Outreach Coordinator, Global Health Office
This summer the global health office is supporting three Dalhousie University students completing research and internships in Tanzania. They are embracing this cultural and clinical experience with such enthusiasm and blogging about it as often as they can; so much so that we wanted to share some of their stories with you. The students’ visit coincides with Ramadan, a holy month observed by Muslims worldwide that requires fasting from sunrise to sunset, and these bright students considered what this might mean before they arrived.
Before coming to Dar, I was apprehensive about Ramadan (the holy Islamic month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset). I wasn’t sure if there would be restaurants open, would it be offensive to walk around with a water bottle? These were some serious concerns. However, despite the large Muslim population, Dar is fairly relaxed…..My favourite experience living in a largely Muslim city is the haunting call to prayer resounding above the sound of horns honking and crowds milling about the street. While I don’t understand the words, it still offers a feeling calm, and a sense of being transported from the hectic chaos that can be daily life.
To complement their research and placements the students are taking language classes. This has been important for the students to learn some conversational Swahili which has offered them more meaningful interactions with friends and colleagues and has deepened their appreciation for the culture that surrounds them. They are also enjoying the tastes of the local menus – sounds like they could write their own guide book on the best butter chicken in the neighbourhood.
It’s nice to see that they have also found some time to visit the National Museum and discovered items that are not only historically interesting but also related to their visit.
A little more on point with our purpose for being in Tanzania was the exhibit on the HIV epidemic. Which included some interesting cartoons from the 1980’s (the height of the AIDs crisis and before the availability of antiretroviral medications, when the diagnosis of HIV was the equivalent to a death sentence).
We are so proud of these students! They are doing amazing work and are wonderful ambassadors for Dalhousie. Their blog posts are short and sweet, because let’s face it – they are busy and we are glad they are spending so much time out exploring their surroundings. The benefit is that they give us a snapshot into this amazing experience and they allow these students to feel connected to someone or something bigger. If you would like to read some of these stories yourself please follow the blog link.