Great lakes consortium for international training and developme
GREAT LAKES CONSORTIUM FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT SOME IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TRAVEL IN TANZANIA EAST AFRICA TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION
Tanzania is a vast country filled with beauty and wonderful hospitable people. It is also a very poor country with a GDP of less then 65 cents per day per person. You will witness the depth of their poverty while you are visiting with them. While they are currently a very poor developing country, there are many things which you will be able to share with them, and they will have things to share with you.
Tanzania is a country of peace, and has been since her independence in the early 1960s. The people pride themselves on being the peacemakers for the East African regional countries, most of which have had difficulties and conflicts over the years.
Every precaution will be taken for your safety, comfort, and good health while you are on this trip to Tanzania. However, common Western infrastructures which we have become accustomed to are scarce in Tanzania. This sometimes causes travel in Tanzania to become rigorous. Your delegation leader is a resident of Tanzania, is very experienced in this country, understands safety and security issues there, has many in-country contacts, knows how to get around the country, and is aware about what is going on there. He has made every effort for traveling on the better roads which are safe for travel, and staying in the best and safest hotels possible.
From time to time there may be issues concerning health or safety concern issues as we are traveling in Tanzania. Whenever possible the delegation leader will inform the group of the reasons for decisions concerning health and safety issues. If the circumstances dictate that reasons for some particular action cannot be provided publicly, then they will be provided at a later time in private.
General information will be given to everyone concerning healthy eating prior to leaving for Tanzania. Everyone will be expected to know and understand how to eat to stay healthy. The delegation leader typically does not tell the group what to eat while we are in-country.
A daily itinerary will be provided to everyone and will be discussed every day to make certain that everyone knows the program for that day. Additional items might be added to the itinerary according to what serendipity might make available to us while we are there. In addition, some itinerary items may not be possible to do because of time constraints
I spend a great deal of my time in different parts of Tanzania, so if during the course of the trip you have questions about what you are witnessing or about their culture (understanding
that no one except a Tanzanian really knows their culture fully) please do not hesitate to ask me. I will try to have an answer, get an answer, or tell you that I don’t know.
If any of you would like to do something special while we are there and after we are finished with the business portion, please tell me as soon as possible so that I can assist you in this. I can most probably make arrangements for these kinds of requests, if possible and time allows.
The first priority on what is done and where we go while we are in Tanzania will always be given to the GLC working itinerary and the goals of the delegation. The delegation leader will continually be attempting to keep us on target to this itinerary. Please keep a good nature about yourselves as the delegation leader goes about this difficult task.
If anyone of you has any personal concerns or wish to discuss any of the items in this document, please do not hesitate to contact me at once. My job on this trip is to make certain that you are introduced to my wonderful friends in Tanzania East Africa, that you are introduced to some of the potentials which are available in Tanzania, that we all meet the goals and objectives which have been agreed upon by the GLC and their funding agencies, and above all to make certain that this trip is safe and as comfortable as possible for you.
Please be flexible and realize that while in Tanzania two personal characteristics are essential to an enjoyable trip for all; 1) a good sense of humor, and 2) a capacity to go with the flow. If it is difficult to accept some of the inconveniences you might encounter, remember, you’ll only be there for a short while… Tanzanians live with their conditions for a lifetime.
Relax and enjoy the beauty of the Tanzanian people, keep a good sense of humor, experience a different culture; find ways that you can assist them in their difficulties;….but be cognizant at all times that you’re not in the U.S.
I hope that you enjoy my world of East Africa. HEALTH ISSUES
Please do not become overly concerned about health and safety while you are on this trip. You will have plenty of information in this document to inform you of what you should be doing to protect your health while traveling in Tanzania.
It will be your responsibility at all times to inform the delegation leader of any personal health, safety, or comfort special needs prior to and during this trip. He will do his best to accommodate your special requests.
