Visiting the Meru people really touched my heart. Seeing their life and how they lived, in the foothills of Mount Meru was really quite special.

We are not those tourists who just come to places to look at things. We don’t just walk around, take pictures, and leave. We are settling in to some of the places we visit. In Spain, we settled in to Fuengirola, and learned what life was like there, and where everything was. We went to the grocery store, and cooked dinner for ourselves. We almost became part of the community. We are going to do that in Zanzibar. We don’t want to look at all the tourist attractions because we are more into the lifestyle, history, and culture of the area. That is why we went to visit the Meru people.

Their village was native. Their way of life was influenced a little by Western technology, but they did not have much, partly because maybe they couldn’t afford it.

As I have seen Africa, I have been able to notice how Americans live compared to these people. I have had an idea through television and books, but now it seems real. Things are different here. Many countries in Africa are quite poor, and when you’re poor, it’s hard to get ahead. The women who took us on the tour to see their way of life were not rich. They were working while their children were doing chores or playing with their friends.

In their free time, the children don’t sit in their houses playing with legos or whatever; they are outside having fun. As we were walking a couple of days ago, we saw a group of kids taking turns running toward a rock, jumping off of it, and doing a flip in the air. They were better at flips than any kids their age I had seen!

The same women that led us on the tour showed us how to make coffee. They were not rich, but they were happy. Maybe Africa isn’t as rich as Europe, but not everyone here is sad and unhappy. I watched our guides dancing and singing to the beat of someone grinding coffee, just living their lives and doing their jobs. They made hard work become fun. They were not putting on a show, just showing us how everything is made. They interacted with us, smiled and laughed with us, and made the whole thing a fun experience.

Us Americans are quite spoiled. I honestly think it would be better if everyone knew how people lived in other parts of the world, and how they don’t have as much as we have. They don’t have everything, unlike in America. Many people in America have way more than people here, but they take it for granted. Many Americans have nice living rooms, with sofas. Tanzanians might have a wooden stool. Having stuff is not the key to happiness.

I would much rather be playing with friends, and doing flips, than sitting in a room with legos.

We are lucky to live like this, and this kind of nice living is not something that we should ignore.