BootsnAll Travel Network

Impressions of Moshi Town

Apart from my Kili climb and safari with MEM, I spent a total of 3 1/2 weeks in Moshi just hanging out and getting to know the town. A good part of that was spent working with KPAP, but the rest of the time I wandered around town checking out the various restaurants, internet cafes, and shops, and practicing Swahili with some of the hawkers that frequented the main road in front of my hotel.

At my hotel I also had the good fortune of meeting a group of American kids, Laura, Gina, Daisy, and Joseph, and their Tanzanian friend Dennis. They were spending 5 weeks in Moshi volunteering at Amani Childrens Home, a home for orphans and street kids. The day after Kristen arrived in Moshi, Laura invited us to join them when they went to the school that afternoon. The school was a 45 minute walk from our hotel, through the outskirts of town. It was a nice day for a walk and fun to get out of the tourist section of town. When we arrived at Amani we were immediately greeted by several of the children. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, most of these kids seemed happy. Many of the younger ones ran up to us and gave us hugs, others played football in the small courtyard, and others did their chores. It was in stark contrast to being in the tourist parts of town where many of the young children view you only as a rich foreigner who they can ask for money.

Amani currently provides a home for approximately 80 children, although the facilities are far from ideal. For example, Laura told us that in the large boys room, the kids sleep in bunk beds with three kids to a single bed. It was almost shocking to think that these kids could live in such a place, yet they all seemed happy and I’m sure that for many of them it was the best alternative they had. Laura did mention that Amani is in the process of opening a new building, which I think will be open this fall.

Moshi seemed to me to be a very laid-back and friendly town, and not once did I feel uncomfortable walking around by myself. Everyone was very welcoming, the town was clean (dusty, but clean), and there were just enough western conveniences to make traveling easy. I tried to search out some of the local restaurants to eat in as these provided more local flavor and were also more inexpensive than the places frequented by the tourists. One of my favorite places was called Big Bite, a small hole in the wall that served Nyamo Chote (BBQ) every night. For 1500 shillings, or about $1.20, you could have a plate of bbq chicken or beef, complete with sides. The food was quite good, but the best part about Big Bite was the large video screen that they would set up on the sidewalk to show dvd movies. Dinner and a movie for $1.20?! You can’t get that back home.

On one particular Saturday night, Kristen and I decided to join Joseph and Dennis and a local club. We went to a place called the Adventure Restaurant, and it was really cool. The “club” was a huge outdoor garden area, with a large music hall off to one side. On this particular night a band from Dar Es Salaam was performing. The band was a large troupe of musicians, singers, and dancers, and the large dance floor was packed. Tanzanians obviously love their music and dancing, and it was great fun watching the band and dancing on the crowded floor surrounded by locals. Unfortunately, I can’t stay on the dance floor for hours on end like I did when I was younger. After only a few hours of dancing, my back was killing me! 🙂

Overall, I thought Moshi was a great town to hang out in. I only managed to experience a small fraction of the whole town, but what I did see was very low key, with a cool, natural vibe. Being near the mountain meant lots of outdoorsy tourists, and the town seemed to be overflowing with things to do such as day trips to the nearby waterfalls or treks into the forests. It’s definitely worth visiting again.

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