Many students at Lehigh are unaware of what Tanzania has to offer. In order to foster a better understanding of Tanzania and its culture, the students hosted a Tanzanian Culture Night on Feb. 11.
Mudassir Kadri, a sophomore from Tanzania, presented at the event. He shared photos of Tanzania and explained its culture. Tanzanian currency is shillings, with the exchange rate being 2,171.78 shillings to $1.
He explained that English and Swahili are the national languages, and Tanzania is known for its booming music industry, Tingatinga paintings and Makonde carvings. According to Kadri, there isn’t a set cuisine in Tanzania but their food is influenced by Indian cuisine. Food was provided at the event. Junior Aakash Phulwani, a student from Tanzania, said the food and tropical weather are what he misses most. Kadri said he also misses the food.
Kadri showed drone videos of Tanzania to provide the audience with a better understanding of what the country looks like. He explained how Mt. Kilimanjaro has snow on the top of its peaks, but the snow has been decreasing over the years because of the climate change. He also showed images of the East African Rift Valley.
However, Kadri stressed that Tanzania is more than its vast and gorgeous landscapes – it also has booming cities. Phulwani said this is one of the biggest misconceptions students at Lehigh have about Tanzania.
“The first thing that comes to their mind is that Africa is poor,” he said. “I had quite a few friends who thought I came from a village and lived around wild animals. Tanzania is a beautiful country with so much to offer in terms of tourism.”
For students who know little about Tanzania and other countries, these culture nights sponsored by the Office of International Affairs provide a window into understanding a country and its culture.
Conor McQuiston ’17 said he didn’t know much about Tanzania prior to attending the event but he learned a lot. “I didn’t realize their ecosystem was the savannah, the city and the jungle,” he said. He added that these culture nights are a good opportunity for students to learn about other countries.
Phulwani spoke for a bit at the end of the presentation about Tanzania’s culture. He said the country has good night life, beaches, wild life and resorts. He added that Tanzania is a very peaceful and safe country.
“Everyone is so laid back and relaxed, whereas here it’s all about work,” he said. “People have more time for themselves and others back home compare to here.”
“If given the opportunity, everyone should try to visit Tanzania if they can,” added Kadri.