Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
The temperature from October to March is hot and humid and rainy. The rest of the year the temperature is warm, comfortable, like spring.
Because the area is heavily Muslim, it is very important to dress modestly and not offend the people around us. Women should bring at least one well-below the knee skirt to wear to church or other “dress up” occasions. Tight slacks or jeans are inappropriate. Bare middles would be shocking. Shoulders and knees are covered for both men and women except when guys are playing sports. I usually wear longish dresses. Denny wears cargo pants and a shirt. Consider bringing a raincoat if you’re here between October and March.
In Dar es Salaam, dress is more westernized and relaxed, but short shorts are never appropriate, anywhere.
Medical people can work in scrubs in the clinic, but please, not in town. Closed toed shoes must be worn in the clinic, but sandals or tennis shoes are fine anywhere else.
The table below displays average monthly climate indicators in DAR ES SALAAM ARPT based on 8 years of historical weather readings.
There are ATM machines in Dar es Salaam and one in Bagamoyo (though it may not always have cash in it). You use your ATM card and put in the amount of Tanzania shillings you want, up to 400,000.00Tsh per transaction. The exchange rate in 2013 is about 1550 Tsh/ $1.00 USD. Your ATM card should have the "PLUS" and/ or the "INTERLINK" symbols on the back of the card to ensure it will work. Some cards without these symbols have not worked. Check with your bank about the cost of an international transaction. Notify your bank you will be traveling in Tanzania.
If you bring cash, it must be in bills newer than 2006 or they will not be exchanged for Tanzanian shillings. The exchange rate for 50s and 100s is better than the rate for smaller bills. Carry money safely under your clothing or in a money belt when you travel.
Travelers checks are not honored.
Credit cards are okay for ATM use, but Tanzania is mainly a cash economy. You can probably use them for some of the safari/tourist places. Travelers checks cannot be cashed anywhere. Credit cards have limited usage here. Check with your bank regarding charges for international transactions.
The United Nations recommends that their people carry about $400.00 with them in a foreign country to cover unforeseen emergencies.
You will also need money to buy gifts, water, soda and food, going out to dinner, helping us with fuel for transportation, internet (1500 Tsh per hour), postage, telephone, etc.
You need to have your tourist (entry) visa which costs $100. A second visa, called a CTA visa, costs $200 and you should be prepared to pay that when you arrive. We can apply for an exemption for volunteers, but you must be prepared to pay just in case we do not receive the permission for your work.
If you go on safari, these expenses should be made clear in advance by your safari company. We will be happy to recommend companies with whom we’ve had experience, if you’d like.
You will need money for your room and board here. See “How do I pay for my room and board?”
For larger groups, we ask that you pay in advance by sending a check for the amount owed to IHP US-TZ, c/o Joyce Zemel, 1811 S 39th St. #36, Mesa, AZ 85206. Please clearly mark on the memo line that this is for room and board and which days and which group.
For individuals or small groups, we prefer they pay while they are here directly to Paula either in USD or T-shillings every week. The cost for bed and full board, (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) is about $35.00 per day. Meals are available from Lucy’s for $5.00 (7,550 Tsh. Each).
There are guest houses and hostels near the property and guests will be housed there until IHP builds its own hostel. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Bringing a pillow is a great idea not only for sleeping, but for sitting on if you’re going on safari, or riding across the game parks. It is bumpy. We appreciate any linens, towels, washcloths, pillows, etc. you’d like to leave as a donation.
You can wash out anything you want, but if it’s the rainy season, it may not get dry right away. We do have ladies here happy to do your laundry for you at the cost of about $5.00 (USD) per week. Please mark everything with a black marker with your name. All laundry is done by hand in cold water. Please bundle it up once a week or so in your sheet and give it to Lucy for one of the laundry ladies.
Please note, everything is line dried, so don't plan on having anything washed that you don't want other people to see.
Basically, food costs are about $5.00 (7,550 Tsh) a meal. There may be excursions to restaurants in Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam where you’ll order off of a menu.
It’s a good idea to bring your own favorite snack foods. There is not a convenience store on the corner.
Paula is an American and tends to do American style cooking for the breakfasts.
For Lucy’s cooking, the food served will depend somewhat on what’s in season, but it will include soup, ugali (maise – corn – that is ground up and cooked in water to a thick mashed potato consistency), rice, noodles, cooked cabbage, meat, chicken, fish, and whatever vegetables and fruits that are in season, such as pineapple, avocados, tangerines, bananas, oranges, carrots, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, or cucumbers.
Denny is allergic to onions. Paula is allergic to beef, pork, lamb, goat, shrimp, sunflower seeds and pepper. Mary Ellen has celiac disease and can’t eat gluten. We understand allergies and special needs, and we’ve learned to work around them. When we have a group of people cooking here, there is plenty of “give and take” with menus and a variety of foods so no one ever seems to go hungry.
We need medical professionals, of course, but we also need people who know how to build or are “handy”. We need building professionals, i.e. tradesmen and women, but we also welcome those who come along “to fetch and carry.” There is always sorting and inventory to be done. There is always work for willing hands. Most people are able to see what needs to be done or are clued in during orientation and take possession of a particular project or to just lend a hand doing those things that need doing in the houses, dishes, etc. We do not have a staff person designated to direct volunteers. Building with the blocks means simply slipping them together. They weigh 10 kilos each – 22 pounds. Bring your own work gloves.
