danced with them to the beat of the drum.
They invited me to eat their local food. With my hands I ate ‘ugali.’ Ugali is their stable food like rice. It is made of flower and water and they usually eat it with ‘marage,’ beans or greens.
These coming months, I have really come to admire the spirit of Tanzanians. Although 68 per cent of Tanzanians live on less than $1.25 a day, they continue to stay in high hopes.
Kids play on the streets with balls made of plastic bags and spare tires and do so with big smiles on their faces. And I have met a lot of families that travel long and far just to make enough money to survive. Despite their struggles, they are always dancing, smiling and laughing. I am definitely going to take their energy back with me when I return to Canada.