We went to Tanzania to explore the possibility of uni student ministry but Tanzania’s a big place with a number of universities so one question we have to ask is ‘Where in Tanzania?’ The two main places we looked at were Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. Both were keen for us to come so it’s really up to us to choose where we want to go. Here’s a table I drew up comparing the two based on our experiences. If you put the mouse over the issue it should highlight the lines that go with it.
|Issue||Dodoma||Dar es Salaam|
At best 6 hour trip from Dar
|On the coast.
Close to airports, easy transport to other centres
|Weather||Dry and hot||Humid and hot|
|Housing||On campus houses – 3 bedroom, small kitchen, concrete floors, very odd plumbing e.g. shower in toilet.||Probably in apartment, small but big enough for a family. The missionaries’ place we saw was nicer than anything we saw in Dodoma – tiled floors, less dust, less run down.|
|Quality of life||Lots of room for kids to run around.
Sometimes run out of water. Can’t drink tap water. Internet / phone goes down regularly.
|Very crowded and busy. Traffic a nightmare.
Lots of convenience – more western dress, transport, fast food, shops, etc. Drinkable water. Phone and internet more reliable.
|Respite||Very little – need to travel a long way.||Movies, beach, restaurants, etc. Easy travel out of the city.|
|Medical help||Clinic but doctor / medication often not available.
Ante-natal clinic but no-one to man it (may change).
|Better access to medications / doctors.
Big hospital but not known for good quality.
|Expat community||Quite a few at St John’s.||Lots of wealthy NGO workers but few missionaries.|
|Language learning||Can be limited because English is the official language at St John’s. Would need to work hard at this.||No choice other than Swahili.|
|Student work opportunities||9 universities; St John’s is open to having us; TAFES keen for us to work there and elsewhere.
Living on campus at St John’s provides lots of opportunities to share our life and home with students. Also, good for juggling student ministry and kids.
|Heaps of opportunities with TAFES.
Would have to live off campus – might limit Tamie’s involvement substantially.
|Strategy||Tanzania’s capital; govt pouring resources into UDom; St John’s known for quality.||Largest student population in Tanzania.|
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.