It’s natural to compare things. Especially when you’re going someplace different. Tanzania was definitely different from Minnesota. I thought I would speak about some of the comparisons, including a couple of comparisons that along the lines of “you wouldn’t see that in Minnesota”.
Tanzania is a former British colony so they follow the British driving method. They don’t drive on the wrong side of the road; they drive on the left side, different side, or other side. Things that are different aren’t necessarily bad, they just are what they are.
You notice a lot of differences when driving. Where there are cities and towns most of the roads are lined with little stands selling things; food, clothing, furniture, and other items. They have a higher percentage of entrepreneurs than we do here.
Once you get outside the cities and off the main road there is no pavement. Also, where the pavement ends you pretty much stop seeing gas stations. I was seeing a lot of these roadside stands that would have a bunch of containers filled with a liquid that was about the same color as beer. I was wondering what they were, then I realized that they must be selling gas.
Many times we would see a canopy with a pool table underneath. In the evenings, there would be a light on in the canopy and people would be playing pool. Something you wouldn’t see in Minnesota with our weather. But, with the weather in Tanzania there is a rainy season and a dry season. So, they know when to expect rain.
Oh, that reminds me. Minnesota has a lot more snow than Tanzania. Not judging our state, just observing. And to tell you the truth, Tanzania has snow year-round if you include the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
When Debbie was in the hospital she had a nurse who was from Ghana. He told us that he was amazed by how weak the sun was in Minnesota. I felt that in Tanzania. Their sun is strong. You could feel the heat quickly if you were in the sunlight.
Speaking of sunlight, there are a lot more solar panels on houses than there are here. They don’t have the electrical system that we do. So, a lot of homes will have a small panel on their roofs. We toured a home with a solar panel. It powered three lights that were in the home.
Speaking of homes, we’re used to our floors; wood, carpeting, tile or concrete. A lot of their homes don’t have floors other than hard packed dirt.
Another thing you won’t see in Minnesota is people bringing water home from a well. Remember the movies where they try to improve young ladies posture by making them walk around with books on their heads. I was thinking of that when I would see someone walking with a five-gallon bucket of water balanced on their heads.
There’s another plumbing item that’s different as well. I’ve discussed this before. It was my biggest worry going into the trip. Our sit-down toilets vs. their squat toilets. Most of the time we stayed in places with western style toilets. However, we did have two nights in a place with a squat toilet. I’ll just say that I conquered that challenge. Anything further would be too much information.
The lengths of their church services are a lot longer than ours. In Minnesota if the service goes over an hour you start to hear grumblings. In Tanzania Sunday services were not so driven by time and they lasted quite a bit longer. I had heard this before and was worried that I might snooze a little, especially the first Sunday with the big time change. Like most of my worries about the trip it wasn’t a problem. They are very passionate about their worship in Tanzania and it was energizing.
So, many differences. But we are also alike in many ways. We all worship the same God who loves each and every one of us.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.