Ole Miss students dive into Tanzanian culture

The Daily Mississippian © Cady Herring
The winding, cobblestone pathways of Stone Town, Zanzibar are lined with endless ancient buildings whose facades are dominated by enormous hand-carved doors remnant of times when sultans ruled the land from grand palaces. Vendors in taqiyah caps and hijabs call out, beckoning to tourists that “looking is free!” Consistent with its reputation as the “Spice Island,” you can follow your nose past the Old Fort to the Forodhani Gardens that overlook the turquoise port of the Indian Ocean which is filled with wooden dhow ships. Here, local chefs and entrepreneurs offer dishes from traditional Arab and Indian influences including mouthwatering chicken shawarma, mishkaki and the famous Zanzibar pizza. A recent cholera outbreak led the current president to ban foods typically offered at Forodhani.
“It is was too bad our group missed out on all the delicious seafood and the fresh sugarcane juice with lime and ginger, but the reality of the outbreak and the need for clean and safe water was a lesson that we learned throughout our entire trip, and I hope it’s one that sticks” said associate professor of psychology Laura Johnson, who has been teaching the course in Tanzania since 2009.
This summer, twelve Ole Miss students traded the traditional Oxford classrooms for an invaluable experience led by Johnson and her team of partners in Tanzania. After getting up close and personal with lions, elephants and cape buffalo on safaris in Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Crater, we biked around Lake Manyara and discovered seemingly infinite varieties of bananas, including one specifically for making “mbege,” the local banana beer. We marveled at the carvings made by the Makonde refugees whose handmade creations spoke of their exodus from Mozambique, depicting starvation and importance of unity for survival. We toured huts made out of dried dung and danced with the Maasai tribe and also danced and beat …

Read more