Unravelling TanzaniaReading Time: 4 minutes
After hearing the idea of cultural villages, and after visiting a couple-I was on the lookout for these when I arrived in Tanzania. Not having made friends with many Tanzanian’s in my life, I knew very little about Tanzanian culture. I was in lucky to find one online, however many of the uber drivers I came across had never heard of it and ended up being a very expensive journey to locate this ‘village’ but we eventually found it on Bagamoyo Street, Dar es Salaam. The cultural village highlighted some model homes and customs of a few of the different tribes of Tanzania.
I met the loveliest tour guide who was patient enough to go around the different model homes explaining to me interesting facts about each of the different tribes, their attributes and lifestyle. He also felt it very important to highlight how many cows each of the tribes paid for the bride price, not sure if that was a subtle sell to have in mind just in case I was pursued by some of the lovely Tanzanian gents.
The homes were very innovative, adjusting to the climate and lifestyle of the people who lived in them. For example, there was a tribe where people lived in their homes with their cows, and therefore the mudhouse was two story with a large open space on the ground and bedrooms on the top floor. Another where a compound was in place and the women stayed in the home and the boys moved out of the house at the age of 11 and they would become the protectors of the family. Or a tribe where the wife would go out and find a second wife for her husband-to prevent him going to do the same for himself (ok this has nothing to do with the way the house was built but I found that interesting and wanted to share).
The tour guide also explained some of the interactions between the tribes and the early colonisers which explained the social status of some tribes over others, with some prioritising being at one with nature, others money, others education and like every nation there was also a tribe that was well known for having lots of tricksters. Overall a very interesting and informative tour that ended with a group of colourfully dressed dancers showing us some of the traditional dances done at celebrations or for rain ceremonies. The energy possessed by these dances and the style was absolutely mind blowing. I was so not ready!
I apologise that I have no specific names of the different tribes as I lost my notebook and my ability to store that level of detail is minimal. I will do better. :-). But if you are in Tanzania and you have the chance, please do visit this village and support the work they are doing to showcase the history of this beautiful country.