Living in Moshi

Moshi is a small city of about 145,000 people, located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We are living in a house in what is known as the “Doctor’s Compound,” which is about a 15 minute walk from KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center), the hospital Steve is doing his project through. In fact, if you’re curious, I’m pretty sure you can actually look up the Doctor’s Compound on Google Maps. Just type doctor’s compound moshi tanzania into google. KCMC is then another 5 or 10 minute, very crowded, “Daladala” ride from the center of Moshi. (Daladala is the name for the public transport vans used in this area).

The two peaks of Kilimanjaro towering over downtown Moshi.

The house we live in is leased by Duke for their medical students and residents, so it is furnished and kept up fairly well.

The yard is beautiful, and on clear days, we can see the top of Kilimanjaro from our front porch and living room window.

Looking at the front of our house from the yard.

Looking out from our front porch.

When we were in Nairobi, we bought a relatively expensive camping filter for our drinking water. Much to our dismay, we discovered a hole in the filter bag only after we were in Moshi and had poured water in it to begin filtering. It was the kind of hole that the water didn’t just seep out of – it spurted out. In a steady stream. Ah…

Thankfully, we ultimately prevailed. A former resident of this house had left behind some unused self-adhesive bicycle patches. One was immediately put to good use and I can happily say that our water filter bag no longer leaks. I am thanking God for this very specific provision!

Our drinking water set-up.

Our first week here was riddled with these kinds of small ‘adjustments’. One of the ways in which I felt most disoriented was with the currency and the cost of things. Most shops, except a few of the larger stores (which, no doubt, cater to foreigners) have no pice tags on anything, anywhere. I’m pretty sure it’s because prices are flexible, depending on who is buying. If you look wealthy (or ignorant), then the price will be higher.

So you either have to ask the store owner for the price of an item every few minutes, or just wait until you check out and watch the cashier tally up your total on a calculator, hoping you’ve brought enough money. Couple that with the fact that the exchange rate is 1500 Tanzanian Shillings (Tsh) to the Dollar, and you can see why I walked around for the first week feeling like I was being ripped off by everyone.

But this brings me to a question I’ve now been mulling over in my mind. A question that reveals a difference between African and Western economic mindsets. If I have more money to spare than the majority of local shoppers, shouldn’t I be OK with paying a little more? Why am I so intent on always getting the best deal (the American way, of course), when, really, I can afford to pay a slightly higher price?

And, as you think about that, a few more photos to enjoy.

An evening rainbow from our front yard.

The bars on our windows.

A tree in our front yard with very sweet-smelling flowers.

A row of old Jacaranda trees that can be seen on our walk to KCMC. You can see their lavendar flowers in bloom. They can be stunning!

More rows of Jacaranda trees in the same plot.

10 thoughts on “Living in Moshi

  1. Wow, lovely photos, lovely life! Nice kitchen and a rainbow to boot!!! We love you, and are thinking of you the world away…xoxo

  2. What gorgeous Jacaranda and Frangipani/Plumeria trees! I love your house and yard–it looks perfect! 🙂 I’ve had similar thoughts about bartering/spending money overseas. On the one hand, sometimes I feel like I’m getting ripped off, but on the other hand, I can usually afford it, so…yeah, I don’t have the best solution for how to deal with it.

      • The tree with the white flowers with yellow centers (sometimes pink centers) with five petals is called frangipani in Africa and plumeria in Hawaii. They were very common in West Africa and Central Africa. I love them. 🙂

          • Yeah, I love the way they smell–so delicate! They also made for good climbing trees when I was smaller. My sister and I would climb them and read books in the branches in Ghana. 🙂

  3. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on paying a little more! I have had this same thought while travelling abroad.

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