Moshi is a town at the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Its population is about 200,000 which surprised me because Moshi seems to be small in size, but I guess it must be very densely populated. It is quite a built up city and the majority of its population has significantly better living standards than the people in the surrounding villages.
It has a major road which gives access to the central bus station providing transport to surrounding villages and major cities like Arusha and Dar es Salaam. Off the main road you can find the Mawenzi hospital, a couple of night clubs/bars and different cafes and restaurants serving mostly westernized food. The main road is full of shops ranging from tailors, shops with arts and crafts, kiosks, pharmacies, banks and phone providers to markets selling shoes, clothes and fresh fruit and veg – I have to say that the market people have some excellent marketing skills! The main road also gives access to the city’s Mosque and the Hindu temple.
I would say the majority of people in Moshi make a living by selling goods in the city centre. The outskirts of the city seem to be used more for family housing and growing crops. The people in the city have better standards of living due to having easier and better access to healthcare, education, transport and job opportunities. Another important thing I noticed was that people in the city were as welcoming as people in the villages – generally, I felt no difference in the way I was approached by people in urban and rural areas which is something I was not expecting. I am not sure whether that is because the urban life of Moshi is still a lot more laid back than the urban life of a corresponding city in a ‘western’ country. There always seems to be no rush and no worries.
Perhaps, the only thing I really did not like about Moshi was the catcalling I received from men, for being white and female. I have to say I would not feel comfortable roaming around alone particularly because I could tell that a lot of the cat calling was not from men who just wanted to tease you in the street; they were the sort of type to chase you down if given the opportunity.