All medical people must be licensed by the Medical or Nursing Boards of Tanzania. Please go to our application page to download the forms. The process takes about six (6) weeks so please allow plenty of time. If even one (1) form is not completed, or one (1) paper not there or not properly notarized, the whole process stops.
Your license costs must be sent in advance to:
International Health Partners, US & Tz,
Joyce Zemel, Treasurer
1811 S. 39th St. #36
Mesa, AZ 85206
Please mark in the memo section that this is authorization fees.
In the medical field, at this point, we are an outpatient clinic. We can do some “lumps and bumps” type surgeries and small procedures, but our O.R. is not staffed full time yet. We do have a medical laboratory that we’re attempting to equip.
Artists can decorate the walls. Computer people can teach us at a very basic level. Electricians can wire, plumbers can assist with the water systems here. Painters can paint and paint and paint and paint, engineers can help us with building designs and construction techniques. Gofers and flunkies are very highly valued.
We do not want to take responsibility for children, and only accept children under 18 if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. For groups having individuals who are ages 18 to 20, we expect responsible adults to chaperone them.
It is important for people to be in good health. Life is more strenuous here than in the West and people need to be able to get around and in and out of safari vehicles, etc. If you have a chronic back problem, for instance, it would be a good idea to check with your physician to see if you could withstand the travel on our rough roads.
You can stay either short or long-term, depending on your schedule and what you plan to do while you’re here.
Yes, your volunteer schedule is up to you. However, we have very limited transport available for “going to town for shopping, etc.” and your shopping would have to be worked into the errands needing to be run that day by our staff. If you want to go into town for a special trip on your own, then we’d expect you to pay the fuel and driver. Fuel was about $8.15/gallon in 2013. It takes about 20 minutes driving time to get from the clinic compound to Bagamoyo and an hour to get to Dar es Salaam and much longer during traffic time.
The clinic will be in operation 5 ½ days a week. Students are expected to be in the clinic when it is open.
There are many cultural sights to see in Bagamoyo and shopping and other things in Dar es Salaam, but they must be planned in advance and transport arranged and paid for.
As a whole, the country is at peace. However, the environment in Dar es Salaam is busy and filled with a lot of activities and people working and playing hard. Bagamoyo is a sleepy, but interesting place and there are some more upscale hotels, etc. there.
You can go walking with a partner. You can play games with the local youth, they’re very welcoming, i.e., soccer and basketball.
As far as night life, it’s not much of an option for visitors. We don’t have transport available at night and taxis do not run after 9:00 P.M.
The clinic staff speaks English. Most Tanzanians speak a little English. You do not have to speak Swahili, but a few words, especially greetings, are nice. For medical people, we can e-mail you a “cheat sheet” with medical terms in English and Swahili to acquaint you a little with them before you come.
Fly into Dar es Salaam and we’ll pick you up or arrange transport for you.
There are tour companies that can assist you. We recommend Pure-Afro Travels at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are several levels of travel and what you want to spend is up to you. Vesna is the queen of detail and follow-up and we feel confident in having our guests in her care.
We recommend that you check with the CDC website for whatever may be recommended at any certain time.
You will definitely need:
An up-to-date Tetanus shot
Hepatitis A and B (note that Hep. B shots are given 30 days apart. Make sure you have scheduled the second one before you start your travels.)
Have a booster for your MMR (unless you've had the diseases mumps, measles, rubella)
Immunization for chicken pox (unless you've had the disease) as we do have frequent cases of chicken pox
DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) shot if you haven't already had one
Polio booster, if you have not had one for ten years
Yellow Fever is required, especially if you’ve flown in through Kenya.
You MUST have your yellow immunization card ready to present when you come through Customs; a photocopy will not do.
Optional: check with the CDC as to their requirements (not always the same as recommendations).
Typhoid vaccination, either the injection or the new oral
ESSENTIAL: Malaria prophylaxis; check with your personal physician for the best choice for you.
In addition to the prophylaxis provided by the shots and oral drugs listed above you should:
Check your insurance to see what’s covered. You can go online for more information.
If you’d like to receive our e-mail updates, please send Paula a note at: Paula@ihptz.org and she will put you on the list.
We print a newsletter every so often and if you’d like to be on the list, please let us know. Our contact information is on the Contact page of this Web site.
If there is an emergency and your family or friends need to contact you while you're in Tanzania, they should try Paula's cell phone number at: 011 255 784 749 320.
International Health Partners, U.S. is a 501c3 non-profit corporation registered with the State of Minnesota. International Health Partners, TZ is a registered NGO (Non-Governmental Organization).
We feel we are “God-led,” but we are affiliated with no particular religious group or institution.
In Dodoma, our nursing school is part of St. John’s University, an Anglican institution.
Yes. However, we use pre-paid phones here with cards you buy to put money into the phone. Some U.S. cell phones work out here, but we have no idea of the costs. You must check with your cell phone plan. A cell phone here costs about $30.00 on up. For some cell phones, especially European ones, just buying a Tanzanian sim card will do, but it must be registered here in Tanzania. That doesn’t cost much, but takes a little time to do. You must have your ID with you when you register it.
Volunteers who leave the compound should have a cellphone (their own or a guest phone) so they can stay in touch with Paula if needed.
Questions and some answers