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The stresses of home

I sprained my wrist cleaning a cupboard. I’m not normally one to clean cupboards but a layer of mould had permeated our house while we were in Australia. 4 days in to our return to Tanzania, I had a stress injury. And I say stress injury, not just because it’s […]

Re-entry stage two

I don’t know if there are stages, but after my initial impressions our real re-orientation began, and learning about a new place too. It’s all mixed in together. Here are ten observations 5 weeks in. We are not as tired this time. During our first year in Tanzania, we were pretty […]

Tanzanian proverbs about keeping on going

Particularly among university students, there is a desire for self-, life-, and nation-improvement. Sometimes that can feel very overwhelming, whether it’s in the pressures of exams or the bigger picture of being one person trying to make a difference in their nation. These proverbs seem particularly relevant. Haba na haba […]

Tanzanian proverbs on relationships

I’ve picked up my book of Tanzanian proverbs again recently, and here are a few about relationships. Damu ni nzito kuliko maji – Blood is heavier than water. This looks like the English proverb ‘Blood is thicker than water’ but it has an extra connotation. On top of the idea […]

Who is an Mswahili? Am I?

This semester I am again studying in the Swahili department at St John’s University where we work. All the lectures are in Swahili so it’s a brilliant exercise for me in listening comprehension, which is appropriate because this time I’m doing a third year course ‘Theory and Traditions of Oral […]

In praise of my lecturer

Earlier this week I shared some of the wonderful things about my Swahili literature course, but my lecturer deserves a post all of her own. Though I was introduced to her on a first name basis (since we are theoretically equals), I quickly began to call her Madam Sanga, as […]