Tag: Tanzania

A Special Day in Arusha

By Halina Schiffman-Shilo

Jumping out of bed before the alarm sounded, I caught a beautiful view of the sun rising over the hills. I usually lie in bed until the very last minute, trying to eke out every second of slumber I can before facing the day.  But this morning was different.

I wondered if I usually slept through this kelele, or if it was louder than usual, but had the feeling that the chickens were clucking rather vigorously, and I thought I could hear people hollering loudly, too. My neighborhood, or rather, my neighborhood bars, are colorful places at all times of day, even at sunrise, so I should not have been surprised. But in my early morning fog, I took all these sounds to be a “sign.”

By the time my alarm went off at 6:04am, I was already racing to throw on my running clothes. I had planned my morning the night before. Get up and jog, come home, shower, get dressed for work, and then head to town with my roommates. It seemed like a good plan the night before, but in the morning I realized it wouldn’t do—I was just too excited for the day. I could skip showering, shorten my usual run, and head straight to town to meet my friends at one of the hotels that shows American news. Sure, I’d be sweaty, but it was worth it.

Today was, in Tanzania time, Wednesday November 7, and back home, in Eastern Standard Time, it was eight hours earlier.



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Musings from Far Away

By Halina Schiffman-Shilo

Hello from Africa! This semester I’m reporting from Arusha, Tanzania, where I am interning at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

I had my first post all mapped out when I sat down last week to write.  It had a great opener, complete with a nice little anecdote and a neat, tidy ending. But it was not the time for fluffy travel stories. As my internet connection flickered in and out, I saw a Facebook post about a shooting at the Empire State Building. Then I completely lost service.

Not knowing what else to do, I started this entry. At the time, I had no details on the shooting. I didn’t know what happened, I didn’t know if anyone was injured, I didn’t know if anyone was dead. All I knew was that there was a shooting.

And that the organization I interned with this past summer in New York is in that very building.

I wanted to call someone, a former colleague, a friend in the States, anyone who could tell me what happened, but I couldn’t. My pay-as-you-go phone didn’t have enough money on it for an international call. I would have bought more minutes but it was nighttime, and as a mzungu woman, it’s not safe to walk around after dark. I texted a few friends here (people I had known for barely 24 hours) to see if they knew anything, but they did not. So I was stuck in the dark, alone with my thoughts.



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