Mtwara, Tanzania

Missio members are sponsoring more than 100 children in a Compassion Center in Mtwara, Tanzania. Where is that? And what is life like there? We shared some basic answers to these questions in both church services yesterday, using these slides...


Tanzania is on the East Coast of Africa, and Mtwara sits right on the beach with the sun rising each day out of the Indian ocean. Mtwara is as far south as you can go in Tanzania before getting into Mozambique. Mtwara grew up around a bay and is still home to many commercial fishermen. 


Neighboring countries include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. One city to notice is Dar Es Salaam, which is a bit like the Tanzanian New York; it's not the capital, but it is a center of commerce and home to the tallest buildings and busiest airport. Another is Arusha, in the north, where most tourists arrive to visit the Serengeti plain on safari or to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.   ("Safari" is the Swahili word for trip.)


If Mtwara was located where Asheville is, the rest of Tanzania would stretch north to Chicagoland. And just as the US shares great lakes with Canada, Tanzania shares the enormous Lake Victoria with Uganda.  The third largest lake in the world, Lake Victoria is about the same distance from Mtwara that Lake Michigan is from Asheville. (And at 27,000 square miles, Lake Victoria is about 22% larger than Lake Michigan.)


7-8 Hour Time Difference – Each day dawns in Mtwara 8 hours before here (7 when we are not on daylight savings time.) So when these slides were first presented at 10:00am in Asheville, it was 6:00pm in Mtwara. 


See Lake Victoria? Those two long skinny lakes (Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi) also form part of the border of Tanzania. 

See Lake Victoria? Those two long skinny lakes (Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi) also form part of the border of Tanzania. 

I used the think "sub-saharan" meant desert. Quite the opposite. It means "south of the Sahara." Mtwara gets about 45" of rain a year, which is exactly how much Asheville gets on average. But in Tanzania it falls almost entirely during two rainy seasons – fall and spring – with winter and summer being much drier. Lots of green in Tanzania.


Daily temperatures are quite consistent in Tanzania. It's similar to summer in Asheville, all year long. Their coolest months are during Asheville's summer because Tanzania is (just slightly) south of the equator. 


The equator doesn't pass through Tanzania, but it comes very close. 


So what is it like in Mtwara? This still from a video on YouTube is typical of the photos we are finding. We'll know a lot more after the trip this December!