Have I mentioned how much I love couchsurfing.org? Through this website I found Simon, a really amazing guy who runs a school near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and hosts tons of couchsurfers. I have to admit, though, I had a moment of doubt…
I thought Simon lived in Dar es Salaam. Turns out, he lives about 45 minutes outside. It’s a great little village, but I got a little nervous on the journey there. I met Simon at a bus station in Dar, and we got on a bus, which took us outside the city for about 30 minutes. Then we got on a smaller bus for another 15 minutes. Then we got on a motorcycle. By this point I felt like “Where is this guy taking me???” I reminded myself that Simon had over 100 recommendations of couchsurfing, but it didn’t ease my nerves very much. Then we arrived at the house. He actually has a special house next to his house for couchsurfers. Another couchsurfer was already there. It was set up almost like a hostel, complete with logbook for people to sign and write notes. It was a pretty sweet set up, and I immediately took a shower to rinse the adrenaline out of my system.
Simon has this sweet setup because a lot of couchsurfers volunteer at his school. Students go to his school for one year between primary and secondary school in order to learn English. The problem is the primary school is taught in Swahili, but secondary school is taught in English. Simon’s school provides kids with a way to learn English. I taught for a few days while I was there. I also visited Simon’s neighbors, had dinner with his priest, went to see a group of woodcarvers he works with, and just hung out with the people in his village. Simon is an extremely popular guy.
Check out this video of us riding around town on a motorcycle taxi, https://youtu.be/U2PHNvD3HlY