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By Betty Levitov

“I imagine i am getting it,” Betty Levitov’s youngest scholar acknowledged, sitting on a porch in Harare, Zimbabwe. “You’ve had a very likely deadly sickness, and confronted loss of life, and now you’ll just do approximately anything.” the scholar was once attempting to fathom why a instructor may take 13 little ones from a small midwestern liberal arts university on a three-month trek throughout Africa.
The solution, a studying event like no different, unfolds in Levitov’s completely attractive account of her life-changing stint as a mwalimu (“teacher” in Swahili) with an Australian bus motive force and 13 university young ones from Nebraska in tow. The group’s wanderings take them—and us—through seven international locations. via dhow journeys and donkey rides at the Swahili island of Lamu, scuba diving and spice excursions in Zanzibar, tenting within the Namib wasteland, and swimming at the fringe of a cataract at Victoria Falls, we come upon impressive humans, new customs, and interesting arts (along with malaria, flat tires, a motorbike twist of fate, and a hostage crisis). because the scholars apprentice themselves to African chefs, fishermen, carvers, and batik artists, we find with them a sophisticated and intricate connection between humans as a rule worlds apart.

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Extra info for Africa on Six Wheels: A Semester on Safari

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I can cure your headaches. If you have stomach problems, I can give you herbal remedies. I can cure constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. ” Mr. Mushi explains that the healer is a good psychologist as well as an herbalist. People come from Arusha to see him, sometimes even wazungu. The healer continues, laughing at his own words. Mushi translates: “My best skill is curing sexual problems. I can treat infertility, sterility, and impotence. ” He gestures to us, as if he thinks wazungu are particularly susceptible to these conditions.

Always on the sidewalks are minimarkets and stalls. Arusha, like other large African towns, has Western-style restaurants with chicken, burgers, and chips as well as typical outdoor food stalls with local favorites. The staple in Tanzania is cornmeal or ground maize, cooked and served with meat, chicken, fish, beans, bananas, or plantains and a sauce; the dish is called ugali in Tanzania and Kenya, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, and mealie meal in South Africa. Also popular is nyama choma, or grilled or roasted meat.

Primarily, I learned the depth of my own ignorance and the narrowness of my “formal” education. I’m certain the impact of the education I got in Africa engendered the idea to take my own students on a similar journey. Among the expatriate community in Cape Palmas—the missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers, business people, and others—the talk was often of travel. Those of us volunteers with paid return tickets and severance allowances endlessly pored over maps, planning our eventual trips home. During nearly three years of volunteer service, counting holidays and the return to the United States, I traveled to the African countries of Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Mali; I crossed a corner of Guinea overland, deplaned in Dakar, and traveled by bus into the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and by train across Tunisia and Algeria.

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