Shining A Light on the Dark Continent

Explosion affects travel plans in Tanzania

A sign for the American Club at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
A sign for the American Club at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.

As Dave prepared to leave Tanga for Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, he received word that an explosion closed the main airport.

An accident at a military ammunition depot, caused the explosion killing 20 people, injuring 145 more and closed the airport. According to news reports, people felt the explosion 12 miles away.

“Any explosion, intentional or accidental, is a sobering experience, especially when you are in a foreign country,” Dave said. “I feel more compassion for foreigners traveling to the United States. You have that unnerving feeling that something can happen and you cannot clearly communicate the issue or problem to people in the host nation.”

Dave said he just hopes the host nation’s military checklists and safety standards are as thorough as possible.

With their flight canceled, Dave and his crew drove the 209 miles from Tanga to Dar es Salaam. “Our schedule was tight. I didn’t know what delays this caused in our plans and missions. Plus, there is always a chance of problems on a long drive such as accidents, shakedowns, curious people, and mischief makers.”

In the city, the group visited the new U.S. Embassy, rebuilt after a terrorist attack in 1998. That attack killed 10 people. The embassy reopened in 2003.

These ornate doors were donated to the U.S. Embassy by the government of Tanzania after an explosion destroyed the building in 1998.
These ornate doors were donated to the U.S. Embassy by the government of Tanzania after an explosion destroyed the building in 1998.

While at the embassy, Dave met the defense attaché and toured the compound.  The large, ornate doors impressed Dave. “Zanzibar builds beautiful doors. Tanzania gave the embassy a set of doors as a sign of peace and healing. The embassy displays the doors inside.”

“The embassy grounds are lush and green. The modern building has a pool, a club, and a gym. Near the pool is a wonderful mural of the big animals of Africa,” Dave said. “It represents the United States of America well. It was my humble privilege to visit a few times.”

This picture is part of a mural near the pool at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
This picture is part of a mural near the pool at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.

 

 

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