K’naan – Wavin’ Flag
I arrived back in Katesh quite happily and safely a few days ago. I went on a wonderful journey to Dar and then Iringa after training. Dar was a busy fun-filled adventure of American food, ice cream, and lots of cool experiences. Iringa, in contrast, was a slow paced, relaxed voyage into a hillside town that offered an astonishing array of jewelry and random luxuries, like French press coffee and delivery pizza. Granted, the delivery was bike-delivery, just to clarify. So it was a bit cold. But still a wonderful concept. I stocked up on presents for my friends and family and mailed quite a few letters and one giant package home. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the Maasai women that made the jewelery I bought, the teenage boys that sold the little knick-knacks in the craft shops and miming my order at Neema’s Café, a restaurant and craft shop which employed deaf and disabled Tanzanians (and also one of my favorite places in Tanzania). Turns out, if you flirt enough with people, aside from getting lots of useless numbers (Tanzanians ALWAYS want your cell number…oye), you also can get some sweet advantages. Over that week I acquired gifts including a leather bracelet, a necklace that I still wear and, the most random I think, is a red bull that the guy next to me on the bus ride from Singida to Katesh insisted that I take. I felt especially bad accepting this one since Red Bull is a reasonably expensive luxury. In fact I have yet to have tried one in country. But, I realized mostly over the process of my journeys, that being personable gives you good advantages to getting your way and finding out information that you need. This may sound selfish but in a country when everyone is competing for attention and has little regard for others while traveling (they just shove everyone everywhere…) its nice to find methods that help you find your way around successfully.
I think that my biggest accomplishment from my travels were the fact that I felt more confident, one, with traveling alone and, two, with myself in Tanzania. I feel like I am getting good at judging who to trust and when and with what. And also as taking chances and talking to random people to figure out what I need because, you can’t really get anything that you need or want here on your own. And that means speaking the language, knowing the culture and just acting like yourself but always being aware that you in a foreign place. It’s a feeling that I didn’t realize that I’d experience but am adapting to none the less. I know that this well be an ongoing journey and I’m not going to suddenly and completely adapt to traveling and living here, but I’m figuring it out piece by piece, and that, alone, is exciting. Enough self exploration. Later!