FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF IHP
How much should I bring?
The U.N. suggests that every foreign visitor have at least $500 in cash on him/her in case of an emergency when traveling.
If not purchased in advance, you will need to have one $100 bill to pay Immigration for the VISA to enter the country.
Bring U.S. dollars in higher denominations as they get the best exchange rate.
They must be new bills, the $100 bills must have the blue stripe on them.
$50 bills must be newer than 2006.
$20 bills or less get a very poor exchange rate.
We will assist you with either going to a bank with you or by having the cash on hand to do your exchange for you at the best rate into Tanzania shillings.
Do not bring lots of $1.00 bills for tips. That doesn’t work. You’ll just end up taking them back home with you. Coins from your home country will be of NO value in Tanzania as they cannot be exchanged.
Do not bring Traveler's checks. There is NO PLACE in Tanzania to cash them.
Bring your ATM or Credit Card that can be used in an ATM but make sure you know in advance what your charges are going to be for a foreign transaction. And, BE SURE to let your bank know you’ll be traveling to Africa or they may block your card. The ATM receipt will show your totals in Tanzania Shillings but only your bank statement will describe additional bank/ATM charges.
Shoulders and knees are considered sexy, both for men and women and are not to be exposed. So, please honor Tanzanian culture and keep them covered.
Men do not wear shorts except when playing sports unless they are shorts that come down to the knee or below.
Women can wear long loose pants and shirts or T-shirts. It’s good to have at least one skirt or dress that falls well below the knee for going to church or out into the community. Tight clothing is inappropriate.
Slacks that are cut off below the knee are fine but we do have grass fleas and that gives them that much more skin to suck on.
Going on safari is a different story, you can wear whatever is comfortable for you. By the way, climbing in and out of safari vehicles calls for some strength and dexterity and clothing that is loose and flexible.
The dress code in the city of Dar es Salaam is much more relaxed. It is a cosmopolitan city and they’re used to seeing foreigners. But up in Zinga and in Bagamoyo, respecting cultural norms for modesty is honored.
We do have a pool, so please bring a modest swimsuit and cover-up. The pool is in the guest area of the compound and private from the village. However, our workers are present everywhere.
Leaving clothing behind is also fine. We give first choice to our workers and then everything else goes to the clinic staff and then to the village chairman to distribute in the village.
Tennis shoes or trainers are fine. Work shoes are fine, as are boots. Sandals are fine for wear but not practical for the work site.
Daytime temperatures rarely go above 90-92 F. (33 C.) but it is usually humid. Because of this, mornings can feel chilly below 70 F. (21 C.)
WE ARE SENSITIVE TO PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES. JUST LET US KNOW SO WE CAN FIX FOOD YOU CAN EAT.
Breakfast is always with Paula and Denny on the porch of the house. Think American cooking most of the time, eggs, pancakes, toast, French toast, oatmeal, etc.
Lunch and dinner are fixed by our wonderful cook Lucy and her helpers. That consists of vegetables and fruits that are available, fish, chicken, and occasionally beef. That will be served in The Eatery that is right by the guest houses.
We are very careful about food handling and want you to be, too. Typhoid is endemic in the water. All fruits and vegetables are soaked for 20 minutes in a weak bleach solution. All the dishes, flatware, pots and pans, etc. are washed and rinsed in a bleach solution. We ask that before you touch anything on the table that you either dip your hands in the bleach solution provided or use hand sanitizer.
If you want certain specific snack foods, then please bring them yourself.
Bottled water will be provided.
Breakfast is served at about 8:00 A.M.
Lunch is around 1:30 to 2:00 P.M.
Dinner is around 7:00 to 7:30 P.M.
The coffee/tea table is always open/ready for you to serve yourself. Sodas are provided at $1.00 each other than one served free at mealtime.
Please go to CDC.gov for the latest recommendations.
At this time Yellow Fever shots are not required unless you’re coming from a country where it is indigenous. If you stay in Nairobi for more than 12 hours, then you’ll need a Yellow Fever card.
DPT booster is good, especially tetanus. The vaccinations are good for 10 years unless you have an injury, then 5 years is the recommendation. Pertussis (whooping cough) is also recommended every 10 years now.
