We moved on, to Sub-Saharan Africa. None of us had ever been to this part of Africa. We went to Arusha. Sub-Saharan Africa has a different culture than that of Northern Africa. Northern Africa has a history of being conquered by the Arabs, and thus is prodominantly Muslim and a lot of the inhabitants are Arabic.
What caused this divide was the Sahara. The most massive desert in the world separated the 2 parts of Africa. A long time ago there were caravans that traded from one side of the Sahara to the other. When the Arabs had expanded to become the Umayad Caliphate, an Arabic empire as big as that of the Romans, they controlled Egypt, Palastine, Persia, Arabia, Northern Africa, and most of Iberia (I am calling the lands by those names because back then there was no Spain, or Israel, or Morocco, or Saudi Arabia, though Egypt was called Eygpt). The Arabs grew to their enormous size around 700-800 CE. Before Muhammed united them, when the Arabs were just in Arabia (all of the Arabian Peninsula), they were just tribes, living in tents and always fighting amongst themselves. At that time, they did not worship Allah, but the stars and the sky, much like the Babylonians, and also kept sacred a rock that they belived to have come from heaven (today it is in the Kaaba, or the cube in Mecca). They loved tales, and had heard scattered tales about life beyond the Sahara, and only few had ever ventured there. They didn’t know exactly how big it was, not having world maps back then, and probably did not take much interest in it. Instead, they went on to invade all the other regions I had listed earlier.
On the other hand, almost all of Africa had been colonized by some European country at some point. Tanzania was a German colony, and then was British, which is why they drive on the left side of the road. About 1/3 of Tanzanians are Christian, 1/3 Muslim, and 1/3 of the population believes in one of the numerous indigenous religions.
In Tanzania, we can see the famed mountain of Kilimanjaro, and are next door to the Serengeti. A common indigenous tribe in the area are the Maasai. The Maasai live in Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya. They pay no heed to the borders that the Europeans slammed in their faces, dividing their homeland in 2. Most of Northern Africa is Muslim, and Southern Africa is mostly Christian. Tanzania is a mix. I love it here.
We have left the modernized and developed world of Europe behind. In Africa, the countries are poorer, and less developed. In Africa, we will go on a safari, and have to take 1 malaria pill each morning. We will dive heavily into schoolwork, and focus more on science and English, and less on History and Math (by the way, I have already completed 6th grade math!). It is close to the Equator, certainly much warmer than in Germany. We left Heidelberg right before the temperature would have dropped below frezzing. Another perfect, lucky escape from natural forces!
Our plane was 8 hours. I got a small amount of schoolwork done. I was relieved when we landed. It was almost winter, and the sun had set, and I still was too hot in my sweater. I noticed that the Tanzanians were very friendly, all of them. The people on the runway always smiled friendly at us. The person who issued our visas was very friendly, and our taxi driver to our airbnb acted in a kind manner. When we started this trip, I thought that Tanzania would be the most dangerous place we would go by far, because it was the most unknown. Malaria in an undeveloped country! Since our baggage theft in Italy, I have been on alert for Tanzania, and how there could be thieves around every corner, trying to rob us of our essential malarone (malaria medication), passports, or touchpads. But it turns out that malaria has been almost eradicated from Arusha, though we are still taking our pills just in case, and that we don’t have to worry so much about thieves. It is still a risk, but we will be totally safe if we watch our packs and don’t let them be vulnerable. It is much better here than I thought it would be.
As we arrived at our airbnb, we learned that the power might be a little sketchy, and might cut out a couple times a day. In this little area, we have the owner of the airbnb living next door, and some other workers in the area too. We are safe.
I cannot believe it. This is the place we will have stayed the longest since San Giovanni. We hopped around Europe so much, that I am calmed by the fact that we finally get to settle into to Arusha. We will only be here for like a week, but then, after Arusha is the Safari. Then after that we can stay in Unguja (also known as Zanzibar island) for over a month. I don’t care if our luxury is going to be perfect here. I don’t care if the lights go out. I don’t care if the food here isn’t as good as in Italy, or France. I am happy. A happy traveler in Tanzania.
Below: Pictures somewhere above maybe Greece (if you look carefully, then you can see windmails on the ground)
Below: Bucher restaurant at the airport in Frankfurt