Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On This Day Last Year...

I had left behind the extreme humidity and heat in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's major city on the coast, for the central capital, Dodoma, a quiet and neglected dustbowl of a town, hardly a capital at all. I had been told that a train could take me all the way across wide Tanzania but when I arrived at the train station in Dar es Salaam, I was told that the train to Dodoma was not and had not been running for some time. I took the bus to the center of the nation hoping to catch the train there to the West. It seemed as though all the buildings in Dodoma had been built in the late 1960s or early 70s.

Tanzania had originally been two territories, that of Zanzibar and Tanganyika, the massive lake on the west coast. The two names were combined after independence in 1964 to create Tanzania. I was excited to go West, to see the second deepest lake in the world (Lake Baikal in central southern Russia is the first, a stop I made some months before) and to then head north to Burundi and Rwanda.

In 1996, Dodoma was made the capital of Tanzania, moved from Dar es Salaam.

Photos: A woman carries her wares through the flood waters of a main street in Dar es Salaam; the cafeteria of the Christian school/hostel where I stayed in Dodoma; architecture in dusty, quiet Dodoma.