The Center for Disease Control has some advice for travel in East Africa. These include:
1) Malaria is a preventable infection. You must be safeguarded during and after the trip by taking prescription anti-malarial drugs and protecting yourself against mosquito bites, especially during the night-time hours. You should take one of the following anti-malarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam), doxycycline, or Malorone. Please seek the advice of your physician on the type of anti-malarial medication you should take. It is important that you tell your physician that there are anti-malarial prescription drugs prescribed in the U.S. which have become immune in East Africa. The most prescribed drug for East Africa is mefloquine (Lariam) but some people do not tolerate this very well. Make certain that you begin taking your anti-malarial medications at least one or two weeks prior to arrival in Tanzania, during your stay, and probably the most important procedure is to make certain that you continue after returning to the U.S for the prescribed period of time, typically four weeks. Malaria carrying mosquito’s bite at night, thus, in areas where malaria is prevalent always make certain that you’re bed-net is tightly secured on your bed at night. If you don’t have a bed net then make certain that the windows are screened properly and the room has been sprayed for mosquitoes. When your room is air-conditioned or you are somewhere which is cool, there will be few mosquitoes, thus there will be no need for a bed net.
2) A certificate of yellow fever vaccine is required for entry into Tanzania if you are arriving into Tanzania from a yellow fever infected area. Since you will be traveling from the USA to Amsterdam then on to Tanzania without any intervening stops, you will probably not be required to have a yellow fever vaccination. Yellow Fever vaccine is only administered at certain licensed locations. If you are immunized for yellow fever you should make certain that your physician provides this information on an International Certificate of Vaccinations.
3) You must see your physician at least four to six weeks before departing for Tanzania to allow time for the inoculations to take effect. Recommended inoculations, subject to your physician’s approval, are: Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal (meningitis), Typhoid, boosters for tetanus and polio as needed, in addition to any others which your physician might recommend.
The above are suggestions only, you should seek out and take the advice of your physician as to what inoculations are prescribed and needed.
Wash your hands with soap and water often, or use a hand sanitizer such as Purell.
Don’t handle animals, especially baboons, dogs, and cats. Rabies is present in many of the animals, even house pets. Most people do not vaccinate their animals. Typically when you come across a dog it will not be a pet, rather it will most probably be a guard dog, and quite likely it will be vicious.
You should bring along common discomfort medications, e.g., aspirin, Pepto Bismol, Iomodium, prescription medications such as Cipro, etc. Remember, HIV/AIDS unfortunately is pandemic in Tanzania so try desperately not to cut or puncture your skin. If this happens then treat it properly and quickly.
Medical facilities are typically very primitive when compared to U. S. standards. If you encounter a medical concern during this trip it will be imperative for you to inform the delegation leader as early as possible in order to arrange for transportation to a more modern medical facility, which may be hours away.
You are strongly advised to check with your medical insurance company to determine whether they will cover you in a foreign country. Doctors and hospitals in Tanzania will typically not accept insurance coverage as payment. Medical care in Tanzania is very cheap when compared to US medical rates; but the typical service rendered is far below our standars.
To avoid parasitic infections, do not go barefoot (sandals are generally all right) and never swim or wash in freshwater ponds, streams, or other outdoor water sources. If you want to swim typically salt water, such as in the Indian Ocean at coastal cities, is safer, however, beware of any sewage tainted area, especially in the Dar es Salaam area. Several of the hotels which we might stay at will have pools where you may swim.
Please inform the delegation leader in advance of the trip of any existing medical problems you may have, so he is not surprised and can make special plans if necessary.
HIV/AIDS unfortunately is pandemic in Tanzania, as it is in most all of Africa. Never have sexual contact or any other contact where body fluids can be exchanged with anyone there. EATING AND DRINKING
The most common discomfort among travelers to Tanzania is sickness from food and water and typically many delegation members get ill. This is easily prevented by following a few suggestions.
The key words to remember when eating are - boil it, cook it, peel it,…. Or forget it!
Drink only bottled or boiled water. The delegation leader will try to always have bottled water available for you during this trip. If you need bottled water quickly the hotel bar will have water available. You can shower or wash in tap water, but always brush your teeth using bottled water. Never drink tap water, use a drinking fountain, or use ice cubes in your drinks (you do not know if they used purified water or not).
Carbonated drinks, beer, and wine (in moderation) are typically safe to drink. Drinking a beer or a glass of wine is pleasant and relaxing in the heat of Africa; however, please do not drink any more then one or two beers or wine during an evening. Drinking immoderately will not be tolerated while you are a delegation member.
Eat only thoroughly cooked food. Do not purchase fast food from street vendors and hawkers no matter how good it appears. Fruits which you peel yourself are typically good to eat in addition to being tasty. Please do not ask the delegation leader if food or water is safe while Tanzanians are present or within earshot (The delegation leader will ignore these kinds of comments which of course are rude to Tanzanians).
