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The Legend of Hambati

Dr. Hambati 1He stands at little over 5 feet tall, but his smile and laughter make him the tallest man in any room. At 44 years old, he has the perfect combination of youthful exuberance and overflowing fountain of knowledge. He captivates a room with stories so masterfully communicated and knee-slapping hilarious. He yells to hippopotamuses and lions on safaris saying, “HEY MAHNNN! WAKE UP! We pay too much money to watch you sleep, hippo!” or “HEY SIMBA! Roll ova, mahn! You are lazy, lion!” He jumps in to sing and dance with Masai (nomadic, cattle herding group in Kenya and Tanzania) and grabs us to join the fun. The stories of his mother-in-law are sure to get any room laughing– she drinks (at least) 6 Safari beers a day. Any less and she is terribly unhappy, so he offers a tribute of 2 crates of Safari a week (that’s 40 beers!) in exchange for her satisfaction. He tells the story of finding a frog in his shoe at Lake Natron saying, “I put on my shoe, and I think ‘what is this sponge in my shoo? This sponge feels quite nice. Then I take off my shoe and FROG! I say ‘hey, frog. You are not welcome in my shoo, mahn. I did not pay money to share room with frog!'” He shares the story of his father who lived to be 115 years old and died only last year who entrusted him with his family’s land and estate and told people to celebrate his passing and not mourn it. He is one of those men who is so personable that the hope of ever eating a meal in solitude must never cross his mind– we students are awestruck with whom we call “Hambati.”IMG_2633


Dr. Herbert Hambati is a geography professor at the University of Dar es Salaam and is accompanying our group throughout our adventures across the nation of Tanzania. He is a native of Karatu, and his dissertation studies the urbanization of Dar es Salaam; he speaks in Swahili, English, and Masai (one might say he is qualified to tag along with us). Hopefully soon, the “Legend of Hambati” will visit his new friends at UNA.

Robby Thompson

Robby Thompson received his diploma in the morning and jumped on a plane in the afternoon bound for Tanzania. He received his Bachelor’s in Business Geography and will begin his Masters of Science in Geospatial Science at UNA this summer. Robby studied in Schmalkalden, Germany in 2012 with the Magellan program, then Paris over Spring Break with UNA Study Abroad. Follow his next Study Abroad adventure, will it be his best?

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