Tanzania – Jesse McKenna (2011)

Jesse McKenna received her masters degree in international public health from Boston University. In fall 2010, Jesse spent 3 ½ months in Tanzania interning with the Foundation for African Medicine and Education where she developed and implemented a long-term health education curriculum for its mobile health clinics. Jesse received a $1500 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Jesse’s travel safety tips:

  1. Never travel on the roads at night. Many drivers do not use their headlights at night, so it is impossible to see what is coming at you. Plan ahead so you are not in a situation where you need to travel at night.
  2. Take the safe option regardless of price! One seat in a speed taxi (from Karatu to Arusha) is approximately $4 while getting the whole car is $28. It may be enticing to take the cheaper option, but you are putting your life at risk. When you purchase the whole car, you can ask the driver to go the speed you wish. When you just buy one seat, you are the whim of all the other passengers who may be in a rush.
  3. Do not take motorcycles if you do not absolutely need to. They are incredibly dangerous, and there is often not a helmet for the passenger.
  4. Do you research on health clinics and hospitals before you arrive in Tanzania. Good healthcare in Tanzania is hard to find but not impossible. Before you go, research facilities that you could go to in case of an emergency. (FAME Clinic in Karatu offers excellent care, and is opening a hospital for in-patient care in Summer 2011)
  5. Be careful walking in the cities. Keep your valuables close to you and do not flash around your phone, camera, ipod, or other objects of “wealth”. Also, be mindful of the traffic. There are cars, trucks, motorbikes, and pedestrians all over the place so be careful when crossing the street. There are no crosswalks!
  6. Always have your phone with sufficient call credit on it. You never know where your car could get stuck or when your plans could change. Your family back home will really appreciate it.
  7. HAVE FUN! Tanzania is one of the most beautiful places in the world with amazing people.