Do not eat dairy products unless you know it has been pasteurized and processed, skip the milk in your coffee and tea.
Even though a salad looks delicious…. Remember…. That salad is most probably uncooked vegetables and probably the lettuce was washed in tap water. Most people get sick from eating salads. TIME OF DAY
Clock times in Tanzania are 7 or 8 hours ahead of EST (according to the time of year).
Times can also be confusing when talking to a Tanzanian. Tanzanians begin the day with 12:00 being sunrise (our 6:00 a.m.), 1:00 being our 7:00 a.m., and 11:00 being our 5:00 p.m.
etc. Being close to the equator their clock begins each day at sunrise and ends at sunset, which is almost the same time each day. They typically convert times to our time when talking to us, but if the time doesn’t make sense ask them if they are telling you in U. S. time or Swahili time. They will most probably laugh and convert the time stated to U.S. time. WEATHER AND CLOTHING
The weather is different from NW Ohio. Tanga and Dar es Salaam are on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The temperatures there are typically always between 80 and 90 degrees F during the day and between 70 and 80 during the nighttime. Being coastal cities they are most always humid. There is light rain sometimes during many mornings, and many times there is heavy rain during the daytime and evening. Sea breezes are common in Tanga, especially during the evening hours. Air conditioning is available in the hotels where we stay
Arusha is typically a little cooler because of being at a higher elevation. Temperatures during the day are around 70 to 80 degrees, and nighttime can become cooler and sometimes drops down to 50 degrees. Air conditioning will probably not be available in the rooms at Arusha since it’s not needed there. Fans can be made available if your room is too hot. The desk clerk can arrange for these comfort items. You might also ask the desk clerk to spray your room for mosquitoes, if you wish this done.
Tanzania has a tropical climate. The Dodoma Region is on the high central plateau and it is semi-arid, with hot sunny days and cool nights. Dodoma Town is situated about 1,000 meters above sea level, Tanga and Dar es Salaam is at sea level. Arusha is about 1,500 meters above sea level (Mt. Kilimanjaro is very close to Arusha).
Between May and October, temperatures in Dodoma range from between 70 and 80 degrees F during the day and from 50 to 60 degrees F at night. The temperatures from November through March range between 80 and 90 degrees F during the day and between 60 and 70 during the nighttime. The “short rains” are between the months of late October and January, and the “long rains” are between the months of February and April.
The emphasis of clothing is that it should be comfortable. For ladies, light easy to wash drip-dry blouses, light Ike jackets, light dresses or slacks are very suitable. For men, drip-dry casual shirts, docker type trousers and light jackets are ideal. For meetings and workshops the GLC wants the delegation to dress professionally (however you define that.)
Everyone should have a brimmed hat or ball cap for protection against the bright sun and dust. Comfortable shoes are a necessity and sandals are all right most of the time. It would be good to bring a small umbrella since there may be rain some of the time.
Some prefer to bring along sun glasses, insect repellent, and suntan lotion.
Laundry facilities are available in all of the hotels where we’ll stay and the charges are reasonable. You will probably never need more then 3 or 4 days of clean clothing. Thus, it is not necessary to bring along supplies of clean clothing for the entire trip. Please do not ask at a hotel for laundry service on holidays or Sundays, the prices double and triple on these days.
Washing your own clothing is not recommended. When you use local laundry facilities the laundry will iron all the clothing. This is to ensure that there are no parasites brought to the clothing from the wash water.
To prevent insect borne diseases such as malaria, limit short sleeve shirts to day time and before 9:00 p.m. and I would advise against wearing shorts. ELECTRICITY, INTERNET, AND TELEPHONE
Electricity is not as stable as it is in the US. If you are going to be out at night you should have a flashlight in your pocket or purse so make certain that you bring one along with you on the trip. Electricity does go out at times and brownouts are rather common at times, so you should always have a flashlight close at hand or be able to find one in total darkness.
Battery operated appliances work the best, e.g., razors, toothbrushes, etc. Remember, the voltage in Tanzania is 240V at 50 Hz so few of our appliances will work (I fried a razor rather quickly there). If you have a voltage converter you will be able to use some small appliances. Receptacle plugs have flat contacts on a three pronged plug, thus you will need an adapter plug for Africa (the same as a British adapter) in order to plug anything into a wall receptacle.
