Jan Term Tales — Tanzania travelers dance like no one is watching

Poverty, Altruism and Hope in Tanzania:

Story by Jacqueline Goldman
Guest Writer

When I think about our trip to Tanzania, so many things come to mind: amazing food, wonderful people and new opportunities. But one specific incident comes to mind that really had an impact on us all.

We were staying in town at a local place called Mary’s Nice Place, or our Marynice Place, and we had made plans that evening to attend a local club to dance the night away (by dance the night away I mean dance until 11 p.m.). Anticipating the attendance of many “mambas” (Swahili for “crocodile” or “men who seek women”), some of the veteran club goers gave some advice to protect yourself. “Never go to the bathroom alone,” “Cover your drink at all times,” “Don’t set your drink down,” and, of course, “Don’t ever use the sprinkler as a legitimate dance move.”

All very sound advice, we left our Marynice place and arrived at the hip-happening Millennium club. We waited in line outside to pay our cover and were allowed in by a bouncer, but by bouncer I mean a Tanzanian soldier. We could hear the music and see the lights as we all anticipated a crazy night similar to Footloose or Grease, and then we opened the doors.

We were the only ones there. Shoot. Thirteen American girls come to dance their hearts out only to find the light up floor empty and crappy music playing. But, like the Honey Badger, we did not care. We danced like no one was watching, because in all reality, no one was.

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