Day in the Life of a Tanzanian Woman


Meet Monika.

She is the wife of the Pastor of the Baptist Church in our village and has 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy, all over the age of 13. She has a little shop along the main road where she sells various things like notebooks, pencils, toothpaste, and some clothing.

She wakes up every morning around 6am to clean, wash, and cook. Sometimes she makes maandazi, a sort of fried bread, sometimes chapati, a sort of thick tortilla. She usually gets to her shop around 9am and sits there, chatting with the occupants of the neighboring shop or talking to people passing along the road. The road isn’t very busy during the morning because people are usually working on their farms. She drinks tea at 10am and then eats lunch around 2pm.

Depending on what errands she needs to run or what she is going to cook, she returns home somewhere between 4 and 6pm. Then she may take a bath, or clean more, or start cooking dinner. For dinner she usually makes ugali, a mushy cornmeal mixture, with a boiled vegetable or beans on the side. Sometimes they will slaughter a chicken and eat meat with their ugali instead.

On Sundays, she helps lead the worship service by leading songs and prayers.

She is a very calm, intelligent, quiet woman with a soft smile and a generous heart. I love her because of how frank she is- when Andrew and I said that we were health and environment volunteers, she said ‘ok, then you should come here every Saturday to teach my children.’ So we do, and it is by far the most rewarding thing we have been able to do in our village so far. She has fed us numerous times and even escorted me to the local clinic to introduce myself. She is one of the many women in my village that has made me feel welcome and loved.


Monika’s house. I love all the plants she has outside the door.


The Baptist Church just below their house on the side of the mountain.