Right now I'm sitting with my bff, Kat, in the kitchen while she fans the charcoal fire for cooking supper. Sounds of little boys playing
Here, we call anyone who is a mother "mama" and father "baba", grandma "bibi" grandpa "babu." We greet each elder with "Shikamoo" and are greeted by everyone in the street with "mzungu! Hi! How are you!", and in high squeaky voices from the guys...with a "sister" added on the end. Let me tell you, or them, high squeaky voices are not attractive!
Tanzania is among the places in the world where the friendliest people reside. We are welcomed into each home with great joy and lots of food. A typical meal is rice, cooked greens, and meat. Man, can they cook good...it sounds simple, but it's the best food I've had. People want us to learn Swahili so much, and say we'll know it in two months (it's been longer than that...). I've been scolded more than once for not knowing it and for my funny accent when I try.
People think of Africa and think "poor starving children." Let me give you a little lesson, people don't starve here. The problem lies in malnutrition. Yes, I'm in a "third-world country" and yes, they don't have complicated materials, but they have friends and family and relationships. Africa is materialistically simple, but socially complex. America is socially simple, and materialistically complex. While there are struggles, this is a beautiful land.
It took a bit, but I've come to call this place home. I cook over a charcoal fire, the electric and water quits randomly, internet is not readily available, we walk everywhere, we have no fridge. But it doesn't matter. We have amazing friends and enjoy life being simpler (or maybe it's more complex...).
Some call it Africa. I call it home.