Land-line telephone service is not good in Tanzania and you will probably have difficulty calling the U.S. They will be sleeping while we’re awake. The best method of communications, and typically the only way, with people in the U.S. is via e-mail at an Internet Café. Internet Café’s are plentiful and we will see that you get to an Internet Café periodically.
You should make certain that you know how to connect to your Internet Service Provider so that you can retrieve your e-mail while you are there. Typically this is via a web based e-mail service that your provider will have available. Don’t wait until you get to Tanzania to try to find out how to access your e-mail, you probably will not be able to find this out while you are there.
Cell phone service is not quite as reliable as it is in the U. S. There will be a cell phone available in case you need to make an emergency telephone call. If you have people in the U.S. who may need to contact you for emergencies the cell phone number is (dialing from the US) 011 255 754 069741 If you must call the U.S. you will need to purchase a phone card and use cell phone. It will cost a minimum of $15 to $20 to make a telephone call to the US from a Tanzania cell phone, and that would be about a 15 minute phone call. GETTING AROUND AND SECURITY
A mini-bus will be available for transportation when needed. The driver of this mini-bus speaks very good English.
There are very few lights at night, thus, you should always carry a flashlight with you, especially when you know you will be out at night. Walking alone at night in areas unknown to you is discouraged and can be dangerous. Mzungu (white people) are thought to have a lot of money, thus are easy targets for thieves.
There are places where it is not safe to go. Trust the delegation leader’s judgment in this matter. Do not go anywhere at any time without the knowledge of the delegation leader. If there are special places where you want to go which are not on the itinerary, please contact the delegation leader and he will make every effort to help you make arrangements to visit unplanned places, if it is at all possible.
Never take the mini-bus on your own without the delegation leader’s knowledge and consent.
The driver will be acting as a security person and will be with us at all times. The driver can also be used by the delegation for small tasks and for translation duties. The delegation leader must always be the only person to direct the use of this security person in order to ensure that the group is not left without security. This security person will be instructed to not take you anywhere without his knowledge and verbal consent, and he will most probably be dismissed from our service if he ignores this instruction.
We most probably will be at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam sometime during the trip. Remember, this is an embassy, albeit not in the same location, which along with the Kenyan embassy was attacked by Al Quida with an automobile bomb killing many people. The security at the U.S. Embassy is serious and they don’t deal with tomfoolery well. You will not be able to bring a camera or briefcase into the embassy building. Don’t try to get away with anything not proper and smile a lot because a U.S. Marine guard will be watching you from a camera. You delegation leader is a former Marine and he can vouch for the training of these U.S. Marine Corps embassy guards.
There are no restrictions on the amount of money one brings into or leaves Tanzania with. The local currency is called Tanzanian Shillings or T Shillings. Sometimes it is identified as TSH or with the symbol /=. The rate of exchange varies daily, but at the current time it is hovering around 1,300 /= per $1. Take with you the new $100 bills only (that is those with the large head on them which were issued after 2001 and that are without writing on them or torn) for converting into T Shillings. Denominations that are less then $100 are discounted significantly. Dollars can be converted to TSH in all banks and at a Bureaux de Change. Banks will be located close to the downtown areas in Dar es Salam, Tanga, and Arusha. There are also Bureaux de Changes located at the airport. Most banks and Bureaux de Change locations publish the rate of exchange on boards outside their building entrances. Visa/Mastercard is rarely accepted, and Travelers checks are viewed with suspicion, and are discounted significantly.
Only Tanzanians who are in tourist areas have been infected with tipping. In most places if you wish to tip a waiter or bartender, a very small tip of 100 or 200 TSH is very adequate (this would be 10 to 20 cents), but it is not necessary. Our safari drivers and guides who have done a good job will enjoy a tip of perhaps $5 or $10 per day/person, and if you enjoyed your safari you should provide this tip. In tipping the rule is - don’t ruin them and keep it small.
When you arrive at the airport you will have an opportunity to change some money into Tanzanian Shillings. Change at least $100 for your personal use.
When you leave Tanzania make certain that you exchange all your Tanzanian Shillings back into US Currency. You will typically not be able to do that anywhere except in Tanzania. LANGUAGE
The official common language of Tanzania is Kiswahili, and some people know English. Kiswahili is taught in the primary schools, English is taught in secondary schools, and English is the teaching median in colleges and universities. Most people who work for the government can speak English.