For medical people, Hepatitis A & B.
Prophylaxis for Rabies is recommended for people who will be working around animals. It’s an option, not necessarily a recommendation.
You must be on an anti-malarial
There are 3 options: Malarone, Doxycycline, and Mefloquine (Lariam),
Malarone is a daily pill. The package insert says to start taking it one day ahead. We suggest you start 3 days ahead of time to make sure it’s in your liver and working. Take the EXTRA dose on the plane. It’s better to have extra in your system than to arrive wide open to your first mosquito bite. You must continue to take it 10 days to 2 weeks after you return home.
Doxycycline: Same as above. However, some people are allergic to it or it makes them feel nauseous. Better to find out when you’re still in the U.S. There is also the sun sensitivity issue.
Mefloquine (also called Lariam): Taken once weekly. Can cause vivid dreams in about 30% of the people who take it. It must be started 2 weeks before you leave and taken 4 weeks after you return home.
ACCOMMODATIONS AT ZINGA
At Zinga you will either stay in the house with the Lofstroms or in one of the little round-houses. You will be in a bed that has a mosquito net on it. There are bunk beds and small full-size beds. In round House #1 and # 7 there is a queen-sized bed. In the other houses, there are bunk beds as well as full-sized. In each of the guest rooms at the Lofstrom house/hostel there is a double bed and either two singles or a bunk bed.
The round-houses have a bedroom and a modern bathroom, shower, sink, and toilet. There is hot water for showers.
Beds have sheets, a quilt, and a pillow on them as well as mosquito netting. Towels and washcloths are provided.
The cost is $40 a day full room & board.
COST OF A SAFARI
We recommend Pure-Afro Travels (www.pure-afro.com)
We have known them for years; their company and services can be trusted.
Please go to the website and check out for yourselves what is available (EVERYTHING) and what the costs are.
Vesna gives very personal service and gives a discount to all our students and volunteers. It’s her contribution to supporting our mission.
Contact her, email@example.com, for options and costs.
Most of the teams coming to Zinga opt to go to Selous game reserve because it’s closer and cheaper than the northern circuit (Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater), but that’s just an option. People also climb Kilimanjaro or go to Zanzibar. Vesna can arrange whatever you want.
WHEN YOU CAN COME TO ZINGA
At this time Paula and Denny are in the U.S. doing fundraising from October to March annually, so guests can come from April through September. We do not accommodate guests when the Lofstroms are not there to host.
There are limited accommodations, so be sure to check with Paula when there is room for you.
If you are medical:
The clinic opens at 8:00 am. You will be supervised by Dr. Kitundu, Dr. Bon, Dr. Kenny, or by our head nurse, Miriam.
Students are expected to be at the clinic whenever patients are there.
We have scrubs but you can bring your own. We especially like “Happy/Pediatric” scrubs.
Visiting doctors will spend a few days with one of our clinicians until they are comfortable with what they may be seeing, i.e. malaria, typhoid, and other common infectious and tropical diseases with which they may not be familiar.
Students may have the opportunity to observe at one or two other facilities depending on what can be arranged when you’re there.
If you are construction:
We eat breakfast about 8:00. Probably the night before your team will have decided on what the plans/goals are for the day and the work will be laid out. Our head of construction operations, Sele, will be available to assist with tools, logistics, and planning for each day. You’ll probably work from about 9:00 A.M. until perhaps 12:30 or 1:00 pm. Not unusual to take a swim then before lunch if you’d like.
Return to work after lunch until about 5:00 PM and then perhaps back into the pool.
At 6:00 PM we gather on the porch to watch the sunset and grade it from 0 to 10. (So much better than television!) Reaching a consensus can sometimes take a lot of discussions. Sometimes a mild libation taken during adjudication may influence the process. It’s a good time to share what happened during the day.
Dinner in The Eatery about 7:00 PM. After dinner is a good time for devotionals and planning for the next day.
WILL MY CELL PHONE WORK AT ZINGA?
Maybe. It’s most practical to buy a SIM card when you arrive. Find out what your “roaming” charges may be on what you have now, as they can be quite expensive.
