Bourdain's Episode in Tanzania

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In this episode, Bourdain traveled to Kenya alongside an African American friend, Bell Kamau. Together, the two explored different areas in Kenya and discussed various issues with the locals. They even tasted various Kenyan cuisines. The episode begins with them walking along the busy streets of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. They entered a local hotel where they were served Tilapia and a bottle of tusker each. Later on, in the episode, they ate Swahili dishes like beans with coconut milk, “mahamri,” “mchicha,” chicken biryani, goat’s head, and even drunk a cow’s blood. I was surprised that a particular tribe in Kenya enjoyed feeding on a cow’s blood. He discussed issues in the textile industry, the LGBTQ community, the safety of the wildlife, and strategies to reduce crime in the slums such as the formation of Kibera Creative Arts and the engagement in boxing. I realized that Kenyan matatus are well decorated with art and have booming music to attract customers. I was surprised that people actually party in the buses.

The episode presented Kenya as a country that has more poor people compared to the rich even though Bourdain mentioned that the number of middle-class people was on the rise. Most Kenyans struggle to make ends meet as suggested by most locals. People struggle to pay their rent, they are forced to buy second-hand clothes and underwear due to poverty, and the boxing trainer mentions that he provides free classes since the trainees have nothing to give. However, the episode should have covered the culture of more Kenyan tribes since Kenya is a diverse nation with over forty tribes. It should have given the viewers a glimpse of the life of the middle class and wealthy people instead of only focusing on poor people. On the issue of the LGBTQ community, it is still unclear if they are legally accepted in the country. Are they free to express their sexuality? If yes, how is the rest of the country reacting to the matter?

On the other hand, the episode succeeded in giving the viewers a glimpse of the everyday life of most Kenyans; the means of transport they use daily, the type of food they eat, the places they go to buy their clothes, and some of the activities they engage in to ensure that they reduce the crime levels in the nation. From the episode, I learned that some of the Kenyan tribes are trying to ensure that they do not lose their culture, mainly the pastoralists. In general, I think the Kenyan cuisine is delicious, and I would love to try them out especially the tilapia. However, I am not satisfied with the safety of consuming a cow’s blood when it is still raw.

The episode showed some of the tribes that are in Kenya like the nomadic pastoralists such as the Maasai, Turkana, and Samburu people who we were taught in class. Also, Bourdain focused on the wildlife which has made Kenya famous. We learned that many tourists visit Kenya to see wild animals. However, the animals’ existence has been endangered by poachers. Some of the poachers believe that the rhinos’ horns are of significant value to them and that is why they hunt them down.  In conclusion, I believe that Kenya is a beautiful country with beautiful people who are dedicated to their work and I would love to visit the country one day.

Season 4 Episode 5 (Tanzania)

The episode explores the lives of people in Tanzania mainly in Zanzibar and Arusha. Anthony Bourdain discusses some of the social issues experienced by Tanzanians and tastes a lot of different Tanzanian cuisines. He starts the episode in Zanzibar where he explains their culture which is entirely different from the other parts of the country. One of their cultures is the use of mahogany doors which had brass spikes and chain designs that symbolized slave trade that was practiced years back. The people found in Zanzibar are mainly Muslim. He fed on mandazi, bitter spiced coffee, coconut rice, tasi fish, potatoes, mackerel fish, chapati bread, cassava, octopus, lobster, Zanzibar pizza, beef, chicken, fresh and sour milk, goat meat, and honey beer. Some of the social issues discussed in Zanzibar were the revolution and the increase in tax for the stalls at the shore which forced some of the locals to relocate their meat selling business. The revolution had ugly results as it led to the execution of the first president of Zanzibar. While in Arusha, Bourdain visited the Serengeti and explored wildlife and the lives of semi-nomad people living there, the Maasai. He discussed issues on wildlife and the fear of the Maasai people being kicked out of the Serengeti.

From the episode, it is evident that the Tanzanian people are deeply rooted in their culture. For instance, the Maasai people still live in their traditional houses, feed on their traditional meals, and dress in Maasai “shukas.” However, they still embrace modernity as they use phones and allow their children to go to school. The Zanzibar people also continue with their traditions of eating their traditional cuisines and constructing their houses like in the olden days. The episode could have been better if Bourdain had explored more of the cultures of the Tanzanian people like their dances and songs. I was extremely disturbed by the way Maasai people killed the goat. Why did they suffocate them instead of slaughtering them? I later realized that they did that to prevent the loss of blood since they drink the blood. They even ate uncooked kidney.

The episode provided a glimpse of the life of the Maasai people and the Zanzibar people. It showed the diversity in the culture of those people. There was a lot of differences from what they ate to what they wore. I was amazed by the view of the great migration of the wildebeests from Tanzania to Kenya. Also, the Serengeti was portrayed as a peaceful place free from any noise and pollution from the city. The Zanzibar cuisine looked delicious and appetizing. I also admired the dedication of the two group have in preserving their culture.

From what was taught in class, we learned that the Serengeti is home to many wild animals. It was evident when I watched this episode that a lot of animals live in this area. The animals cohabit with the Maasai people. So far, there has been a good balance, and they live together in harmony. However, when the animals attack the Maasai people or their cattle, they are forced to defend themselves. Also, the impact of the colonialists was evident in the Zanzibar people, for instance, the Islamic religion and the structure of their buildings.

November 13, 2023

Culture Food Life

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