Amanda’s Daily Life Field Note

Interviewing Paulo, another Swahili teacher at my Tanzanian University, was like talking to a really good friend! I was excited to sit down and chat about his family and work in Tanzania. He thinks it is important for children to learn about other parts of the world and is happy to share his life with you!

What is your full name?

Paulo Kato Kateme

Where do you live? What is your house like?

“I live in Tabata and my house is big because I have two kids and they need enough space to play. My house is made of cement blocks and has five rooms and a fence for safety and security. I’m new to where I’m staying so I need to watch the neighborhood to see if it is okay for my children to play.”

What is your family like?

“I have two sons. The first one is Innocent and he is going to be nine years old soon. The other is Samuel and he is one and a half years. I have a house helper, Maria, too. She helps to take care of the kids and is almost a part of the family. Innocent is in standard three but we have to try hard to get him to study because he likes to watch television a lot. Samuel is young but feisty and likes to fight with his brother. On the weekends we all like to go on walks together.”

How do you get around?

“From the town of Tabata where I live it is about about twenty minutes to go by dalla dalla [a dalla dalla is a Tanzanian bus]. But I do not like dalla dallas because they take too long. I usually take piki pikis [ piki pikis are like motorcycles]. I need to go to work fast because my job does not allow me to be late. “

What types of clothing do you like to wear?

“I am not that picky but I used to be. I used to have forty shoes, 120 shirts, 40 trousers and many watches!  Because I have kids now I cannot spend that much money on clothes.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to sit down with my friends. We might go to a restaurant where we can talk, have food, and relax.  I also like to spend a lot of time with my children. They are a big part of my life.”

What language(s) do you speak? How do you say “hello” in your language?

“I speak Swahili and English. There are many ways to say hello in Swahili but my favorite is “Habari.” If someone says “habari to you, you respond by saying “nzuri.”



Do you have pets?

“I have no pets. In my family my father did not have any pets so I am used to that. Sometimes my children say they would like to have a cat but I do not think they will be able to take care of it. Pets are also not that common in Tanzania.”

Have you traveled? Where have you traveled to?

“I am always in Tanzania but I went to Zambia once for the workshop. I have also traveled through Kenya and Uganda to get to my home town north of Lake Victoria. I liked Zambia but I did not have time to travel around. In Tanzania I have been to many places but my favorite place is Arusha. I love Arusha because of the weather. It is much cooler than in Dar es Salaam. Also, I can buy many good things in Arusha, like great shoes!”

What do you do for work?

“My job in Tanzania is to teach Swahili. I have worked for many organizations and taught Swahili to many Americans. I love my job because it excites me when others like to come to East Africa to learn our language. “

Is there anything else you would like to say to students in the United States?

“Learning to think on your own and become and individual is really important. Also, come to Tanzania! You will find it to be beautiful and welcoming.”


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