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Friday, August 19, 2005
MY BEAUTIFUL AFRICA!
I am writting this piece away from Africa. The air transport experts shocked me when they told me that I am sitting at about 19 hours flight from my home land Tanzania. This simply means I am miles away from my motherland.Its a scary feeling and I insist its hard learning to cope with it.I have been in North America for a while now but I am yet to get fully used to it.Shame on me?!! Its a good exposure and experience both postively and negatively. You agree or not North America is different from Africa. I have spent lots of time trying to compile the similarities and you bet I have a difficult time doing just that. I am not saying one place is better than the other but I am saying these two places are DIFFERENT from each other. And I am not talking about landscapes here because in that area I can mention some similarities like trees,lakes,ocean,hills etc. Its all about social life and beliefs.

I miss Tanzania and Africa in general. I know some friends thinks I am just trying to act crazy. To them Africa is not a place they wanna miss. They say they have had enough. I love the continent and of course I miss all my friends and relatives. Who wouldn't miss the continent with all these? Click here You must be strange not to miss what is everyone's dream to feel and experience.

Today on my way back from work many thoughts about Africa came in my mind. It was about the differences I am talking about.I specifically focused my thoughts on social affairs. In the elevators ( I live in a condominium) no body greets another, no body even smiles at one another. We were five of us in the elevator. Two of us going to the same floor.Imagine these are supposedly my "right hand neighbours" That made me remember those days when in the early morning hours I could go to the bus stop greeting and smiling to everyone on my way to the bus stop. They also smiled and greeted me back. It not like they want anything from you NO..its just for love.Everyone is your friend or at least one respects the fact that you are all human beings. Getting a free smile here is a rare occassion. If you are lucky you can get it from the receptionist or when paying for your groceries. But this comes out of their job description orders anyway!
In my neighborhood I don't remember anyone that I didn't know by name. It was a street of about 30 houses with each house with at least three family members.

At work a young man came complaining that he has been expelled from school for a simple fight with a school mate. He goes on explaining to me how teachers called cops who came in four of them flashing all the hazard lights. I almost bursted into laughters. Can't teachers handle such a simple case? I remember how much we used to fight in school, if we were here in Canada bet all of us would be inmates for life. But instead our teachers (who had almost parental powers on us) would finish the whole saga. Even the school principal wouldn't know about a thing.
I know some calls that abuse and giving teachers too much powers.However,let me tell you something..I am proud of the teachers who used to handle such fights because I see how much time and money is wasted here trying to bend a fish before it dries up(an african say)
I remember how embarrased one woman was when she came for an interview just to find me sitting on the board ready to shoot some nasty questions. She happened to be from the same building I am living and as the matter of fact she had always given me a cold shoulder kind of looks.I am not sure if she is a racist or not. I could imagine how such a thing can rarely happen in Tanzania.Hey..let me stop I am told our society is also changing out there.Everyone wants to feel "americanized".Ooops I guess those people do not know what the society here is missing.
You can tell how lonely people are in this part of the world by the way everybody is busy with either cell phones, disc man, a novel or newspaper. No body to talk to.You better be busy with the latest tech gears.How do these people initiate relationships?? How do one start and not find a court summon the next day for sexual harrassment? Gosh they have legal terminologies here and trust me you can't escape if they want you in pink suits.
Anyway I will keep you posted about these similiraties and differences.But the most important thing is to respect each others way of life. Peace starts from there.
 
Muandishi: Jeff Msangi |Tarehe: 7:22 PM | Permalink |


Maoni: 1


  • Tarehe: 8:19:00 AM, Mtoa Maoni:- Blogger Ethan Zuckerman

    Jeff - These are really useful and fascinating observations. As a North American who has lived a great deal in Africa, I've gotten very used to Americans who assume that Africa is a less pleasant place to live than North America in all ways. It takes a lot of time and explanation to help North Americans understand that there are aspects of African life - extended families, relationships with friends and neighbors, easy interactions on the street - that are just missing from North American life and that North Americans are poorer for it. Thanks for writing.

     
   
 
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