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Notes on a journal, part 1 (days 1-4)

September 11, 2008
Passing out Cadbury chocolates at the Kili Center

Passing out Cadbury chocolates at the Kili Center

(picture h/t Dot Paul at the Georgia Magazine)

This is the first installment of what will definitely should hopefully be a several-part series sharing thoughts from my Tanzania journal. Yes, writing daily journal entries and doing daily Bel-Jean style readings was required by the program, but I also interspersed my own personal thoughts, feelings and recollections with the question answers. I don’t know whether my free-form thoughts are more or less profound than the requisite answers, so I guess that is for all of you loyal readers hapless blog surfers to decide.

“I often feel as if life isn’t passing me by so much as it has already passed by and I’m trying to catch up.” – Luckily I don’t think I feel this way anymore. I’ve made a conscious decision that senior year should be about fun and I should slow down as much as possible. I’ve had 21 years and yet have (hopefully) decades more to rush around. Why not take this opportunity now?

“Yet another Mother’s Day where I am not at home…this is my best excuse so far though.” – I wasn’t home for Father’s Day either so…even?

“Driving into town we passed families outside of their mud hourses. Children were running around while the parents watched. As we drove by, Addie [Jones] sighed and said, ‘The children are so cute!’ The whole time I’d been focused on how poor they all looked. Funny how different lenses can fram the same scene in totally different ways.” – I’m trying to adjust my lens to more of Addie’s view. Seems much more enjoyable and rewarding.

“Is there such a thing as ‘white guilt,’ or is that another white man’s excuse for condescension?” – Still haven’t figured this one out really.

Per Chad Hume: “I love the word ‘apparently.’ It takes all liability off yourself.” – Brilliant.

“Swahili is fascinating. The sounds, the construction, the cadence, the philosophy. It’s so exotic when put up against our English.” – I still haven’t bought Rosetta Stone Swahili…I need to do that.

“There seems to be a high tolerance for complaining and passing blame in Tanzania. The school doesn’t receive much funding. The bank can’t raise enough capital. But there doesn’t seem to be a commensurate openness to change or progress.” – Maybe it was just the first people that we came into contact with, because the last ones all embraced change, individualism and success.

“But the Africa we’ve seen shares almost nothing in common with this first group [that complains and resists change]. They [the second group] are the ones who see a way out. They know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and they’re going to do their damnedest to reach it sooner rather than later. ‘The time is now for Africa,’ they say.” – True. And inspiring.

That’s all I’m gonna subject y’all to right now. Get excited for part 2!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2008 7:00 pm

    I came accross your blog while looking for bloggers from Tanzania. I must say I was really impressed by your writing and by the fact that Blogging is now really taking off in Tanzania. It is a very nice contribution you bloggers are making because it helps Tanzanians like me who live abroad to connect with home.

    My friends and I have just launched a Tanzanian forum called TanzaniaMeet.com (TMeet) where we have created a Tanzanian bloggers community and we are currently compiling a list of all Tanzanian blogs and we are inviting you to add your blog to the list and join the first ever Tanzanian bloggers community. Please help us spread the word about TMeet to your readers and all bloggers and blog about us. Thanks a lot! We’ll be expecting for you.

    Link to the Tanzanian bloggers forum

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