The Real Hustlers of Tanzania

So this blog is a place where I write down a lot of Swedish gibberish. However, today I decided to do something different. The real hustlers of Tanzania are so badass that they deserve to be shared with as many people as possible.

So…that is what I’m about to do now.

Some of you guys that read this post might already know that I’m currently in Arusha, Tanzania, working as a volunteer at an orphanage. And if you did not know it already, now you do.

Most orphanages have a “mama” – someone who cooks, clean, and takes care of the kids at the orphanage as if they were her own. The “mama” in the orphanage I work in, calls herself “Mama Waridi”. The name is based on exactly what her position entails. She is the mama of Waridi, a kid that currently attend the orphanage.

My relationship with Mama Waridi has developed each week I’ve been at the orphanage and this week she invited me to her home. My world and reality in Tanzania stretches from the lodge I live in, the five minute Dala Dala ride to the orphanage and the orphanage itself. Needless to say, I knew that in the exact moment when I accepted her invitation that my world and reality in Arusha, Tanzania would be changed.

…and I was right.

What I did not realize, before I visited Mama Waridi, is that my orphanage functions more or less as a boarding school for children who have lost one or both parents and as a result, their families cannot afford them to go to school. Therefore, the orphanage is closed during the weekends and all kids go home to their families. As most of the kids live in the same area as Mama Waridi the invitation to Mama Waridi’s home became something else, and suddenly I was invited to everyone’s home with open arms.

And let me tell you, there are some bad ass women out there in Tanzania, and I feel so lucky that I was able to meet and be inspired by so many of them in one single afternoon;

One is Nelson’s sister, who takes care of her baby brother when both of her parents passed away. And when I step into to her home she welcomes me with open arms and a warmth that is hard to describe in words, despite the fact that she recently suffered a great loss.

Alex’s sisters take care of their baby brother, while living with three people in a room smaller than seven square meters. And if you met Alex you would know that he is one of the kindest, smartest and friendliest kids you will ever meet, and even if his sisters in some ways can be considered kids themselves, they do an amazing job raising him.

Munira’s mother has taken care of Munira by herself from birth since Munira’s dad left her when he found out she was pregnant. When she asks if Munira can read, I want to explain to her how smart, stubborn, charming and tough of a daughter she has, and that I have been dying to meet the person who created this person, because she is so amazing. But I know she barely speaks any English so I try to keep it as simple as possible and say “yes, she can read a little, even if she is only five”. And I can see that her whole face lights up while her eyes water because she has some hope, that maybe Munira can make it, and maybe Munira does not have to spend her whole life just  getting by.

And then we have Mama Waridi. A woman whose name indicates that her identity is based on being Waridi’s mom but it goes far beyond that. She is the oldest of her siblings, and because her parents have passed away, she takes care of not only her own family, but also her younger siblings. This involves not only supporting them but also sending her younger brothers to school, even though her salary is so small that when I tell her she might be able to make seven dollars extra each per week her eyes fill with tears.

Everyday, every week, every month, and every year is a struggle to just  get by. And everyday, every week, every month and every year is a hustle.

“Mama Waridi, you are like a real hustler”

“Hm, what is a hustler?”

“Hmm…eh… you know, eh, Hip Hop?”


“And sometimes in Hip Hop songs the rappers sing about being hustlers. Like they fight to make a living…”

“Ah, ok”

“…but they are not real hustlers because they are sipping champagne and really don’t have to work so hard to get by, like you”


“…and I think that 50 Cent* should come to Tanzania and meet you and see that you are the real hustler, and not him”

“Haha, yes, he should meet me…”

Then she points to herself and says:

“…because I’m a real hustler”.


One of the real hustlers of Tanzania – Mama Waridi and her daughter Waridi


Me and Waridi (probably a future hustler of Tanzania)

*I know he used to be a hustler. However, his recent activities such as, his version of the ALS Bucket Challenge might indicate that he does not hustle that much anymore.

Eh… I just watched it again. I would like to say he probably does not hustle at all. Hehe.

Ps. If you, 50 Cent, somehow read this (very unlikely, but still), I hope that you are not offended by this. I really believe you used to be a hustler. However, I was a little disappointed when I realized that your song “Candy Shop” is NOT about an actual Candy Shop????!!!!!!!!! Please explain this. Ds.

Ps. (2) I would like to thank my friend Dino who helped me with this post. He writes about Hip Hop and he definitely knows which rappers hustle for real or not (google: “fake rap hustlers does not work”. I tried). Anyways, here is his blog (link). Ds (2)



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