It all started innocently enough. On Thursday evening the whole team had a lavish dinner at one of Dar es Salaam’s fanciest hotels. I’d never seen that much food in my life. And everything was a delight. I filled my plate with rainbow-coloured vegetables and stir fried seafood. Unable to decide, I went for it all in the drinks section: coconut juice, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and white wine. I’m not proud of this (as a vegetarian), but I even had a bite of excellent succulent lamb from the barbecue. And then I sampled at least five kinds of different desserts. I wasn’t alone in this, all my colleagues enjoyed a similar feast. We all went to sleep full and content.
We are standing on top of a steep hill, looking down on the Ng’iresi village about an hour away from Arusha. Looking ahead, we can see the peak of Mount Meru. Joseph says that on a good day you can see Kilimanjaro.
The ferry from Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, to the archipelago of Zanzibar takes about 2 hours. We choose this mode of transportation over the plane, which is only 15 minutes, but doesn’t allow the pleasure of a slow reflective journey. As non residents we pay 40 USD each for the ferry ticket and we categorically refuse to be ripped off by the ticket officer who sneakily adds 5 USD to each fare.
The prestigious Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) is located in a small town of Morogoro, in the agricultural region approximately 200 km west of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. That’s where I spend a week in late March running a workshop and visiting project partners.
One fine morning I look out of the window of my hotel at the misty Uluguru mountains that the Morogoro area is famous for and that’s when it hits me: I’m visiting a university of agriculture based in the middle of Tanzania’s main food growing region, I work on an agricultural research programme, and yet my practical knowledge of the subject matter is limited to growing carrots in my back garden.
I’ve just checked into a hotel in Morogoro, Tanzania, after a 12-hour journey by plane and 4 hours on the road.
As I pick up my key, my bloodshot eyes catch a sign at reception: zumba class, today at 5 pm. What I REALLY need right now is a hot shower and a comfy bed, but I decide to go and stretch my muscles a bit.