There are approximately 125 tribes in Tanzania, thus, there are also 125 different indigenous languages or “mother tongues.”
You will generally be able to get around Tanzania using English, as long as you use very simple English sentences. You should try to learn a few phrases of greetings, thank you (ashante sana), welcome (karibu sana), good night (salaama, la la salaama), good morning (habari asubou) etc. They will know you are interested in them and they enjoy people trying out their language. You might find a small Swahili phrase book very useful.
When you talk to them, remember English is their third language, thus, unless the person has been in the U. S. extensively, they don’t fully understand all of our language. Because of this do not use jargon, slang, complex terms, humor, or talk fast.
If you are making a presentation at a workshop, then use the English that a newspaper would use, i.e. to the 5th grade level and in short paragraphs.
If you ask a question and they respond yes, it does not mean they agree, rather it means they heard you. If the response is important and they have responded “yes”, you should reply phrasing the question in another manner to make certain it is a “yes,” e.g., “Would you like some beer?” If their response is - “yes.” Then you might reply with - “Oh, you drink beer.”
If you are the kind of conversationalist who when asked what time it is, you tell the person how to build a watch; please refrain from that while you are there. I have seen people engage persons in one-sided conversations there going on and on about something, with the listener being kind and trying to be an intent listener. Save both some time…. Keep your talking very, very simple and short, probably at a fifth grade level.
This is not indicative of their intelligence level; rather it is only considering their level of English language knowledge.
You will most probably receive some requests for assistance. Tanzanian culture does not frown on asking someone who has “things” for anything you might have, or for money. My own rule concerning a money request is that I will not fully contribute to anything, and then only when I’m certain that I know what it is to go for. If you don’t want to become involved and unless you are willing to personally pay for it all yourself, then you must say No. Do not say perhaps, maybe, or I’ll think about it. All these responses are heard as Yes, and your response will become a promise from you to do whatever was requested, and they will try to hold you to it later. When you mean no, say no very plainly. In their culture, when asking for something No is quite acceptable to them and they do not look upon you with disfavor when you do say no.
If there is anything that you think they might enjoy or find useful, and you ask them if they would like to have that, their answer will always be yes, and you will be expected to provide the total support and cost for using whatever it is. Try to ask them in other ways if you really wish to provide them with something so that you will know if it will really be useful, e.g., ask how would you use this?
I have been asked many times for electric guitars in places where there is no electricity. When I reminded them of this fact they have told me; of course you will provide us with a generator also (never mind that they didn’t have enough money to purchase fuel for the generator either.) The point is, be cautious when offering anything and don’t offer anything unless you personally can see that it’s done. Don’t say something is a good idea, unless you ar ersonally w
illing to pay for the cost; if you aren’t willing to pay the cost then tell them
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may not be totally aware of all the costs involved in what is requested. Don’t assume that it is the same as providing a gift in the U. S. For example, a city in Ohio has agreed to send a fire truck to Tanga. They took into account that it would involve some shipping costs which they thought they could try to arrange for some free shipping through the U. S. government. However, they did not consider that they would need to hire a shipping agent to handle the customs work needed to enter the country, provide for the storage costs while the truck was being cleared, and then transportation cost to get the truck to Tanga. These costs are all very expensive in Tanzania. All in all, the total cost could have been much more then the value of the truck.
Other examples are, when someone asks for sponsorship for higher education, the total cost must include airfare, medical insurance, books, tuition, room and board, and some pocket money. Even when a university offers free tuition, it typically doesn’t involve these other
costs. It would be easy for us to say that they need to provide everything except tuition, but the reality is that it is many times impossible for someone with an annual income of $265 (sometimes the price for one course’s textbooks) to pay for these things.
The point in all this is, 1) you will most probably be confronted sometime during your visit with a request for assistance; 2) it is very difficult for us to say no outright to people, especially as we are standing with our feet in their dire poverty; 3) be cautious when offering anything and in what you are saying when people are talking about what is needed there; and 4) unless you’re personally willing to pay for the entire cost - say no very plainly, succinctly, and straight-forwardly. TANZANIAN CUSTOMS AND BEHAVIOR
There are some Tanzanian customs which we may find odd or misinterpret. Tanzanian men many times will walk with another man and hold his hand. This is not an indication of their sexual orientation; it is an indication of friendship. If someone takes your hand when you are walking with them do not jerk your hand away. It is only a gesture of friendship.
