Friday, August 14, 2015

Asante Sana, Tanzania

I've been thinking about Tanzania a lot lately.  A friend and her daughter have just moved to Dar es Salaam and I'm loving reading about her stories of wonder and bureaucracy, knowing that there are untold amounts of each in her future!  I also just finished reading about Beryl Markham and her growing up in Kenya.  I have loved Isak Dinesen's "Out of Africa" and worshipped at the foot her house outside of Nairobi when we visited, but I think I like this book more...I loved seeing Karen Blixen, Bror, and Denys Finch Hatten from another point of view.  I also love the images of Africa--I want so much to be so taken with a place that I could endure almost anything, but I know I would be more like Beryl's mother, back to the "real world" after a couple of years! I also marvel at the refinement and culture that seemed to exist--the furniture, the drinks, the meals, the clothes--that existed back then.

I am so thankful in so many ways for having the privilege of living in Tanzania.  I think the first experience overseas for people tends to really be the one that "sticks" and that's definitely true for me. Life there is hard and beautiful and kind and frustrating and blessed.  On the outside, I don't look different, but I have revisited people and places and events over and over in my mind and so many of my decisions and attitudes have been influenced by my time there.  One of the biggest blessings is that our first overseas experience was in Tanzania.  Starting there so alone, the challenges of water and electricity and inefficiency, the beauty of community and acceptance--I learned I didn't have endure things--I absorbed them into my life until they felt routine.  I could always look around when things felt bad and see people struggling with so much more, or see friends who had lived through so much more in their time in Tanzania--then I knew I could manage it, too.

As we've moved on to China, Saudi, and now Brazil, I've encountered people who have considered these places hardships, who have experienced real struggles adapting to their overseas lives.  I am so grateful that Tanzania was our first overseas experience.  Nothing I've experienced has been as difficult as our first months settling in there.  No hot water in our apartment?  I had no water in Tanzania when our line was diverted and our pump went out.  No recognizable foods in the grocery store?  No processed foods in Tanzania at all!   Red tape?  I think I've managed to live in countries that have raised it to an art form!  We've moved on to places that are easier, for sure.  But I will never forget the school, the church, the rugby club, and the people that embraced us during our time in Arusha.  We have been changed--for good.

5 comments:

Amity Beane said...

I have been reading since Tanzania. When a new post popped up on Feedly it was exciting to see where next! Brazil is on my bucket list.

Carla Hillman said...

Amity Beane, if you're a friend of Lindsay's, you are welcome here! We'll find a spot for you in our apartment and you can explore away!

Amity Beane said...

Yes, she is my friend! And through her I must have discovered your family! Thank you for the offer. I hope you post more as I love reading!!

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Terry Marino said...

Carla,
I was with a Peace House group that visited Tanzania with Karen. I too often think of how my everyday "troubles" measure up and pale in comparison to real troubles people face there. It always humbles me and makes me grateful.
You are a great writer and I always enjoy reading your blog.
Thanks.