Good Morning World.
It is 1oth August 2014 and my mind is continually drawn to the fact that I am fast approaching my one year anniversary of the big adventure. I will have been in Tanzania for a year on the 12th September and so I thought I would while away a few hours, on this cloudy day that will blossom into a perfect sunny early 80° farenheit later, by seeing where I was at on this day last year. On the 18th August 2013 I talked of the Trepidation Beast riding my back as my planned trip became a reality:
The nerves have kicked in! Now that it is a fact not a plan and the flights are booked, the trepidation monster has risen been riding my back like a good ‘un!
Can I do this? Will I cope? How will I deal with being in a dormitory along with other people? What happens after the two weeks at the hostel? What shoes should I take? See how the worries focus on the big stuff like shoes?
All perfectly normal I am sure, perhaps everyone gets a free trepidation monster with every booking! After a few days wresting with the beast who seemed to be manacled to my back and refusing to budge, I found the magic key to make him disappear. I confessed to my worries.
Yeah I know, we have all been told it a million times a problem shared is a problem halved but who listens to their Granny anyway? Anyway the beast is still lurking, I can see him out of the corner of my eye but I am determined not to let him creep up on me again!
Incidentally in case you are worrying as well my friends: Yes I can do this, I will cope to the best of my ability, the dorm environment will be a giggle and I will make new friends, Amani have already sourced me potential accommodation for after the first two weeks and OK you win my friend (Lorraine) the heels stay behind and sensible walking shoes are in order!
Where am I today? A different trepidation beast rides my back, this one more to the do with the way my life is developing, the person I am discovering, lurking within my physical form. This trepidation beast does not have a firm hold and is more akin to the flutter of a kaleidoscope of butterflies than a beast.
I have shared this collective with you before, don’t you just love it? It goes alongside “an ostentation of peacocks”!
Yes guys and gals, friends and family. I am doing this and yes, the two weeks in the dormitory environment was both a hoot and the perfect introduction to life as a volunteer in East Africa. I would strongly recommend every first time volunteer swallows their love of privacy and opens their hearts to the communal sharing of space, emotions and experiences that is hostel life.
What happens after hostel life is a fairy tale. How fitting for a would be author.
A year ago I was in a panic, I was sure I could do this and I wanted to, with all my heart, but the question of accommodation was a troubling one. What exactly could I expect? What level of sanitation would be available? Outside cold showers?
When I walked through the security gates into Mama Ndossi’s delightful compound of three, luxurious by TZ standards, homes my heart sang and I shed my fears. My home is a fairy tale castle in a country racked by poverty. The children of Good Hope are way across town, two dala dala rides with a journey time of an hour but I don’t care. Mama Ndossi’s provides my comfort zone at the end of difficult but rewarding days!
My preoccupation with shoes remains, it seems. The first ever pair of trainers I bought for this trip a year ago are now well-worn and trodden down, the dirt tracks here are super tough. I have an affinity with those trainers and they will remain in my memory as a significant step (notice the subtle play on words) in the
journey adventure I am taking. But I will confess that now, nigh on a year into the adventure, I am thinking that there maybe cause to have a pair of high heels tucked away in the back of the closet.
To sum up, a little piece I penned one evening when the mood was mellow at the end of the day. When I rediscovered this tucked away in the depths of my virtual airing cupboard (where all penned pieces go for a period of R and R) I thought the last line was appropriate to my review of first year in Tanzania.
Birdsong, what do they say I wonder, what is their message and to whom are they singing? I love the sound of the birds here, I am not clear why. I am certain there has been birdsong before but for some reason her in East Africa it affects me more. Where do the birds go I wonder? What are their lives like? Do they envy us our stability and firm roots to the ground that is the earth? Does their wingspan really give them the freedom we imagine? What adventures do the house birds of East Africa experience? Why do I care enough to pen this?
I like to see the birds too, although most often it is a fleeting glimpse as they flit from tree to tree and avoid the yawning jaws of the cat. There are colours, vibrant and pure, deep blue such as can never be captured by an artist’s brush, for it is oiled by the scent of excitement that these tiny luminescent creatures live in.
I am telling a lie, I am painting a picture of a cat that doesn’t exist. Our cat, or the compound cat as heshould be correctly labelled, is not that picture of gaping jaws. No! He is rather the animal I have witnessed ducking his head and laying his ears flat as the birds swoop from the sky and fly directly at him in an attack formation, one after the other, round and round to swoop down on him again until he skulks, body low slung to the ground and seeks solace within our house.
I love living here.
Until next time my friends.