When I finally left Tanzania, I felt saved…

First Day

I was told that we would live in the apartment for scholars at first, but after arriving we found there were no available rooms, so we had to move to the student apartment that had poorer facilities. I was with about 30 other Chinese students and we were scattered to different floors in the building. I and another girl were assigned to the top 9th floor. The elevator was not working so we had to carry the big suitcases up by ourselves. By “big” I meant the kind that was obviously overweight and took us quite a while taking things in and out at the weighing scale in the airport before the custom staff finally let us pass.

French fries omelet, triangular dumplings, milk tea

We usually ate in the school canteen. The food was cheap, about 1,000 shillings for a meal. One thing I ate often was “chips mayai”. Chips are french fries and mayai are eggs. The chef in the canteen would cook it on the spot, in an old pot, pour some oil, beat a few eggs, put the pre-fried fries in before the eggs are well done, turn it over, and put the whole thing on a plate when it’s done, then drizzle some tomato sauce over it. Basically, it’s just egg-wrapped French fries.

Uber, Daladala, and Bajiaji

There was Uber in the local area, but I often got confused by the drivers. I’m not sure whether they didn’t know how to check GPS or didn’t want to, anyways they would always call to ask where we are, and apparently, we didn’t know the exact location, so it would often take a long time before the driver could find us.

Got robbed

Here’s what happened. That day, the director of the international department of the local school was taking us to Bagamoyo, a historic city with many monuments like ancient slave markets, mosques, etc. We were told we would meet at the gate of our building and leave at 8 in the morning. My roommate and I got there early and no other students were there yet. A lot of mosquitoes were buzzing around us while we were waiting, which reminded us that we didn’t bring the mosquito repellent spray. Since there was still some time, we decided to go back and get it. Before going upstairs, I told the director we would be back shortly and she said she would wait for us. But after we climbed up to the 9th floor and came down again, the car had already left.

On the Peace Ark

We were notified by the embassy that Peace Ark was about to dock in Tanzania and we would be their volunteer translators. Peace Ark is a hospital ship of China. It has patrolled and provided medical services in the Gulf of Aden waters and Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, and some other places.

Been “Saved”

An old American lady lived in the same building as we did. She had a personality, often turned on the TV with the max volume at 6 o’clock in the morning, waken us all up, yelled at the staff, but she got along especially well with the cats in the yard.

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5001 Real Stories

5001 Real Stories

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Discovering diverse and dynamic Chinese lives around the world. 🌍 Real people, real stories. 📝 New stories every week.