3 weeks

After living in Africa for 3 weeks I finally feel like I truly arrived here. Today I had to run some errands, sat in a meeting and realised that I finally feel comfortable here. Shouts of “YOU! Come here!” and “Mzungu!” don’t bother me much anymore. Masses of people fascinate, rather than scare me. I walk with determination, I know where to go, where and what to pay and how to tell them that I know they’re trying to rip me off, just because I’m white.
I can navigate Dar es Salaam quite easily now, quickly find the right Dalla Dalla to our house and after 3 weeks I finally learned the exchange rate between Tanzanian Schillings and Euros.

After two weeks I felt a bit burned out. So many new experiences, so much information to soak up. Now I kind of recovered. I’m ready to learn more, ready to ask more questions. What kind of status do albinos have in society? How do Maasai men view their women (and how many cows do they usually pay for them?)? When do Chinese people pick their English name? There’s so much to learn still, still so many questions to be asked and I’m not afraid to do it anymore.

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and nothing will ever be the same again

Go to the beach for a quick dip. Haggle for that bracelet and improve your bargaining skills. Learn new words. Make a fool out of yourself if you use them the wrong way. Smile at strangers. Kill with kindness. Open up. Talk. Let new things happen to you. Ask if you want to know. Ask if you want to learn. Ask if you don’t know. Ask. Always. Don’t be afraid of not knowing. Wash your clothes by hand. Eat chapati 5 days in a row and drink way too spicy, way too sweet tea. Know when to be quiet. Say no. Say yes. Be enthusiastic. Open your eyes. Pay attention. Don’t complain too much. Be cautious, not afraid. Go for it. Try new food. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Be open to new opportunities. Take them. Don’t expect too much.¬† Be surprised and surprise others in return. Drive that car in the Serengeti. High five that Maasai. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Get your hands dirty. Inhale the dust. Let the salty water burn your eyes. Get invited to dinner at the neighbour’s house. Be gracious. Be open. Be yourself. Discover more about yourself.¬†Stay the same. Grow. Change.

Do all of it, because you are here and this is now.

If only to see the stars

After a 14h journey in total (including an 11h bus drive with only one stop to buy food and go to the washroom) I finally made it back to my home away from home, the intern house in Dar es Salaam.

How do I best describe the past week? So much has happened, so many memories were made.

I will write separate posts about each stop we made and each location we visited, but for now let me just sum it up:

I slept in a tent in the middle of the Serengeti, surrounded by Hyenas and other wildlife animals. I watched the stars at night, in completely in awe of how close, how big and how many they were. I drove a land rover in the Serengeti. I slept in a tent, wrapped up in 10 layers of clothes and two sleeping bags at the rim of Ngorongoro Crater and later discovered that there was a Buffalo standing right next to us. I hiked 8km up to Kilimanjaro and then back down. I had super interesting conversations with local people and Maasai, soaking up every information I could get my hands on.

All the early mornings, the countless hours spent on buses or in cars, everything was worth it in the end.

Everyone should go to Africa at least once in his life, if only to see the stars.