Women seldom hug men, and some are uncomfortable with hugging another woman. Men will sometimes hug another man when they greet them and are shaking hands. Women are much more reserved then U.S. women, and typically do not exhibit much public enthusiasm, except with their singing and dancing.
It is embarrassing for a person of the opposite sex to ask about private things such as where a restroom is located.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your “touchy/feely” activities to a good hand shake.
Don’t be an ugly American. American’s are very good at being fixers. Many Americans think that they have a good solution to any problem that they observe. If we see something that we think is a problem we will not hesitate to boldly inform them that we have the solution to this problem. Don’t kid yourself, unless you’re willing to spend a great deal of time and effort investigating all the aspects of their culture and how this impacts many of their problems, your solution will most probably be an American solution to an African problem, and it won’t work. Remember, solutions which we hastily come up with typically only address symptoms of problems, not the problem itself which probably cannot be discerned in our short visit there.
If you’re fortunate to be invited into someone’s home do not point out what they don’t have or what is different from the U.S. A good rule of thumb is to do like you would like to be treated, e.g., don’t ask loudly if their water is safe to drink, or if a food item will make you sick, or that the chicken is so tough that you can’t cut into it let alone eat it, or point out that a mouse has just ran out from behind a cabinet, or that you have never before seen anything so dirty, or unkempt, or difficult to live with, or that the roads, sewage, and water are terrible, or that our system of government is superior, etc, etc. If this kind of crassness happened with a guest in our homes we would be offended and perhaps ask them to please leave. I have witnessed all of these insults coming from Americans visiting there. Just look for the good things and point these out. We can discuss all these uncomfortable things in private among ourselves and have a good laugh.
There may be times when we will be in the company of high Tanzanian government officials. The delegation leader has been involved with most of these leaders and is well aware of the protocol required for these kinds of meetings. The delegation leader will be expected by these officials to lead the discussion, sit in a certain place, speak for the group, and to call upon people in the delegation to talk about a certain topic. Don’t think that the delegation leader likes to do this, he doesn’t!! Having said all that, I am very informal most of the time and will always call upon others to present things of their interest and expertise. If you wish to bring up something, then get my attention and I’ll call upon you, don’t just interrupt and begin to talk. Typically, most everything can be discussed, however, do not discuss politics or tell them what the government ought to be doing (read the paragraph above on being an ugly American). If you do then the meeting will probably be cut short and nothing will be accomplished.
Smoking is prohibited on all NW and KLM flights. Also know that most Tanzanians do not smoke. Don’t ask if you can smoke; assume that you cannot. If you ask they would probably tell you to go ahead, but in doing this they think that they are being polite to you. There is a law prohibiting smoking in all public areas, and the fine for violating this is $300.
Tanzania is not the U.S… it is Africa, and it has limited American creature comforts sometimes. While we will do everything to make you comfortable and safe, there will be times when you will see very few of the creature comforts we have in the U.S. Washcloths are sometimes not provided, so bring your own. Kleenex tissues are sometimes not readily available so bring your own, especially if you need to use the bushes when we are traveling about. Toilets in many outlying areas are merely pits in the ground with a small amount of privacy. Soap is highly scented. Bed mattresses and pillows are sometimes made of hard sponge rubber. Tap water should only be used for washing. Never say it is too hot to sleep
under a bed net if you are in an area where malaria (mosquito) is common. In many places there is little or no refrigeration, thus drinks such as soda pop and beer are many times served at room temperature, do not ask for ice cubes as that is drawn from tap water. If you ask for something to be cooked in a special way, they may agree to do this for you, however you most probably will not recognize what they bring you; accept what’s on the menu. If you’re bug intolerant purchase some insect spray. Its Africa… go with the flow and have a good sense of humor. There are plenty of photo ops, opportunities for good times, and pleasant teasing about the conditions when we’re by ourselves.
