I will miss Tanzania, except that I will not miss it like I do Spain, or France, or Italy. Tanzania was different. I will miss it as much as any other country in Europe, though I will miss it in a different way. There are so many unique things about Tanzania.
Culture is an interesting thing. Just the feeling in every country is so natural. There are so many things that I will remember about Tanzania. All the fun we had, and all the unexpected and funny hakuna matata moments. Zanzibar and the Tanzania mainland each have their own set of fun things we did, and I imagine many things, most of them different, between the mainland and Zanzibar.
When I think of Tanzania, I imagine Tanzanian culture. Wildlife, religion, tribes and their villages, the Masaai, hakuna matata and pole pole philosophies, and many other things that have made me feel so close to Tanzania.
As we took off at the airport, I feel like a part of me was left behind in Tanzania. There were tough, frustrating, and maybe even unfair situations, but I had felt so much emotion all the way down there. Once we were high enough, I could see the whole of Stone Town, and imagined every little thing we had done there, as well as in Tanzania. I could not forget the safari and Arusha, as well as our bike ride through the village of Mto Wa Mbu. I remembered my thoughts at watching the women pound the coffee beans into powder. It was interesting to see their cows, and how all those cows had started with a donation to Heifer. During Christmas, we donated money to buy livestock to help people in Tanzania. I want to know the impact that it would have had on the family that received the donation. But I know it was positive.
We had met very nice and caring people, that had helped us on our adventure, including Emanuel, Emmanuel, and Yahya. Emanuel was a very nice taxi driver, and once we got lost wandering around Arusha late at night, and he came and picked us up.
Emmanuel was our Safari guide. During our time in Stone Town, we had met a man who had some relationship with RoySafari (our safari company), and we asked him if he knew Emmanuel. He told us strongly that Emmanuel was the best guide in the whole company. And it had shown. Emmanuel had spotted a cheetah in the grass in a matter of seconds, a cheetah that 200 gazelle haden’t spotted for a couple hours. He knew all the names for all the animals, and even told us stories of his past safaris.
Yahya was our taxi driver for Zanzibar. He took us to a spice farm, something that Zanzibar is known for. His family cooked for us, and we cooked for them. We got to meet his family, and as we said goodbye to him, we exchanged gifts. I thought of his family and ours, and his little baby, without teeth yet, still chewing on pizza crust the night we hosted them. We had met each other, spent a lot of time together, and then we had to leave. Maybe he will find other tourists and befriend them, but then they will eventually leave. That’s what life’s like. Nothing lasts forever. Tourists can’t stay forever, and even us humans pass in and out of the world.
I look back with an appreciation for Tanzania’s faults, just like any country’s faults. I loved everything about it. Every last thing, down to just pole pole, or hakuna matata, adds flavor and texture to that African society. I have learned so much by spending time here. Not just in my academic studies (though I am still getting a great education there), but also in my understanding of the world. Pieces of history fit together as I see them referenced in other sources. Culture is so interesting. It is amazing what makes Spain Spain, or Germany Germany.
We have stayed the longest in Tanzania, more than any country so far, and I just know I will remember everything for the rest of my life. I can read the blogs, and reflect by myself on more deeper and more interesting thoughts on Tanzania. I will remember the people, the villages, the sights, the structure of lifestyle. I feel like memories from this trip, and from Tanzania, will stick forever.
Below: Tanzanian Graffiti