While in Dar es Salaam, my bajaj driver, Oscar, took me and another Rooftops Canada intern Marc Mainville, through his local informal neighbourhoods. We visited the Tandale area, a high density community nestled between Dar’s city centre and its suburbs.
Located by the river, this area was evidently unplanned as most of the homes were not accessible by road, and the pedestrian pathways were narrow and often required going through another person’s property.
The shelter stock within the settlement were very different. From access to services and sanitation to the actual housing construction, I learned that informal settlements can come in many forms.
There are different types of built structures here, some permanent, and some less permanent.
According to the 2002 census, Tandale had a population of over 45,000 people, which over ten years later, I imagine has grown. As illustrated in the aerial Google map of the area above, there are not very many identified streets going through. However, there were visible signs of enumeration of the individual units.
Tandale has recently gone through a community mapping project. This has united households in understanding the community assets and challenges in an effort to initiate change.
The river that runs through the area is full of garbage and human refuse. There is poor sanitary infrastructure and there is waste all throughout where people live and children play. But in the distance we can see thriving market driven properties and just at the border, new construction. A Google search of neighbouring Kijitonyama will list a number of properties for sale.
Overflow from the river and lack of sewage has caused people to have to create barriers with cement, lumber or any other materials that they can find, to protect their homes from flooding.
With stockpiles of cement bricks and semi-finished structures, there is evidence that people are incrementally trying to improve their homes.
Commercial activity within the neighbourhood is vibrant, with make shaft shops and vegetable stands. Microlender, Oikocredit, works with the local businesses in the local market.
A soccer ground on a vacant piece of land – there really is a community here!
Oscar and Marc at the local bajaj garage