If we have the pleasure of dining in someone’s home during our visit, there are some cultural rules of hospitality which should be observed. Allow the host to be a host, and you be the guest; do not make attempts to help them with anything; to do so in their culture is to tell them that they are not good enough to do it themselves and they are not a good host. If you wish to present them with a small gift do this at the end of the evening during the hospitality’s closing courtesies. Let the delegation leader know of this and he will call upon you at the proper time to make this presentation. At the end of the evening do not jump up and rush out the door thinking that others will follow, there are some hospitality courtesies which need to be observed by the delegation leader. Your delegation leader will know what these are and will handle them at the proper time. When these courtesies are being handled do not interfere and think you are helping out.
A Tanzanian will always walk you to the edge of their property when you leave their home. It would be acceptable if you each provided them with a thank you for the enjoyable evening and a handshake as you are departing their home/property.
The giving of gifts in Tanzania is a custom which a lot of emphasis is placed upon. Typically, if you are a guest in someone’s home they may have a gift for you. Gift giving is always done at a proper time during the gathering. If you are going to reciprocate then wait until they have went through their gift giving and you will know that you are at the proper time of the gathering and then follow their example on how to proceed. Tanzanians give a gift to someone because they truly want to give you something to remember them by. They do not expect anything in return, nor do they think you must give them a gift of proportionate value in return. If someone gives you a gift, accept it with graciousness and be happy about the thought that they wanted to do something special for you. The most common gift you will receive from them will be cloths which are used by the men and women as clothing. PACKING AND LUGGAGE
There are limitations on what baggage can be taken on NW/KLM flights. Each ticketed passenger on an international flight is permitted a maximum of 1 or 2 pieces of checked (depending on your frequent mileage) and 1 piece of carry on luggage. The maximum weight per checked piece is 50 pounds and the maximum size is 62”, length + height + width. Carry-on luggage must fit under the seat or in an overhead compartment. The maximum carry-on size is 9” by 14” by 22”. The maximum weight for carry-on luggage is 40 pounds. Each ticketed passenger is allowed 1 piece of carry on luggage, plus a purse, or a briefcase, or a laptop computer, or an umbrella, or similar item (note that these items are separated by an or, not an and). Exceptions to this carry-on rule are business class, platinum or gold elite passengers who are allowed 1 additional piece of carry on luggage and additional checked luggage. Remember you will probably purchase some souvenirs to bring home so don’t bring full suitcases.
Since we will have limited space when traveling about the country, you should limit yourself to one piece of checked luggage and one small carry on bag. Remember, we will have one day laundry service at our hotels.
You should put in your carry-on luggage any medicines, keys, important papers, travel documents, money, passports, expensive cameras, computers, etc. which you need to have in Tanzania.
You should copy your passport and put a copy in each piece of luggage. This copy will not only identify the luggage if it gets lost, but the copy will also be useful if you lose your passport. The US Embassy can re-issue the passport easily when they know you have a valid passport and can track your passport numbers.
Each piece of luggage (carry-on and checked) should have a filled out name and home address tag on the bag in a place where it will not be torn off. If you do not have luggage tags there are tags available at the airline check-in counter.
Put some kind of distinctive mark your checked luggage so that not only you know your own bag, but others also clearly know that it’s not their bag, e.g., large visible decals, colorful belts around the bag, etc. I have pulled my bag off someone else’s cart more then once.
There will be additional charges assessed for any excess luggage, e.g., oversize or overweight and these charges are calculated on a piece basis (I think the excess charges to Tanzania is
$150 per bag.) Warning: When leaving Dar es Salaam you may be told that your luggage is overweight when it is not. Do not take their word for it. Check the scales and if you are less than 22 kg per bag tell them that you are not overweight, inform them that you are allowed this number of checked pieces of 50 pounds each, and you will not pay when you are underweight. I have been hit up more then several times with this ploy. They will tell you that it doesn’t really matter because the charge is not much (usually $10 or $20), but you should insist that you will not pay, unless you are in fact overweight. Tell them to get their supervisor. When he sees that you are resisting he will most likely back off. PASSPORT, VISA, CUSTOMS
A U. S. Passport with an expiration date longer then six months and a Tanzanian Visa are required by all visitors to Tanzania from the U.S. The GLC will process all visas for the delegation prior to our departure from the U.S. Your U.S. Passport must be sent to the Tanzanian Embassy so that they can stamp the Visa in your passport. A passport size photograph is required with the visa application. In addition, if you have a yellow International Health Certificate you should bring that along also. Visas can also be purchased at the Tanzanian airport upon arrival. It is not difficult and the line moves rather quickly. Make certain if you are purchasing your visa at the airport to have $100 available.