We do have a couple of small “guest phones” for keeping in contact with us if you’re somewhere else.
IS THERE INTERNET CONNECTION?
Yes, but it is limited and not free. Our modem can support 5 units, but we ask $1.00 an hour to help defray the costs. And please no downloading or net surfing as we’re charged by the time as well as the MB. It adds up quickly. Keep in mind the network services will only be consistent in their inconsistency.
The electricity is 220-240/ and cycles at 50 Hz/second. We have universal ADAPTORS in all the plugs, but NOT CONVERTER/TRANSFORMERS. A converter brought from the U.S. will change the 220 to 110, but it does not change the 50 Hz. to 60 Hz., so things can easily overheat and burn out depending on its power draw.
Many devices will switch automatically to the network voltage and they’ll work just fine (mobile phone chargers are typically mulit-voltage) but please do check your own before bringing.
Don’t plug in anything here unless it is in a surge protector! Those are provided in each of the bedrooms or houses.
The electricity from the grid is not constant as it is in the US, so it has peaks and waves of power that can burn out an electrical appliance, computer or anything electronic in a second. Do Not Take Chances by plugging into a wall outlet without a surge protector on it.
Electricity can go off at any time and be off for ten minutes or four days. Bring a flashlight. We do have solar on many of the rooftops but it is not very strong.
If you have a small solar charger for your electronics you would like to bring, it will be of great use to you.
We supply toilet paper similar in quality to what you buy in the U.S. and use western toilets in the houses.
Souvenir shopping can be done in Bagamoyo or in Dar es Salaam if the group stops there. Paula will have a souvenir shop at The Eatery also.
Groceries are bought either in Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Tageta, or along the road. Fresh fish are bought when the fishermen bring them in up at Bagamoyo.
Swahili is spoken by the indigenous people of Tanzania, as well as their native tribal languages. English is the second language of the country. All of our medical staff speak very good English and the rest of the staff speak a little (or at least understand) English.
PERSONAL APPLIANCES, CURLING IRONS, AND HAIR DRYERS
Some women have used them without their burning out. But it is taking a chance. Zinga is not a place where one worries much about “dolling up.” Best advice is to not carry the extra weight.
Down in Dar es Salaam there are stores where they sell sanitary napkins. But it’s best to bring your own supplies.
PHYSICAL ADDRESS FOR THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AT ZINGA
There isn’t an exact address like in western countries. The land is about 35 miles (56 Km) north of the outskirts of Dar es Salaam and 9 miles (15 Km) south of Bagamoyo. You can go to Google Maps and put in Zinga and then go left of the main road about 1 mile (2 Km) and look for the dark green L-shaped roof of the clinic building.
We will meet you and pick you up when you land at Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Airport in the south of Dar es Salaam, and see that you get back to it as well, when the time comes. The distance may seem short by western standards but due to the roads and traffic, and other challenges, the trip from Airport to Zinga will be about 3 hours. The cost to use the bus including fuel and driver is $120 USD each way, and cost for the van is $50 USD.
People ask what we use and I say, “whatever the guests leave behind.” Deet is fine. There are other products and that work fine, too. The mosquitos that carry malaria (only certain species of mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus—and only females of those species—can transmit malaria) come out when the sun goes down, so that’s when to spray with whatever you choose. The mosquitos are teeny tiny fast little things. You really can hardly see them they’re so small and there aren’t “swarms” of them, but they’re there. We do have screens on the windows and porches, but a few still manage to sneak in.
It is not part of the culture here as it is in the US, but at the hospital in Zinga, tipping is totally optional for the services provided to the guests. Some groups give each construction worker or Lucy and her helpers some money. That needs to be a group decision. The gift of 25,000 to 50,000 Tanzania Shillings is a real bonus to a person there. That’s $12.00 to $25.00 USD. Smaller amounts are also fine. You’ll be working with the people and see for yourselves.
Tipping on safari – take suggestions for that from Vesna.
If someone needs to get hold of you, please give them my phone number. Dialed from the U.S.:
011 255 754 599 269.
Or, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.