The test of time – Two years have passed since Den passed away, two long, difficult years but I have reached a point of peace and I thank the kids at Amani, my work colleagues and friends, Moshi itself and all those back home for their part in this. I am determined. 2014 starts now for me, February. I have a plan for the next twelve months with a strong focus on my goals. My writing features high on the list. But…
The test of time – as one era passes and another begins, I find myself reflecting. Not just on my past, although that is always with me but as the page in the next chapter of my life turns, I ask myself what is so special for me here? What do I like? I scribbled the following headings in my notebook last weekend whilst enjoying the solitude and beauty of Marangu. I figured they should feature in this blog, as it is my account of my journey. I have kept the order of the original scribbles, make of that what you will!
Men in shiny suits – respect, people dress for and as a sign of respect – I like this – I like to dress for work, for dinner etc. I am in no way being disrespectful when I refer to the shiny suits, I love to see the men dressed for church on Sunday and I love the flamboyance of their colourful shirts and shiny suits. The women are a picture of African elegance with that wonderful combination of dress, headgear and shawl across one shoulder. A Lady can never be overdressed – those around her may be under dressed. My Mum was so right to teach me this lesson.
Thanks Mum, I raise my glass to you. Xxx
Being asked my opinion of the country by strangers – everyone is interested in my impressions of their country. I am stopped in the street and a polite “Hello, how are you?” conversation and my attempt at correct responses in Swahili can lead to a full conversation (usually with my hand firmly clasped by my new friend) and more often than not they want to know what I think of Tanzania, of Moshi. I tell them that I find the life style and the people here much more relaxed and friendly than I do “back home” and this is true. Moshi is similar to my first impressions of Spain when Den, Paul and I first moved there in 1999. Very open, friendly, smiling people. Compared to England, both the current Spain I have left behind and Moshi outrank the UK by a trillion points in this regard.
Pole pole – slowly, slowly. Yes it is that Mañana feeling again. I love it. The locals all tell me pole pole when I am walking to work! Believe me I am not walking that fast but they all insist pole pole.
Being an mzungu – I was a guiri in Spain, a grackle in Cornwall. I love it and have no shame in being a visitor to another country. I love to be mzungu.
Walking to work – My favourite time of the day. I love the interaction with the locals, the beauty of the countryside and the suspense of turning corners wondering if Kili will grace me with her presence today.
And I mean the mountain not the beer. Although that is pretty good too!
The weather – hmmm not so sure right this minute it is pouring with rain!
The complexity of the greetings – needing to evaluate people’s ages on sight in order to select the correct greeting! Yes really, there is a whole range of different ways to say “Hi” and it is very important to get it right. The most respectful way is reserved for those older than me by five or more years. Also I love that everyone is my brother or sister. If I pass a local woman who appears close to me in age I greet her with “Shikamoo dada”. Let’s translate it as “A very respectful hello sister.”
That my town has no traffic lights