Your luggage will be subject to inspection upon entry and exiting Tanzania, and upon re-entry to the U.S. You cannot bring seeds, food, flowers, or anything that might carry agricultural diseases into the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a beagle dog in the Detroit airport which sniffs out these items. TRAVEL ADVICE
You must have your passport, and visa with you when checking in and boarding the airplane. At Shiphol airport in Amsterdam they have very tight security on international flights, and you will most probably be questioned prior to boarding the flight to Tanzania. Answer all their questions briefly and truthfully.
When you arrive at the airport you will be tired and not alert since it will be late at night. When leaving the airplane you will be guided where to go by agents standing and not letting you go where you shouldn’t. You will go down a flight of stairs to immigration. Complete the Tanzanian immigration entry card on the airplane prior to arrival and have it with you when you arrive at immigration.
Proceed directly to immigration’s passport control booths. They will typically have 4 or 5 booths open, some will be marked as being only for certain citizens/residents, but my experience is that they take anyone at any booth. Stand behind the line on the floor and wait until the officer in the booth calls out for the next person, typically they don’t mind if you proceed ahead when the previous person moves away from the booth.
At the booth, give the immigration officer your passport and mark the page where your visa is stamped by turning down the page corner to make it easy for him/her. Say “hello” so that he knows you speak English. He will look over your passport and sometimes take an exorbitant amount of time. Just stand there. If he asks you a question, answer with short answers. Do not say anything without his asking.
When you are finished with the passport control officer proceed to get a cart to put your luggage onto. There is no charge for using the carts. If there is a person who tries to give you a cart, take it but don’t offer to pay for it. There is only 1 conveyor belt. Get your luggage and proceed to the Customs Table. Since you have nothing to declare then you can proceed directly to the green customs gate and continue walking through it unless the officer asks you to stop.
At the Customs Table, do not answer questions which are not asked and definitely do not attempt to be funny. Go to the desk and stand there; although I typically keep walking and let them tell me to stop. You might say “hello”, but don’t offer more. When asked a question answer with brevity, but be accurate and concise. Anything you say will confuse them and they will begin to ask you more questions and if they get confused you will empty your bag (and they typically don’t repack it for you.) They will generally ask what you are bringing into the country, and you should answer; clothing and things I will need for 2 weeks. If they ask what you need for 2 weeks you might tell them that you have clothing for you 2 week stay and some small gifts for friends in Tanzania, but nothing else. Just stand there until they ask something. They will be more uncomfortable then you are.
All passengers arriving back in Detroit will need to first pass through immigration control. Get in the line marked U. S. Citizens. Give the immigration officer your passport and white U.S. Citizen Custom’s declaration. Flight attendants will provide you with your customs declaration card prior to arriving at Detroit, complete this card before you leave the airplane. The immigration officer will most probably ask where you are arriving from and what you were doing there. Be very brief.
You will then proceed to get your bags from the conveyor belt. You will probably want to get a luggage cart to put your bags on; there is no charge for the carts. Look on the TV monitors to see which belt your flight will use. Typically there is only one international flight at a time arriving at Detroit. Sometimes baggage is unloaded onto two conveyor belts and if this is the case the monitors will eventually say this.
Do not shy away from the U.S. Agriculture Department’s beagle dog. If the dog is on duty it will walk quickly through all the baggage near the conveyor belts sniffing all the bags. If the dog goes on point at one of your bags the Agriculture office will come and ask you questions concerning what is in your bag and they may ask you to open the bag.
After getting your bags proceed to the U.S. Customs desk. There typically will be 2 or 3 desks open. Sometimes a Customs Officer will be standing in front of the desks and will come to you and ask you some questions. Answer the questions accurately and with brevity.
At Immigration and at Customs answer all questions as briefly and concisely as you can. Anything you say can lead them to more questions, so be very brief but accurate. Do not add anything to what they are saying. Yes and no only are very good answers, if possible. You will be told to either go to a desk for a luggage check or if they motion towards the door, get moving out of there. Typically, if you go up to the Customs Counter like you are approaching a supermarket check out lane they’ll take your Entry Declaration Card and wave you on through.
Safari njema!! (have a good trip!!)Karl F. Gingrich
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