Hello! I hold the title of: Miss Tanzania in the Miss Africa Washington state pageant. My name is Ruzeda and I was born in Dar es salaam, Tanzania on August 17th, 1997 to a Tanzanian woman and a Texas born Navy veteran. I moved to Seattle, Washington in 1999 and been living here ever since. I have been back to my country since then. My most recent travel there was in late May 2015 and I stayed there until early October 2015.

During my 4 month vacation, I learned a lot! Before traveling there, I was warned by my mom's friends about HIV and how the men there will try to sleep with me especially because I'm "American". During my stay in Tanzania, I was told how so many people are actually living with HIV. I have visited multiple hospitals and clinics and pharmacies and it's nothing like American hospitals and clinics. The people of Tanzania don't have health insurance. They have to pay for every pill and hospital visit. In Seattle, all my health expenses are free of charge!

My vacation wasn't really a vacation. My mother decided to put me in school so that I could gain friends. I went to East Africa International school where the teens are no different than the teens in America. Teens in Tanzania are also sexually active and are also getting pregnant. Unfortunately, in Tanzania, they do not openly talk about anything that has to do with the reproductive system. It is taboo to talk about sex and the result of that is the spread of HIV/ AIDS and other diseases and infections. So, it is important to me to spread awareness to open the eyes of my people and stop the decrease in the population of Tanzania.

Why Ruzeda wants to be part of A Girl Like Me's Voices from Our Allies: It is important for me to blog because it will not only help bring me to the public eye, but also help bring awareness to the public and break the sex taboo concept. Living in both Africa and America, I see both sides and I feel that it is part of my destiny to help bring my country out of this madness.

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